Why Wurkbuk?

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There are so many learning management systems and educational technology tools out there, already. Why does Wurkbuk even exist? Why not use Google Classroom, Edmodo, Schoology, Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas or whatever else is out there. Well, I've pretty much tried all of them, and then some and found them all to be lacking. They were all good in their own right, but they were not quite what I wanted. As a classroom teacher, none of them really synched with my teaching style. I found that I had to adapt my teaching to accomodate the technology, sacrificing certain things like, time, efficiency and other things.

Marking on computer, whether online or offline can be an absolute nightmare if you're not using self-marking quizzes. The VLE's above didn't ever show a way to do it any better. They also had their little problems which I felt could have been designed out without too much hassle, but never were. I have already analysed my journey and reasons for creating Wurkbuk in my 5 article blog series called 'The Paperless Classroom' on my other blog 21st Century Chalk. You should check it out for a more indepth analysis of most of the above technologies, but in summary, none of the existing tools at the time met my requirements for a classroom based teaching system. So Wurkbuk was born, and the design philosophy included the following:

  • A UI that more naturally followed a secondary classroom teachers workflow. This led to nearly all tasks being under the Plan, Teach or Mark sections.
  • A way to easily see student work and mark it without lots of mouse clicking or opening documents. This led to student work being visible in a portfolio like view; the design of the Mark section where you are able to view student work by class or by student; you can see the whole class set of work on one page; and you can mark one assignment and save and scroll right onto the next smoothly without having to loading another page; or you can traverse a class load of student work page by page.

As you can see, viewing, marking or assessing student work was a big focus for me. Teaching hundreds of students a week meant that marking alone would take up most of my time. There were other things that I felt were important, such as the teacher creating the learning space for the student, and owning it, so the teacher could see it at any time, and not just when the work was submitted.

In summary, Wurkbuk is different. It's not just a glorified file repository, aimed at making learning digital. It's a teaching management system aimed at making digital teaching easier. I'm not saying that the others are not good. On the contrary, I think some of them are great (a huge shout out to Moodle, here), but there's room for more. At least there was for me. Why don't you give it a go? Check out the video tutorials or go through the help documents to get an idea of what it looks like. Then check out the demo site to get a feel for it first hand, before signing up for your free Wurkbuk account.

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