Magazine article Information Today

Back to Back to School

Magazine article Information Today

Back to Back to School

Article excerpt

As the summer days dwindle and the start of the school year approaches, students and teachers alike are gathering their materials and preparing themselves to begin the process anew. Along with pens, paper, and books, students and educators may now add tablets, laptops, and ebooks to their back-to-school pile. To complement the increasingly digital necessities of the 2014-2015 school year, here are a few apps that will help save time, spur creativity, and aid communication.

Just Add Smartphone

Mechanically graded tests aren't exactly foreign to the classroom--Scantron tests and generic bubble-reading data entry sheets have been used for decades. But teachers who don't have access to an optical answer sheet reader are stuck grading long multiple-choice lists test by test.

It's this pain point that Quick Key was designed to solve. Walter Duncan, a former teacher with 15 years of experience, created an app that uses optical character recognition (OCR) to grade assignments. The app's website has a constantly updating counter, which is (as of this writing) showing more than 300,000 quizzes scanned with Quick Key.

The app seems to be most useful for a classroom that doesn't have a computer or where access to a computer and the internet is difficult. Free in the Apple App Store, the app provides free templates for designing multiple choice questions, and it does not require internet access to function.

* Please Share Your Status Update With the Class

With the possible exceptions of photography and computer programming classes, there hasn't been much opportunity for teachers to celebrate the dominant role social media plays in the average student's life. But Ku, from Heykuers Ltd., is aiming to bring a little poetry to the social media dynamic.

Ku is a social network in the most common sense of the phrase--friends share status updates with one another via registered accounts --but it's also a tool that gently prods its users toward creative expression. …

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