Students: Writing, and portfolios

I wanted to catch up (in this space) with some of the work I’ve been doing for my school:

  • Students 2.0:  A new (and excellent) student-written blog focused on education:  “Administered, designed, edited, and written by a global mix of students of varying ages, interests, voices, and points of view, Students 2.0 will feature content written by both staff writers and guest contributors. From Hawaii and Washington, from St. Louis and Chicago, from Vermont, New York, Scotland, Korea, and other points on the globe, these writings will be united in one central aspect: quality student writing, full-voiced and engaging, about education.”   Tip o’ the hat to Bill at FunnyMonkey for the heads-up.
  • FolioLive (TM): I don’t know how new this is, or even if it’s becoming a major player in the arena – but it’s got a lot of the functionality we’re looking for.  This is a hosted eportfolio application (yearly license fees, it looks like) published by McGraw-Hill.  What’s frustrating is that I’m sure we – as a school – could convince funders to support us paying money to license this application, yet it’s so much harder to find funders willing to support the open-source development of an identical application – that we would own, could share freely and allow other schools to customize.  The fact that it would be ridiculously minimal to customize the existing DrupalEd application to do this (if the new version doesn’t already incoporate this functionality) is all the more frustrating.
  • (And for what it’s worth, that’s one of the poorest video-demos I’ve seen.  A pointless and long intro (at least they include a skip button), and then a series of mostly static slides, with someone reading the text printed on the slides.  Ngghhhhhh.  Sorry, is that sense of frustration palpable?)

The challenge we face (as a school) that links these two sites is  most of these conversations – whether it’s Students 2.0 talking, or conversations about eportfolios – are aimed at high-school students and above.  And if you’ve any experience in the middle-school world, you know that this level of sophistication for students is coming if not already here, and we’d like ot get on top of it before someone applies a thick-thumbed approach to it like McGraw-Hill….

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