How Would You Share Student Work Online?
We had the great good fortune to have Alan November at our school for two days. One thing he said we should implement right away was an archive of student work to help teachers see what can be done.
I have been planning on setting something like that up since school started. I wanted it for the following purposes.
- A place to share student work with families, other classes and each other.
- A place for students to receive feedback from an outside audience.
- An archive to help students see what has been done in the past — they usually rise above the bar set by previous classes.
- A repository of examples so that as teachers plan the year with us, we can “show” them what other classes have done.
- A record of our tech integration growth. It won’t capture all our growth. Rather, it is one of many tools used for that purpose.
My first questions is format. We have Wikispaces.net, Edublogs, Blogger and Google Sites as school supported options so my first decision is blog or wiki? I am least interested in Blogger and Google Sites due to the space limitations on our school Google Apps accounts. I don’t think students will usually be the ones adding projects to the site since neither platform allows multiple people to work on the same page at the same time. Can you do that with Google Sites as you can with Google Apps? If so, that could be very useful. In any case, I am leaning towards Edublogs because it has so many attractive themes. Our Wikispaces.net account has a very vanilla theme. It goes well with our corporate website, but it isn’t a look that I think will appeal to children.
Whichever I choose, I am uncertain how to organize it. Based on my list of goals above, would you organize it purely chronologically? By grade level? By type of project? By subject area? Having so many goals make it challenging to choose. As I look back over those goals, I think they are already listed in orders of importance.
If I use a blog, then the most current projects would be what you saw as you visited the site which is handy for parents and students. This would also create an automatic chronological archive in the sidebar, making it good to show our school’s growth over time. That is good. Will that still work if I have multiple pages? For example, I could have different pages for different types of media. However, when I’ve seen teachers add pages to their site, those pages are like a single entry blog post. If they want to add to it, it is all still the same post. That is less desirable. I would like each new project added to be posts. That would more elegantly allow for comments on each group of projects. Anyone know how to make Edublogs do this?
Maybe, I only have one page but use categories. I can have categories by year, grade level, subject, and type of project. With those categories listed in the sidebar, it would be easy to click on the grade 3 category and view work that way, click on math and see tech integration in math, or click on Bitstrips and view all the ways we used Bitstrips across the curriculum.
There are of course, student privacy concerns. However we take those into account when we create any project that may appear online.
As you can tell, these are preliminary thoughts. Does your school have anything like this? What platform do you use? Any words of advice as I embark on this project? I’d appreciate hearing them.Photo Credit: Oh the Irony by JP-Flanigan used with permission under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic