25 May 2014

iPads, Audio, and E-portfolios

Collecting evidence for listening, speaking, and person-to-person is about to get a whole lot easier.We did what we could with student devices and my little (well, huge) Android phone to collect evidence for portfolios this year. Next year, though, I was selected to experiment with a set of iPads in my classroom (my district is awesome!)

Mostly what I hope the iPads will do is facilitate recording, sharing, and posting. It'll involve setting up accounts and protocols, but here are some things I'm thinking about trying.

Integrate recording into discussion protocol
It was tricky when we had to make sure at least one person had a phone that recorded, and it was even trickier figuring out how to get those recorded files to the e-portfolios from those phones at times. With class iPads, we won't have to go to the cafeteria to get signal to send, we can ensure we record with file types that are overall compatible, and as long as the first thing one person in each group does before starting is grab an iPad, each group will have a guaranteed recording.

Designate class videographers
Maybe we'll have a new videographer--or 3--each week in each class so everyone gets the chance to experience recording and uploading to a shared stash of videos. I'll have to practice working accion and pausa into my instructions for their benefit (and mine--wow does the dead space kill me when I'm trying to listen to class videos to find evidence of them understanding). We could even review a little calendar-speak to set up their weeks! Similarly, each individual kid should have at least 2 designees in class who will grab an iPad when they're "on stage" (ie answering questions or presenting) and upload their performance to a designated class stash in the cloud.

Set up a shared stash
Dropbox is a little antsy about sharing and downloading files, and Drive can be a little low-power for uploading and sorting videos. Maybe iCloud would work for the raw videos, but we might want to go a more shareable route with portfolio-ready audio and video. YouTube is off-limits, but SchoolTube or TeacherTube might work--have our own little channels, maybe even let parents see what's going on in class?

Practice editing regularly
Once again, if I have to watch another 10-minute video to get 2 minutes of actual proficiency demonstration, I think I'll flip (and not in the hip 21st century learning way). Having students slice out the down time and speed up their cutting/sorting/creating to show they can follow directions could help them focus on the proficiency goals, encourage self-review and reflection, and generally make my life easier. And for those audio files not recorded with conveniently embeddable Vocaroo files, they could splice together videos with a visual or two easy as pie with the iPads. Goodness knows there are about a bazillion movie editing programs out there for iPads, and this could also mean portfolios end up being a lot more employer-ready, for example, to highlight students' talents.

Update portfolios often
With all of these recording opportunities and options, students will have to review recordings more frequently. Since I'm planning to make Fridays portfolio days at first, while Genius Hour/passion projects are the focus the rest of the week, it might be worthwhile to have kids pick out and reflect on one recording of themselves each week, explain which objectives they demonstrated, and analyze their own proficiency level. This might make a cool weekly blog post so they can see how they grow, too, but I'll have to figure out the embedding. After we branch out from individual projects into class projects, maybe we'll update biweekly or just monthly instead?

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