Reflecting, Developing and Sharing

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I LOVE mail merge – Geeky I know…

After my first year of teaching one of my “resolutions” was to try and be more efficient with my marking. I found that due to students loosing written feedback I had given them and their marksheets I was spending time remarking coursework I had already seen and explaining what my comments meant.

As an ICT teacher I am a fan of excel spreadsheets (yes I did just say that…) and they are central to my teaching. I now use a spreadsheet when marking coursework. I enter the students written feedback into the spreadsheet along with their current marks and target grades. It is good because I can very quickly find a focus for students if they are struggling with what they need to do to improve.

Once all of the data is present in the spreadsheet I am able to send out their feedback via e-mail. I mail merge these emails in order to allow me to email personalised feedback to students with 2 or 3 mouse clicks.

I also have a spreadsheet setup in numbers on my iPad that I use to enter data if I’m marking somewhere where using a computer isn’t practical.

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What are the advantages?

Students are able to be aware of the data you hold about their progress which can really help them to focus on progression especially if they a completing coursework independently. It obviously as a results helps to improve focus on the coursework tasks and improve behaviour.

Further Developments

I am currently trying to setup a system where students set outcomes for their homework using google forms and then receive a reminder of it by email later in the week. The principle of how this will work is very similar to that of the feedback, it will just have a change of input. Watch this space.

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