Wednesday, August 22, 2012

English 9 and 10, Visual Arts ... Student Digital Portfolios

 Last year we started exploring the idea of student digital portfolios. In English 9 students created their own Digital Portfolio Google site.They experimented embedding, linking and uploading different types of work, including Google Docs, Word Docs, scanned docs, screencasts. Visual Arts also joined in the experience including pictures of their work, reflections and art resources.

This year started very busy with Grade 10 taking over the already created student portfolios and Grade 9 students started creating their own as well. Many conversations emerged about how this might look like in terms of checking progress. The English Dept  took the initiative to go for the organization of subjects under each grade level. At the image above you can see an example where the student organized the English work from last year under "Grade 9", creating new pages for "Grade 10".

Visual Arts also continued using digital porfolios this year, and discussed how progress could be seen from one grade to the other. After some discussion with the students, it became more clear that progress in Visual Arts depends on the series of courses taken along the years. So the majority of students left Visual Arts outside the grade level pages. A few students will try to add new work to the same pages as last year to see progress ... we will check how that works.

As we explore these digital portfolios we become more aware of needs.  I think that we are progressing towards creating a template Student Digital Portfolio using Google Sites, where we already have all the grades represented. Middle School has been talking about digital portfolios since last year considering Grade 6 as a start point for the student career. Elementary School is starting to enter the conversation as well, so we will see how that transition might look like!

Reflection is at the center of student portfolios and we will be collecting enough material to engage students more and more in reflecting about their learning. Middle School might use the digital portfolios in students led conferences! So these are all exciting areas to explore... feel free to jump in and try the idea for your subject area!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

International Relations....Diigo Collaborative Reading and Research.

 We kicked off the year with a technology integration partnership for using Diigo Social Bookmarking as a tool for collaboration in reading and in the development of a research databank. Caitlin decided to explore this tool that we have been talking about for some time last year right at the beginning of her new International Relations class, setting the tone for how students will manage reading.

A Diigo group was created for the class and the students were invited to the group. The first activity involved using the powerful Diigo toolbar to collectively highlight an articled shared/bookmarked by the teacher. Therefore, all students in the class were able to read and highlight the same article, keeping a record of their activity for later access. The screenshot below shows the web article with highlights.

The students then started their own research, adding individual bookmarks to be shared with the class. Together with the highlights, it is also possible to add "sticky notes". In the image below we can see the Diigo view of a student bookmark, indicating all the highlights ( at the top of each box) and the corresponding sticky note comment (showing next to the student name). The same highlights and sticky notes can be viewed at the bookmarked  web article itself.

Students are also learning how to collectively create tags for their bookmarks. You can see below that two tags were used: Economy, Superstition. As the research database grows, they will have to be mindful of the tags already created by classmates and use those when necessary. This type of tagging is called folksonomy

It will be exciting to follow the developments with Diigo!