8+ Tools for Developing Learner Profiles

Mike Mohammad joined me in episode 28 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast to discuss 2 questions that an educator might have.  One of the topics that we discussed was learner profiles.  Mike posed the question, “How can students create a profile of themselves as a learner to share with an audience beyond the classroom?

Tools for Learner Profiles Title Image

While Mike and I did not discuss the it during the show, I want to quickly compare and contrast the terms learner profile and digital portfolio.  While there are similarities (both are typically curated by the student, both showcase the students work in school and both are often done digitally) there are also some differences (typically, digital portfolios are a showcase of academic work and growth while learner profiles also often focus on the students’ capabilities, characteristics and aptitudes as a learner).

Regardless of which end result you’re looking to cultivate in your school (learner profile, digital portfolio or a blend of both), there are plenty of tools that you can leverage.

A week after the episode in which Mike and I discusssed this aired, I hosted a Twitter chat about the questions from our talk.

Here are some of the participants’ responses to the question about learner profiles:

1. Seesaw

I absolutely love Seesaw.  As their website says, Seesaw is designed to let students “demonstrate and share learning.”  Seesaw easily puts students in the driver’s seat to share their successes and growth with both their teacher(s) and parent(s).  I recommend checking out this video to learn more about Seesaw!

As you may notice in Dudley Rosenblatt‘s post below, some schools opt to only use Seesaw in the elementary grades.  I think that it can be used (and to great effect) in ALL grades. However, Dudley’s school system uses another great option in their middle school which we’ll discuss in #2 below.

2. Google Sites

Most gSuite (Google) for Education schools choose Google Sites for any learner profiles or digital portfolios.  While I don’t think that Google Sites is necessarily better or worse than other tools, such as Seesaw, I do think that using it is a sound decision.  Among its benefits are its ease of use, the ability to embed anything on the pages and the fact that it’s already part of a system for which gSuiteEdu schools have agreed to the terms of service (TOS) for.

(Note: in the tweet below, Mike mentions Google Slides, but he intended to say Sites.)

3. HyperDocs   +    4. Google Drawings, Slides or Docs

Wow, Pam’s tweet (below) has *a lot* to unpack.

First off, she is advocating for using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a framework for this process.  That is a fantastic idea.  UDL, in a nutshell, means to design learning experiences, environments, and instructions to universally meet the diverse needs of all learners.  Her example focuses on students discovering and then displaying their characteristics as a learner.  What a great thing to include in a Learner Profile!

Next, Pam shared that she used a HyperDoc for her template. A HyperDoc isn’t a specific tool, but a way to use almost any tool.  If you visit the about page at HyperDocs.co, you’ll discover these characteristics of HyperDocs:

  • “Carefully crafted digital lesson plans that require educators to have a mindset of thoughtful pedagogy.
  •  Visually engaging and packaged learning experiences.
  • ‘HOW’ students use the technology to create, collaborate, think critically, and connect.”

In her post, Pam shares a Learner Profile template HyperDoc that she made in Google Drawings (access the template here).  HyperDocs are often made in Google Docs, Slides or Drawings.  The specific tool used really depends on teacher preference and the characteristics of the task(s) and learning experience.

5. Wakelet

Wakelet is a fantastic curation tool.  So, why not use it to curate evidence and artifacts of student learning and growth?  David Allan shares this idea in the tweet below.

The nice thing about Wakelet is the sheer number of things that you can include in a Wakelet collection: links, text, YouTube videos, tweets, images, PDFs, Google Drive files, Microsoft OneDrive files and Flipgrid videos recorded from right in Wakelet!  Check out the Educator’s Guide here.

6. Bulb

This was a new one for me!  Bulb (bulbapp.com) is a tool specifically designed for creating digital portfolios or learner profiles.  It’s on my list of tools to learn more about!

7. Sway   +   8. Flipgrid

Christine shared a handful of tools in her tweet below.  Three of them have already been discussed (Wakelet, Google Slides and Google Sites).  But there are two new additions to our list as well:

Sway is a part of Microsoft’s contemporary suite of Microsoft Office tools.  It is a fantastic creation tool.  For the Google peeps out there, the best way to describe Sway is that it’s halfway between Google Slides and Google Sites.  While it’s a presentation tool (like Slides) its interactive, web-based canvas style functions more like a website (like Sites).

Flipgrid is well known as a video-response and communication tool, but there are lots of ways to use it for learner profiles as well!  First of all, all Flipgrid users (assuming they’re accessing Flipgrid from a gSuiteEdu or MicrosoftEdu account) are able to access all of their past videos.  Second, those videos can be combined into a Mixtape to showcase a student’s learning or growth.  And, third, students could have grids dedicated completely to creating a learner profile.

What tool is your favorite?
What tools did we miss?

Published by

Jake Miller

Jake is a Google for Education Certified Trainer and is the Lead Technology Integration Specialist for Brady Middle School in Ohio's Orange City Schools. In the past he taught STEM, Science & Math in Stow-Munroe Falls, Ohio, where he was also a leader in the district's Technology Leadership Team and a co-advisor for the middle school's STEM Club. He has been an educator since 2003. His Bachelor's Degree is in middle-level education (math/science) from the University of Akron and his Master's Degree is in Instructional Technology from Kent State University. He has enjoyed providing more than 100 professional development opportunities at conferences and school districts across the state of Ohio. He is very involved in Twitter (@JakeMillerTech) and provides regular pointers for educators with his #GAFETip tweets.

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