Time is probably the most valuable aspect of our lives. Whether it’s time to yourself or time with loved ones, a teacher’s time is extremely precious. You no doubt have plenty of students who would benefit from more one on one time. You no doubt have husbands, wives, daughters, and sons that could also benefit from more of your time.
What if grade reporting and recording didn’t take up so much of your time? Imagine if you could send your students grades to their parents faster than the time it takes for you to walk from one side of the classroom to the other.
Finding a way to spend less time doing the things that don’t include teaching, so you can spend more time doing the things that do.
I spent some time on the internet looking for tools to help you save that most precious asset, your time. I’m an Amazon affiliate so naturally I looked there first. I wanted to see what time-saving tools Amazon has for teachers. What I found initially was a bunch of books.
My family is full of people involved in the education system in some way or another, and I know how strapped you can be for time. After all that’s the point of this post ;). Recommending something that was just going to take more time didn’t seem like the most beneficial thing.
Then it occurred to me check what kind of apps are available. After all, this is the age of iTunes and App Stores.
That’s when I came across the Teacher Aid app. What drew my attention to it initially, was that it did the work of two or three other apps I found.
What the app can do
After I downloaded and started playing around with it, I realized it was relatively easy to use. The most impressive thing was how fast you could complete tasks, especially the recording and reporting of grades.
Teacher Aid the free version allows you to have one class with mostly full access. If you want to have multiple classes you’re going to have to pay about $20 which isn’t too bad if it saves you time.
Teacher aid can do
- seating charts
- grade recording
- grade analysis
- parent contacting
- grade reporting
- random student selection
How it looks
The app is pretty well put together. The class list is shown with a picture beside each student’s name. This is great for helping learn names, especially for those teachers who don’t have the “hear once know forever” gift with names.
The student pictures are also present on a seating chart that you set up. One drawback of the seating chart, however, is that it can only be organized in terms of rows and columns.
If you have a more organic seating arrangement you’re going to have to get creative.
The thing I was impressed with most, was the speed at which you could access and enter information. All of the things you need to do quickly are accessible from the seating chart. That includes things like.
- notes about behavior
- emailing, or texting parents progress information
In the span of only a few seconds you can mark that a student is disrupting class and send that information to his or her parents. Not that you ever have to do that ;). It’s even faster at taking attendance.
The progress reporting is relatively good but may become a little unwieldy if you have lots of assignments. John Smith here only has four graded assignments so it’s easy to see a snapshot of all his scores
What I found interesting is that you can also see how John compares to his classmate’s scores by looking at the bar chart.
What I thought this section was missing was the class average for each assignment as well as the overall class average. You can easily get this information from the main page as seen below, but it would have been nice to have it with the student information.
I thought it was also very interesting that you could save student notes and parent notes on the progress report as well. If you decide to send a progress report it will look like this. Nothing super fancy but it did look professional to me. If you’re reading this and you use progress reports, I’d be curious to hear about how your progress reports normally look.
You can also send the comments you’ve been recording about each student, but as far as I can tell, they’ll have to be sent separately.
You also have the option of generating a file that has all the students progress reports. I found this a little disappointing because it generated a progress report like the one you see below for each student instead of integrating them onto one sheet in a format that might be useful in a spreadsheet.
The last thing to address is whether or not this student information is secure, and the answer to that question is, it depends on you. Both the strength and the weakness of Teacher Aid is that the information is stored on whatever device you decide to use it on.
That means you can’t access the information simultaneously on many devices. It does mean, however, that if you can guarantee that the device you’re using is secure, like for example because it was given to you by the school, then the information associated with Teacher Aid app is secure.
That is not to say that you can’t access the information on other devices. Teacher Aid is well integrated with a backup architecture that allows you to keep a backup on the device as well as sending backup information to an email or cloud service account.
You’ll have to be careful with this though, because if you send the file to another device you’ll have to keep track of which one is the most current on your own.
Now for my disclaimer, if you want to help me out personally you can pick up the app from the link below on Amazon, but honestly using the Amazon Appstore was such a pain the first time, I advise you to just use Google Play store.
If you’d like me to do a video tutorial on the Teacher Aid app let me know in the comments below. Otherwise leave a comment below to let me know what you think.