Interactive Digital Portfolios Across the Curriculum

Photo by  Adele Payman

Photo by Adele Payman


As I talk to others about ideas that I learned about at the 2016 TCEA and FETC conferences that I recently attended, people always smile when I mention the 2 Bald Dudes, Mark Nickelson and Kristoffer Smith.  Aside from a great organizational name, they did an excellent job in expanding the application of Weebly in the classroom.  

As two media technology teachers, they use Weebly as a platform for students to set up Interactive Digital Portfolios to display their student work.  This is a great idea that can be applied across the curriculum.

Why IDPs Across the Curriculum?

Possibly the most powerful applications of IDPs that the 2 Bald Dudes presented on is that students are able to apply to colleges based on their work in high school, and many have been able to get jobs based on a well-presented Weebly IDP.  Wow! What a powerful application of what is learned in the classroom.

But, all education should have practical applications, or else it becomes an issue of compliance. Educators should think of what a real life demonstration of learning could be for whatever the students are learning about.  

The refined demonstrations of learning over the course of a year can be put on a website to function as an IDP. A demonstrated application of learning in a World Languages classroom can be a videoed conversation that the student has with a fluent speaker of that language.

In a Social Studies classroom, students can make a researched-based short video of public perceptions of the major societal themes studied in class.  Also, just as the 2 Bald Dudes talked about their students taking their IDPs with them to the next level of education and work, students can keep the same IDP through the progression of the same subject during their school career.

A middle school student may start an IDP in Technology Applications and Robotics courses. In high school, that same student may continue with the same IDP in Programming and Computer Science courses as a way to demonstrate the growth of their knowledge over the long term.

How Does Technology Integration Facilitate IDPs?

A knowledge of the various levels of a technology integrated curriculum can empower an educator to know what opportunities lie within the curriculum and what creative works students can do to demonstrate their knowledge.  

As I have recently written about, the Tiers of Technology Integration, from the State of Washington office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, is a detailed resource giving examples of applications and technology that can be used at each level of integration.  In my blog post, titled Leveling Up a Tier with Technology Integration, I gave a more detailed example on how to level up tiers with Google Slides.  

Another great resource is the SAMR model of education designed by Dr. Ruben Puente Dura.  Similar to the Tiers, SAMR can guide a teacher through an adaptive process of (1) substitution, (2) augmentation, (3) modification, and (4) redefinition of an activity.  

Depending on how a demonstration of learning is positioned, and how the IDP is used in an educational context, it can be Tier 2 or Tier 3, and can be a Modification or a Redefinition of a learning activity.  Whichever classification of integration, the resulting demonstration of learning is an improvement upon standard learning processes.

What Is Necessary to Get Started?

To get started with weaving an IDP into a course, think of what the purpose of the school knowledge is.  Then think of how students can demonstrate their knowledge of that application in a way that would be interesting and engaging to them.  Is that demonstration of knowledge digital? If yes, then great, that material can be uploaded to the IDP.

If not, no problem. Take a picture of the work, and upload that to the IDP.  As I said in my first paragraph, the 2 Bald Dudes use Weebly. I really like Weebly too, and it was my “go-to” platform of simple and free web design for many years. But there are other options, which I will talk about in next week's post.  

Being a Google for Education fan (and Certified Educator), I must mention the collaborative capabilities of Blogger and Sites.  Both applications allow multiple users to collaborate on the same project, and can be restricted for the viewing of certain populations, or for public searching.  Whatever design or technology tool you use, keep the students in mind. What would they be most interested in, and what what benefit them the most in the long run?

ed techBryn Hafemeister4, b