Spaces: Planning a Learning Journey

When we bring in learning opportunities that help students to reflect on their individual work and growth while also collaborating with peers to support one another, we will better prepare them for the future. There are endless learning opportunities that we can provide for our students, however with the use of digital portfolios, we help students focus on their own learning journey as they develop these other essential skills.

As we look for the right tools, finding a robust platform that is easy to navigate and that fosters collaboration and communication throughout the learning journey is key. Sharing student work and growth through the use of digital portfolios like Spaces, is a great choice for educators, students, and parents. We empower students to compile artifacts of their work, their experiences, and build their self-awareness as they navigate their high school career. Digital portfolios enable students to self-assess, set new goals and track their growth over time as they build their narrative. With versatile tools available like Spaces, students can add work quickly which can include links, audio, photos, and videos. Students can reflect on the work that they have done and be able to instantly share with teachers, family and potential employers or colleges.

Benefits of portfolios

As students continue to build digital portfolios, for use in the same class or across grade levels, educators better understand students and their interests and it helps with building those vital teacher-student relationships. A key part of this is that it helps us to focus on the development of social-emotional learning (SEL) skills for students to build their self-awareness and self-management skills, when they look at the work that they’ve done and set new goals for their continued learning journey.

[Default class space where teachers can engage all students in a class-wide discussion, share files and more]

With Spaces, there are three possibilities: individual spaces, class spaces or group spaces. The default space is a class space where all students can participate in a class-wide discussion, sharing files and media. Having these different options for spaces makes it easy for teachers to provide authentic and meaningful opportunities for students to demonstrate learning and provide evidence of their work while reflecting on their own progress. Students are able to record their daily work and reflect on their learning experiences and express their thoughts, which is a beneficial way to promote the continued development of SEL Skills. Teachers can assess students and provide real-time feedback. It also helps students to share their work publicly and build confidence in learning.

What do teachers think?

I reached out to a good friend of mine, Bonnie Nieves, a high school biology teacher in Massachusetts, to find out how she has been using Spaces with her students. She loves the opportunities that it provides for students to focus more on the learning process, their work and improvements they make along the way. Bonnie appreciates how it creates a “gallery walk” style where students can explore the work of their peers and promotes the development of additional SEL skills such as relationship building. With Spaces, students can share it with family which helps them to feel more connected to the learning that is happening in and out of the classroom.

In my own classroom, I have started to use Spaces with my eighth grade STEAM students as they work on independent projects. We are using Spaces to share progress on the projects, to ask questions, to post ideas and be able to interact in a collaborative space. Especially helpful in hybrid, virtual or asynchronous learning environments, the real-time feedback and interactions will make a difference for students and promote more engagement in learning.

Ideas for using Spaces

  • Individual Spaces for project-based learning
  • Group Spaces for students to work together on projects and to be able to provide feedback and showcase their work.
  • Class Space for promoting conversations between students, especially when not all students are together in the same space.
  • Check-ins and quick assessments with students

There are many ways to use Spaces in the classroom. Get started for free today and see what ideas your students come up with too! Spaces is also available through the iOS app store or Google Play.

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