As a Mac user and teacher for nearly 20 years I’ve learned that not much comes easy, despite the digital revolution in the classroom, and information overload from the internet.
In our classrooms we have networked computers. We have teleconferencing. We have video and multimedia production facilities. It all runs together on a network of Macs and PCs. Gradebooks? Those we do the old fashioned way.
From Notebooks To Digital Grade Books
As I understand it, our school has ventured into digital administration a few times, with mixed results. Bitter combined with disaster. Wiser teachers maintained a hard copy version of their classroom grade books.
You know. Just in case the network app failed. Which it did. Often.
One of my non-teaching classroom assignments was to evaluate various Mac and PC apps that help teachers manage their classrooms, using computers instead of notebooks.
Master Grade is one of those on the list of apps that do just that. Classes, student details, classroom assignments, attendance records, class seating plans, reports and calculations. All digital. No paper.
What we wanted was an app that would be usable by teachers who use Macs and PCs.
Master Grade covers eight very basic components of a teacher’s classroom.
For example, Classes can be added per teacher, and set up in blocks which specific students assigned to each block.
The Student component stores details on each student, including class assignment. Click on a student name, view the details. Students are assigned to specific class blocks.
There’s room for notes and custom fields, as well as phone number, email addresses, and student ID.
Classroom Assignments can be managed with good detail—student name, class, block, scores, and type of assignment.
Even Attendance is handled within Master Grade, making it easy for teachers to track students on a day by day basis.
Master Grade also handles classroom Seating Plans, Grade Calculations and Term Reports, and most teaching and classroom tracking requirements.
The difficulty with any such system is making the transition from teacher notebooks and manual processes to digital applications which run on Mac and PC.
In our case, we’ve looked at a dozen different classroom management apps for teachers, each with positives and negatives.
Master Grade is an app from a Canadian company, though what we’ve seen appears to work well for many U.S. schools, private and public.
My school in Paris follows an American classroom management method, so Master Grade could be a good fit.
It sticks to basic classroom components and avoids ideologic methodology in favor of pragmatism. Virtually all classrooms in most schools have the same requirements—Class management, Student details, Assignments per class and Student, Attendance records, classroom Seating Plans, Reports and Calculations.
Schools face plenty of financial problems. Master Grade is in the middle of our price range on a per computer basis (usually configured as per teacher).