Back in my high school years, each ELA teacher required that students write a variety of essays. These essays were scored, entered into the grade book, passed back to us for a quick review of our grade, and then saved in our teachers' filing cabinets. At some point, usually in the late spring, the teachers returned all of our essays and asked us to pick the 3 best samples to create a portfolio. I'd make the recommended changes my teacher had listed and hit print -- good enough. Knowing that my teacher was going to be the only one who would be reviewing my work (again) did little to motivate me to think critically and improve my writing. Usually, my score did not change.
"If students are sharing their work with the world, they want it to be good. If they are just sharing it with you, they want it to be good enough." - Rushton Hurley
In my college years, after all my learning had been finished, I was again asked to build a portfolio as the cumulating task. After hours of scrapbooking and collecting artifacts, I had a beautiful 3" binder full of lesson plans, photos, and beautifully designed (and protected) pages only my professor would ever see. My hard work would never be looked at by a future employer or anyone in my industry. Although I was proud of the final product, much of my time felt wasted and little was actually learned by doing this task, with the exception of becoming a better scrapbooker.
If you think back to your educational years, I'd bet you have a similar experience building portfolios to demonstrate learning. Creating a portfolio of student work can be a very beneficial activity for both the student and the intended audience, but how we build them can be better than what I experienced. To do this, we can consider having students create digital portfolios. Essentially, digital portfolios are the same as a traditional portfolio, but what differs is the manner in which the learning is presented. What makes digital portfolios relevant is that they give students the ability to demonstrate growth of learning, skills, and reflection over time to an authentic audience. This authenticity helps build confidence and a sense of achievement for the learner as they share their work with the world. It also encourages them to go beyond "good enough." In secondary years, students can develop a brand or image for who they are as they apply for continuing education and seek employment opportunities.
"Digital portfolios aren’t just a way to archive work—they’re also an excellent vehicle for students to reflect on their growth and learning." - Avra Robinson
3 Types of Digital Portfolios
The Google Infused Classroom, by Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith, outlines 3 different types of digital portfolios that could potentially be created by students in any grade level or subject, as a demonstration of learning. If you haven't read this book, it's a great one to add to your library. Here is a brief synopsis of the different portfolio types:
The Process Portfolio:
The purpose of the process portfolio is to make students' thinking visible by documenting and reflecting on learning. Throughout this process, students create, reflect, receive feedback, and publish. Students' very best work is mixed in with work that shows improvement over time.
The Showcase Portfolio:
The showcase portfolio highlights a student's very best work. This type of a portfolio is an assessment of student learning. The students create and then publish only their final products. The 3" binder portfolio from my college years was an example of a showcase portfolio.
The Hybrid Portfolio:
As you might guess, a hybrid portfolio is a combination of a process and showcase portfolio. In this portfolio, students create, reflect, receive feedback, then select one (or more) of their favorite pieces to share with a global audience. A hybrid portfolio can be a great way to carry learning forward from year to year as a student progresses through grades. My first experience with the high school essays was a hybrid portfolio.
Digital Portfolio Tools
Although there are many options for creating digital portfolios, the new Google Sites and Seesaw are two of our favorite tools for this purpose.
"It sounds a little extreme, but in this day and age, if your work isn't online, it doesn't exist." - Austin Kleon
A few last thoughts...
The purpose of digital portfolios is to create an opportunity to share learning with a larger and more authentic audience. Sometimes this can feel frightening when thinking about student data and privacy. Instead of limiting an audience and locking down a portfolio, consider having students use their first initial and last name, or just a first name, to keep student work global but their identities private. Also, remind students not to share personal information such as their address or phone number on their portfolios.
As you are considering ways to integrate digital portfolios into the student learning experience, it is important to remember that not all artifacts have to be digital. Snapping a photo of a physical piece of evidence, or recording a video of a student speaking, is a great way to allow the physical and digital worlds to collide and create a bigger picture of what a student can do!
Want to Know more?
Be a connected educator
Welcome to week 3 of Jeffco Ed Tech's Twitter Challenge. Now that you've gotten the chance to lurk and read a few tips for posting a variety of tweets, you'll have the opportunity to become more connected on Twitter by both consuming and producing content during a chat. Save the date: Thursday, Oct. 19 @ 7pm MST! In this post, scroll to find information about how to participate and etiquette during the chat.
