Consider the Collection Process

collection of flash drives left in the computer lab
It's easy to focus on the process and not consider HOW the classwork will be collected. As several teachers have begun using the computer lab for class related projects, I've noticed that often times the bell will ring and a frantic scurry begins to save documents in a variety of locations. Sometimes this means students can't locate their work at the start of the next session.

I've found it's best to have a clear plan for where everyone will save their work. Then write out clear explanations of how to save their file to the correct location. And finally, plan to spend the last 5-10 minutes of class walking students through the process. If you always use the same routine, eventually students will know where to find and save their files.

Here are a few ideas for collecting digital student work:

  • Flash Drives
    • Pro: Teach kids responsibility, they can take the files home
    • Con: Often left in the computer and can spread viruses.
  • Personal Folder on Server
    • Pro: Students cannot access each others work
    • Con: Younger students may have trouble remembering account login details
  • Class Folder on Server
    • Pro: Teacher has access to all student work and manages the folder
    • Con: Students have access to all student work, watch for deletion and copying
  • Online File System (like Google Drive, Dropbox, or School Management Software)
    • Pro: Digital work is available anywhere through Internet access
    • Con: Younger students may not be allowed an account
Personally I prefer cloud based file sharing services but as my experience now includes elementary grades I'm discovering there are merits to each method. Teachers should consider their time constraints and how they want to access students' work.

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