Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

@Spaces_Edu for Digital Portfolios By @Rdene915

@Spaces_Edu for Digital Portfolios By @Rdene915

Guest Post by Rachelle Dene Poth

Spaces for Digital Portfolios!

As we work to prepare students for the future, it is important that we find ways to help students focus more on the learning process rather than the end product. When we bring in learning opportunities that help students to reflect on their individual work and growth and collaborate with peers by giving feedback to one another, we will better prepare them for the future.

Spaces provides a great choice for creating digital portfolios and more. Digital portfolios enable students to compile artifacts of the work that they have done, including projects,  sharing career explorations or community service activities that they engaged in during their high school career. Portfolios are a great way for students to display and reflect on their learning journey. Creating portfolios in a digital space gives students the opportunity to self-assess and track their growth over time as they build their narrative.

My start with using digital portfolios in my classroom began with my Spanish II and III students. They initially created a wikispace for their Spanish projects but we shifted to Google sites,  and they added to it by including their other classes, sharing their interests, and designed evidence of their growth during each academic year. Now with versatile tools available like Spaces, it is easier to add work quickly which can include links, or audio, photos, and  videos. Students can reflect on the work that they have done and be able to instantly share with teachers, family and potential employers or colleges.

Benefits of Digital Portfolios

As students continue to build digital portfolios, for use in the same class or across grade levels, educators better understand students and their interests and it helps with building those vital teacher-student relationships. A key part of this is that it helps to focus on the social-emotional learning (SEL) skills as students build their self-awareness and also self-management skills, when they look at the work that they’ve done and set new goals for their continued learning journey.

Spaces offers an opportunity to bring digital portfolios into your classroom and it is available for free! It is easy to get started with Spaces. By default, teachers’ first space is the ‘Class’ space; a place for classwide sharing, discussion and review. Teachers can also create “Group” spaces where certain groups of students can work together asynchronously while outside of the view from the rest of the class. Lastly, “Individual” spaces create a one-to-one teacher to student environment for students who might want to keep their portfolio work outside of the view of others but still want all the benefits Spaces has to offer.”

With Spaces, students can access and share their work from wherever they are. It promotes collaboration as students and teachers work together throughout the learning process. It also fosters better connections between home and school. Students can quickly share their work with teachers and engage in a conversation, which promotes real-time feedback and the opportunity to message, and discuss progress.

For educators, the use of portfolios better enables us to give authentic, meaningful feedback to students and develop a greater understanding of each student’s strengths and needs. These “spaces” also help to build relationships as we get to know our students, their learning needs and strengths more. Get started with Spaces today!

About the Author

Rachelle Dene Poth is an edtech consultant, presenter, attorney, author, and teacher. Rachelle teaches Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle has a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. She is a Consultant and Speaker, owner of ThriveinEDU LLC Consulting. She is an ISTE Certified Educator and currently serves as the past-president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and on the Leadership team of the Mobile Learning Network. At ISTE19, she received the Making IT Happen Award and has received several Presidential Gold Awards for volunteer service to education. 

Rachelle is the author of five books, ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” (EduMatch) and “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World” and her newest book, “True Story Lessons That One Kid Taught Us.”

She is also a Buncee Ambassador, Nearpod PioNear and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.

Rachelle is a blogger for Getting  Smart, Defined Learning, District Administration, NEO LMS, and the  STEM Informer with Newsweek. 

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU https://anchor.fm/rdene915

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