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For a while now, I’ve been itching to talk about the best app ever for specials teachers. No, really…you need this. This will make your life (and grading) easier. Just think of it as an excuse to go home a little earlier and sit on the couch a little longer. Or if you’re anything like me, spend more time working.

I present the idoceo app.

Courtesy of www.idoceo.net

This thing does everything, which is exactly why I was willing to spend the money to get it. It costs $6.99, but I would’ve paid more…much, much more. I mean, it’s almost as exciting as the first sip of my Chai Tea every morning…almost.

Like most music teachers, I have around 550 students I see each week. Up until this year, I’d always relied on paper and pen to track student progress. I’d just never found an app that satisfied all my needs (though some came close). Paper and pen are fine, but if you are lucky enough to own a device, this is the way to go.

Here are the reasons I love idoceo:

#1. You can create and organize multiple classes easily. Something I could never do using Teacherskit (a comparable/difficult-to-use free app). I color-code each grade level and can find the class I want easily.

Courtesy of www.idoceo.net

#2. A personalized grading system.
I created a template (copied and pasted) for each class that is organized in tabs with each musical concept. I use the icons they offer to track students academically (using smiley face icons) and behaviorally (using thumbs up or thumbs down icons). I don’t have to switch between apps, it’s all right there on the same page. There are lots of icons to choose from. I was going to count up the total for you, but I decided to stop after 100.

Courtesy of www.idoceo.net

#3. Seating Charts
You can create five different seating charts for each class. You just drag and drop the student’s icon in the place you want them. Plus, it’s super easy to take a photo of each student, and attach it to their profile for the seating charts. This is great for the beginning of the year when you’re trying to remember the names of your students in kindergarten.

Courtesy of www.idoceo.net

#4. Bulletin Board
Within each class, there is a bulletin board feature. You have the option of taking pictures or recording video and audio. You can capture all the year’s moments, and they’re immediately organized in one place. Though, I’ll give you fair warning, the video recording feature on this could withstand some improvement, but it’s still a great way to organize your class’ work.

Courtesy of www.idoceo.net

#5. Schedule and Planner
I don’t use this feature much, but with the crazy schedule I have year after year, I’m sure it will come in handy someday.

Courtesy of www.idoceo.net

Despite its glorious features, when it comes down to it, I still find it difficult to maintain consistency in using it throughout the day. I strive to make my lessons seamless, with little to no downtime. This means that I don’t have the few seconds it takes to record what I want. Because of this, the app is often relegated to summative or formative assessments, as opposed to daily recording. Most of my classes are back to back, making it impossible to record information between classes.

So…here is the point where I ask for your thoughts and advice. How do you record student progress, and how do you keep it from interrupting the flow of your lesson? Please leave a message in the comments. I’d love to hear what other music teachers do!