I have come to realize something over the past two years in my journey of teaching 5th grade. They could care less about the papers you pass back and the feedback that is on that paper. The majority of the time that I pass back a project that my students have been working on it ends up on the floor at the end of the day or is shoved in their desk until I make them clean them out at the end of the month. If this is how they are treating their work then why am I taking the time to write feedback on every paper?!
So this year I decided to try something new. A digital portfolio! Now that Google has made the new Google Sites that is extremely easy to navigate I had each of my students create a site at the beginning of the year. All that I showed them was how to get to sites and the basic function keys. I didn’t teach them how to do everything, they are 10 years old and enjoy figuring things out on their own. It was much for relaxing for me to sit back and let them figure it out and answer the few questions that popped up rather than teach them step by step what to do. If I noticed I was getting the same question over and over I would stop everyone and explain how to do that one thing .
So here we are halfway through the year and we just finished a STEM Fair project and a Biography that were both completed electronically. I passed out the chromebooks and told my students to go to their Google Site and the immediate response was YES!! So they could care less about the paper biography draft I passed back to them, but allowing them to put the finished product on their digital portfolio and they all of a sudden began to care!
It is important that we remember that these kids live in a digital world. They want to be able to show off their work on their phone, iPad, chromebook, etc. to anyone they want, whenever they want. They don’t want to remember to take a paper home to show their parents what/how they did.
I have learned my lesson. Feedback will be provided electronically and I will allow them to update their portfolios as much as possible.
A few of my favorite digital portfolio applications:
Google Sites (the new version)