Cut exam correction time in half

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If you are a VCE teacher in the throes of preparing your students for the final exam, I don’t need to tell you how much time you are spending marking practice exams this week.  What I do need to tell you is that if you are marking multiple choice questions manually you’re not spending your time; you are wasting it.

ZipGrade is an app that lets you point your iPhone at a multiple-choice answer sheet, and ding! Correction done! It highlights incorrect answers, calculates the overall score and lets you export the data both as a PDF to hand back to students, and as a CSV (Excel) file for your own records.

It’s blindingly fast. A class-worth of papers will be marked in under a minute!

I’m no a fan of multiple choice tests. But as long as we are working in a system that requires us to use them, I’d prefer to see teachers spend their valuable time on something more creative than grading papers!

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“Upskirting” and mobile phone bans

A school’s principal said to me:

“Mobile phones are banned at our school and so long as I am Principal they will stay banned. Here’s why: lately we’ve been having a real problem with year 9s using their phone camera to take photos up girls’ skirts and sharing the pictures around!”

I do understand her righteous indignation.  But I also think her strike is misdirected.

My response is twofold:

Firstly, prohibition is evidently not working because the violation of girls’ honour that she described has been going on despite the school’s mobile moratorium!

Secondly, but much more importantly, the real issue this school faces is not really a mobile phone issue at all. Banning phones doesn’t address the real issue – that students in her school apparently have a flagrant lack of respect for others’ dignity!  Addressing that issue, however, is complex and difficult.  It’s far simpler to make a scapegoat of mobile phones. Blame the phones; ban the phones; enforce the ban. Problem solved. (But is it, really?)