Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Google Sites for Student Portfolios

During the AppsEvent at Chadwick International School back in December, I offered one presentation about using Google Sites for Student Portfolios. My room was full and part way into the presentation, I realized there were many folks who wanted the session to be more hands on, so I switched gears and went into Google Sites and started walking through the process we used at Cheongna Dalton School to build portfolios with our students. The teachers were very thankful and interested in the step-by-step process of creating a portfolio. I guess I did a good job, because I was recently contacted by an AppsEvent team member (Neil Trinidad) requesting a guess blog post about it. I'm posting the original here on my blog, but will be giving Neil a version to post on the AppsEvents Blog.

The content of the presentation is something you can read from the Slides above, so I will get into the discussions from the session that was more interesting for the teachers. The most commonly asked question was how to get students to create a portfolio when templates don't really exist in Google Sites. At CDS we dealt with this by building a portfolio with the students. For example, I created my Google Site going step-by-step to show the G2-G5 students exactly what they needed to do. I believe this is better than simply giving a student a template, because then they actually learn how to build the Site from the beginning. Many of the students were really happy and made tons of comments like, "Dude, we are building webpages. This is so cool." We started by simply going to Google Sites and using the + button to make a new Site.

The next step was to properly name the Site and give it an address by publishing it. Our student Sites are published only for people within our domain, which gives a layer of security for our First Program students. As a school, we have agreed to continue publishing within our own domain through G6 and then Sites become public. Students are taught to consider what they are posting and to alert a faculty member or parent if anyone from outside of our school ever contacts them online. After creating our homepage, we added subpages for each Term and then subpages under each Term for each subject. Homeroom and subject teachers decide what assignments the students should share and reflect on in FP, but starting in middle school, student select their own assignments to share and reflect upon.

After Term 1, the G3 and G4 students really needed very little support; mostly they needed a few reminders about where to find things in Google Drive. G2 continued to need some major hand holding during Term 2, but I think they are fairly comfortable at this point. The middle school students needed one 20-minute overview of Google Sites and the rest they basically did on their own with some gentle nudging from their House teachers. If you have any questions about using Google Sites for creating student portfolios, please feel free to contact me.

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