Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

Must-Try Tech Projects for End-of-Year Reflections

Must-Try Tech Projects for End-of-Year Reflections

By Alasdair Carr

Over the course of the year, your students have created some amazing work. Looking back through workbooks in the final term is always a powerful reminder of how far they’ve come, especially in younger year groups.

One way to capture this progress is to create a collection of their finest work. Of course, portfolios in education have been used for a long time, but until recently, it was a tedious process of finding pieces to include, writing reflections, and sticking them into a workbook. Not only is this not a particularly enjoyable task, but it isn’t fit for purpose.

So many learning experiences and projects completed by students are now rich, multimedia artifacts—is a printout sufficient? Can you effectively demonstrate the processes a student has gone through or the perseverance shown by simply sticking in a completed piece of work? Not in my opinion.

Instead, I encourage you to use these ideas to gather evidence and celebrate student achievements at the end of the year.

More: 12 Painfully True End-of-Year Teacher Memes

Learning journal With Book Creator

Book Creator, by Red Jumper Limited, is the favorite app of many teachers, and for good reason. It just works! It makes it extremely simple for students of all ages to create books and comics complete with text, graphics and sounds. The recent update makes sharing between apps even simpler as well.

Students can create a book, complete with all of their proudest achievements throughout the year. They could include a math concept they finally mastered; details of the planning and performance of a drama or dance; or a website they authored as a group project.

The beauty of using Book Creator is that it can capture traditional pen and paper work, as well as embedded projects that were completed on the iPad. Students can also add sound buttons to explain why they chose particular pieces of work. They can also use this to record a reflection on the task, including how they could improve it; the opportunities are limitless.

Once created, books can easily be shared with parents or kept by students as a reminder of what they achieved in your class.

Voice Reflections With Shadow Puppet Edu

Shadow Puppet Edu is an app from SeeSaw Learning. It allows students to create high-quality videos with photos and videos from the camera roll on their device, accompanied by a voice over that they record.

What makes this app really stand out: students can annotate their clips and add text as you are recording your voice over. This allows students to draw particular attention to something that they are particularly proud of, or found challenging.

You can include up to 100 images or video clips and your video can be up to thirty minutes long, so there’s no danger of running out of space. Projects can be saved to camera roll or shared from within the app in a number of different ways, including seamless integration with SeeSaw: The Learning Journal.

More: 6 Photography Apps and Ideas for the Classroom

Digital Portfolio Using Showbie

I am a huge fan of Showbie. I think it’s one of the best workflow solutions for 1:1 iPad classrooms. I use it to share resources, collect work, provide feedback, and encourage student reflection.

I was delighted when Showbie added their portfolio feature to the free accounts. With this integration, students or teachers can go through all assignments from the past year and choose which best reflect the development of the learner.

Anything that’s hosted on Showbie (including teacher feedback) can be added to the portfolio and easily shared with parents.

Class “Movie” Trailer

This is a fun acitivity for the end of the year, keeping students excited and engaged despite being antsy for summer break. My students have absolutely loved using the built-in trailer templates in iMovie, where they can then add their own photos and video clips from throughout the year.

What I loved about these projects was that students included aspects of school life you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Instead of focusing on the content of the curriculum, they included the values we shared as a class. Students found it a valuable exercise in looking back and thinking about what it meant to be part of the class, and what it was like to be in Grade 4.

More: 5 iPad Video Projects to Assess Student Learning

Use these videos to show new students (and their parents) what to expect in the year ahead. New students in my class had a giggle at the funny parts included, and felt more comfortable about what was in store for them, as transitions can be a little daunting for younger students.

As the end of the year approaches, and you stagger toward the summer holiday, it’s easy to start counting down the days until the break. In the final weeks of term you’re swamped, and the days seem to disappear before your very eyes.

I always like to spend the last few weeks of the year enjoying the class I’ve spent the last 8 months building a rapport with, who are well versed in the class routines and expectations. I hope you and you students can use some of these ideas to look back on your year.

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