1:1 Classroom – Subtext

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Going completely 1:1 in the classroom is both exhilarating and challenging. I have been at it for half a quarter now and I am treading water in hurricane. I thought I might share my experiences with a few of the apps I am using in class in order to let out some frustrations perhaps, but also to see if there is any way I can improve my use of the app.

The app that is at the forefront of my love and hate is Subtext. This app is extremely helpful when it comes to directing students what to look for when they read, allowing the teacher to give assignments to be completed within the app. These assignments can be canned assignments created by the Subtext team (which are tagged to Common Core Standards) or your own teacher made assignments. This has been really helpful for me, allowing me to see student’s highlighting in text and thoughtful responses (mostly) to standards-based open-ended questions I wrote. The interface is easy to manipulate as well, allowing me to give 1-4 stars as assessment.

My students have had mixed reviews of the app. They find the search feature in the app very helpful when it comes time to find significant quotes to use in their writing. Some have taken advantage of the app’s ability to read the text to them; however, the robotic, monotone voice leaves much to be desired. Also, the highlighting feature is somewhat cumbersome and sensitive.

Overall, the app allows me to see more of my students’ thinking as they read than I had before with paperback books and sticky notes. Also, I can read their notes without removing the book from their hands. Unfortunately to get many of the features I like, a school needs to purchase a premium account for every student who needs to use the app. A teacher can have only 30 premium accounts for free, but most teachers have far more than 30 students.

Anyone use Subtext and has other ideas to share? Perhaps even another app like it worth trying?