Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.
I received this question from Mary.
I teach Media Production, where my year 9 students get creative with Adobe Photoshop, Audition, Premier Pro and Stop Motion Pro. They have a wonderful time, but I would love to be able to provide them with a way of keeping a digital portfolio of their work. Our school runs Blackboard, but the digital portfolio add-in is very expensive, too much for our small school.
Are there any free web-based options I should know about, or less expensive ones?
Have you considered getting students signed up for wikispaces? You can create a free wiki, add each student as a member and let them create their own page, then they can embed each project right onto their wiki page. I did this with 5th graders last year and got some beautiful results (albeit mixed because of the age. Some got it; some glazed over).
Another option is Google Sites if you have an education account for Google Apps. Each student has access to a Google Site website, which allows embedding. Not free, but no cost if you’re already a Google Apps member.
Finally, an option I’m trying out this year with 5th graders (who don’t yet have access to Google Apps and have difficulty remembering a wiki log-in and maneuvering through it) is Kidblogs. It’s based on the easy-to-use WordPress platform and I’m hoping provides lots of the same WordPress blog options as you see in this Ask a Tech Teacher blog on a closed school platform. I’ll let you know how it goes.
And, I’ll post this and see if anyone has other ideas. Thanks for the interesting questions.
To ask Otto a question, fill out the form below:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.