Tuesday, 15 June 2010

S1 adventures in posterous

A while ago I talked here about how I thought posterous had tremendous potential for use as a portfolio or record of work. It's simplicity of posting, the low technical knowledge base required for its use and its ability to absorb just about any file all seemed tailor made for use with an S1 ICT class that myself and Robbie Alexander were sharing. As the class have now moved on to S2, I thought it might be useful to share some of the results and my own thoughts on what we achieved, mainly as a result of Robert Jones planting the seed in a discussion on twitter. If you read the students blogs, please browse back, as the most recent entries would require you to have scratch and pivot to view the files. Also, some students password protected their pages while they experimented. If any of the links are protected (they don't seem to be here), then contact me by a comment or via twitter (@Kenny73) and I'll see if they are OK for me to give you access, as there is little in the way of personal information.

A good example of a reflective learning log
This student really took to the opportunity every Friday to comment on his work from the week passed. I was very pleased by how he clearly thought about how to improve his performance and the quality of his work throughout the rotation was very high indeed. This student is a very quiet, unassuming individual and it was also nice to see him recognise that he had a place to celebrate his own achievements. The most pleasing thing for myself and Robbie as the teachers was how natural this became for the student. Finally, the blog allowed him to have an easy reference point at home for work which would previously only have been accessible for the short window of ICT class time.

A good example of independent use (here and here)
Two students had consistently creative work throughout the year, and one in particular became a real leader in the class, quite often assisting his peers and, as such, the teacher in ensuring they were able to succesfully complete the work. More interesting for me than their use of posterous to showcase their talents is the way that, without any direction from myself, they started to use their blogs to host work from other subjects. They were not the only students who did this, and I was delighted to see it. I think this gives me hope that an e-portfolio which drew together work from across subject disciplines is a possibility and, I would argue, something that many students would find natural.

A good example of peer recognition and promoting self confidence

This student came to the subject with enthusiasm and an excellent manner, but probably a little lacking in confidence in her abilities.Some of the comments she had left indicate this, for example, here she appears to recognise that she is actually more than capable of following an instruction for a task and should therefore try to work more independently. I like the way she also recognised her peers as assisting her learning. I think in many respects, what we facilitated in the class was an environment for the students to learn in a way that was most comfortable for them. Although most of the students still asked the teacher for assistance from time to time, I was genuinely pleased to see them learning from each other and finding this something that they were able and encouraged to do.

A good example of outstanding work
I could have picked a number of the children's posterous blogs here, but I feel that this students work has been excellent throughout the year. This was the initial reason that we started the use of posterous, as a way to collect evidence that students had met the course criteria and to allow them to share that work at home in a way that they wouldn't previously been able to. Some students freely told me that they showed their work to their parents, and one in particular told me that his father kept it in his favourites to browse regularly. I thought this was fantastic, and brought parents closer to the work their children were doing at school. My only disappointment is that the parents did not take the opportunity to comment themselves, as I am sure this would have been something that would have been appreciated. I think this is something that could be encouraged over time.

My own thoughts are that the students not only persisted, but experimented with their blogs because it required nothing more than sending their work from e-mail. I have previously had groups of students who have used other blogging platforms and have fallen away from these once they started to work with templates and code and so on. I am also greatly encouraged that this type of platform could be succesfully used by schools to experiment with e-portfolios. If I were to do anything differently, I as the teacher would try to comment more often on students work. I quite often passed comment on the students work in class, and left a couple of comments along with Robbie, but I think we could have been more rigorous in both offering guidance and celebrating the students successes. Hopefully other teachers will experiment with this as I think it has enormous worth. If you do, please let me know how you get on.