With school reform coming from every direction, teachers feel overwhelmed; there is simply never enough time! So when I find something that helps ease the burden, I pass on it. Turn It In, a database purchased by the school, cuts down on the time it takes to grade student writing without compromising the amount or kinds of comments students deserve. In addition to the grading feature, which is the one I use most, Turn It In also provides an originality report, grade book, library of assignments, peer review, Common Core rubrics, customizable comment palettes, a blog feature, and user-friendly training for students and teachers. Just released this year is a Turn It In APP for the IPad which makes it EASY and PORTABLE.
Since I was part of the original team to pilot Turn It In and one who, along with our school librarian, provided faculty workshops about its many uses, I have seen so many improvements over the past eight years.
Teachers set up classes which students log into to upload essays, peer reviews and reflection assignments, in addition to receiving feedback once their work has been assessed and critiqued.
These are matched to an originality feature (which can be turned off/on depending on the assignment and your preference). This allows the teacher (and student, if selected) to see with one click what sources match the student’s sources. If you give the same essay assignment year after year, it checks the paper against other sources on the internet and within the database, so you don’t have to worry about students plagiarizing or Turn It In makes it easy to detect if they do.
The feature I use most often is Grademark. I set up an assignment to be turned in by a specific class, selecting the parameters (point value, due date, share date, etc…). Students upload their work. I grade it using the grading/comments inherent in the database and I have also customized my own comment palette. You know, those comments you seem to write again and again! This way I drag the comment to the paper, placing it where it belongs. Comments not only include an error or suggestion but also a teachable explanation. Moreover, the ETS feature flags all editing and proofreading errors for me, so I don’t have to waste time with the minutia. End comment features include voice and/or written comment features. Lastly, TII includes Common Core Rubrics you can link to your assignment; you can choose to check the standards that apply and/ or use the grade generated by the Common Core rubrics or designate your own grade.
If you are like me, I don’t write comments for the sake of writing them; I write comments that are meant as instruction. I can even see the students who have viewed the comments I’ve written vs. those who have not.
One of the chief drawbacks to Grademark WAS that I needed to be in front of my computer to grade. Paperless was a great idea, but it wasn’t very portable. Not until the APP was released last year. Now I have all of Grademark’s features and the flexibility of grading where I want and when I want. Grading made easy!
Automatically, student grades transfer to the Grade Book feature, so I can just print them out or import them to the grading program the school uses. Moreover, I can see the students’ progress, class averages and other helpful statistics for their essay writing.
I have used other features as well including the peer review feature where students upload a draft and the teacher can decide to randomly or prescriptively assign essays to students to review while selecting criteria to rate or comment on from the system or devising criteria specific to the assignment.
I’ve also used the Discussion feature as a blog-like forum to post questions to the whole class and allow them to discuss. They can respond to a comment posted by another student or begin a new thread.
Turn It In has been immensely helpful as a teaching tool. And, now with the APP feature, it just got portable. I would recommend you try it (I believe there is a free 30 day trial period) because it’s really a time saver for grading and provides me with peace of mind that students are submitting original work for every assignment.
Feel free to comment if you have used Turn It In or pose questions. If I can answer them, you know I will!
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