I’ve struggled through the years with interesting ways to showcase my students’ work. Online portfolios are a great resource that can actually help demonstrate that not only do my kids possess technology skills, but they can REALLY rock them out.
My first recommendation, if you’re truly serious about a portfolio-type site, would be a website. But if you want to get your kids up and running quickly, it’s not always the best solution. Google Sites are awesome, but to make them really sing, you need to know some code. For those of you with tech-savvy students, I’ll explain this in detail in another post, but for now, let’s stick with an easy-to-use, all-purpose app that can cover everything.
Padlet is my current favorite; it’s easy to use, fairly customizable, and it supports multiple formats. It works like a big bulletin board; just double-click to post. My students love it, because it leaves plenty of room for self-expression. They can choose one of the provided avatars or wallpapers, or they can upload their own. It also supports multiple bulletin boards with varying degrees of privacy, so students can have Padlets for specific projects, or they can create their own private boards dedicated to Harry Styles. Whatever.
The Padlet Dashboard: Simple organization and control of your boards.
Padlet supports audio, video, photo, and file attachments, so you can request specific formats, or allow your students a little creative freedom to craft their own solutions to whatever problem you decide to throw at them. As they get better with certain skills, my students are required to “self-reflect” and put their best work on their showcase board with a short blurb referencing the skills they learned while creating the product.
A sample Padlet showing the student’s Google Drawing skills:
Padlet can be accessed from the web or from an app, which makes it fairly easy to incorporate into just about any subject. I actually have my students create and print a QR code that is a shortcut straight to their Padlet, which makes assessments incredibly quick, convenient, & easy. (Put the QR codes on a keyring, and you can check their work with your phone just about anywhere you have an Internet connection.)
Students can also collaborate on Padlet: there’s an option to allow others to edit the board, making group work much easier.
There are three formats to choose from: freeform (bulletin board), scrolling (Instagramish), and grid (for the OCD-inclined). I’m kind of partial to digital graffiti, so I let my kids use freeform and put stuff wherever they want. It’s always interesting to me to see how kids think. Like, I never would have put that picture of my hamster right at the top, but now I know that the kid REALLY likes his hamster. So there’s that.
Not sold yet? Here’s a couple of other Padlet ideas:
- Use it as a place to hold instructional videos
- Put instructions for missed work on a Padlet; have a QR code posted so kids can see what they missed when they were gone
- Assign a digital collage for just about ANY subject
- Have students create a Padlet-scavenger hunt, leaving clues across each other’s boards
- Create an “About Me” board – for you, or your students.
- Use a Padlet “Discussion board” to discuss your favorite topics.
I’m working on a Padlet Resource Round-Up, but you get the idea. A little freedom to be creative goes a long way in the classroom, and Padlet is not only a great way to showcase that creativity, but a great assessment tool as well.