Showbie is a fantastic service that is built on simplicity. Whilst there are other similar apps out there, all with different features, I feel Showbie is the best as it is designed for one purpose: creating a link between students and teachers. Since it only focuses on this one job, it ends up doing it very well with minimum distractions. Showbie is free, however there is a paid for version with additional features: (Source: Showbie website)
Showbie also works on all types of mobile devices. There is a dedicated app for iOS devices which can be downloaded for free from the AppStore (here). Showbie has also created a web app, which will also work on mobile devices, as well as desktops/laptops. Once you have downloaded the app, you’ll first have to set up a free teacher account. If you download the app, you will be prompted to do this the first time you open it, however you can also sign up online. Students will also have to sign up for a free account to use Showbie. To do this, you could either ask them to do it independently or even in class (it takes minutes) or alternatively, if you have a Pro School account, you can download and complete a spreadsheet (here) and Showbie will create students accounts for you. Finally, if a teacher signs up for a Pro account, students will also be upgraded for free, but only for your classes.
Once you have signed up, you will need to create your classes:
Once you have created your classes and your students have enrolled with Showbie, all you need to do is distribute the appropriate class codes to learners so that they are able to join your class.
Firstly, it should be noted that Showbie refers to tasks as assignments. Nevertheless, creating an assignment in Showbie is simple:
Once you have created your assignment, you’ll want to add resources and information for learners:
One of the best things about Showbie is how it creates a link between student and teacher, particularly through it’s ability to collect work. Since anything assigned and collected is all stored on Showbie, learners do not have to worry about losing books or pieces of paper and could even catch up and submit work when absent.
Giving feedback is where Showbie really shine. Recent research by The Sutton Trust shows that effective feedback has a significant impact on raising outcomes. Showbie makes it easy for teachers to give detailed, specific feedback to each learner in a variety of ways:
In the example above, the learner has produced a video using iMovie advertising Antarctica as a tourist destination. I have then used the comment feature within Showbie to provide written feedback based on the success criteria for the task which they have then used to improve their work before resubmitting. If the task was submitted as an image (eg. a poster or leaflet) or a piece of text, I could have opened it and provided feedback either by placing comment tags where necessary or using the pen tool to annotate the piece of work. As well as this, Showbie allows you to provide verbal feedback by recording a Voice Note for students. This is an extremely powerful tool in my opinion as it is more accessible for students, it allows teachers to give much more concise feedback than was previously possible through written means and it’s also much quicker!
In my opinion, Showbie is essential in a 1:1 classroom. It does a superb job at creating a link between teacher and learner. Whilst its content delivery method is good, I believe Showbie’s greatest assets are its ability to collect work and allowing teachers to provide clear feedback in a way that is extremely simple, yet highly effective. I am currently in the process of collaboratively planning and developing a series of iTunes U courses which will be used for content delivery running alongside Showbie, which will be used for content collection. This utilises the strengths of each app to provide a robust and effective learning platform for students.
Showbie for iPad by Showbie Inc. is available for free on the App Store.
*all prices and links correct at the time of publication and are subject to change