With conference season just around the corner, I thought I would publish this blog post. At Seisen we offer two models of conferencing: Three-Way and Student-Led.
This year we are using electronic portfolios across the elementary school. Paper portfolios filled with student work; great for parents to come in, flip through the folder, offer some words of encouragement, and I am sure advantageous but times are a changing. We live in a world of instant news and push-notifications so why not capitalise on this and flip the student-led conference.
Grade 1 through 4 are using Seesaw, and grades five and six are using Google Sites. Digital Portfolios are so much more than just switching from paper to an iPad or Laptop. Students develop a digital learning space: an environment in which they can document their learning journey and showcase their successes. ePortfolios are areas in which they contextualise and make a conceptual understanding of digital citizenship.
"There may not be a silver bullet of Apps, but Seesaw is pretty close!"
This year we have made a move to Digital Portfolios 1- 6. Initially piloted in grade six, with Google Sites, our transition from a physical portfolio to a cloud-based digital collection has been two years in the making. It was clear from the outset how mobile devices, laptops, and digital portfolios, plus a decent wifi connection were giving our students a place to make their thinking and learning visible. Students voice was amplified with tools such as Flipgrid, Screencasitfy, and Explain Everything. Parental involvement gives them an authentic audience to share their creations. We, the staff, wanted a portfolio model that was beyond showcasing - one that included the process. Their entries needed to include examples of learning to show growth include reflections and receive feedback.
I was reading through the IBOs The Role of ICT in the PYP and this particular paragraph resonated with me...
"It is worthwhile to note that there will be opportunities for student-initiated, spontaneous inquiries into the use of ICT that are not directly related to any planned units of inquiry or single-subject areas. For example, a student contributing to a class blog may want to start his or her own blog as a personal reflection journal. These are valuable teaching and learning opportunities in themselves, and provide teachers and students with the opportunity to apply the pedagogy of the PYP to authentic, of-the-moment situations."
I would like to break this down further...a student contributing to...his or her own blog as a personal reflection journal.
We wanted to use tools such Seesaw and (New) Google Sites to have students create and manage digital learning spaces that would empower them to document what they are learning at school independently.
Whether it is Seesaw or Google Sites, having this sort of access in a social media way is previously inconceivable - but it is here, and we as teachers need to harness its power and potential. The "Insta-portfolio" Era offers parents, guardians and other relatives a window into their nearest and dearest learning environment - from here to Alaska!
Teachers, if you are thinking of making the digital switchover for your students, I can not type enough how much you should certainly give it a go.
"Start small, aim high and see where it takes you."
As always I would love to hear your feedback. Kindly leave a comment below.