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Teachers Experience Success Ditching the Report Card for Digital Portfolio Tool

New Parental Engagement Tool Is ‘Facebook’ for Students Progress

Can digital portfolios be the answer to universally improving parental engagement in schools while documenting student progress?

The creators of FreshGrade and many teachers who have been using the tool for years think yes.

"FreshGrade is the 'Facebook' (FB) for students, teachers and parents. Through real time photos, video and reports, your child’s daily activities, achievements and yes, pitfalls are sent to a personal updated data stream for you to see,” according to Fox Business.

If you’re an active Facebook user, especially if you started it using it shortly after it was developed, you’re aware of how well the site documents your life events.

But what if that model could expand past entertainment and instead provide value in the classroom?

That’s what FreshGrade aims to do; it offers schools an easy way to track student progress as they learn in the school system. 

Video clips, audio clips, tests and photos are all compiled in FreshGrade portfolios to help provide the best snapshot of how students have progressed, something that is especially easy-to-share from teacher to parent.

"By selling FreshGrade to school districts, a student’s ongoing progress will be tracked year after year. However, there is a lifetime free version for teachers to use on a classroom to classroom basis,” FoxBusiness says.

So far, FreshGrade is becoming an increasingly trusted product from educators all over the country and beyond.

Educator Robyn Thiessen has been using FreshGrade for the past four years, long before it became the polished product that it is today. Thiessen was recommended the tool by a colleague, who knew she was both frustrated with her school’s current reporting system and interested in trying out new techniques.

“I would spend hours and hours writing report cards and debating over a single word and then the parents would walk in my room with their child and say, 'So how’s he doing?' They obviously didn’t glean any information from the report card. It felt like a big waste of time.”

After adopting FreshGrade, Thiessen says she now feels much more confident in how she’s engaging parents while documenting student achievement.

Rather than waiting to read one-dimensional report card marks, parents are conveniently involved in their child’s achievement on a day-to-day basis.

When Thiessen's students’ parents "pick their kids up or they go home after a long day’s work, they may have received an update during the day and so they can target a specific conversation piece instead of just saying- 'What did you do at school today?'"

“They can say, oh I saw your art project today. Can you tell me about that?”

FreshGrade is available on both mobile phones and tablets and if you’re an interested teacher, you can download the product for free by signing up for a teacher account.

Read more about FreshGrade here.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

8/24/2016 

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