25 February 2012

Glogster as E-portfolio

I talked my school into Glogster Premium accounts for everyone about a year ago, for the purposes of building our e-portfolio component. I do not regret it, but we are now ready to move on.

I had been so frustrated by the limited, list-like functions of ThinkQuest and what seemed to amount to a two-minute limit on videos, that Glogster seemed like a godsend to me. As a world language teacher, what is the point of an e-portfolio with such limited multimedia capabilities? I want to see videos, hear language production, and be able to read text without clicking and waiting on a file to download then waiting for it to open!

I had hoped that the ability to play with their e-portfolios would entice more students to spend time adding to and improving them. I had hoped the ability to create projects and apply grades directly to the assignment would entice teachers to actually create meaningful assignments out of the e-portfolio.

Perhaps we're technologied out. Perhaps Edmodo and Engrade have left no room in my colleagues' hearts for  a tool that, while pretty, is inherently slow and limited in its applications. Students do tinker with their glog walls and graphics and such (sometimes to the detriment of their time spent on the actual assignment), and maybe half of the teachers at our tiny school have at least halfheartedly latched on to the idea of assigning cool projects on the glogs. But I think I may be the only one who feels they need the multimedia aspect. Most, it seems, would just as soon go on with scanned images, uploaded documents, and maybe blogs, wikis, or forum posts, all of which can be done with Edmodo and Engrade, which also double as communication systems for students and parents alike.

Even if I did somehow manage to convince the other 8 teachers at my tiny school that we should all have a video, artwork, and music incorporated into every student's e-portfolio for every class every quarter, I still think teachers and students would prefer a platform that is less...isolated? Unlike Blogger, for example, commenting on glogs is highly restricted, and thus feedback from peers is a bit of an ordeal, and almost impossible for parents. And, heck, what is the point of a portfolio that future schools and employers can't find? True, one can tweet out a glog or like it on Facebook, etc., but in a pre- or post-interview Google search, how many of their glogs will turn up? And could the right people find what they needed to know about the students if they do find these e-portfolios?

I can envision a Glog as a table of contents of links to other glogs, with enticing preview photos and videos. I have tinkered with a glog for each unit and a glog that sums up a quarter. But our school's Glogster account expires today, and I think I like the idea of opening up the e-portfolio to any platform the kids want. To that end, I'm putting together an enrichment to experiment with different programs with some of our most creative kids, figuring out what they want to show and how they want to show it.

I think Glogster is still a good choice for assignments, and I especially like what it allows me to do for things like study guides in Spanish, giving students not only multiple media to which they can respond, but multiple ways in which they can respond. I'll miss being able to assign templates like that, but I do not think there is anything else that I am going to miss about our school account, and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of things students can come up with beyond a single style.

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