Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy Puts Student Voice Front and Center with Teacher Dashboard for Google Apps

Good things are happening at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Science Teacher Tim Best and his colleagues are deep users of Google Apps. SLA has cultivated a culture of writing across the curriculum. This is facilitated by cloud-based sharing of documents in Google Apps, and critical friends groups that engage in peer editing.

SLA started using Teacher Dashboard to increase teacher productivity and deepen use of Google Apps amongst the students in the Fall of 2012. Tim tells us, “Teacher Dashboard saves me an hour’s worth of work every time I want to collect student products.”

Marcie Hull, SLA technology integration specialist, notes, “When the teachers need me to help make changes in Google Apps for their students, it is one or two clicks, some typing, and I’m done.”

Take a visit to the SLA website. It is worth the trip to see how they put student voice front and center.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Survey Drawing Winners Speak About Teacher Dashboard

In March, the Hapara team surveyed a small percentage of Teacher Dashboard users from around the world. To encourage participation, we offered to award one Google Nexus 7 tablet each to one technology coordinator and one teacher. Our winners were Rachael Baker, a teacher at the Clevedon School near Auckland, New Zealand, and David Collett, the technology director at International School Manila in the Philippines.

After our winners were informed of their good fortune, we asked them to comment on their experience with Teacher Dashboard. Here is what they had to say...

Rachael, Teacher

"Teacher dashboard has allowed me keep track of how my students are using their email and reset passwords easily when needed!  It has also allowed me to send docs to the whole class via the 'smart copy' feature and to see who has worked on the doc."

David, Technology Director

"As a manager of Teacher Dashboard and the Google Apps for Education Domain at our school, the joy and benefits come from a range of sectors. From an administrative point of view, the application allows for the quick creation and management of student and teacher accounts and helps bring order to the high volume of traffic we experience on a day to day basis. Often schools adopt the GApps suite because of the power it brings to learning, but realize that very quickly it becomes difficult to manage the volume and varying methods of use of teachers and students. 

The extra level of administration and organization really helps streamline the workflow and adds efficiency for us, teachers and students. From a teachers point of view, the added functionality of Teacher Dashboard allows management at a more micro-level and gives some of the power back to teachers. For example the ability to reset passwords, automatically have class and student folders set up and shared, as well as calendars and eportfolios. This standardization of practice helps everyone know how and where things are shared and builds a robust platform for learning, doing away with some of the confusion. 

The ability for a teacher to walk in day 1 with the system up and running lowers barriers to entry and focuses GApps on the goals of the school which are teaching and learning. Finally I would like to say that support from Hapara has been fantastic with great help-ticketing and the ability to speak directly with developers in the company.

At a recent conference in the region, I presented on the benefits of Teacher Dashboard for enhancing formative and summative assessments. Teacher Dashboard helps focus the GApps system on easy dissemination and submission of work, automatically creates calendars and eportfolios and provides other functionality. By creating an easy way of using/accessing GApps, feedback time improves, collaboration increases and the role of assessment is transformed. The use of online eportfolios allows for summative assessments to be preserved, valued and showcased by students and teachers. Teacher Dashboard enables a simple, effective and transformative way to organize GApps and as such allows schools to focus less on the tech and more on the learning which is the overarching goal of all technology in education."