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Student Learning Plans: Choosing a Platform

The Quest for the “Perfect” Platform at Connect

Through formal and informal conversations with colleagues, students, parents, and administrators over the past two years we have determined the characteristics necessary in a platform for our student learning plans (SLP's). Although recognizing some classes at Connect house their SLP’s in binders and duotangs (as a paper format), we realized early on in our process that a digital platform was critical in ensuring information is easily transferable between and amongst all stakeholders. Asking questions such as: What are the different platforms available? And, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each? were important in our process to find a platform that would meet the majority of student, parent, and teacher needs. The specific characteristics we felt were most important to our school were the following:

  • Security
  • Access - ipad/laptop & home/parents/teachers
  • User friendliness
  • Transferability between grades & years
  • Clear visual/clean...easy to view
  • Good “fit” with our Exemplary Learning Framework (ELF) … re: its set-up (Please see our previous blog post discussing our ELF and SLP’s)
  • Individuality/Personalization
  • Cost
  • Options
  • Multimedia options
  • Living/easy to edit or change
  • Age appropriate features

With the characteristics in mind, we set to assess some of the most popular, accessible and current platforms. To help with our analysis, we created a table indicating the characteristic and its strength in the platform. For example, using the letter H, indicates a strong presence of the characteristic within the platform, M is a medium presence, and L is low.


Tumblr
Evernote
Google Docs
Moodle
Canvas
Edmodo
Pathbrite
Security
L
H
H
H
H
H
H
Access
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
User Friendly
H
M
H
L
H
H
H
Transferability
H
H
H
L
M
L
H
Easy to view
L
L
H
H
H
L
H
Works with ELF
L
H
H
H
H
L
H
Personalization
H
L
L
L
H
L
M
Cost
H
M
H
L
L
H
H
Ability to Document Process
L
M
L
M
H
M
H
Multimedia Options
H
H
L
H
H
M
H
Living
H
H
M
H
H
L
H
Easy to Edit
H
H
H
H
H
L
H
Age Appropriate
L
H
H
H
H
H
H
Feedback
H
L
M
H
H
H
M
Reliability
H
H
H
H
H
H
?

Through our initial analysis, we felt it was important to further investigate our top three platforms including Moodle, Canvas, and Pathbrite. In the end, we felt that Pathbrite was the strongest platform and seemed to meet our needs and context. Specifically, the cost of Canvas was a significant deterrent. While with Moodle, its nature was more in vein with a management system and currently at Connect the staff and students use Edmodo as our primary management system.

There were many features of Pathbrite that stood out for us. The security feature was of critical importance. With the site’s “private” setting students invite their teacher or parent to view their SLP, if that person forwards the link to a third party (another parent or teacher), the link will not work. This security feature ensures that the student individually selects each and every person that can have access to their Student Learning Plan. Similarly, students are able to indicate whether or not they want to make comments visible to others viewing their SLP or only to themselves.

As well, there are enough features (adding your own images), as well as constraints in features (only three design options) to ensure the SLP’s are engaging to both the student and the viewer. Pathbrite also allows for the SLP’s to be student-focused - there is a lot of flexibility for individuality. Another dynamic feature of Pathbrite is its ability to connect and enliven a variety of mediums - documents, links, videos, images on one’s computer, Vimeo, YouTube, Twitter, Google, Khan Academy, and so on.

To further explore Pathbrite and its features on your own, click the link: http://pathbrite.com
In our next blog, we will discuss the process of the roll-out of Pathbrite with our Grade 7 pilot group and next steps.

1 comments:

  1. Tanya and Abby,

    As you observe in your blog there is tremendous merit in having a common format with a digital platform for the Connect Charter School Student Learning Plans. You provide an interesting, detailed description of the criteria you identified and the rationale for selecting the best option. It will be interesting to observe the next steps as you proceed with engaging students in testing the new platform.

    ReplyDelete