Tech In Pedagogy

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Maintaining Student Work Portfolios with Google Drive

I distinctly remember being told to maintain student writing portfolios when I first started teaching. I did not like doing it. When I say student writing portfolio, I mean a few milk crates with hanging folders stuffed sporadically with student work. It was a clumsy process and I often put student work in the portfolios in bulk so I am sure the quality of my feedback suffered. Also, the types of work you can put in the folders was limited to writing. Student work should go well beyond just writing.

Google Drive can be used in the classroom as a student work portfolio. Some people like to use the Google Classroom system because they can assign work and have students submit, but I like using just Google Drive better. I can look at student work anytime as a means of formative assessment and I find it is easier for student collaboration. Google Classroom works better for direct work between the teacher and individual students. However, the process of creating, sharing, and collaborating seems to go smoother in Google Drive than in a Google Classroom work environment. Let me show you how I set it up.

I start out the school year with some simple assignments to help students acclimate to the processes and expectations of my class. One of these assignments is that each student creates a folder with their school account and shares it with me. Shared Folder NamingThey must use a naming convention so that student work is easier for me to navigate later. The naming convention I use is Last Name-Course Name-Year like in the example to the right. Some people have asked why I don’t just create the folders and share them myself. I do it this way to help the students acclimate to the process.

I take the shared folders from my Google Drive shared folder, and I add them to folders I create for each of my classes. These class folders, with a shared folder for each of my students, are the base for my student work portfolios. All of the students create and work on class work within their individual class folders. This can include written assignments, presentations, and has included student created videos in the past. If students work on a group project, then I have one of the students create the file and share it with the others in their group. Each student then adds the shared file to their own shared class folder. This is important because it isn’t always easy to go looking at who worked with who, and sometimes I am looking for how one specific student is doing in response to questions from parents or guidance.

TUntitled drawinghe practice of maintaining student work portfolios in Drive for each student allows me to look at any student’s work at any point to see how they are doing. I can check individual assignments that are finished or in progress. I can check group work to see how the overall project is progressing for the group as a whole. I can also look at the edit history in group work to see what each student is contributing to make sure everyone is doing their fair share.

One other thing I should mention is that I have students write weekly reflections about their work in my class that they store in their folders. It is very helpful for seeing how my students feel about their own learning, and for looking for themes across the class regarding their perceptions. I will be writing more about how I use student reflections in my class in a future blog.

Update: Here is a link to that post: Student Discussion Questions and Asynchronous Discussions in Google Groups along with a guest blog I wrote about resources for Promoting Student Reflection.

I hope you find this post helpful. Do you use a similar strategy? Do you have any specific questions about how to use this strategy in your own class? Let me know in the comments below! Follow me on Twitter @JoshuaElliott3 for more tips and ideas.

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#techinpedagogyclassroom technologyeducational technologyGoogle AppsGoogle Drivestudent collaborationstudent portfoliosStudent worktechnology in the classroom • November 8, 2015

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