Sparkbook is a database driven system I’ve built for school which populates students directly from our MIS (Serco Facility) and allows teachers to quickly mark them against different criteria.
The system is designed to be customisable, so teachers can add their criteria. There is a tiered marking system built in – teachers can choose from 5 (and counting) marking tiers:
- Expert, Apprentice, Novice
- Gold, Silver, Bronze
You can set a target and Sparkbook calculates both the current level and ultimate grade. It’s the sort of thing, I’ve discovered lots of staff had been doing manually in MS Excel for years, spending ages build all their spreadsheets.
Finally, I’ve described it as a mobile device companion markbook, in that it can run from a tablet (resized automatically and linked from our Frog VLE) leaving the user’s computer screen free. Very handy if you are marking online work, no changing windows.
I’ve only soft launched it so far. That is, I’ve linked it in, but not drawn everyone’s attention to it. I prefer to do introduce new systems this way, it gives systems time to settle in. There are bound to be glitches, change requests and training issues. By simply making the link available without a grand announcement, it naturally limits the number of teachers who try it without training.
I’m aware in writing this post that Sparkbook isn’t actually available for you all. Sorry about that. My long-term ambition is to take a lot of the systems built at Cramlington and package them up as a product for other schools. Delays in MIS product updates have killed that ambition for the moment and even then, I’ll have to investigate just how we’d go about providing a dynamic product such as this; but that’s the goal someday. For you, it’s either hang on or apply for a job teaching at Cramlington Learning Village.