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Teachers Teaching Teachers #198 - David Niguidula and Bill Fitzgerald Give New Life to Digital Portfolios - 04.28.10


70:09 minutes (16.05 MB)

We asked two of our favorite software developers/consultants/activists/dreamers, Bill Fitzgerald and David Niguidula to talk to us about digital portfolios on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers.


Bill Fitzgerald and FunnyMonkey

At an Educon 2.1 session in January, Bill Fitzgerald showed us a Durpal-based digital portfolio system that he and his colleagues at FunnyMonkey had been developing. As always with Bill, it was more than a software demonstration. With this project, he is leading us in a process of “Rethinking Portfolios.”

The promise of the portfolio is that the demonstration of learning remains as close as possible to the process of learning, while allowing individual elements of the learning process to be highlighted and discussed as part of evaluation. This type of assessment creates a nuanced picture of how a person is developing as a learner.

Portfolios have been around for a while, yet they are still largely viewed as an “alternative” means of assessment. What are some of the barriers for adoption that exist? What are the arguments against using portfolios?

When used effectively as part of ongoing professional development:]

  • A teaching portfolio shows what and how a teacher is teaching;
  • In conjunction with a student portfolio, organic ties can be made between student learning and the role of the teach
  • The process of creating a teacher portfolio accomplishes (at least) two things
  1. it transforms curriculum development from an individual endeavor into a community endeavor; and
  2. after maintaining a teacher portfolio for one year, a teacher will have created a fully portable outline of their entire course, which has the potential to eliminate the need for a textbook.

We were happy the opportunity in this podcst to learn more about FunnyMonkey’s Digital Portfolio project.

David Niguidula and Richer Picture


Fifteen years ago, Paul Allison and Shantanu Saha were working at University Heights Secondary School in the Bronx when we had the opportunity to begin building a digital portfolio for our school. David Niguidula was the leader of this project with the Coalition of Essential Schools. That project was a life changer for both Paul and Shantanu. It was the experience with technology that would put each of us on our own journeys into educational technology that continue today. Occasionally our paths meet up. Both Shantanu’s and Paul’s students work on Youth Voices, a Drupal site developed by Bill Fitzgerald.

We were excited to have this opportunity to catch up with David Niguidula! This is how his site describes their work:

Richer Picture® products and services help schools use technology to personalize teaching and learning. Our digital portfolios provide a new way for your students to show that they are meeting standards — while celebrating who they are as individual learners.

We have the most extensive experience in developing and implementing electronic portfolios in K-12 schools. In the 1990’s, Ideas Consulting Founder David Niguidula led the first research project on digital portfolios while at the Coalition of Essential Schools. Since then, we have accumulated over a dozen years of experience working in elementary, middle, and high schools across the country and around the world.

We provide both technology tools and the professional development to help you use them effectively. Our software is customized for your school and is designed to fit your needs. Our professional development goes far beyond learning how to use the tools; we help your staff address the essential questions of assessment and school change.

These tandem descriptions made us wonder if these two guys had ever met before. Well, they didl meet, on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers. Enjoy!

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Teachers Teaching Teachers #197 - Students, Teachers, and Gardeners Mark Earth Day 2010 - Hour 2 of Earthcast 2010 - 04.21.10


58:44 minutes (13.44 MB)

Where were you when Earth Day 2010 started at Zero Hour - Greenwich Mean Time Thursday (also known as 9 p.m Eastern / 6 p.m. Pacific USA) ?

Many of us were listening to the 2010 Keynote Earthcast speaker, Jason Czarneki, which is available at Earthbridges.net.

Jason Czarneki, professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School, was the keynoting Earthcast 2010, a live, 24 hour webcastathon starting at 0 GMT on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 . Jason keynoted Earthcast 2009 and was back to jumpstart Earthcast 2010, this time speaking to the topic of, “Climate Policy and U.S.-China Relations.” The theme of the talk was particularly relevant as Jason is currently living and teaching in Guangzhou, China, north of Hong Kong, on a Fulbright Scholarship. Jason gave a 20-30 minute talk followed by 30 minutes of discussion and questions from the moderators and virtual participants.

That was a tough act to follow, but we did our best! Teachers Teaching Teachers was the second hour of Earthcast 2010:

 

  • We talked about school/community gardens! Paul Allison’s students at the East-West School of International Studies, Flushing have been tilling the earth this spring. They’ve been inspired by their play in Evoke to change the world, one garden at at time. A couple of student-gardeners join us on this podcast.

