Conferences. Spring conferences. Student-Led conferences...
It's the first time since I've been at my current school (going on 9 years) that we've had Spring Conferences. Typically, parent-teacher conferences are around Thanksgiving time, and it's a good chance to check in, assess academic progress and game-plan for the future.
The objective for these first Spring Conferences is to have them be student-led. As a result, we have spent plenty of time in our Advisory class preparing students for tonight: class reflections, goal-setting, work samples, etc. The hope, of course, is that students are able to have some well thought-out discourse with their parents about their current academic status, their achievement so far in sixth grade, and where they'd like to see themselves going.
Again, this is the plan...I think the night will go well, actually. But what I'm more curious about today is where these types of conferences can go in the (very near) future.
One of our very talented District Technology Integration Specialists has given me a wonderful idea with using Google's digital portfolio capabilities. Students would be able to build a digital portfolio of what they have produced, along with real-time grades and (if needed/wanted) access to test scores. What strikes me as most powerful about this is students' ability to display so much of their work in a very rich, bold, clean way: digital writing samples, digital storytelling, web-site development, PowerPoint and/or Prezi as the meeting's vehicle, digital pictures of class work...maybe even a Screen Cast to take their own parents on a journey of through their work at school.
Couple that with how efficient many of these 'digital natives' are with technology, and I think you may increase ownership even more, as well as boost enthusiasm.
We'll see...for now it's just a goal for next year, but one I am very excited about exploring.