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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is no secret that I am passionate about student learning portfolios. Setting and reflecting on goals, showcasing learning with audio, video, images and text and then sharing with an audience is a brilliant way to develop a blog.
If you are still coming to grips with this, here is a post from CommonSense Graphite that might help you crystallise your thoughts.
Our very clever Visual Arts teacher is giving feedback to her students in a creative and powerful way. She has used the time lapse tool on the iPad, in a way that has her students reflecting immediately and focused on improving what they already do. Even if it is already brilliant!