Course 5 E-Portfolio Commenting/STEM Project

What were your goals for your lesson/project 



  • Increasing motivation for students to blog reflectively about their learning in their E-Portfolio by setting up blogging buddies with 6th and 8th graders and involving parents in commenting
  • Opening some blogs up to the public to see if that increases motivation
  • Promoting our school’s first STEM fest to a global audience
  • Using QR codes and google forms to allow students to get instant feedback on their project

ISTE Coach Standards


  • Visionary Leadership
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Digital Age Learning Environments


What tools did you use? Why did you choose this/these tools for this/these task(s)?


  1. Twitter
  2. Vine
  3. Instagram
  4. Weebly
  5. GoAnimate
  6. Google Forms
  7. Google Presentations
  8. Form Mule Add-On
  9. Form Publisher Add-On
  11. Blogger


How did you go about introducing your lesson/project?


I first discussed the blogging buddies and the family commenting initiative in our Middle School Coordination team meeting.  The 6th and 8th grade science and math teachers were willing to try blogging buddies with their students and my principal gave me 20 minutes at the next Parent Coffee to address the parents.

Teachers told their 6th and 8th grade students about the Blogging Buddies program.  I also emailed them information and links to their buddy’s blog.  Teachers also carved out some advisory time for students to work on the Commenting Common Agreements.

This is the presentation and pamphlet I presented to the parents at the coffee.

How did the students react? Include actual samples of student reflection (video, images, etc)


Click here to see some Vine Videos of Students working on their STEM projects.

The responses from messages I sent out to individual students asking if I could share out their Portfolio contained the best reactions.  Most students were very happy to share out their work.  Here are some excerpts from the email conversations.

  • “Thank you for the compliment, and I wouldn’t mind you sharing the project with other people :)” – M. Park
  • Hello, Mrs. Laura.

“I’m glad to see this email and I am definitely okay to share my blogs!

Thank you” – S.Park

  • “Okay, you can share my blog (thanks for saying it look nice !)” – Alice D.
  • “Dear Ms. Laura,

Thank you! Of course you can share my blog and I am exited at the feedback.

Sincerely, Luis”

Outcome? Did you meet your goals?


My initiatives to increase motivation for students to blog reflectively failed.  Not many of the students commented on the blogs of their buddies.  Even though kids were paired up with someone who was doing the same STEM project they were; students were not excited to read another student’s blog posts.  This might be because they we forced to write the blogs in the first place or that they were not given time to comment in class.  Teachers and students seemed really stressed and pressed for time as the STEM fest approached.  The last thing they probably were thinking about was to comment on someone else’s blog.

The STEM Festival on the other hand was a huge success and we got the word out to the world using Twitter and Vine.  I helped the the whole IT department join Vine and Twitter.  I arranged my team around the different STEM stations and instead of recording it live, we took Vine videos and tweeted them out using the #STEM hashtag and mentioning @AISChennai.   We then retweeted all these Tweets so they would appear on the AISC Twitter Feed.

The Weebly website I set up got some pretty good traffic the day before the STEM fest.  We had a great show of parents to the event and many of them already had their QR code reader downloaded to their Smartphone.  I am hoping that this was a result of the website.  Here are the stats:

The Family Commenting Initiative is still going on, but looking at the student E-Portfolio blogs, I am not seeing any parent commenting.  About 20 parents attended the Parent Coffee where I introduced in initiative and about half of them were Korean parents that had limited English.  I will keep sending email reminders using Form Mule but I am not sure that this initiative will be successful.

Evidence of learning

  3. This is the blogging buddies spreadsheet, click on the blog URLs to get to the student E-Portfolios

What would you do differently next time? What did you learn?

  1. Start blog commenting initiatives at the beginning of the year
  2. Get the teachers invested early by giving PD and discussing the vision
  3. Ask the kids what would motivate them to blog more
  4. More communication and training about the e-Portfolios for teachers
  5. Strike a balance between students choice and teacher guidance

How do/did you plan to share this with your colleagues?


I put out a Weekly Middle School Tech bulletin and I will share my Course 5 Final Project video in that.  Hopefully, it will create some awareness around the E-Portfolio program and commenting.  It’s also live on Youtube and embedded here in my blog.

What was your greatest learning in this course?


I learned that it’s really hard to motivate students to reflect about their learning.  We have done E-Portfolio blogs for two years now and we still have so much work to do.  The program used to be an artifact portfolio that students and teachers would rush to finish just before three way conferences.  We felt that didn’t really match with our mission and where we were going so we changed the format from Google sites to Blogger and changed the focus to reflection instead of projects or artifacts.  Teachers and students are still just understanding how these blogs work, how to access them and how to assess them.  The expectation is that teachers give students 30 minutes every 8 day rotation to blog; however, this rarely happens.  The teachers used to decide what was going in the E-Portfolio and every student used to have the same artifacts.  Blog posts are now more varied but teachers are not giving enough guidance to students.  Teachers are also rarely reading and commenting on what students write, so they aren’t very motivated to write quality posts (especially since they are not graded on this activity)

This blog commenting initiative mixed in with the STEM fest was my attempt to create more awareness and motivation around this great reflective learning activity we already have in place for every middle schooler.  What I learned was that it is very difficult to change behavior and affect motivation especially for an activity that teachers and students don’t see as something essential and beneficial for their learning (they look at it as something extra right now, something they barely have time for.)

 Did this implementation meet the definition of Redefinition?


When I Tweeted out the selected E-Portfolio blogs, this was redefinition.  This I found was really difficult because not all students are ready for a global audience, especially when they are blogging about their learning challenges and experiences.

The couple students who did get comments from an outside audience were extremely happy.  I think they were really proud of their efforts.

  • the presenter, not your slides)
  • Avoid reading from slides


Credits for COETAIL Course 5 movie clips that were used. – Goal Movie – Social Meida Flutter Family picture – global animation – hellecopter parents bees -quadblogging


digital citizenship samr model


One Reply to “Course 5 E-Portfolio Commenting/STEM Project”

  1. Laura,

    Well done! The blogs/e-portfolios are a big success in our school and reflections continue to get stronger as it becomes a bigger part of our school culture. I like how you have parents and relatives comment on student blogs. Unfortunately, while you found this a challenge, I think it’s a worthy goal.

    I have had some parents comment on our class blog, but I would like to encourage more comments next year. I will talk more about the blog as a showcase of student work. I think more time needs to be given to comment on student blogs. I am not sure where this time comes, but possibly during our ‘Flex’ time. Having an authentic audience definitely keeps students interested and hopefully encourages them to take even more pride in their work.

    Good job and nice video.

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