Wednesday, June 26, 2013

End of the year Digital Portfolios

I would like to post a follow up on my pilot of digital portfolios.  In June, I completed my pilot with my 8th grade students who used PowerPoint to complete their portfolios.  The students seemed to enjoy this assignment and really did take ownership of it.  PowerPoint provided them with many options to showcase their work.   For example, adding pictures, links, screen shots, animations, slide transitions, uploading files, etc.  However, I did have a problem with embedding HTML code into PowerPoint.  The students were not able to copy and paste HTML embed code from a web 2.0 tool into PowerPoint.  Instead, they had to hyperlink it.  I did test this using Voki and I had no issues, but when the students wanted to embed other tools, such as; Meograph, they encountered an error.  Other than that error, I felt the pilot for the 8th grade students went well and was successful.  I would definitely use this template again next year and hope to find a solution on the HTML embed code error.

In addition, in the Google Apps for Ed domain, I had my 6th grade students pilot an app called Digication and a digital portfolio template I created using Google Presentations.  Again, the students took ownership with this assignment and was able to complete their portfolios.

Although, Digication was a learning curve for me and the students, this application went over well.  The students adapted to it quickly and easily.  I modeled to them how to add pages for each subject, upload multimedia and content to the pages.  They were able to take pictures with their webcam and upload the picture into their 'All About Me' page.   When the class was over, I felt the students did not want to leave to go to their next class.  So, I scheduled a follow up visit with the classroom teacher to make sure students were on task and were able to complete the portfolio.  Once they were done, they had to fill out my Google form and submit their portfolio to me. In conclusion,  if you are using Google Apps for Ed and want to create digital portfolios, I would highly recommend downloading the Digication app to your school domain

With another class, I did pilot a template I created using Google Presentations.  Although, the students enjoyed the assignment, I felt the application was not sufficient enough for a portfolio.  I did not like the 'clunky' interface, meaning, everything had to be a hyperlink.  There was no way, (that I can find), to use the HTML embed code into the template.  For this reason, it was more work for the students because they had to upload all their files to their Google Drive, then go into the share settings, obtain the web address, then create the hyperlink in the template.  Click here for a sample digital portfolio I created to share with my students.  I would not recommend using Google Presentations for a digital portfolio.

Finally, all of my students worked well on this assignment and was able to complete it with success.  I am proud of each of them.  They learned the purpose of a digital portfolio and they were able to apply their knowledge and complete their own portfolios using their creativity and their imagination.  Their portfolios truly reflected themselves.

I would like to thank the 6th grade and 8th grade teachers who allowed me to pilot these applications, my co-worker, and my building principal and vice principal for all of the support they gave me throughout this process.