We were recently informed about a new piece of kit which assists teachers when marking student work, so we dug a little deeper and headed on over to the Mark Mate website and we were excited with what we discovered.
Mark Mate is a new and innovative way for marking and assessment. Mark Mate enables you to provide high quality written feedback for your students by simply using your voice and a small label printer, yes, you did read that correctly. Mark Mate makes use of the built-in speech recognition software found within the Windows operating system (We haven’t tested other OS’s at the time of writing).
Mark Mate is a revolution in marking and assessment, allowing you to leave children high quality written feedback using only your voice.
So we signed up for the 1 month trial period so we could get a hands on look at Mark Mate in much more detail. Mark Mate is a subscription based solution, which costs £20 per month. Mark Mate also offers a site licence at a reduced rate and you will need to contact Mark Mate directly. For a smaller number of users, we have listed some prices below.
A few days later we received a nice shiny brand new Brother printer and instructions to get Mark Mate up and running. The installation guide requests that you download the software needed from the Mark Mate website (Remember you may have to get your IT support team to install the software for you if you want to use your teaching computer).
There are a number of packages that have to be installed, such as the drivers for the printer, MSSQL and the mark mate software itself. It is also important that you take note of the following:
For Mark Mate to work as intended, then you need to have Microsoft Excel 32bit, it currently does not support the 64bit version of MS Excel. Again, you may need to query this with your schools IT support team.
The current version of Mark Mate requires you to voice train your computer a number of times to ensure accuracy of speech to text. However, at the time of writing, Mark Mate have a new version of software currently being beta tested of which Mark Mate advised will be released in a few weeks time. The new update does not require “voice to text training” and it will be interesting to see what the impact is without the need for speech recognition training. We will update this article once the software is released to the user base.
Mark Mate, requires you to set up your classes and to add your students via the Mark Mate application which is relatively straight forward. Your class and student data is then wrote into a .xls file, which is used to record grades etc. There are other options, such as exporting of mark book data. You can also add lesson objectives etc into Mark Mate, and it will store them for you allowing for future reuse of those LO’s.
Once you have your mark books created (The voice training should have been repeated a number of times, the more the better) then you are ready to start dictating your feedback to Mark Mate, (I have used a desktop mic, however a head set is recommended which you can pick up relatively cheaply via Amazon). Mark Mate displays what you have spoken pretty much instantly which also affords you the opportunity to rectify any narrated mistakes etc, or to copy and paste your feedback for other students work. Once your happy you simply click print label and your label is printed via the Brother P-touch QL-500 which is a nice piece of kit. It really is that simple.
Check out the following video to see Mark Mate in action.
Cheap headsets can be bought for under £10 via clicking the image below or directly to Amazon
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The Team @ TeacherTech