One of the things that I have advocated for when talking to people about Project Based Learning is the need to reconsider how we assess growth. As an ELA teacher, one of the most common practices was the manila folder where students would keep their assessed writing. The idea was that they could go back and see how they have grown from one essay to the next. Another traditional format is asking students to keep a binder of everything they have done in class and hope their water bottle doesn't explode in their bag or lose it completely.
Those are traditional examples of portfolios that many of us have used for years, but maybe never actually called a portfolio. As I shifted more to project based learning and created my design classes for 6th-8th grade, I needed a way to assess student work that also allowed them to hold on to it and see their own growth over time. Adobe Spark and Seesaw have been two apps that have really helped me accomplish both of those objectives.
As a school, we use Seesaw as out main portfolio tool in the Middle School. I like it so much, that I also use it with my high school Mechanical Engineering class. It allows for teachers to create classes, create activities in those classes, and it allows for students to post their work to those activities to demonstrate their understanding of the material covered in the activity. What is really nice about Seesaw is that is allows for video uploads, image uploads, and recorded annotation. Students can spend multiple classes creating a project and then upload images of their work to the Seesaw with a provided narration that explains what they did and how that demonstrates their understanding. I have found that by adding Adobe Spark to the mix, you can take the portfolio to the next level.
Adobe Spark is free to all students and allows for the creation of images, slideshows, and websites. All of it is hosted and stored on their account. They can download their content and use it as needed. What I love about Adobe Spark is that it gives students access to amazing creation tools that have normally been reserved for art departments or design departments. I have students that love to use Adobe Spark to create different templates and styles to showcase their work and then they upload it to Seesaw. Some have used websites to store all of their work as they progress through the trimester and share the link on Seesaw. Adobe Spark adds an element of versatility to the use of portfolios in the classroom.
Due to privacy issues, I cannot share any of the work that students have created with all of you, but here is some of the work I have done using Adobe Spark to give you a sense of what it looks like. This is template I created in Adobe Spark that students could use if they wanted to showcase their work at the end of the marking period. You can make your own copy of this template by following this link to my library of templates.