Final Challenge: Lead Your Nest's V Formation
Participate in a Twitter Chat hosted by Jeffco Ed Tech.
Here are the questions you can anticipate during the chat:
Move to sharing!
Welcome to week 2 of Jeffco Ed Tech’s 3 week Twitter Challenge. This week is all about going beyond the basics and moving to sharing ideas with your followers.
When you take flight in the Twitter world, it might take awhile to get your wings. At first, your flight pattern might be to glide through the Twittersphere lurking around.
But as you get comfortable, flap those wings! Take your Twitter experience to the next level and dive into this week’s Twitter challenge!
CHALLENGE #5: WHO'S IN YOUR FLOCK? CHECK YOUR FOLLOWERS!
You can see who is following you by clicking “Followers” in the upper-left hand corner of your screen. See who has joined your flock, and feel free to follow them in return.
Challenge #6: Hop around the nest: tweet a picture, tweet an article or website, or tweet a gif!
As a fledgling, you’re beginning to hop around Twitter and explore. You have probably come across great resources for your school or classroom. To learn how to tweet a link to the article click here!
Did you get a photo of you and your teammates dressed up for homecoming week? Tweet your photo to show your school spirit!
Perhaps you came across a humorous GIF that your fellow educators would enjoy. Share it! They might need a laugh today!
challenge #7: spread your wings! Tweet an original thought
It’s time to soar! Compose a tweet of your own original thought. Twitter is all about what’s happening in your world and what people are talking about right now.
So hop out of the nest, and tell us what’s going on in your world!
overwhelmed? Use this "tweet sheet" to understand the in's and out's of twitter.
Still haven't "dove" into
the world of Twitter?
We are going to give you the wings you need to take flight. To celebrate Connected Educator Month, Jeffco Ed Tech is hosting a
Take part in a 3-week challenge to start to build your PLN (Personalized Learning Network). Following and connecting with educators on Twitter can help you gain knowledge and ideas to help transform the student learning experience. Details for starting the challenge are below.
Week 1: Be a Lurker - Twitter Basics
Challenge #2: Find some Flight Patterns.
Search for @jeffcoedtech and click the blue "follow" button to follow us on Twitter. Find some other Ed Heads to learn from. Here are some suggestions that we follow:
@COJasonGlass @GoogleForEdu @iste
@alicekeeler @JeffcoSchoology @E_Sheninger
@rmbyrne @ShakeUpLearning @ColoradoSTEM
Challenge #3: Retweet. Find a quote or article that someone you follow has posted. Click the icon to retweet their post. You can also show you like or agree with a post by clicking the heart icon.
Challenge #4: Start Watching the Flocks.
Become a lurker by just checking in regularly and see what people you are following have to say and share. You will be building your PLN in not time!
TUNE IN TO NEXT WEEK'S BLOG FOR WEEK 2 OF THE JEFFCO ED TECH TWITTER CHALLENGE!
what is a PLN?
According to TeachHub, a resource in my PLN "In the education world, PLN stands for Personal Learning Network. What it means is that an individual has developed their own personalized "network" of fellow educators and resources who are designed to make them a better teacher".
For me, it is a way to further my learning and understanding of educational concepts that I am passionate about and support my work. My PLN allows me to easily connect with like minded educators from all over the world at my leisure. Learning and professional development can happen anywhere, even if I am at home in my pajamas or working out at the gym.
The following video describe in just over a minute, what a PLN is and how it can be beneficial for teachers to build their own network.
Mr. Bahlmann’s 4th grade class at Deane Elementary sits on the edge of their seat while the familiar tune of Google Hangouts rings throughout their classroom.
“Oh no!” says Digital Teacher Librarian Keri Douglas, “It looks like they’re not available.”
Not to fear, a chat box quickly pops up saying, “We need five more minutes to get ready. We transitioned late”. Another teacher somewhere across the country prepares her students to begin. Suddenly, her smiling face appears for the class to see on the projected screen and she announces the beginning of the Google Mystery Hangout.