Common Sense Review
Updated December 2014


Targeted tool helps teachers manage worksheets digitally
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Distribute, collect, and annotate worksheets for students.
  • Teachers can control which students receive which handouts at which time, and they can tag and sort their uploads for easy use.
  • Upload worksheets in a variety of file formats and from a variety of sources.
  • A handy tutorial helps maximize the app's features.
  • Teachers and students have slightly different menu options; both versions are easy to navigate and have helpful FAQ sections.
Simple navigation and easy setup make this approachable, searchable, and easy to use particularly for younger students.
Student/teacher annotation limited to colored pencil writing tools and simple text features.
Bottom Line
A useful tool for teachers, especially elementary teachers, looking to make worksheet workflow digital, but those looking for more comprehensive paperless solutions will need to look elsewhere.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

Slick interface and playful design make for a potentially more appealing way to engage with traditionally stale content -- especially for younger students. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

A solid way to turn things in quickly and give feedback, but the pedagogical limitations of paper handouts remain. Students and teachers could use more tools for annotation and expression.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

An excellent demo video, great tutorial, and extensive FAQs help users maximize powerful features. More support for third party apps would make it more useful.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Create classes in Handouts for each of your real-life classes and upload images of handouts, or import from Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud. Leverage the digital nature of the feedback to treat worksheets as works-in-progress. Experiment with ongoing assessment practices that allow students to iterate on work until they get it right.

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What's It Like?

Handouts is a tool for distributing, grading, and returning worksheets and assignments to students. Teachers can create a free account or log in with their existing Google or Edmodo accounts, create classes, upload materials, and distribute them to their classes instantly or schedule them. Uploads can come from taking a new photo, selecting a photo from the device's library, or importing from Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud Drive. Teachers can mark those materials with a due date, instructions, and other tags to help categorize the materials and make them more searchable. Students gain access by creating a free account and accessing a teacher's courses via a class code that the teacher distributes. Shared documents can be annotated with a built-in text tool or a series of brightly colored pencils and returned to the teacher. Once students digitally "turn in" their handouts, teachers can use the same drawing tools to grade, comment, and otherwise remark upon their students' work. Teachers can also make their own private notations --invisible to students -- for later review. 

Handouts is free to try for teachers, but site licenses are available on a per-school, per-student basis. Handouts is always free to students.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Handouts is positioned as a tool to help classrooms go paperless, and it does replace much of the need for paper handouts. There's potential here for speedy, clear distribution of course materials and quick, clear feedback. The design has an elegant simplicity to it that makes this workflow easy. Without question, there's something to be said for tools that do one thing well.

The big issue with Handouts' simplicity, however, is that the tools teachers and students use to complete, annotate, and grade worksheets are limited: The text box tool isn't especially appropriate for extended writing, and the colored pencil tools are a little unwieldy for more advanced math or science work. Ultimately, teachers who need an attractive tool for distributing, receiving, and assessing pre-made forms will be pleased with this thoughtfully designed, well-conceived interface. Those who need more nuance and features may look elsewhere. 

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