I have spent no insignificant period of time over the course of my teaching career looking for the perfect app to act as a digital portfolio for my students. I searched for apps, went to conference presentations about ePortfolios and even tested a couple in the classroom, but never found one that suited my purpose. I could not find an app that was easy enough for young students to use, while being powerful enough for the older students to reflect on their work in detail.
My perfect portfolio app allows students to do the following:
- Store a range of media, including text, videos, images and sound.
- Provides a space for student reflections
- Easy to present during three-way conferences/parent teacher interviews
- Easy to search
- Simple enough for young students to use
When I taught grade 6, Google Drive was fantastic as a digital portfolio, but it was not a whole school solution as it was too difficult for younger students to add content to their folders. I tried a range of ‘portfolio’ style apps, but they were all disappointing. They either did not work well with other apps or they did not provide students with a space to reflect on their learning.
This year, however, Book Creator has been my teaching lifesaver. It is amazing! Students of all ages can learn to use it, and the features allow it to become as simple or as complex as the student (or teacher!) would like. It works with every app I need it to, and can easily be exported as an iBook to present student work beautifully. Students can search their iBook for a particular piece of work, or particular topic, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time searching through pages of work to find a specific piece.
My favourite feature, however, is the ability to ‘hide’ a sound behind an image. This makes both student and teacher reflections a breeze. Students can place a verbal reflection behind their work, so the image becomes interactive when exported to iBooks – the reader simply taps the image, and the reflection plays! Students can also add a picture of their teacher, or a similar image, to the corner of each section of their book and the same feature can be used to add teacher reflections and feedback.
Overall, I will definitely be continuing to use Book Creator, and will recommend it to other schools. It does exactly what I need it to, easily and quickly. I am very glad I started to use it!
How have you used Book Creator in your classroom? What apps do you use for your digital portfolio?