|inconvenient and old-fashioned!|
For some months, I've been looking for a way to capture student information electronically (see earlier comments here). I've been taking pictures, but these don't print out easily. While looking for something else, I stumbled onto a description of a camera scanning app. I rubbed my eyes and read it again, thinking, "This is too good to be true, what's wrong with it??" I downloaded a free version of one of the apps and tried it and then did a happy dance around the office. Well, pretty close anyway -- just ask my fellow teachers!
With an app like this, you take a picture of a document (or whatever) and it looks for the edges of the paper, puts a boundary around it and then converts whatever's inside the boundary to PDF (you can manually adjust the boundary). There are several popular apps, and I chose CamScanner to experiment with. I scanned a quiz from a student's folder and sent it to the printer at our office and the results were impressive! It looks like I'll be able to "collect" student work or other info (my own work on the whiteboard, team posters, etc.) just by snapping a photo. I can convert it to PDF and print it out at home or whenever I get a chance to stop by the main office.
I've only just begun to look at this in detail, but there are several organizing features that may really make it worthwhile. You can take several pictures and store them as pages in one PDF file. You can hand-annotate the document. You can assign tags to it. And there's cloud storage, so you can access it from any computer. (You can also export to other clouds: Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote.) With the "premium" version, you get more features such as optical character recognition. I'm not sure I need that, but I signed up for a month of premium anyway just to give the app a full test run. Today, I scanned in the homework from one class (a writing assignment). It was not a pain. Let's see how it goes from here on out.
So ... the rambling teacher now has a portable copy machine? Excellent!
The final question remains: where do I get lunch, check my email and (ahem) powder my nose between classes? Well, it may be a hit to my health if I leave the virtuous lunch at home, but there's the Gold Standard Cafe. Iced coffee, brunch items, pastries, good music, and Internet ... Hmmm, Plan B is starting to look better than Plan A!