Show Me With Showbie

We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing. -Billy Graham

Sorry, but I just can’t get enough of Showbie.  It is our new app used school-wide for creating digital portfolios.  I recently wrote about Showbie and our using it to create digital portfolios.  Since then, I have discovered some other pretty awesome features.

First, let me say, we are not completely paperless.  We have, however, significantly reduced our paper usage and Showbie has facilitated that.  In kindergarten, there is still the need for paper/pencil skills.  School-wide, we saved over $21,000 in paper usage, copies, ink, and toner last year.  Showbie has several features that are helpful.  Here is a screen shot showing some features:


I have blurred out my students’ last names, but my class list is to the left.  The small paper icon to the right of each name shows which students have submitted an assignment.  You can also add student pictures beside their names if you want.  The shared folder allows me to upload resources, videos, voice instructions, PDF files, and ePubs to be used in that particular assignment.  Once the resources are loaded in the shared folder, it is available to all students.  It is in the shared folder that I added an ABC book that I created in Book Creator.  My students just went into the shared folder, downloaded the book in their iBooks and all students have the book on their bookshelf.

The area to the right has a drop-down box with choices for adding files. The camera option allows photographs or videos.  You can upload images from the photo library as well.  Using the Capture PDF option, you can scan in a document.  If you have a PDF file in your photo library, you can upload this also. In addition, you can add text notes to student work or voice notes.  These are all of the teacher options.  Students have the same options in their drop-down menu for putting work in the assignment folder.

Last week, I uploaded a PDF of primary lined paper for my students to demonstrate writing their numbers to 20.  They opened the assignment in Showbie and then used Good Notes (a PDF annotator) to write their numbers.  I was able to quickly email their parents this assignment.  Later in the week, I used the camera option to video tape students counting to 20.  This was a quick assessment that was also emailed to parents.

photoThe best part is that Showbie is so easy to use.  At this early point in the school year, my kindergarten students already know how to open the app and upload work on their own.  Parents also enjoy feeling like they are a part of the classroom through the email feature.

One last way we are using Showbie is to share student work with our principal.  Each grade level decided on student assignments for each nine weeks that would be used to demonstrate growth and demonstrate CCSS. My principal created a class for each grade level in Showbie.  These student provisos are uploaded for him to monitor.  We send a high, medium, and low work sample each nine weeks.  This allows him to check in on student work on a regular basis.  It also encourages meaningful use of the iPad in the learning environment.

We are very excited about the incorporation of this robust program into our classrooms.  There is a free version of Showbie if you would like to check it out. We liked it so much we purchased the school license.

Today we will do exciting new things.  Let’s get to it!


Creating Digital Portfolios

All I really need to know… I learned in kindergarten. -Robert Fulghum

We started our digital portfolios today.  We knew by the end of last year that we really needed a systematic way of curating student work.  It was important that we be able to share it with parents but it was of utmost importance that it be simple enough for everyone…especially our kindergarten students.  I mean, let’s get real…if I have to touch every iPad to save student work, it just isn’t happening.

Showbie-238x300We went with Showbie.  Showbie allows you to set up your classroom and create assignments for students. When students submit their work, it is organized by assignment.  You can see which child has submitted work and which one hasn’t.  You can even add annotations, voice notes or written notes on the assignment and send it back.  It is very easy to use and individual student work can be emailed to share with parents.

Today, I added our first assignment.  It sends a brief alert to the individual iPad so students can see there is a new assignment.  This is great for older students. My students used Pic Collage and they were asked to choose a number between 2-9.  They added a text box and typed in their number.  Then they added the number of stickers that corresponded with their number.  After the stickers, they added another text box so they could type their names.  Lastly, they learned how to save their work to their photo roll on the iPad.

Library PhotoThey did very well with this activity.  The next step involved going into their Showbie app.  We did this together.  I used Reflector to demonstrate step-by-step on the Smart Board.  When the students opened Showbie, they simply clicked the “+” symbol, then chose their camera roll and then their Pic Collage work sample.  As easy as that, it was uploaded.  The entire activity from start to finish took 25 minutes.  I was then able to email the work samples to parents to share with the their first work sample in the digital portfolio.

The digital portfolios will certainly help us keep things organized and use a lot less paper.  Just as an aside, my school saved over $21,000 in paper, copies, and ink cartridges last school year.  By using digital portfolios, student work is preserved over longer periods of time.

I’m excited about the creation of these digital portfolios.  It will be a great way to organize, view and share student progress.  As we progress through the year, it will also be a great way for students to use their own voice and choice to showcase their work.  I will provide the stimulus.  They will choose the means in which they demonstrate their learning.

Today we will do exciting new things.  Let’s get to it!