(digital) learning portfolios…

Let me start by asking you to look at the video below, about 5 minutes worth. I had this put aside to use for some professional learning early next year, so you might see it again at some point! Do your best predicting, looking for foreshadowing, use any prior knowledge you might have, you will have some questions (probably, what the hell is Tim on about?), you might think aloud and hope to see a summary…no matter what you do, you will have to watch it all to work out how it fits in with what follows.

If you are not prepared to watch this, read the email and follow the links, then you shouldn’t really have an opinion about the topic! I am giving you 10 years worth of thinking and reflecting on pedagogy and practice with portfolios in a considerably shorter time! I want you to base any decision on some authentic background and depth of knowledge. If you think this paragraph a little strange the video should help.

Now that you have watched the video, let me begin by saying if you think this is about the (free) Global2 platform and the (paid) Seesaw app then again, you shouldn’t really have an opinion about this!

The issue here is about the importance of students developing a portfolio that represents their learning. If you don’t understand the depth and complexity around learning portfolios then both Global2 and Seesaw will be a failure, yes both. So you can pay for mediocrity or produce it for free.

This next link takes you to a blog post with a picture that is close to the best I have ever found that explains what I think of when I talk about learning portfolio…read ‘blogging’ in the image as portfolio, to me for the purposes of reading this blog post they are synonymous.

Silvia Tosilano @ her langwitches blog…awesome!

Still with me? Then you now need to read this slightly more complex text from the InsightAssess website, by the way if this is the first time you have seen this website bookmark, and explore in more detail at a later date.

Insight Assess Portal

Hopefully those synapses are firing. The next blog post, to my mind, starts to make some of the depth of thinking required to develop great portfolios, as opposed to mediocre ones.

from the Intrepid Teacher blog

Nearly there, the next link can be read in its entirety, or you can just look at pages 2 and 3. My bias towards inquiry and IB are known, read ICT though as digital learning in the article.

the role of ICT in PYP

No doubt many of you are relating this to some of the Hattie influences, and the fact that the strongest instructional models have a component where sharing and reflection are involved.

One of the platforms allows for individual student blogs, the other doesn’t. One looks easy to use, the other requires some commitment and effort to use effectively. One offers the opportunity for authentic global collaboration and communication, the other doesn’t. One opens the door to creating a true digital footprint and developing real digital citizenship behaviour, the other doesn’t. One demands parental effort to be involved, the other doesn’t.

I think there is a place for both platforms in the educational journey at our school. One for F-3, and one for 4-6.

There is no place for either, however, if as a teacher you can’t develop your own class blog, ask students to reflect with some depth and effort, teach students how to set SMART goals,  provide the time to communicate with peers, or be involved in opportunities such as Global Read Aloud, Quadblogging, Student and Teacher blogging challenges, the Nifty Fifty STEM program or Mystery Skype.

Time to reflect on learning, and creating the evidence has to be planned for students so that they have the opportunity to do it properly. For students to reflect and organise their learning so that it is visible takes a great deal of effort from students and teachers. If you are not prepared to put in the effort, deliberately plan for students developing a learning portfolio, model how to communicate and persist with parents in the later years of primary school, then you shouldn’t be using either platform.

If you are here, have followed and thought about the links then you are probably ready to have a discussion with colleagues. As the first video indicated, I have a distinct bias. It is a bias based on years of thinking and doing however.

thinking about why…

One of the benefits that planning together can provide is the opportunity to ask each other… ‘why are we doing this?’.

The balance of making every lesson count (see my previous post) and where building relationships and having fun is important and valid is perfectly illustrated in the post ‘Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn?’. These are the thoughts of Jennifer Gonzalez from her blog, Cult of Pedagogy.

Make her blog one of your regular must reads by subscribing. Start by looking at her About page, it has a link that explains the purpose of the blog and guides you to some suggestions of what to listen, view and read if it is your first time visiting her blog.

Cult of Pedagogy will provide more than enough reading and thinking, as well as opportunities for sharing and planning to last you for a whole PDP cycle!

...this links to the post!
…this links to the post!


tight but loose…

The idea of ‘tight but loose’ was something I was able to revisit while reading the Class Teaching blog through the year. Shaun Allison, one of the three authors of this blog, has also produced a book called Making Every Lesson Count.

I think the concept of making every lesson count is important for the mindset of planning and teacher talk. You can link to the post on the image below, where the authors explain how having a structure for a school can complement the idea that teachers thrive on being creative.

Making every lesson count - how it came about...from the Class Teaching blog.
Making every lesson count – how it came about…from the Class Teaching blog.


the power of a teacher…

Along the lines of my previous post about professional reading, I would like to mention John Spencer’s blog. A recent post of his is titled The Future Belongs to the Makers, and is worth reading as it has a number of layers of thought.

His personal story, about the influence of one of his teachers, and the message about digital devices and designing for students to consume or create, or both, is worth spending time thinking about.