Making Digital Artifacts Work: Part 3

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This is the third post in a series about making digital artifacts of student learning work for you as a teacher.  In this series we will discuss the types of digital artifacts we collect, how we manage them, and what to do with all of those great pieces of evidence of student learning.  You can read the first post in this series here and the second post on ideas for managing artifacts here.

We’ve been exploring using digital artifacts in the classroom.  So here are three simple ideas for getting your students started with digital artifacts tomorrow!

  1. Snapshot and Reflection: Ask students to take a picture of a work product that you would like to have them reflect on.  Then incorporate this into a reflection artifact by annotating directly on the image  (Skitch) or adding some writing (Pages/Keynote/Google Drive) or spoken reflection (Sonic Pics).  Students might save this and add to it over the course of a unit or during the week.  Or perhaps they share with you immediately for a goal setting conference.
  2. Video Reflection: Using a built in recording program and camera ask students to stop by the reflection book and share something they learned today.  If you have multiple devices students can work on a rotating basis.  If you only have one then set up a quick recording booth and have students cycle through during the day or week.  You might ask them to talk for two minutes about how they applied a reading strategy during independent reading, reflect on their observations from a science experiment, or share a portion of writing where they accomplished a goal.
  3. Padlet Exit Ticket: You know we couldn’t leave Padlet out of this one!  It’s such an easy and versatile tool.  Ask kids to take a few minutes to share a new piece of learning, lingering question, or even record a quick video right into the padlet.  You can guide students with a specific question or leave it more open ended.

We’d love to continue in this series.  But what questions do YOU have?  Leave us a question or burning issue in the comments and we’ll work your needs into our next post.  : ) 

2 thoughts on “Making Digital Artifacts Work: Part 3”

  1. Thank you for this series about digital artifacts. These posts have really got me thinking. I really appreciate the wide variety of digital tools you mention.

    I teach 5th grade and have been using digital portfolios with my students for the past 2 years. My students each have a student Weebly page (under my account) that is a “hub” of digital artifacts. Now that this is year 3 of my dig port journey, I am trying to help students improve the quality of their digital artifacts.

    My biggest question/hurdle is WHEN students create these digital artifacts. In my reading workshop, students read 35-40 minutes every day. Recently, I’ve been allowing students to create digital reading responses on iPads (iMovie, Explain Everything, GAFE). This eats into those sacred 35-40 minutes of reading.

    Any suggestions on how to manage digital artifact time during the school day?


    1. This is such a great question Scott and I’m glad you brought this up. We want to preserve those precious reading minutes to the greatest extent possible during the day. But what goes? That is the big question. I don’t know that I have a good answer to that because everything seems important. I think that if you are taking a little from many pots instead of a lot from one then it balances out. So perhaps I would give up word study one week in favor of book trailers. I would eat into small group time another week, and yes at times we do dip into independent reading but we have to tread carefully. I might also ask a colleague or administrator to help me look at my schedule to see where I can squeeze more minutes. Are there practices that are taking too long? Transitions eating up time? Things that aren’t as impactful on learning that could maybe be pared down or go? Possibly the change needs to be building wide. Sometimes those morning announcements get a little too long. That’s five more minutes of reading a day. Like I said, that’s sort of a non-answer. A good reason why it’s so important for us to have strong justification and evidence for how the digital artifacts are impacting student learning. We should do technology well or not at all.


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