Easy Portfolio- App of the Week

  • unnamed
  • Easy Portfolio
  •  Jarrod Robinson
  • Version 3.2
  • $2.29Cdn.
  • 23.3MB

Easy Portfolio is not fancy but it can certainly help you keep track of artifacts that are important for teachers and students.

Within this bland exterior lies a surprisingly robust app with considerable scope.  As a teacher, you can keep track of your own learning or you can add a whole class of students and the artifacts of their learning.

This app offers six different types of “records” that can be saved within each portfolio.   Upload or create within the app, video, images, and audio files.  Add text to create separate titles for each entry.  Add an entry that is just text, a reflection on an artifact or a quote, a philosophical statement, a goal. Keep track of important URL’s by typing them in or copying and pasting them into a record.  Finally, save documents that reflect your learning in some way.

Although some websites, apps or programs would allow further embellishment, this Easy Portfolio contains “just the facts.”  And sometimes isn’t that all you need?

This YouTube video gives you further information before you invest.  I like this app for teachers and for students.  It gives you a guaranteed place for those artifacts that are most important to your learning.

Green Screen Success!

As part of the interactive, hands-on, experiential learning collection our library is creating for the students of the Werklund School of Education, we purchased a Green Screen. Our purchase was a starter kit with a green, white, and black background, two lights with filters and all the framing to make everything stand up.  As you can see this was the extent of my knowledge at the time of the purchase.

It sounded like a cool idea to set it up and let it work it’s magic but our students were not present in the summer and my acting is not top-notch.  Opportunity knocked when the main university library agreed to host 80 grade 8 students from the nearby town of High River, Alberta.  What did we have to loose?  A few kids, a rodeo scenario, and a green screen.

Here is what we learned:  A green screen is one of the most fun kits to have in your library or Maker Space. We had 6 hand-picked (meaning students with an interest in Drama and the Arts) students and a variety of techie volunteers.

We learned that grade 8 students know about iMovie and green screens and are no strangers to script writing, advertising, and what sells on Social Media.

We learned that in order to successfully run a workshop with any technology or software that the most recent update of the software is a must for compatibility.  We used iPads with the iMovie app to capture the action and MacBooks with the most recent updates of iMovie to stream and edit the “movie.”

We ended up with a very short, very funny, very western commercial to invite all the family to come to the High River Rodeo.

As I have said before, sometimes you have to close your eyes and jump in with both feet.  You might even learn something.unnamedPartner!

MaKey-MaKey Making

MaKey-MaKey kits are fun and approachable for anyone over, say, 8 years old.  This is not to say that a seven-year-old with a guiding adult wouldn’t enjoy the kit but, realistically, in a classroom, 8 year-old students would manage. It is very useful to have basic circuit knowledge before beginning experimenting with the kits.

In addition to your MaKey-MaKey kits, you will need to provide a few extra things like Play Doh, fruit (some works better than others and bananas work well), tinfoil, copper wire, and sharp graphite pencils.

MaKey-MaKey is the invention of two MIT students who used social media and kickstarter fundraising to support their research and the marketing of the kits.

We worked through some of the simplest experiments.  We played music with bananas.  Graphic pencil markings helped us play Guitar Hero (a personal favourite). We went “old-school” playing Pacman and Tetris games using the MaKey-MaKey as the controller.

Finally, we began to use the MaKey-MaKey in an experimental sense.  The Hot Wheels Challenge helped us work though how to use the MaKey-MaKey as part of a Distance/Speed/Time data gathering experiment.  Workshop participants worked collaboratively to trouble-shoot connectivity issues and successfully measure some speed variables.

Fun and interesting. Trial and error learning.  We experienced it all when it came to learning about and then using our MaKey-MaKey kits.

My advice: Dive in and learn as you go.  Your students will love it and, although everything will not be perfect, the learning will be truly authentic.IMG_1421

The Design Thinking Experience


“The design thinking process is best thought of as a system of overlapping spaces rather than a sequence of orderly steps. There are three spaces to keep in mind: inspiration,ideation, and implementation. Inspiration is the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions. Ideation is the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas. Implementation is the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives.”  from IDEO homepage

Three of us from the Doucette Library attended a workshop late last week with many middle school teachers at Westmount Charter School here in Calgary. The main experience of the workshop was a protracted Design Thinking process based on the Stanford School model.

Design Thinking is the link we should be looking at to make the learning in our Maker Spaces an authentic experience for our students.  The workshop leader, Dr. Susan Crichton, walked school and library staff through the process using these touchstones: Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation.  And yes, ideate  is a real word in the dictionary that captures the collection of ideas that surround the discussion of a solution to a problem.

During our full day workshop, we experienced the interview process including summarizing the interpretation of the “problem” from a partner’s point of view. We narrowed our view through a series of interviews to capture the goals of our partner and to give further insight.  We then created an “insight” that stated our partner’s “problem” in a way that created avenues for design. And then we sketched, quickly, 5 radical ways to address the insight.  The operative word here is “sketch,” putting all of us adults out of our comfort zone and creating some ingenious ways to further portray the question’s possible outcomes. That is ideating. Now, working on our own questions, we were given a short time to iterate, reflecting and generating a new solution to the issue we are addressing. Then the building began with, essentially, a bag full of dollar store items, a glue gun, and three other opinions.  This work was the prototype or metaphoric answer to our problem and the variety of outcomes was impressive.  The conversation that occurred between groups was rich with concrete expressions of the “answers” to the question.  Challenging, exhausting and exhilarating were descriptions of the experience of Design Thinking.  Can everyone apply this type of learning in their classrooms?  Yes, with a leap of faith, your students will thank you for taking part in such an authentic and experiential learning process.