Digital Student Portfolios is a carefully researched book, a pleasure to read and continually reference, and an outstanding example of how effective technology use can deepen teaching and learning.
– Regie Routman, internationally respected educator and author of many books on literacy, including Read, Write, Lead: Breakthrough Strategies for Schoolwide Literacy Success (ASCD, 2014)
A practical, delightful handbook to seamlessly tracking student progress. I loved the examples and it was a joy to read!
– Kristen Swanson, Senior Research Leader at BrightBytes, #edcamp founder, and author of Unleashing Student Superpowers: Practical Teaching Strategies for 21st Century Students (Corwin, 2014)
From my book page at Powerful Learning Press:
At principal Matt Renwick’s K-5 elementary school, digital portfolios are comprehensive collections of student work that teachers and their students curate and reflect upon on a regular basis. Produced using highly flexible software, the portfolios are “receptacles for learning from the past, reflections on our current capacities, and goal-setting resources for the future.”
In Digital Student Portfolios: A Whole School Approach to Connected Learning and Continuous Assessment, Renwick recounts the journey that he and his faculty are taking to overcome the limitations of report cards, permanent records and paper student folders and create a dynamic 21st century approach to chronicling student growth.
Renwick’s narrative, fully supported by research and enriched with many examples of practice within his school, will appeal to school and teacher leaders across the grade levels who have an interest in the formative and summative power of web-based, multimedia student portfolios.
In his opening pages, Renwick writes:
“Through digital student portfolios, learners can document current understandings. They can make revisions as their thinking changes and their skill levels grow. Celebrations of their successes can be shared both locally and globally. The particular software and services used to create these portfolios is a subject of some interest, to be sure, but it is secondary to the big idea” itself: compiling a dynamic collection of information from many sources, in many forms and with many purposes, all aimed at presenting the most complete story possible of a student’s learning experience.
“Different forms of media, such as audio, images, and video, in addition to text, can be inserted into this dynamic compilation of information. Digital student portfolios could be considered a map of a student’s “journey toward excellence” (Routman, 2013). This documentation also serves as description of a school’s own story. We write our own narrative as we work together – students, teachers, and parents – to realize our mission and vision.”
From the Foreword by principals Jessica Johnson & Curt Rees:
Digital Student Portfolios is a fantastic resource that will help readers carry out meaningful change in their schools. It is also a practical resource based on current experiences of Matt, his school staff, and his students. In it you will find what worked well in their efforts to develop an effective method for documenting student learning. You will also read about the attempts that were not successful and how Matt and his staff made adjustments to their efforts to continue to develop a system that is beneficial for the learning of their students and staff members.
In order for any new initiative to be successful, a building must have the culture in place to support it. As you read how this journey took place in Matt’s school, you will see how his leadership, staff practices, and opportunities for professional learning created a culture in which the teachers were comfortable to try new strategies, take risks, and grow together.
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