30 September 2015


This year, several teachers have begun using a tool called ZipGrade for closed item assessments. Essentially, the app (available for iOS and Android) replaces a traditional bubble scanner with a few important perks.

How it works:

1. The teacher makes copies of 20, 50, or 100 question answer sheets.
2. After the assessment, the teacher makes a key and begins scanning with a tablet or smartphone:
3. The app takes a photo of each assessment and enters the data into the ZipGrade software. Teachers can create classes to separate multiple sections on the ZipGrade site.
4. Item analysis allows teachers to quickly see which questions were missed most frequently and track trends. Teachers can even correct a student response if it was clear he or she did not erase sufficiently.

Grading efficiency:

While I don't want to over-emphasize closed item analysis, the speed of this app makes it very easy for even short quizzes or surveys. I found that scanning with my iPhone was even quicker as I scanned an entire class in less than two minutes. Once scanned, I was immediately able to view results on my phone, iPad, or through the web browser.

In the end:

I wouldn't call this a transformative tool, but it certainly helps make one of our many daily tasks a bit more efficient. For $6.99 a year, it seems worth it to save a little bit of time and provide immediate feedback to students.

23 September 2015

How We Work

One of the more empowering aspects of Jesuit education is that we have a pretty clear vision of the people our students are becoming when they cross the graduation threshold. In fact, the characteristics are laid out specifically in the Profile of the Graduate at Graduation. As such, new programs are filtered through the Grad at Grad lens.

The iPad program was no exception. When we began planning our 1:1 iPad program over four years ago, we had to make the distinction that we were a Jesuit school with an iPad program, not an iPad school. With that in mind, we looked to the Profile of the Grad and Grad and saw that the graduate of a Jesuit school should view "emerging technology as potentially supportive to personal and professional growth."

It's no secret these days that mobile technology has the power to transform how we work, live, and learn; however, we had to meet our students and faculty where they are. We knew that access would transform our connectedness to each other and to powerful productivity tools, so we started with workflow in which apps such as Google Drive, Notability, and myHomework quickly became augmented forms of their paper equivalent.

Additionally, students are showing teachers their own learning tools. Since our students' devices are not locked down with security software, students and teachers are free to share ideas about how they hack their learning, thus engaging in a dialogue about tools which are "supportive to personal and professional growth."