It is obvious that students today are digital natives. This doesn’t mean they understand how to use technology appropriately. Let me use one of my famous examples. When Video Cassette Players and Recorders appeared for consumers in the eighties, they were as easy to use as an audio cassette recorder. Most people knew how to press play, stop and rewind. Hardly anyone knew how to set the clock or to record from the television. That’s why they later made VCRs with automatic digital clocks and beautifully illustrated instructions with color codes to connect your television to the VCR. Most people still didn’t know how to record from the television. The same is true with our current digital natives. They don’t know what a VCR is, and they also don’t know how to properly format documents in a word processor. These are skills to be taught like any skill.
Rubrics in technology are instructions and guidelines. Rubrics assure that students produce products that comply with accepted conventions, and comply with your minimum requirements. Some of your rubrics should emphasize writing standards and specifically technical writing. For example, students should use either a sans-serif font like Arial or Verdana, or a serif font like Georgia or Times New Roman. These typefaces are both legible and readable. Standard body text should be 12 point. Heading and sub heading sizes should be either larger than the body text or bold. Titles are centered and data is organized in tables. Use numbered lists to indicate a sequence, as in a set of instructions. Un-numbered lists can be used for anything else. All lists should begin with a capital letter, Unless a list is part of a complex sentence. This sounds complicated, but these steps are important when writing any document. These are the same considerations I take into account when writing my blog.
Your rubric should also address images placed into a document. For example, an image should be in JPG, PNG or GIF format. It should be no larger than 640 by 480 pixels and no smaller than 300 by 300 pixels. This simple set of requirements requires a few skill sets from students.
Rubrics go beyond grades and become a useful tool for emphasizing standards, best practices and teaching essential technology skills. I believe that your rubric is important to assure students use and apply technology using real world application methods. Your rubric will vary with the content and assignment.
That brings me to the end of this series of articles for integrating Evernote. If you would indulge me a little, I would like to expand on Evernote integration with some additional tools that can be used in connection with Evernote to expand the options available.