I am going to make many of my obligatory student records digital using the schools partner page with Google (aka all the usual Google Doc resources protected from the outside world). There are a few motives behind this move.
1. Save paper
2. Ability to search quickly (much quicker than flipping through a binder)
3. Give the students more responsibility
4. Wise advice and modeling after other teachers
5. Ability to share documents easily with administrators if necessary
The saving paper is practical, green, and self-explanatory. Number two is also practical and self-explanatory. I do not know many teacher who have time to waste, so being able to type in a simple name and get all the desired answers is perfect.
Some students flourish if they have a job, like taking attendance. By using a Google Spreadsheet I will give them a chance to be helpful while I still have the ability to see all the changes made and by whom. I have a few desktops in the room at all times, so a student can easily be given the task of logging in and taking attendance at the beginning of class. The great thing about Google Docs is you can share them with people, both as viewers and collaborators. If I made the students in each class collaborators, they could all be given the job, yet I could still track changes.
I have seen other teachers use Google Docs for record keeping, and it is still novel and enjoyable for the students. I watched them sign up for project topics. They liked seeing what was being signed up for ‘live.’
I already mentioned how easy it is to share the documents. Sometimes information needs to be shared with administrators, including them in the shared community would make the communication silent and instant. This year I want to have my parents fill in a communication survey through an embedded Google Form. I will than have a record for each student. I will add additional columns to each students’ profile so that I can keep a log of the contact I have with parents. Last year I had a collection of Post-It notes. Luckily, I could always find the one I needed, but I think it is time to update that system.