‘Marking was the bane of my life. Until…’

Marking books is a burden; fact. We take on this burden before we even sign on the dotted line for our ITT course. One teacher thinks he’s cracked it in Tes.

As teachers, we are all looking for ways to make marking and feedback personalised, relevant and useful. Equally, we’d welcome any way of making this process more streamlined and less burdensome.

So it was (yet again) that I carried my Sainsbury’s bag for life full of 86 yellow exercise books to my car on the last day of term and then spent as much holiday time as possible on work-avoidance techniques (quality time with the wife and kids, socialising with people I hadn’t seen for a long time, catching up with odd jobs which had been waiting for me since October half term) over the Christmas recess.

I truly believe that necessity is the mother of invention and these days, where you can turn on the heating from an app on your phone, get the news at the touch of a button and everything else is a click away, I knew there must be something which could help me in my hour of greatest need. And I was right: welcome, voice recognition. I speak; the machine writes. The new dawn has arrived.

I trawled the internet and found expensive, subscription-based software and scathing reviews of the ill-fated entrepreneur on Dragon’s Den all deemed useless, with strings attached or both. Feeling as deflated, I looked at my phone, opened the Notes app and saw the microphone button. Could it be that the solution to all my problems lay literally in the palm of my hand? Surely not.

After about an hour, I had “marked” a set of books. Once you are in the swing of it and remember to speak clearly, slowly and say punctuation marks (and even “smiley” emojis), it is quite quick to do. All I then did was email the note to myself, edit it in Word and print it off. Five minutes with a guillotine and each student had a label which they could read, gave them relevant guidance, followed policy and looked great. The only hiccup being when marking Marnie’s book, I had to shout up to the kids to “Get ready for bed now!” and this appeared as part of her “next steps” (note: proofreading is an integral part of the process).

Read the full article ‘Marking was the bane of my life. Until…’

Give it a go! Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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