Each student has a math blog on our school's server with restricted access (Me and the student). My students post their essays on the blog. I read them via NetNewsWire rss feed reader. I evaluate them using a writeable PDF rubric I created last year. I leave a copy of this PDF in their drop boxes. They will open up these drop boxes to see their evaluation. Later this week they will up load the eval form into their blogs below their POW essays.
The system has taken me a while to perfect and set up (lots of thanks to our computer administrator). But now I find several advantages:
1. I can read essays when students' post, instead of waiting to collect them on Mondays
2. No carrying paper around from school to home
3. No extra printing of essay rubrics and no stapling them to the work
4. I write more and more positive remarks since I can now type them
5. Instead of trying to recollect the essays and hold them in a folder, they are automatically available online when students or parents want to review the work
6. I can copy and paste specific passages from the essays that I find particularly interesting
7. I can copy exemplary essays and publish them on my school blog
8. Students can potentially revamp their essays easier and more meaningfully
So, bottom line, I believe I have simplified my teacher life while at the same time providing my students' a much more engaging environment to communicate their ideas.
That being true for most students, but not all. So it remains my goal to support their own transition to this new system by offering technical assistance. For students and families who find this medium challenging, I ask them either to email the article or bring it on a usb flashdrive so that I can show them how to post through one of our school computers.