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3 ways to ease grading with blended technology

How to use blended learning platforms to improve student grading.

As the academic school year ends, many teachers come to the unforeseen conclusion that some students lack the motivation to turn in assignments on-time. It is not an easy task.

Grading papers is still a daunting teaching duty. But it doesn’t have to be. Teachers have many tools available to encourage students to turn-in those assignments on time.

As technology is flooding the classrooms with the latest computer innovation and more students rely on personal devices, it is no wonder students desire to use technology all the time. Even in Title I school districts, computers are a prominent part of urban schools.

While reminding students to turn-in assignments is not an easy task, online blended learning platforms are increasingly popular, especially in urban schools. Why is this the case?

Since students develop technology skills at an early age, they want to embrace technology more often than the regular paper and pencil assignment. When students are prompted with an assignment via a blended learning platform such as Google Classroom, they are more apt to complete, learn, and turn-in assignments.

How can teachers use an online blending learning platform efficiently in the classroom?

1. Provide Initial Learning Platform Training

Before jumping into using a blended learning platform, teachers need adequate training. As a matter of fact, many professional development workshops and classes offer training with concrete examples on how to use the platform.

An important aspect of starting to use an online learning platform is to consider the type of assignments teachers want to grade. Although teachers can post quizzes, writing assignments, and projects, it is important to evaluate how much time teachers have to learn the system.

Although it is not a time-consuming process, teachers need to dedicate a certain amount of time to get familiar with the system, set-up a grading system, and upload assignments. More importantly, it takes a little patience as students get familiar with the platform as well.

(Next page: 2 more ways to use blended learning tech for easy grading)

2. Post Assignments and Projects on the Platform

Once students and teachers have the necessary tools to begin using blending learning platforms, posting assignments and projects is an easy venture. Most platforms allow teachers to insert word documents or files from their desktop to the platform.

Even easier than uploading files, platforms such as Google Classroom allow teachers to use Google Docs or Google Slides to design assignments. In this case, teachers assign different tasks to different classes.

For instance, a chemistry class can work on a series of topics, depending on the level of expertise. From the introduction to a topic by watching a relevant video and answering a few questions to more complex short discussion questions, blended learning promotes students to participate in their learning by being active learners.

Also, it is easier for students to move from one assignment to another. Since most assignments are placed on the class page for each individual student, each student has his or her account to drop in completed work.

This is so important because students could work on a virtual chemistry experiment by avoiding hazardous materials and waste. Because students practice safe chemistry virtually, they also explore other areas of chemistry.

For instance, students can use computer simulation to design chemistry reactions, pair molecules to study chemical bonding, learn about kinetic motion, and so much more.

For a physics class, a blended learning platform provides a great alternative to having expensive limited equipment. Physics is an exciting subject to learn with the appropriate equipment such as lasers, pulleys, ramps, electrical mechanisms, and optical devices.

But these laboratory equipments are expensive and fragile. As a matter of fact, many schools rely on computer desktops to demonstrate computer simulation as opposed to spending funds on expensive experiments.

Furthermore, a blended learning platform is useful for a bilingual class because it provides an additional language support. For instance, bilingual students work on a project by using reliable sources and learning the importance of vocabulary and grammar.

3. Grade Assignments and Projects on the Platform

Besides providing an educational basis for students to learn beyond the classroom, blended learning platforms allow students to do more metacognitive thinking. Assignments based on a depth of knowledge levels give students the opportunity to further develop critical thinking skills.

Many of the traditional poster projects are replaced by presentations done with Google Slides. Students actually enjoy designing slides and researching information for their projects.

The most important aspect of using a blended learning platform is grading. Teachers easily grade assignments as students click a button of completion.

Each student is responsible for turning in his or her work at the end of the lesson by simply clicking a button. In turn, depending on the complexity of the assignment, teachers provide immediate feedback.

Teachers prefer this system of grading since there is no paper trail or missing assignments. All assignments are completed in class and stored in a class folder, which teachers can access electronically from anywhere.

Students enjoy turning in assignments in this way because they will otherwise loose the paper or forget to turn it in. Especially for students in urban school settings, it boost their self-confidence since many students lack a place to finish assignments.

Although blended learning platforms are great alternatives to traditional assignments, this type of technology is not a replacement for direct instruction time. As a matter of fact, teachers enjoy using technology in the classroom to supplement the learning experience of many students.

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