Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Digital Portfolios for Students in Google Drive/EduWins

I got an e-mail from a teacher early this week. Her student had opened up her Google Drive and documents the teacher had seen in Drive on Friday had disappeared. "What happened to them?" A little of investigation of the Revision History showed that the student, in her zeal to clear out her third grade work, had put the documents in the trash, and then emptied the trash.

While I completely understand wanting to clean out files from time to time, there has long been discussion in educational circles about the value of a digital portfolio. Digital portfolios, unlike paper notebooks, give the student and parents an opportunity to watch the growth of a student's skills through the school year and over the school years. How many of you have enjoyed coming across something you or your child wrote years ago? These gems give such a wonderful glimpse back into what the author was interested in and what might have been happening at the time.

At Alta Vista, fifth grade teachers have included a file of K-5th grade District writing assessments with a student's final elementary school report card. Now, think of including projects and other student created work in a folder that follows them through eighth grade. Students have been assigned a username that begins with the year they will leave middle school. The implication is that they will have access to their work throughout the years. As I have visited third grade classes over the past month, students have created a 2014-15 folder to store their work in. My hope is that they will keep file of their best work, kind of like a learning diary.

Lucky for us, Google Drive not only stores files created in Google, it is also a great depository for photos students take as part of a project, or photos of student art work. Videos, audio files, PDFs, MS Office documents - these are just a few of the kinds of files a student can store in Google Drive. Some apps even give you the opportunity to upload directly to Google Drive.

And this week, Google announced virtually unlimited storage for Google Apps for Education accounts coming this fall. Teaching a student to organize their files gives them a valuable skill. Helping them to appreciate where they've come from and how far is also a great gift. My hope is that with storing learning in Google Drive, that your students will have both.

This week's EduWin goes to all the teachers who have helped make the MacBook Air distribution go so smoothy. A big thank you from the Tech Department to all of you who have used the Welcome to MacBook Air website and been able to do things you didn't realize you could. I love getting e-mails from teachers who are so excited that they have figured out how to (for example) connect their printer. Well done!

A second EduWin has come to USD middle schools in the form of an article about Project Lead the Way which appeared in this week's news. Read it here

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.