Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Starting E-Portfolios with Grade 11/12 Students in Information Technology Classes.

One of my studies (learning goals) this year is study the use of portfolios in a tech class and look at the  the advantages and disadvantages of this method of assessment.  I have differentiated my Grade 11/12 Information Technology classroom to the point that 3 people will work on Illustrator, 2 students are in an advance course on InDesign, 10 will be doing Photoshop, some are learning an animation program, and a number of them want to learn programming.  

To accommodate this large and diverse amount of assessment (both formative and summative) I want to use Facebook.  I've set up a facebook account for my school work only, asked the students to set up a new Facebook account themselves, where they will only post their school work in my class (no personal information), and they can friend people in the classroom to make comments on their page (peer assessment).  Setting up the accounts, getting students to "friend me" and their friends took two days, and now I need to assess their first posting of a critical thinking comment in regards to their learning of a Web 2.0 program they learned called EasyBib.  I asked them to tell me what they think about EasyBib?  How does it help them?  What they like about it or what they dislike about it?  I asked them to tell me something original and I gave them examples and we talked about them for approximately 10 minutes.

Some answers were great and students got the idea right away.
Easy bib is a great program to use to make bibliographies. If you type in the name of the book,newspaper,webiste and enclyclopedia this website helps you make the bibliographies. I learned from this website that it saves you a lot of time. Also you need the dates you accessed you entered the website. This website shows you the proper format of making bibliographies and I learned how to do so. I will continue to use this website in the future I learned it was very useful.

Some were not bad....
I like easybib because it makes writing bibliographies so easy. it is very easy to use and does a great job with creating bibliographies. its great with all sorts of things such as newspapers, journals, books, and websites

And some need work:
I found easy bib to be very helpfull. It made everything as easy as possible, especially since you can print off the bibliography directly from the website.

Now at  this point I have a couple of matters to take care of right away.  I need to teaching the students how to analyze their own work, how to show critical thinking.  The questions below will help them to go deeper in their thinking.  

Questions to Enhance Critical Thinking 

  1. What is your definition of … ?  Or, What do you mean by …?
  1. Why…?  Or, Explain why….
  1. What causes …?  Or, How does x affect …? 
  1. What is an example of …?  Or, Is … an example?
  1. What is the evidence for this statement?  Or, How do we know this is true?  Or, Why do you think that? 
  1. Which is best?   Or, What do I think about …?  Or, Do I agree or disagree with … ?
The other thing I need to work on is the understanding that this portfolio is exactly that, an educational portfolio that I will see and others as well.  Students cannot play games on it, or make inappropriate comments on each others wall.  Any time they just click on the hands up sign, thats the only comment that gets made.  I need more then that for peer assessment.

That's the third thing I need to consider - the peer assessment but at a later date.  For now, I need the students to go back to their Facebook walls and either accept what they have or add another comment that will improve what they have said.  I'll put up some other questions for them to consider and any new comments will appear again on my wall at the top (easier to correct).  This helps me assess quickly and effectively.  Feedback has been in one day, quick, with comments of "I need more", or "what was so helpful", comments to get the students to do deeper, meaningful comments.  I have given them a mark.  Marks are 1, 3, or 5, and students have had examples of each. I have told them they can up their marks at any time.  I have also told them that in the end we discuss the portfolios, show how much learning was done, and together we give a mark for the learning.  This manner helps me to mark where the students are and how much growth they have done over the months, a better assessment then just grades.

This project is covering a number of areas, maybe too many.  But it's covering e-portfolios, formative assessment, soon no marks with formative assessment, self-directed learning, peer assessment at one point, and finally, team grading.  I understand this may be too much, but I started last year with just the e-portfolios, and now I'm ready to move on.

Wish me luck... And please feel free to make comments about this project.  Thanks again

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