Formative assessment, descriptive feedback and portfolios are all effective strategies to improve student learning. My experience to date is our elementary teachers are very good at using these methods to collect data and triangulate the learning taking place with there students. I have also observed that as we move from the lower grades to higher grades in elementary and secondary school that the documentation process seems to fall off. I think a big part of that is that the complexity of learning, rotary schedules and other structure make this such an onerous task it just doesn’t get done to the same degree as in our primary and kindergarten classes.
A few weeks ago I attended MISA conference in London and was lucky enough to hear a great speaker from YDSB, Royan Lee. Royan who is an intermediate teacher and hosts the blog The Spicy Learning Blog shared how he uses Evernote to document learning and create digital portfolios for his classes. I personally use Microsoft Onenote (a windows equivalent) but it really doesn’t matter the platform but more importantly is the matching of the technology with the teaching practice. His creating of a digital portfolio using evernote was brilliant and definitely share worthy.
What Royan shared with us was how he takes pictures of student work with his mobile phone and stores them in evernote as he moves around the class. He puts voice and/or text annotations beside the pictures so that he knows what he was looking and why he documented it. He then saves the item with a tag of students name as well as any other pertinent search criteria (for instance, math, writing, reading, project etc). He then can pull up by simply searching student tags in Evernote all the work in math or other criteria. At his fingertips he then has for use at parent meetings or later to document student growth and improvement tons of data on each and every child. He indicated that it feels funny to do this at first but with time and practice it is amazing how effective you can get at it. If you want more info on this teaching/assessment strategy I recommend you contact Royan directly. His twitter acct is @royanlee . Alternatively If you want to read more on using evernote as a tool for creating portfolios and documenting learning visit the blogsite below:
Example taken from post in http://evernotefolios.wordpress.com above