  • Susan Ettenheim also welcomed students from the Green Team at her school, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Manhattan.

  • We also had a teacher new to TTT, Elizabeth Kee. She teaches at Lower East Side Prep, also in Manhattan. Elizabeth had been teaching Paul Fleischman’s Seedfolks to her mainly Chinese and other ELL students. This spring they planted the seeds from this book, and at the time of the Earthday, they were getting ready to move to a community garden.

  • AND!! We were joined by Evoke gardeners, Michele Baron from Virginia, and Patricio Buenrostro-Gilhuys from Guadalajara, Mexico!

What a way to start an EARTH DAY!

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Teachers Teaching Teachers #196 - Mash-up of Youth Voices Student Photographers and Evoke Gardeners - 04.14.10


62:55 minutes (14.4 MB)

We hope you'll enjoy this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers where we bring together gardeners from the alternate reality game, Evoke with photography students on Youth Voices. Take a look at this recent photo discussion, and join a few Youth Voices students:

  • Gamer, photograher, and musician, Jake, from Chris Sloan's classes at  Judge Memorial H.S. in Salt Lake City
     
  • Matt, Brianna, and Annie, from Susan Ettenheim's digital photography class at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, NYC
     
  • We are also joined by Evoke gardener, Michele Barron.

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Teachers Teaching Teachers #195 - Spring Curriculum Share - 04.07.10


64:59 minutes (14.87 MB)

It’s Spring in the northern hemisphere. Some of us have five or six, others nine weeks left in the academic year. It’s a great time to try out something new or to reflect on what we tried this year. What are you doing this academic season? Listen to this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, then let us know what you are doing this spring.

  • You will <fill in the blank>
  • Paul Allison and Rachel Smith report on how Evoke is going, perhaps with a student or two.
  • Susan Ettenheim and Chris Sloan talk about how their collaborations in digital photography classes are going.
  • Matt Montagne and a student discuss Goggle Apps and the plans, at the time, for Earth Day, which was a success again this year.

Photo: Uploaded on April 12, 2010 by AnnaBanana628
 

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Teachers Teaching Teachers #194 - Two First-Year College Students Help Us Reflect on Youth Voices and More - 03.31.10


52:35 minutes (12.04 MB)

What does working in a school-based social network like http://youthvoices.net have to do with getting ready for college? Chris Sloan had a great idea. “Why don’t we invite former students who used Youth Voices and who are now in college to Skype in with their thoughts about what college is like these days … and if Youth Voices maybe does or doesn’t fit with what they are doing now?”

Two of Chris’s former students joined us on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers. Here’s Chris’s more detailed introduction to this week’s podcast:

It’s that time of year again when the seniors I teach are in that bittersweet time; they’re happy to be moving on but sad to leave some things behind.  They’re distracted by plans for the future but also trying to live up to their many commitments.  As their teacher I often wonder whether the things we do in my classes has value, if I’ve prepared them enough for “life after high school.”  So I thought it might be an interesting idea to catch up with some of our former students to see how their first year is wrapping up.  Was college all they dreamed it would be?  Is it better than they imagined? not quite as good?  Did the kind of work they did on Youth Voices, the digital compositions and the collaborative writing, prepare them for the kinds of things they’ve been asked to do this year in college? Judging by the 2010 Horizon Report, I think we’re on the right track, but there’s only one way to find out. 

Here are a couple of Youth Voices alumni who join us on this podcast: Last year Katie appeared a couple of times on TTT, first as part of a discussion about the seniors’ plans for college, TTT 134, Four Young Bloggers Apply to College where she said things like: “I don’t think that as an 18-year old in college, it’s a life or death situation about whether you’ll be successful or not.  The college application process is a stressful thing, but you have to keep it in perspective.”  Katie also appeared on TTT 130, which was an extension of the Youth Voices discussion, “YES WE CAN: my experience in Grant Park on election day.”

We were also joined by Jimin who blogs regularly at Crunchgear in addition to being a student at NYU.  Last year Jimin wrote posts like  All Your Intellectual Property Are Belong to Us, It’s Not Fair, It’s Laissez-Faire!, and used Youth Voices as another way to promote his band Illegal Beagle.

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

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