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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cris West & Marissa Clark LS Launch Grant: Pre-K Digital Portfolios

Marissa and I applied for a Launch Grant to spend the year determining the best platform to help us create digital portfolios for each of our students. Our goal was to pilot something that could easily be used by all classroom teachers and Specialists in the Lower School.

Portfolio entries are currently kept in binders in the classroom and the children can access them anytime. We wanted to keep this same format with the digital portfolio, putting greater emphasis than before on making the student work come alive. We wanted to focus on the "child as documenter" and find appropriate technology for them to capture their own work and reflect on it.

One of our successes is finding much ease in using the Pages app and it's templates. Moving away from using MS Word, Pages affords us easier ways to format and layout portfolio entries in a functional and aesthetically pleasing way. One challenge that we are still faced with is the use of Haiku as the platform to digitalize our portfolios. We decided on using and exploring Haiku as a way to digitalize our portfolios because it is already an existing app that parents log into weekly and our Lower School faculty is using it as well. We think it will have the best chances at getting the most "foot traffic." Specialists will also be able to easily access each child's page and include content as well. In the process, we found loading portfolio entries into Haiku cumbersome to do. Uploading each file in each child's digital folder in was a multi-step process that required a lot of teacher time. Moreover, we continue to question whether children will want to look at their portfolios if they are digitalized vs. if they are hard copies on binder.

As we continue to work on this, we hope to continue working with children in reflecting on their work through their own documentations using the Seesaw app and/or Blogger Jr.. As this becomes a practice we hope to devise a system or a flow that children can easily engage in and become fully independent.

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