We have had user reviews in Yacapaca for a few months now. They are generally positive, and often useful, but they are probably not the most exciting feature. Over the weekend, though, Jenny Heath from Hobart High School in Norfolk left one that really made my heart sing. Here it is: (in context here)
These are coursework essays for AQA English language and literature (we use Shakespeare as a cross-over piece). The reason I did it like this was so I could comment on their work while it was still in progress rather than paper form – you do have to ‘lock’ the essays from your teacher ‘tasks’ page, to prevent coursework being done outside of school. The only problem is it doesn’t print in paragraphs, so I think we’re going to have to copy and paste it into a word document (also will check their spelling then) and then print a final version.
I’ll definitely keep doing this for essays for all classes – I might even set KS3 some homework through this: It took me hardly anytime to write comments for each of the year 10’s essays – more time for planning the next one! I’m a yacapaca convert!
What I love about this review is that Jenny gives clear specifics that will help other teachers to decide whether or how to use the material. By pointing up the problems she had, she also gave me pointers as to where the issues are with the system. We have since had some correspondence about the value (or otherwise) of printing essays that are written online, for example. This kind of discussion is enormously helpful to me, given that I don’t have a classroom of my own in which to use Yacapaca with real kids.
I’m planning to offer prizes for the most useful reviews: this is certainly a candidate!