Digital Notebooks and Digital Portfolios in the Secondary Classroom #ITA17


Through discussions onFacebook this past week, many of you asked about students creating digital notebooks and/or portfolios
The short answer is Yes!  There are a ton of platforms for our students to begin to shift to digital creation and curation of work.  I was originally going to just post a quick paragraph in the Academy and on FB…but this brain dump/stream of consciousness got rolling.

For more on one of my greatest technology integration failures related to this ideas of notebooks and portfolios, check out this post on Writer’s Notebooks; for more on the learning outcome from this failure and a strong attempt at purposeful use, check this post out comparing a traditional Multi-genre project to a digital one.

The essential step to remember around this conversation is to pick the reason or purpose for the work you are going to have them do FIRST.  What is it you want them to know, do, create, etc…? How will they be transacting with the ‘text’ you are having them work with….note-making, composing, etc.? What type of text is it (Written? Visual? Auditory? Physical?)? Are you looking for them to keep a digital record of all of this? Are they keeping a notebook-Readers? Writers? Literacy? Scientists? Historians? Are they going to keep the work more ‘private’ or are the building a more ‘public facing’ portfolio? Or is it a combination of everything?  

These are questions that are no different w/o technology right?  It’s about your goals, objectives, and ultimately ‘TRANSFER’ for the students to be doing what they are doing.

The SECOND step then is to ask what tool or tools am I going to use to support and amplify this learning.  My think aloud is below…

Without Technology my brain would have gone to ok so we’re going to transact with and note make a reading for analysis so they’ll need to use ‘Cornell Note-taking’ or ‘2-3 Column Notes’….but I also want them to work with Visual Texts so I’ll get post it notes as well so they can label right ‘on’ the paintings or photographs.  All of this should be kept in a ‘Literacy Notebook’ so I’ll raid the supplies closet for marble notebooks….hmmm…and eventually this will turn into a writing piece for their portfolio so I’ll need loose-leaf paper and manilla folders for the portfolios.

With Technology the goals, learning and transfer don’t change…but how the students achieve them gets amplified.  My brain now goes to ok so we’re going to transact with and note make a reading for analysis so they’ll need to use ‘Cornell Note-taking’ or ‘2-3 Column Notes’ and can do them in Google Docs or Google Keep so we can build in some collaborative work….but I also want them to work with Visual Texts so they can use some type of online post it note- Padlet, Note.ly, or Sticky Notes from the Chrome Web Store (actually Google Keep may work here as well) so they can label right ‘on’ the paintings or photographs.  Although, can they follow the structure of Cornell Notes- pull evidence and then do an analysis, but use something like the Screen Capture Chrome Extension to transact with the text through speaking and video…then record themselves actually explaining the analysis.

All of this should be kept in a ‘Literacy Notebook’ so we can use Google Drive, DropBox, Evernote, or OneNote (depending on the district push with either Google or Microsoft)…or maybe I’ll let the students choose.

Since this will eventually turn into a writing piece for their portfolio so I’ll need to figure out a tool for composition (Google Docs or Adobe Spark could work depending on how I want them to compose) and platform for host the different products as well…Google Drive or OneNote could work if I just want them to collect their work and share privately, however if I want it to be more ‘outward’ facing then we can look into sites like Weebly, Wix, Blogger, WordPress, or Google Sites.  

I may go talk to some of our local Art teachers who have their kids build their Art Portfolios on WordPress Samples, Pintrest Samples, and Instagram Samples (this last one has led to real artists connection with local HS students and providing feedback on their work)!

Again, the important piece in all of this is thinking critically about the goals, objectives, TRANSFER, that you want from your students, then focusing on the instructional design component so that we can purposefully incorporate and use technology to amplify the different parts of the learning process.  

Linked HERE is a post with a specific sample of how this applied to a Multi-genre project my  students did a few years back. It was a long overdue reaction to some earlier failures around focusing too much on the technology and letting that overshadow good teaching.


A handful of tools are below:

Note-making, Composing, and Digital Portfolio Options:

 

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