Easy Portfolio App

Something that that I am trying to improve in my teaching (slowly) is the recording and use of more formative assessment.

I need to understand more accurately where my students are at with their learning and feed this back to them on a more regular basis. How do I record the formative assessment that occurs in my HPE classes more effectively, in a way that I can easily access later/immediately?

My solution at the moment is the Easy Portfolio app for iPad. Here is an App that has powerful uses from Reception to Year 12. Once you have entered your student names you can build a portfolio for each student. You can add the following types of files to the student portfolios:

1. Video – add video taken at another time or take a video within the app and add immediately. Oral presentations, video of models and projects, video student collaboration. I have used this during term  3 to video my 7/8 students in practical lessons completing Touch Football drills (short 20 second videos).

2. Images – ad images stored on your iPad or take a photo within the app to add instantly to the portfolio. Take photos of student work or students completing tasks/working with others. I used this the other day with a student whose work would not save on the computer  or USB (it was an image with 5 associated words) so I took a photo of it and stored it in that students portfolio. Perfect for taking photos of student writing in junior primary, easy to see class/student progression in one place (on the iPad) instead of having to take home 17 books to look through.

3. Audio – add audio. This could be a conversation between you and a student (conferencing) or record a students oral presentation and instantly place it in their portfolio.

4. Notes – add notes. Type in notes about students attitude, behaviour, absence, performance, learning etc…

5. URL – add a URL. Add web addresses that contain student work ie a Glogster poster, a photo stored on Flikr, a blog or a website that enhances work they completed elsewhere.

6. Documents – add a document. Documents (all office documents) can be uploaded to the Easy Portfolio app. You do need a Dropbox account  (online/cloud storage 2G free) as the  creator of the app has linked it with Dropbox. I have used this function with my year 9 students by getting them to save a document to my USB. I then copy and paste them into a folder in drop box, assess them/add comment then upload them to the portfolio app. You can’t edit them once they are in the portfolio app. Two minute video explaining Dropbox click here. Download Dropbox click here.

This app would also be great for parent teacher interviews. Connect it up to the white board and show parents and students examples of work completed over the term or semester to enhance discussions about student learning. No need to have piles of books, paper, posters, projects within reach when conducting parent teacher interviews.

To see how the Easy Portfolio app works watch this video made by its creator Jared Robinson.

Socrative – Find out what your students know

This tool is excellent and I  will be using it in the next week or two with my stage 1 PE students. This Web tool/app allows for exactly the same type of feedback that the Activote devices provide with the IWB’s. Socrative allows you to preprepare quizzes or make up questions on the spot to find out instantly where your students are with a particular topic and use as another way of formatively assessing your students. Questions can be asked in the following formats – true/false, multiple choice and short answer questions.

To use this tool you need a wireless network, laptop or other device such as a smart phone, iPad, iPod that can connect to the wireless system you are using. For the year 11 and 12 students who always have access to laptops or certainly more so than other year levels this tool would be excellent. The teacher requires a device and so does each student participating (although I think multiple students can access one device if you don’t mind students taking it in turns). Another plus for this tool is that it does not require students to set up an account and therefore have to remember a username and password. Students connect with the teacher through a number that represents that teachers classroom (teacher provides the number to the students). Although Socrative requires students to have a device of some description it is a much easier process than the Activote devices provided by Promethean IWB’s.

Socrative also has apps for the iPhone and iPad (teacher app and student app both free). I could see this web tool working brilliantly in any class from year 1/2 up with iPads due to their ease of use.

I realise not everyone has access to laptops on a regular basis but you could use Socrative to run a quick test of your students knowledge in a computing suite or borrow 6-8 laptops and have them set up in your classroom permanently for a day so that you could get different students to do short assessment tasks for you during the day.

Check out the video below to see how Socrative works.