As we embrace more engineering and design projects in our classrooms, a whole new set of challenges is presented to both teachers and students. Assessing projects that aren’t designed to have a “right or wrong” answer can be difficult to grade or assess and also difficult for students to reflect upon. With a documentation station set up in the classroom, students can take quick snapshots of their project at its various stages and include either writings or voice recordings that can upload to the teacher’s desktop, folder, class website, or whatever entity is convenient. Teachers can establish at the beginning of class if there are certain prompts they want to be captured for the given assignment or how frequently they want students to use the station.
Part of the hope in incorporating a documentation station into a classroom setting is to help support teachers take on innovative and perhaps “out of the norm” assignments. Such assignments can be hard to monitor in real time, grade, and regiment. Innovative teaching lessons and projects call for innovative tools and outside of the traditional worksheets and grading methods.
I am currently prototyping a station with this general set-up in mind (see image above) paired with a camera with a wifi enabled SD card that automatically uploads images onto an administrator’s computer. Other iterations have involved various ipad apps that allows students to upload images, text, and voice recordings. However, working with ipads and even having enough ipads for each student presents its own challenges.