Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2017
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Showbie

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Flexible desktop, mobile assignment tool works best with pro features

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Teachers say (6 Reviews)
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Grades
5-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.

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Pros: With tons of integrations with other iPad apps, a great one-stop place for giving and receiving feedback in the 1-to-1 classroom.

Cons: Teachers won't get as much bang for their buck without the paid version.

Bottom Line: A flexible way to collect student assignments and offer written and verbal feedback, especially with the premium features.

Since the free "Workflow Essentials" version of Showbie supports only 10 assignments at a time, teachers need to be strategic. Consider picking one unit to use with Showbie, or use it as the submission tool for final projects at the end of several units during the school year. If you're in a one-to-one iPad classroom, the paid version is likely your go-to; you can use it as a one-stop shop for students to submit assignments from almost any app on their devices (thanks to tons of integrations with other apps). Use the portfolio tool to help students develop a rich multimedia collection of their classwork, and use the discussion features to help parents stay up-to-date on student progress.

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Showbie is an assignment submission and grading tool for desktop and mobile devices, tuned to flipped and one-to-one  computing classrooms. With both its free and paid versions, teachers can create assignments and share them with students, and students can submit responses from a desktop or mobile device. Teachers can offer written feedback (by drawing or typing) and they can also record audio to give verbal feedback. Notably, Showbie lets students submit assignments from many iPad apps, including apps where students write, draw, develop presentations, and make movies. The paid version of the app has significantly more features, including a gradebook tool, a student portfolio, and additional features for fostering discussion among students and with parents.

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If used strategically, Showbie can be a great way to support and organize classroom learning. There's a nice mix of built-in features for offering feedback: You can type or draw to offer written feedback, or you can record audio and pin it to a student's assignment. Showbie also stands out for its flexibility. It's useful that you can submit assignments from dozens of iPad apps (from Google Drive and Dropbox to Explain Everything), and it's nice for teachers and students alike that you can access Showbie well on a desktop or a mobile device. The built-in videos and help text also make it especially easy for students, teachers, and parents to understand the app's features and how to use them.

The only point of concern with Showbie is that its free version is so much less powerful than the pro version. The pro version includes more features for sharing feedback with students and parents, developing student portfolios, creating a gradebook, collaborating with colleagues, and hosting class discussions. Most significant, the free version doesn't have a powerful gradebook feature, and it only allows teachers to create up to 10 assignments, and those assignments are limited to 25MB each, which may drastically limit students' ability to submit assignments from all of those great apps on their devices. Plus, some teachers might balk at the idea of learning to use a tool that's limited to 10 assignments per year. If your school springs for the paid version of this app, it could be an excellent one-stop shop for collecting student assignments and helping students build a pretty remarkable multimedia portfolio of work created in a variety of iPad apps. However, without those paid features, Showbie might be a better fit for far more limited classroom use. 

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Digitizing your assignments doesn't automatically make them more engaging, but it's great that there are so many ways for teachers and students to use this tool to interact.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Especially with the paid version, flexible features offer tons of ways for students to submit their work, for teachers to offer detailed feedback, and for parents to stay in the loop.

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

Video tutorials, on-screen help, and sleek design enable teachers, students, and parents to access information quickly from a desktop or mobile device.


Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Brad W. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Fort Couch Middle School
Pittsburgh, PA
5
Favorite 1:1 iPad App

This is an iPad app that has to be used before you can fully appreciate its value. While there is a web version, Google Classroom can accomplish the same on the web, so there isn't an advantage for non-iPad users. The advantage on the iPad version is that you can annotate directly on work and add in voice-notes as feedback without needing to move work to another app - something that no other app will enable you to do in as simple and organized of a manner. Overall, if you are 1:1 with iPads and would like to make work collection much more efficient, improve the quality of your teachers' feedback, and retain access to submitted work on an on-going basis, I would STRONGLY suggest trying out Showbie.

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