Friday, 13 June 2014

Crowdmark my Words... But not my Blog

Long is lazy and brief is hard
There is something that has annoyed me about my blog for quite a while now which is the length of some of my posts.

While I am aware that people are time poor and want to read succinct posts and that "Long is lazy and brief is hard" I have justified my post with rationalization like;

"These are complex issues that I'm discussing" 
"If people like what I'm saying they'll read the entire post... if they don't they won't" or,
"I'm no writer... I'm a recovering sales guy, and doing the best with what I've got!"

This last point is a personal faviourite and I could add to this that this blog is written by someone who failed O Grade English three times! It's time to put these excuses aside and take Jerry Blumengarten's advice that;

"You don't have to wait for PD to come to you, choose your own PD adventure online"

I have been fortunate to have found @EagleEyedEditor who has given me some tips, I also found Glen Long advice about blogging so clearly that even your dumbest relative will understand really useful. Thank you both for your help and advice! I'm going to replace the excuses above with your advice and will stand in front of the mirror before drafting each post and declare “I’m going to be the clearest writer the world has ever known!”

Blogging to Make the Grade
But how will I know if I've succeeded in writing clearer and more succinctly? A topic of EdTechChat earlier in the month was about Digital Tools for reading and writing and one of the questions during this session was;


I came out in a cold sweat thinking about this. I shuddered at the thought of my early posts being graded or critiqued. I've no doubt that this would have killed my experimentation with this forum.

Fortunately all the educators felt that blogging should not be graded. The reasons teachers gave were varied, but the overall consensus was that grading student blogs would at worst be detrimental, at best it would be a duplication as page views and comments provided plenty of feedback for student blogs.


I can't remember the last time I saw this level of agreement on any particular EdChat question.

Grade Better
Speaking of grading I met with James Colliander recently. James is the Professor of Mathematics at the University of Toronto and CEO of Crowdmark.

I first heard about Crowdmark around a year ago during an EdChat as educators were recommending it as a time saving tool. Through some Twitter exchanges I discovered not only how impressive this tool was, but how sensible the roll out process had been as they compiled case studies and press releases like;

Crowdmark to save teacher marking time and government dollars.

These early case studies were quickly followed by some really impressive news articles likeThe Future is Attending University Inside a CafĂ©: Why Starbucks Can Win the MOOC Game

Being a huge fan of effective EdTech that has clear and significant benefits (and rather tired of ineffective EdTech), I was looking forward to our discussion... I wasn't disappointed!

After a brief demo I saw clearly how this assessment tool could be of benefit to educators in a number of ways, with huge time savings. On top of this Crowdmark was extremely intuitive and user friendly.

#GradeBetter and Better Roll Out
James was in the UK as part of a scoping exercise to get input from various UK education stakeholders and get input from schools, colleges and universities.

We discussed how best to identify some early adopters to trial Crowdmark and offer feedback regarding any alterations that might be required to accommodate UK educators.


Crowdmark is prepared to offer free pilot trials through December 1, 2014 to the first 15 schools, colleges and universities in the UK. These free pilots will be in exchange of feedback, input and the development of case studies that detail how their service can offer time savings, help with assessments, PD for grading and any Ofsted/policy considerations.

If a trial is of interest please complete the form on the following link: https://crowdmark.com/contact/

I am not affiliated with nor have been compensated by Crowdmark... Am simply a fan of great EdTech and happy to help in any way I can to spread the word and, hopefully, make it easier for other startups work with educators.

I'd be keen to hear about what FE and other educators think about this kind of approach from new Tech/EdTech organisations. If you would like to see more offers and approaches like this, as opposed to cold calls please feel free to comment below and/or complete this survey: FE Early Adopters

No comments:

Post a comment