‘The Magnificence of Marking with iPads’- a great guest post by @apeters522 from Parklands College

This is another guest post from Anthony Peters @apeters522 who is a very innovative English High School teacher from Paimagerklands College in Cape Town. We are always delighted to publish posts by Anthony. You can view all his previous posts on our blog via the Anthony Peters label under ‘Quick links’ on the right side

Since attending South Africa’s first iPad Summit in Johannesburg earlier this year, I have begun using Notability and Explain Everything (paid) apps for learner creation but also for marking and improved learner feedback. In my experience, when returning marked work to learners, the following three things occur:

1. The learner looks at the written mark that they received for the assignment.

2. The learner smiles or frowns at the work (or the educator!) depending on the mark they received.

3. The learner throws the work into their bag or folder where it is unlikely to ever be seen again.

It is not unexpected for an educator to feel a pang in the heart at seeing the work they spent hours marking being thrown away so unceremoniously. However, the worse tragedy is that the crucial feedback is often missed and therefore, the learner does not gain anything from his or her mistakes and does not improve.

Explain Everything and Notability

Explain Everything and Notability are phenomenal tools as you can record ‘voicenotes’ and video recordings of you marking work as you do it. One can then send these voice recordings back to learners along with the written corrections. These are terrific functions as learners can actively see where they can improve, and are far more likely to listen to a recording or watch a one-minute video than read through a load of ‘red pen comments’. A useful tip I have found in Explain Everything is that I only write the mark at the end of the video clip so learners are forced to at least start playing the videos in order to see how they performed. That is not to say that the learners will then skip forward to their marks, but hey; no system is perfect(!) and one could always ask them specific questions about the recorded comments to ensure that the little darlings did as directed!


There is an added advantage of marking digitally on iPads too. When the time comes for learners to compile their portfolios at the end of the year, any missing learner work can be simply resent via email. This is an agreeable scenario instead of learners having to hunt through questionably-hygienic schoolbags and cupboards!

Examples of digital marking on the iPad

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SchoolNet says

Thanks for this post, Anthony. Digital marking seems to be the way to go! Thank you again to you and the creative English Department at Parklands College in Cape Town for sharing these great ideas with us.

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