Week 3: EC&I 831- Major Digital Project- Student Portfolios

https://www.picmonkey.com/graphics/clip-art/sorry-im-late-clock

Well this is late, but I’m finally excited to undertake this major digital project with a topic that I am excited about! After looking over the great examples of student work and having a Zoom meeting with Alec, I have finally decided on a direction for my major digital project. I’m excited to learn about student ePortfolios. I really wanted to find a topic that would align with my current position and be something that I could use in the coming years. While option B and learning to play the guitar or become a better photographer made my short list, I really wanted to narrow my topic to something that would be relevant with my job.

 With Student-Led Conferences (SLCs) moving away from the traditional parent teacher interview model with teachers in charge, SLCs are now student-led and are powerful “opportunities for students to prepare, reflect on, and discuss evidence of their learning and growth by way of student portfolios.”

After watching my wife, Kendra, make physical (paper copies) of student portfolios for roughly 5 years for her Kindergarten students, I remember the constant debate and questioning why not make use of digital portfolios. While initial expectations were for the physical portfolios, our division slowly evolved to allow for digital portfolios. As Kendra began using Seesaw to document learning in her classroom, it was obvious how this became a powerful tool to showcase learning to families.

https://www.teachkidsart.net/time-to-make-portfolios/

Help me learn about your experience with student portfolios

How many of you have made use of digital portfolios? https://forms.office.com/r/yskUyiek00

With SLCs quickly approaching, I would like to work with a few of my high school teachers to begin piloting a few different e-portfolio tools. The goal of piloting a few different e-portfolio tools would be to eventually identify our school’s preferred platform for developing digital portfolios. Over the next few weeks, I would like to become more familiar with the following portfolio tools:

  1. Edbsy Portfolios
  2. MyBluePrint Portfolios
  3. SeeSaw
  4. Book Creator

I would then like to collaborate with others in my school to design the official process of what authentic student-led conferences could look like/ sound like in the high school setting. We are currently using a homeroom model for interviews and many teachers note that they do not teach their homeroom students. Consequently, the interview becomes more challenging because teachers cannot comment directly on the student’s learning. Therefore, to really make these homeroom interviews work, we need students to lead their interview and showcase and discuss evidence of their learning.

http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/6

I will need to develop an implementation guide to help support teachers, students, and parents make use of digital portfolios.

While teachers are constantly bombarded with new ideas and waves, I want the use of digital portfolios to be beneficial to their practice. I hope that digital portfolios will allow teachers to move away from traditional product-based assessments and incorporate more authentic assessment opportunities, that might reduce workload and time spent marking. The use of digital portfolios will also support the growth and development of assessment practices in my school and will help teachers to integrate more observation and conversation assessments. Providing students with choice is key to their success, and hopefully the use of portfolios will allow students to communicate their learning in new ways.   Digital platforms use to capture evidence of learning will also be used to provide authentic and timely feedback.

I will seek to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of using student portfolios. Finally, I will seek to understand how senior students might be able to transfer artifacts of learning into a professional portfolio that could be used for employment. Drop me a comment or feedback below and let me know your thoughts on using digital portfolios with your students.

Week 2- My relationship with social media….

Well, based on my weekly usage report that is generated by my iPhone, I seem to use social media platforms quite a bit. I have moved away from using Snapchat, but still maintain active accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I would say that I post way less than I once did and spend more time reading on platforms like Twitter.

At one time, I was that person who probably posted way too much and then spent countless hours going back through my historical Facebook posts and deleted inappropriate posts or images that would be deemed as inappropriate. With age and maturity, my awareness of my digital footprint has definitely evolved, and I am more mindful of the things I post and how I use media platforms.  

Back to Blogging

This will be my first blog in a very long time. I believe it was in my first or second year of teaching that I used a Wikispace or WordPress to blog about the characters in Hamlet… I am still trying to track down this blog but worry that it might have been deleted. I remember students being excited about updating our class blog and discussing the evolution of relationships between characters in the play.

I am excited to start blogging again and start reading blogs from my fellow EC&I 831 classmates. Blogs will be a great platform to document and celebrate our learning.

Heading down memory lane

Our collaborative document from the previous class had me thinking about when I started using social media programs and my relationship with using technology. I recall using MSN messenger on my parents’ old computer to connect and chat with a friend who had moved to Saudi Arabia. It was so amazing to be able to connect with this family and learn about what life was like while living in a compound or gated community. The technology in the early 2000s was more simplistic, and I vividly remember the constant fight with our dial-up internet.

Anyone else recall the sound of dial-up internet? I remember the excitement of being able to get online and then remember my sister or mom yelling to get off the internet so they could make a phone call.  It was always exciting to do research online and get away from the old encyclopedias and the collection of Natural Geographic magazines. I recall the conversations from lunch break and after school road hockey matches were quickly spilling over to the MSN chats in the evening and caused for disagreements and disputes that often ended in the principal’s office.  

In my personal life, Facebook has been a great way to stay connected with friends and family. While my account was activated in April of 2008, it looks like I became more active in 2010. I am sure my increase in usage was because more of my friends and family were posting and soon, I was posting everything that I was doing. Currently, I live almost 3000 km away from where I grew up and as a result, I have missed birthdays and different celebrations. Facebook and Instagram have allowed me to watch my nephews grow up and allowed me to feel connected from afar.

I have had positive experiences using social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram, but I have also experienced the issue of taking too much time on these platforms.  I know that I need to be more mindful of being present when around others and I need to spend far less time engaged with social media accounts.

Professionally, I find myself being very cautious with social media platforms. While I love the ability to connect and interact with others, I am very mindful of how my digital footprint could be brought into my professional world. More than ever, I find myself debating whether to comment, share something, or like certain posts. Being more restricted with my interactions online has made it difficult to stay current with new groups or trends that are emerging. During COVID, I did take steps to improve my professional use of social media platforms and became more active on Twitter. One reward has been participating in things like #SaskEdChat on Thursday evenings. I would encourage others in this course to follow @saskedchat and join the conversation with other SK educators.