Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Rocketbook to the Rescue!

I first wrote about Rocketbook two years ago. Rocketbook is a paper and pencil notebook with an app that allows for seamless online storage. If you haven't seen Rocketbook in action, take a look at this introduction video:

I'm thinking about Rocketbook this week for two reasons. First, Rocketbook released a set of templates for teachers and students to use during #quaranteaching. This is awesome, and generous, because Rocketbooks are pricey (worth it, for sure, for a reusable notebook) and students won't want to spend $40 on a notebook during the economic disruption of the quarantine. They can print the free templates, complete schoolwork on them, and use the Rocketbook app to upload to cloud storage in "a fraction of a second."

The second thing that has me thinking about Rocketbook is that the College Board announced its changes for the 2020 Advanced Placement tests, including that students may either handwrite (and upload) or type their responses. If you teach a subject like math or chemistry, it's tempting to choose handwritten responses so time isn't wasted during an exam trying to figure out math or equation formatting. But, if students choose handwritten responses, they will also have to quickly upload work which might mean taking a picture with one device and moving it to a second device, or accessing the test on a phone where time could be wasted scrolling around so they can read an entire prompt.

Enter Rocketbook with their free templates. Here are the steps I would try to familiarize myself with if I were a student taking an AP test:

  1. Download the Rocketbook app (iOS or Android). During app setup, link one of the magic Rocketbook icons to a folder in Google Drive.
  2. Print out many copies of the desired Rocketbook free templates. With a lined, graph, or dot template, students can complete their work in whichever format makes sense for the test they are taking.
  3. Access the test on something with a large screen - iPad, laptop, desktop, chromebook. Students can notify the College Board this month if they need technology to access the test. Complete the work by hand on Rocketbook templates, marking the icon that is linked to the folder on Google Drive.
  4. When finished working, use the Rocketbook app to scan the pages and upload to Drive. Then move the work from Drive to the interface where they will need to be uploaded.
You might be wondering how this process would be better or faster than just taking a picture of finished work and uploading that. I can think of a few reasons this would be better. Accessing the exam on the phone might be challenging because prompts can be long and include data organized in tables that are better viewed in their entirety. If the exam is accessed on a laptop or chromebook, students can take pictures and manually put them in Drive (or wherever) but that will take time and they only get five minutes to do it. Also, Rocketbook will allow for a multi-page upload so the entire written portion of a test could be uploaded in one motion rather than by moving each image one at a time.

Like with any new process, practice makes perfect. I wouldn't wait until May to try this out if you think it is something you would consider. If you try it out, I'd love to hear what you think about the process.

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