"One realization regarding assessment is that formative and summative assessments are often not separate entities." - Matt Renwick, Digital Student Portfolios, p. 82
It's that time of year. On Facebook, my educator friends are sharing pictures of their classrooms set up for the upcoming school year. There are conversations about spaces, classroom libraries, and goals for a new year. On Twitter, the conversation has been about first read aloud selections, workshop routines for the beginning of the year, and changes in math practice. Our minds are spinning with all there is to do, and all we hope to do differently, as we take our first steps in our new learning communities.
Matt Renwick's new book, Digital Student Portfolios: A Whole School Approach to Connected Learning and Continuous Assessment. If I remember correctly, I was first introduced to Matt Renwick by Susan Dee several years ago in a Google chat. At the time, I had started collaborating with others in my PLN to figure out Evernote. Since that time, our conversations have continued and grown so I was honored to be asked to join the blog tour for Matt's new book.
As we think about the beginning of the year and start to set routines for ourselves and our learning community, considering use of a digital tool for collecting learning artifacts has many advantages. In this book Matt reminds us, "[The tool selected to capture learning] is secondary to the 'big idea' itself compiling a dynamic collection of information from many sources, in many forms and with many purposes, all aimed at presenting the most complete story possible of a student's learning experience."
|Here's an example of a checklist I created for writer's workshop|
observations in the beginning of the year. I copied the checklist
put it in each child's folder for conferring.
|Here's an example of a student's shift in spacing|
after two lessons. When we took the picture we took
a picture of her new piece with spacing and placed
the previous piece without spacing above to show
Digital portfolios allow "the teacher to both respond to the student in the present moment, as well as look back later on artifacts of learning to prepare for instruction in the future. (p. 83)" In his book, Matt compares performance and progress portfolios.
- Performance: "Digital student portfolios have the capacity to showcase [my emphasis] our students as people with ideas, creativity, and passion." p. 32 These portfolios share more personal best or mastery work and lend themselves to being more summative in nature.
- Progress: "Progress portfolios are more fine-grained; the contents collected in these portfolios show growth over time; the ups and downs, the struggles and breakthroughs, that are always part of the learning process." These portfolios share the steps along the way and may be more formative in nature.
Matt's equation for engagement would look like this:
access + purpose + audience = engagement.Connections help students to work authentically and Matt states, "I have found that the most powerful motivator for bringing out the best in student work is a broader audience. (p. 42)" The examples shared help illustrate this point.
Matt continually stays focused on pedagogy over technology. One of the pieces I appreciated was the emphasis on student ownership across the book. For me, Evernote has opened doors to documenting the steps in student learning with purpose, ease, and efficiency. It has allowed me to keep notes, capture images, and record audio to collect touch points across the year of steps students have made as learners. It has made it easier to collaborate and share information. However, I'm continually asking myself if students own this process.
Matt reminds us, "Students should also be invested in the process of collecting, analyzing and reflecting upon the products they produce (p. 15)." The examples he shares of student work, Evernote notes, and other learning artifacts helped me to envision ways to begin to shift ownership to students.
A New Year
Now that my room is arranged, my first read aloud chosen, and my new website is ready to roll, I am ready to create folders for the students I will work with this year in Evernote. Matt's book has me ready to spend some time considering new steps for the new year.
Please comment for your chance to win a copy of Digital Student Portfolios.