Part 6: Planning Your Workflow
Getting work to and from students is something we rarely have to think about. You hand assignments to students. They hand them back. You grade them and return them. (They put them in the recycling bin.) But staying organized with digital work can become a nightmare. Creating a digital workflow is often overlooked until after we have already created an assignment and don't discover the problems until it is turned in. If you don’t have a method for turning in digital media, you will hit a lot of roadblocks and limit the options of learning artifacts that your students can create. So what's the best solution, you ask?
At Pearson, we have struggled with workflow because we were not using Canvas (our learning management system) in a coordinated way. Some teachers have used Google Drive, some have used Google Classroom, others have used email, all with varying degrees of success. My suggestion: get comfortable with Canvas. With the app, students will be able to access and submit all assignments, check their grades, see upcoming due dates, participate in discussion boards, take quizzes and tests, and communicate with their teacher. Teachers can create auto-grading tests that include images and videos, discussion boards based on videos, grade using standards-aligned rubrics, and so much more. Google Classroom is limited in many functions but does serve as a nice tool for giving students copies of Google docs and keeping Google Drive organized.
As for students, they should use Canvas primarily. But don’t forget about Google! Drive is a great place to save (or even auto-save) files of all types. Google just recently added unlimited storage for all students and teachers with Google Apps for Education accounts. I have my students upload pictures and videos to Drive so they don’t need to be stored on their iPad and take up the limited storage space. The Notability app (and other apps) have great auto-backup features that put your mind at ease and provide additional space on the iPad. YouTube is also a great option for students to upload video assignments. It is far easier to turn in a link to a YouTube video than it is to turn in a 300 mb video file. Using a Google account, students can sign into YouTube and upload an unlimited amount of video files for free.
For more information on the digital workflow that I use with my 6th grade classes, check out my personal blog post on the subject.
At the elementary level, and especially at Kindergarten, we suggested a simpler solution to the workflow problem. Using the app called Seesaw, you can create a multi-media journal for each student in your class. It is perfect for the elementary classroom. You add your students, take pictures or videos of them, tag them in the photo or video, and then their parents get an email with a link to their work. Your students and parents can see anything from a digital video project to an analog finger painting! If you add pictures from the camera roll, students can annotate the picture and create a voice-over, explaining their learning through reflection. Check out the video demo below: