Tag Archives: eportfolio

Designing the Future of Learning: Personalized Prototypes

The next session I’m attending is “Designing the Future of Learning: Personalized Prototypes” with Payton Hobbs, the Head of the Lower School at Ravenscroft School, and Bryan Setser, from 2Revolutions. This is live blogged, so please excuse typos and poor prose!

One of the statements that is prevalent in schools is “We don’t know what the jobs of tomorrow will look like.” Bryan, however, argues that we do have a view, namely sustainability and technology. Bryan argues that we need to make a shift in designing the learning of our schools and prototyping to build that.

“Design si where you stand with a foot in two worlds – The world of technology and the world of people and human purposes – and you try to bring the two together.” – Kapor

We live in a world where the model of pursuing a college level, elite education leads to careers success. However, the product is very different – kids with 100-200 thousand dollar educations are working as baristas. We need to learn to improve, experiment, and prototype the world of education. This is especially difficult working in an environment with a strong tradition and culture. So how do we approach this? How do we prepare for the next iteration?

Courtesy of Stockmonkeys.com via Flickr

Courtesy of Stockmonkeys.com via Flickr

If you want your school to be innovative, then it has to be a meaningful and objective goal. You have to be prepared to not only accept, but to celebrate failure. Failure is often life’s best teacher.

This is not an easy process! When you get into the nitty gritty and practice, this is difficult! However, there are successes in real life. Google, for example, has its famous 80/20 policy. It also celebrates failure. Check out Google Graveyard to see how many failures they have experienced. Still they remain one of the most successful companies today.

If you look at people’s needs, we can use that information to build a strategy. Crowdsourcing allows us to build objectives and develop a plan.

INdividual Learning Plans (ILP) is a “specific program or a strategy of education or learning that takes into consideration the student’s strengths and weaknesses.” A Digital Learning Plan is an “amalgam of an ILP, student data, and assessment evidence in service of maintaining, adapting, innovating, and producing e-artifacts for an electronic portfolio process.”

At Ravenscroft, they looked at ePortfolios as a way for students to establish a Digital Learning Process that then allows them (students) to brand themselves. Ravenscroft wanted to prototype digital portfolios to increase staff and student engagement. Ideally, this will allow students to own their learning and engage with it more meaningfully. Payton advises that when building a platform for teachers, organization and time are vital. By having the faculty learn by doing, teachers’ became familiar with the ins and outs of digital portfolios and Google Sites. It also allowed the school to streamline their templates. Students shared their Google Site portfolios appropriate, it is right now a private space and not public.

Time, Talent, & Technology

If you focus enrollment structures around time, talent, and technology you will get an innovative structure that works in your environment. Create a culture of innovation and use technology to help solve your tools.


Electronic Portfolios & Making Things Visible

My last session of the day is “Electronic Portfolios & Making Things Visible” by Michelle Cordy. You can check out her website, “Hack the Classroom.” Many of my teachers and administrators have expressed interest in learning more about digital portfolios. I’ve explored it on many platforms (see my posts Google Sites for Digital Portfolios and Digital Portfolios & College Admissions). I’m excited to learn about composing and building portfolios on the iPad.

Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Michelle said that she is an “education hacker” because we all (including students) work on projects that we neither need nor want. She asks, “Can your students take a photo in your classroom every day that shows that they are working on something larger than themselves?” Is it meaningful to them? To us?

When we make thinking and learning visible, we focus on what we believe is important – the learning we want to document for assessment. By taking photos, we put ourself in a “remembering” mode – we want to capture it for later. Taking pictures is also a way that we enhance our performance – if we know we’re being recorded we show our best selves. We also take pictures to remind ourselves of our failures – so that we won’t repeat them. As educators, we take photos to demonstrate learning. We also take photos to record what is beautiful and surprising. We take pictures as “proof.” We also take photos to reinforce relationships. So in our classrooms, we need to make moments that are “photo-worthy.”

New technologies allows students to be the ones doing to the capturing, not just the teacher. However, when we allow the students to guide their own learning do we leave it to chance? Does it allow the child who is the loudest or pushiest to drive education? As teachers, we need to take a primary role in the classroom.

“It doesn’t need to be HD, it just needs to work.”

gdrive_20120427161559_320_240Anyone who has used technology in the classroom knows that is true! So this brings Michelle to iPads – how can we use this device and not leave learning to chance? For constructing ePortfolios, she uses Blogger and Google Drive. She then introduces us to a classroom of Grade 6 students using both of these tools to build digital portfolios. They highlighted that Google Drive allows you to share content with your friends who can help you to edit and revise your work. The students use Blogger to do their weekly reflections (like a journal) as well as a way that they can reflect on their readings and materials.

While students publishing fully to the web will vary based on age and needs, this allows them to begin training to become meaningful contributors to the web. In dealing with younger students, teachers often filter and share their students’ content. This is often how we address issues of privacy. However, that means that the teacher owns that content and students cannot own or curate it. We must ensure that however we present students’ content we ensure that they own their own data. Of course, this means we may need to be creative about publication and privacy (e.g. age 13 restrictions, privacy concerns, etc).

Michelle says “I am okay with hard, but it should be fun hard. It should not be tech hard.” This is a great point – projects should be a challenge. The tech should work to support the learning – easy to apply. Projects may have a lot of ups and downs, but at the end the student should feel accomplished. Electronic portfolios should be about tracking the whole project, not just the finished product. She highlights several “sandbox” apps like iMovie, Book Creator, Explain Everything, and Screen Chomp. These can be stored electronically for future curation as well. It’s not the project that is rich, but the cognitive processing afterwards that provides deeper and more enduring meaning.