The current school year isn’t even over and I’m already beginning to think about next year. I’m thinking of moving toward a digital portfolio style of assessment using my classroom wiki. Each student would have their own page as a starting point and would document activities completed in class to show proficiency or their path toward it. This would allow me to give some focused instruction on a skill/tool early on and students could use it as needed throughout the year.
My current notebook system is not far from this model. I have a selection of about 25 activities that I give students at the beginning of the year. They choose from those activities for their homework to process information in class. The activities cover a variety of learning styles and are things I model near the beginning of the year.
Next year, my goal is to do something similar with digital tools for processing information. As my classroom is a science classroom, I always show them methods for graphing data using spreadsheet software. I’ll probably also do some discussion of Presentation Zen style PowerPoint presentations to avoid the dreaded Death By PowerPoint.
My question for you all is this: what experiences/skills do you think I should include for my students early in the year? Granted, I know there will be new tools that crop up during the year, but what would be a good smattering of what is out there to start with? Keep in mind some boundaries:
- I’m in a science classroom
- This is 7th grade so starting the year most of my kids are only 12…as a side question, how do you all work through that issue?
- I do not have daily access to student computers. Early in the year I could probably get close and a vast majority of my students have computers at home.
- Things I’m already considering: podcasting with Audacity (would love something like GabCast for the under 13 crowd), hyperlinking within the wiki, VoiceThread/Animoto/PhotoStory, Creative Commons…
Looking for as many suggestions as possible.