Teachers at Sandringham School have been using Google Classroom to set students work throughout the period of school closures. For those familiar with the platform, there are so many pluses of using Google to set and collect work from students. However, depending on the nature of one’s subject there will inevitably be features that don’t quite work. For Lindsay Forrow, one of our A level English teachers, an issue centred on essay writing, and importantly, how students could submit their hand written essays in a streamlined way. For anyone that has had to navigate through separate attached photos of work, it’s cumbersome and time consuming to say the least! But an app like Microsoft Lens helps make it much easier. I asked Lindsay how she was using this app.

Firstly, why is it important that students handwrite essays for A level English Literature?

Students have to handwrite their exams, and the nature of the exams 2 and a half hours long, long essay questions means that handwriting stamina is really important. Word-processed essays have a place too, but I don’t want them out of the habit of writing handwritten essays as their normal means of working. Similarly in Maths, equations etc. need to be handwritten by students, so word-processing exam papers doesn’t work.

How did you streamline the way in which students could submit their written essays?

My partner is a maths teacher, and we have both been having issues with marking pages and pages of poorly oriented photographed worked. He wanted to mark exam papers with equations etc that needed to be handwritten, and I wanted to mark long essays. He created a document and video for students showing them how to scan hand written work easily into a single, easy to read pdf using an app like Microsoft Office Lens. Basically, it allows us to read and mark consolidated pages of work as a single, easy to read document rather than individual photo attachments of each page. You can download the student guide here.

How do students subsequently access their marked work?

Students can access our marking annotations through Google Drive and can see the different annotations just as they would normally in a hand-marked essay. Here is a helpful guide for teachers about how to annotate work. This is a guide for students to show them how to access their feedback.


Huge thanks to Lindsay Forrow and her partner for sharing these helpful guides – I hope you find them useful.