05 May 2017

Final Reflection Video Portfolios

Things were going pretty smoothly with my Can-Do based portfolios and Flubaroo badges. But not smoothly enough. Not for me.

This has been a common theme for me this year, despite admonitions from some of the people I admire most not to "sacrifice the good on the altar of the perfect."

So after I sacrificed the"good" portfolios, I muddled through this semester with Make-Your-Own-Objectives portfolios. These were even less perfect than the can-do portfolios, not least of all because I felt like I often ended up evaluating students on how well they understood the objectives they chose rather than their actual performance levels.

Now I'm only sacrificing mediocre on the altar of perfection, I guess.

Brass Tacks

I had to take a hard look at WHY I was still doing portfolios and WHAT would even be worth seeing. I knew that I wanted to see

  1. their best work,
  2. self-assessment,
  3. growth, and
  4. reflection
The trickiest part there is probably the self-assessment, because THAT went over like a lead balloon with the whole Make-Your-Own ordeal. So I looked back over the domains I gave them to choose from, and really the only problem areas were text type and vocabulary--and vocabulary wasn't a very useful avenue for exploration anyway. If we just spend a little more time discussing text type, though, I am pretty sure we can make sense of it--especially if we only focus on one sample instead of three.

So I decided what I really wanted to see evidence-wise was
  • one past sample: either the beginning of the semester or last year
  • an update of that sample: with corrections and additions to show growth
  • one completely new sample: demonstrating the full extent of what they can do
For self-assessment, I decided I really just wanted to see what level they thought they were at versus where they think they are now. I wanted to take their analysis of their current abilities a step further, so I'm allowing them to choose from ACTFL Can-Do statements and the recent performance descriptors to describe their current ability levels as clearly and specifically as possible.


I also knew I wanted what they put together to be super easy to access, and, well, enjoyable. VoiceThread has gotten too rich for my blood, and scrolling through blogger wasn't as convenient or attractive as I would like.

So what about a video? What about Adobe Spark

They could already embed images and type or record whatever they needed, and NOW they can embed videos too! So the speaking and writing are easy, and they have several options for reading, including screenshots with voiceovers. We might have to finagle listening with some screencasting or subtitles in WeVideo, but I think we can work it out.

So I put together a storyboard template on Google Drawings to lay out EXACTLY what I want to see:

We've already started reviewing "how bad" they were from their Spanish I portfolios, and even samples from earlier this year, and we will be taking a day or two to put together a video for each of the four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. To turn it in, they will take each video and embed it into the blog pages they already have for each skill, so they have something nice and tidy to show anyone interested exactly what they can do in Spanish!

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