Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sharing Digital Work

Curating student work is about both storage and sharing.  Let's start the conversation with this - I am not very good at curating student work.  Part of the problem is time - I never have as much as I'd like to be able to sift through, catalog and share/display the work that students spent so much of their time on (shabby, no?).  The other issue is the ever-changing technology that allows us to save, share AND produce work.  It is hard to keep up!

Storage:

This is both important and somewhat easy.  We need to save the output of students so that they can measure their progress.  Also, parents want to know what they are up to - particularly with adolescents who don't always tell their parents what they are doing in class.

I like to keep portfolios (unimaginative, but effective) that contain pieces I select as well as pieces the students choose.  I have used paper folders, flash drives, and Google folders.  Fairly straightforward, fairly simple.  This way, I have work samples when I need them for a conference or evaluation.  The students like to see how far they have come over the course of the year.  Everyone is happy.

Sharing:

Sharing is a trickier matter.  First, we need to clarify the purpose and guidelines of sharing.  This is a sticky matter and I choose not to go there on a lovely Saturday.  Sorry.

The other issue is HOW.  In a modern, often paperless world, how to do we share digital work?  Some things you can print, hang in the hallway and call it a day.

Other pieces of student work are more nuanced and we cannot put them in the "portfolio box." What if the students made a video or Prezi?  How can we "display" those work products that don't lend themselves to paper?  I have three basic ways, but I am always on the hunt for something better.  In fact, the other night I was at my son's Back To School Night and one of the teachers did amazing student sharing with her class Wiki.  You can bet that I will be pestering our Technology Specialist for a tutorial this coming week!  In the meantime, here is what I have found effective:


  • E-mail - If a student does a digital project, I send it to the parents via email.  I also send a weekly email to all the parents letting them know what we've been up to in class.  Often, with the students' permission, I will share some work with the entire group.  The student feels recognized and the parents get to celebrate success.
  • YouTube - I have a YouTube channel (which makes me feel very young and hip) and I upload student projects all the time.  Using an unlisted setting, I can easily share the link with students, parents or anyone else who needs to see it.  I can also make a playlist and have projects and student videos playing whenever parents are visiting.  Fun!
  • Forums - I had the distinct pleasure of organizing and being the emcee at a student project forum over the summer.  Each student in our summer program completed an independent study and had the opportunity to share what they had learned on stage to the student body and their parents.  We had live demonstrations, models, video reenactments, PowerPoint presentations, lectures - you name it!  It was exciting to see students utilizing the skills of speaking publicly (and listening all morning, for that matter).  Skills that are difficult to document, but so important to modern living.  The students all felt recognized, but more importantly, they felt like the experts they had become.  And the parents simply loved it.  It is not easy to pull off on a regular basis on such a large scale, but something that can be used in a classroom on a smaller scale with relative ease.  It gives the students the opportunity to share not only their digital projects, but also their performance skills.  Not a permanent way to curate, but a memorable and valuable one!






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