Case study: The Ideal Solution for a Technology Academy
The educators at Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology in Kansas City, Missouri, consider technology to be critical and central to learning for all of their students, from kindergarten through 8th grade. Tony Dickerson, Assistant Chief Executive Academic Officer and 8th grade teacher at BBCAT, said, "RCampus is the backbone of technology integration in my class." Ms. Dickerson feels that technology is a crucial component to learning and found that RCampus exceeds her expectations of a course management system. "At a technology school, it is my duty to integrate technology seamlessly. It wasn't until [I began using] RCampus that I was really integrating technology. It's incredible," Ms. Dickerson explained. "At a technology school, how can we say we are giving a well-rounded experience without creating something artificial?"
Assistant Chief Executive Academic Officer
Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy
Students Eager to Explore New Technology
Ms. Dickerson discovered that students are excited about the integration of RCampus and that their eagerness to use the platform makes them more motivated to learn. "One of our 6th graders saw an 8th grader on RCampus and asked, 'When are we going to be able to do that?' He saw her manipulating technology in a way that interested him," Ms. Dickerson said. In addition to having access to course materials and their grades, RCampus enables students to personalize their digital learning experience and create unique ePortfolios. "[RCampus] allows creativity; kids can do scans, upload their work, add pictures...they get to build so it holds their interest," Ms. Dickerson said.
Paperless Classrooms with ePortfolios
Prior to RCampus, the students presented their work by printing paper copies. This method was especially ineffective for the lengthy exit portfolios created by 8th graders. Ms. Dickerson recalls the process, "We used to kill so many trees, jam up the copier...it was a mess." With RCampus, students easily create organized ePortfolios to present their work in a convenient, digital format, but Ms. Dickerson also appreciates its other versatile uses. "The other programs [that I considered using] were limiting. RCampus is more than just an ePortfolio system. It is comprehensive because it [also] satisfies the needs for me as a teacher," Ms. Dickerson said.
Communicating Expectations Through Peer Assessments
Ms. Dickerson especially appreciates that RCampus enables her to clearly communicate expectations to her students. "When I'm teaching I am able to upload examples so students know what I expect," Ms. Dickerson explained. "For instance, last year I was able to show an 'A' portfolio and explain why it earned an 'A'. I also showed an 'F' portfolio and explained why it earned that grade." In addition, Ms. Dickerson uses RCampus' iRubric Assessment System to specifically explain how students will be graded and allow them to collaboratively assess each other's work. "I'm able to go over rubrics and post them on the overhead while students give presentations. That way students can grade their peers and then I give rewards to the students who grade most similar to me," Ms. Dickerson said. Best of all, she saves time by searching iRubric's categorized gallery of over 100,000 user-generated rubrics and then adopting the most applicable choice. "I love, to this day, that I can use this huge library of rubrics. I tweak them but I've never created one from scratch because you don't have to. We all share."
Ms. Dickerson plans to expand the use of RCampus throughout her school. "It will seamlessly integrate into everything we're doing. It's not like RCampus is extra work, it's [as easy as] cut and paste."