HEY YOU, PROFESSOR! There’s some technology I want you to see . . .


One of the biggest reasons that people give me for staying away from technology in their classroom is time.  We are all pressed for time, and it is difficult to push ourselves to do one more thing.  Everyone seems to think that all technology is like Facebook–that it sucks any time you may have up into a giant vacuum of cat videos and pictures of people’s lunch.

What many don’t realize is how much time they can save by integrating just a few new tools into their daily routine.  This isn’t a post about productivity tools (although I think that is a great idea for another post), this is a post about time-saving tools for teaching. These are simple tools that may give you a few moments extra in your day.


You can save a lot of time with iCollege, as you probably already know–but there are some great tools to use in conjunction with iCollege that can make paper grading and quiz-making a lot easier.

Let’s start with a basic issue:  iCollege is GPC’s title for the Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS) that was formally known as D2L.  This is important to know because if you are like me, you don’t keep 8-5 hours when creating content for your courses.  So, if you want to brush up on your D2L skills at 3 a.m. you can check out some of the free videos available on-demand from Brightspace/D2L.  Even if you don’t have the time to sit and watch videos, but some quiz won’t load, remember the resource is there, and it is as close as an internet search.

OK, now for the paper-grading tools.

Rubrics in iCollege are simple to create, and once you create them you can share them between all your classes.  They do take a few minutes to set up, but they make grading a snap, and rubric grades can be transfered directly to the gradebook.  You can even integrate course compentencies with the rubric to get the down and dirty on the skills you are teaching.

screen480x480If you have an iPad or an iPad mini, you should definitely use the Brightspace Grader app.  Once you download it onto your iPad and start using it, you will find there is nothing easier to use–and you don’t even have to be connected to the internet to use it.  You simply download your dropboxes, grade wherever you want, and upload your dropboxes when you are done.   To save time grading papers, I use this tool with rubrics and with voice comments (built in.)  That way I can talk my students through their paper–and I only spend about five minutes per essay.

Quiz Tools

If you are teaching with a lot of quizzes (Literature Instructors, take note!!), the best took I have ever used is Quizlet.com.  Quizlet is an electronic flashcard maker and study tool that a lot of the students use to prepare for classes.  If you spend a few minutes to make a quizlet “stack” of terms (or borrow them from other stacks–if you want to know how, just give me a call!), you can embed those flashcards into your iCollege easily by copy and pasting the embed code in Quizlet and pasting it into the embed code tool in iCollege.  Here is my stack for my World Lit II final:

The best part about Quizlet is the Test Creation tool.  I often create tests in Quizlet first, then enter them into iCollege by cutting and pasting them from the test I created.  It makes creating quizzes and tests easy and painless–and I can help my students study for the quizzes and tests as well.

Helping Students Read Collaboratively

integration-puzzleStudents don’t read like they should, and one way to make reading more engaging–especially when we are using eBooks, is to have them read collaboratively.  iCollege has just integrated a wonderful tool for collaborative reading called “Voicethread.”  With voicethread, you can upload a selection and have students comment in writing, voice, and even video.  It is fairly simple to learn–but if you are having trouble, GPCs Academic Technology team can get you started.  One of the best things about VoiceThread is that you can evaluate it–a nice way to keep your students on their toes!!

00000265Another tool, which is outside of iCollege, but is notable–both for its ease of use with internet resources and for its wonderfully supportive academic community, is Genius.com.  After you establish a Genius Account (free), just write to them at education@genius.com and request an educators account (also free).  Once you have your education account, you can set up classes and invite your students to annotate texts with you.  What is awesome is that, once you have an account, you can simply put “genius.com/” in front of any website address, and you can annotate that page (and if you have a class account–your students can join you!!)  It opens up the entire internet for class reading and annotation!!  I simply place a link for genious on my assignment page–and we can all meet later while we read!

What are your favorite iCollege tips and tricks for saving time?  Add them in the comments!!

One thought on “HEY YOU, PROFESSOR! There’s some technology I want you to see . . .

  1. This seems like great stuff. I’m a 63-year-old lawyer, not a teacher, but I have two sisters and a daughter who are teachers. Reading this and The White Horse Story has me thinking I made need to change my answer to the security question: Who was your favorite teacher?

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