You may have noticed that I have recently written a few posts showcasing hints and tips about how to put learning on the wall in your classroom; how to display work via QR codes and how to bring in the wall to life with augmented reality but that necessitates access to a device that can read / view that information.
It is widely recognised that showcasing the work of students and putting it on display and giving them an audience is a brilliant way of empowering students. Pete Jones’ call to arms in his post “Judging a book by its cover: Ideas and thoughts on how learning is displayed in schools“, powerfully makes the case for how he would like work to be shown around his school. Showcasing work helps in improving student confidence and makes them work harder and improve and refine their work to make it of as high-quality as possible, given they are going to have this audience. Some fantastic examples of how display can showcase students work can be seen at High Tech High, San Diego, CA in this post by @JamiePortman. The way that they showcase their students work and the work that is on display is phenomenal. How can we translate that to the display of work made by students in ICT lessons?
It is the case that ICT is a subject where it is particularly difficult to put work on the walls other than by methods of printing. This is fine if it is static work such as a piece of graphic design, a magazine cover or a piece of writing. Problems occur however when you’re dealing with some of the more interactive and innovative pieces of work the students can create and develop nowadays. This includes things such as videos, animations, websites, games, so forth and so on. How do you go back showcasing these things in a clear and visible light? One way is through the procurement of things such as plasma screens to put around your department and around the school. This is a fantastic idea and many schools do this, however when you regularly want to showcase work of hundreds of students, schools cannot simply afford to purchase so many screens to facilitate this, so how do you make it work?
One of the best ways to display the interactive work created by students is simply to give them the opportunity to create their own online portfolio. Blogging is particularly useful here. As a teacher, getting your students to blog is a fantastic way to get them to showcase their work; not necessarily on the walls around your classroom but out there, on the World Wide Web. One of the best things about blogging and putting your work online particularly those things which interactive such as the videos and games is the ability for the audience to write comments about the work and things that they find on the students portfolios. “Feedback is in the top ten influences in achievement” Hattie Visible Learning 2012
To blog or not to blog. That is the question
Well, actually, it’s not. Blogging to improve student’s learning and attainment is a proven methodology; the question really is, what blogging platform should I use to best support students showcasing their work? There is a smorgasbord of different platforms that students can use, so which one is best? Well, that depends really on what it is you want the students to show. This checklist should help:
- choose the platform which actually gives you the widest possibilities for addition of work
- consider the technology you have available to you to facilitate the blogging process.
- consider the Digital skills that you have and those of your students too. There’s no point in setting up a load of blogging accounts on a platform which you can’t manage and the students can’t update.
- research – have a good look around at the many other student or class blogs that are around and have a peek at what they’re using and what you like the look of.
Here are some popular platforms
What if you want to control the community and who can access it though? You still want to have your students being able to publish their interactive content online and gather peer review and feedback but don’t want to make it totally public? Edmodo is a tool which helps teachers harness the power of social media to customise the classroom for each and every learner. Edmodo works in an interface which is very similar to FaceBook (who needs training on that?? Anyone??) – you can set up classes and invite students in. You can set and grade assignments too (hang on, this sounds like a VLE doesn’t it?? Yes – but it’s FREE!) and everything is in house – no external visitors get in to your community without an invite. Within those communities too students can share their work, get it peer reviewed and get feedback from you, their teacher, too. Fantastico! Want a teacher guide on how to use Edmodo? Check this slideshare presentation here: http://www.slideshare.net/cmsdsquires/edmodo-for-teachers-guide
Right – so this post was about how you can showcase student work but it’s actually moved on to how students can show their work off, get it reviewed, commented upon and share. So, how can you as a teacher show off great work?
I recommend using social media such as Tumblr or Pinterest – I have decided that from next term, students will be able to connect to and see their excellent work via these two methods. How will it progress? I’m not sure, but I’m hoping that students will want to see their work showcased in this way and the knock on effect will be that they will in turn try harder so that they get to see their work displayed in such a public way. As a department we have got a WordPress blog tied in with our school website which I will continue to use to put up articles of interest, links to homework resources, deadline information, that sort of thing, but I’m going to give Tumblr and Pinterest a try, whilst expanding the @ClevedonICT twitter account too. It’s what students are using themselves, so I think we should embrace it too.
If you have any thoughts on showcasing ICT work in and out of the classroom I would be very interested to hear them. Please comment below or contact me on twitter @ICTEvangelist
I really enjoyed this post. I am in total agreement about the value of new media tools in allowing the students to have an authentic context for their work.
I’m an English teacher, and for the last couple of years I’ve been exploring the use of web tools to enhance the learning of my students. Last year all my students had their own personal, private wordpress blog and I also ran a public blog for each class. The whole exercise was exciting and successful on many levels.
This year, on the basis of a lot of reflection about the role of schools, teachers, technology, I’ve decided to take the leap and offer the students the option of making aspects of their digital books/portfolios publicly accessible. They will have their own blog as usual, but now they are going to be able to use the ‘private’ ‘public’ tool to make choices on a post by post basis as to whether their work, including drafts and notes and the like, are published in the public domain or not.
I’m super-excited about this next step as I believe the authenticity and immediacy and empowerment this is going to offer them is going to be transformative. Their work will now have a wider audience and they will be empowered to invited and offer input into each others process.. as well as collaborate on a functional and practical level.
I’d be very keen to observe any of the work your students are doing that makes it to the public domain, and if you’re interested in what my students are doing, by all means click the Edutronic link and take a look (the 2012 sites are still being built, but they’re mostly there now)
Thanks for posting this interesting and relevant thought piece.
Transformation is where it’s key! Thanks for getting in touch Chris!