Turnitin.com has already been noted a resource worth sharing, I personally have very little experience with this learning tool and so for my resource share, so I decided to explore it further. When I was observing a friend’s high school English a few months ago, he introduced me to turnitin.com, a resource I had not heard of previously. One aspect of this resource that he raved about was a “plagiarism prevention” feature called Originality Check, which compares submitted paper against “billions of web pages, millions of student papers, and leading library databases and publications.” He loves this feature because he can view the students paper, while a list of “source matches” are listed on the side and he could control filters through which the paper is compared. He explained that this feature not only saved him hours of trying to find the sources his students were plagiarizing, but also providing opportunities for further instruction regarding the proper and ethical way to cite source material. Plagiarism can be a pretty prevalent issue in high schools. As a future high school English teacher, employing this resource in such a way, will not only saves me time but will also allow me opportunities to work with students who very well may be plagiarizing out of ignorance.
In addition to this feature, during my exploration, I learned about a feature called PeerMark—a well-organized space for collaborative online, peer editing. A teacher can customize how many papers will be issued to each student’s inbox, what questions, guidelines, and rating scales, students employ as part of their editing and responses, and comments, edits, and suggested revisions made are presented anonymously so students are able to share honest feedback. Peer editing, not only saves a teacher from spending unnecessary time editing silly mistakes, but also, and more importantly, provides a sort of mirror—students edit one paper while also reflecting on their own. Consequently, students develop critical thinking skils about the writing and editing process, and content material is reinforced. Students can then review the comments from their peers and have the opportunity to revise and refine their papers before finally submitting to the teacher. I remember peer editing playing a large in a few of my high school English classes, and those experiences in addition to teacher feedback were most influential in shaping my writing. PeerMark provides an anonymous and convenient way of blending both peer editing and technology and will undoubtedly be a feature I use frequently as an instructional tool for improving the writing of my students.
A third feature of turnitin.com is GradeMark provides teachers with five distinct ways of providing rich, meaningful and efficient feedback. Originality Check which I mentioned above, is one of those options. Another I found particularly intriguing and potentially very useful is Voice Comments. Voice Comments allows teachers to provide quick and customized audio feedback such as clarifying written feedback, providing encouragement and explaining an element more in-depth. Teachers love GradeMark for a variety of reason, however I can see employing this feature as a way to go paperless, a time-saving way of organize all student papers in one easy-to-access location, prevent “lost” papers and printer issues, to avoid issues over whether or not a paper was turned in on time. Additionally GradeMark provides a feature where teachers can create a “feedback” bank of commonly used comments and questions that can be dropped directly into a student’s paper. Also, scores, once entered, can be immediately transferred to blackboard, for example. Each of these features will be so beneficial, time-saving when I have 150 essays to grade in a matter of days. Not only will turnitin.com save me time and energy, but it will also allow me to provide more efficient and personalized feedback to students, which translates into richer instruction and deeper learning.