FreshGrade Notes

I took notes on the FreshGrade presentation both while the group was speaking as well as when the guest presenter spoke about the program. I would love to use FreshGrade during my teaching practice after having heard so much about it throughout this program, and it was very interesting getting to hear about it from an actual FreshGrade representative


  • What is a digital portfolio?
    • Showcase portfolio
      • What did you DO at school today?
    • Learning/Progression portfolio 
      • What you LEARN at school today?
    • Digital storage locker
      • Did you hand in your assignment?
      • Learning management system
        • Students hand in work
        • Students show their work
  • Why should I use a digital portfolio?
    • Assessment
    • Engagement
  • What are the Provincial/District Assessment Policies?
    • BC
    • AB
    • ON
  • FreshGrade brings a report card to life
  • FreshGrade communicates learning 
  • Top Influencers of Student Achievement
    • Feedback
    • Formative Assessment
    • Self-reflection
    • Collaboration
    • Parent engagement 
  • Allows students to show evidence of learning
  • Showcase portfolio has the student and their parent notified of any commented entry
    • This is celebrating the moment in time that they did well. It is not assessment or a real portfolio but rather a “showcase portfolio” where the work would traditionally be put up on the fridge
  • Connection between parent, teacher and student
  • Lesson planning and assessment on FreshGrade
  • Built in grade book that allows students to go in and do lesson planning
    • Create activity, give it a name, say how going to assess it, talk about universal learning and enter it.
    • Creates entry into the gradebook
  • Can leave comments to parents
  • Students upload under topics in order to demonstrate that they can do what it is asking (i.e. topic is “reading out loud,” student uploads video to show that they can do that. Teacher can then give a comment and, if students need to make changes, they can upload a new video to see that they are taking the comments and are improving)
  • Teacher can show what their reading (if that is the topic) looked like every month of the year so that student and parent can see the improvement since the beginning of the year. Focus on improvement and progression rather than a letter grade
  • Brings parents into the classroom so they can participate and help their child at home
  • 3 Advertised Benefits
    • Students ownership of learning
      • Students can participate in their own assessment
    • Increased Efficiency for Educators
      • Less time marking
      • Continual reporting
    • Stronger Parental Engagement
      • Parents get daily updates about their child’s learning
      • Parents and teachers can be in constant communication
  • Privacy Basic Summary
    • Doesn’t own or sell user content
    • Stored in Canada
    • Children under 13 not allowed to use FreshGrade without parental consent
    • Uses cookies – you can opt out but experience using the service will not be the same
    • You can use third party websites through FreshGrade, such as Google Drive or YouTube, so be sure to know those privacy policies as well
  • Possible Privacy Concerns
    • They could share information with a company who buys or acquires the company 
    • Students who use FreshGrade and then create a third-party account to use in conjunction with the service without understanding how their information will be used
    • Humans and technology are both at the center of this service – always a risk of error
  • FreshGrade as self-assessment
    • Not only addition or alternative to report cards
    • Great tool for self-assessment, especially in intermediate and middle school grades
    • Not all responsibility on teacher
    • Students can choose what to post and comment on their thoughts, reasons for choosing that work, areas for improvement, and what they have learned
    • Self-assessment very valuable tool for student learning 
  • A Teacher’s Perspective: The Pros
    • Make classroom life more fun
    • Constantly capture learning and share it with families in real time
    • Avoids having to send out emails
    • Sparks conversation between children and parents
    • Parents can engage as much or as little as they like
    • Keep parents in the loop
  • A Teacher’s Perspective: The Cons
    • Can actually add work/be less efficient
    • Some parents don’t like it or take issue with it: if they opt out, then they’re left out of the loop
    • Privacy concerns
    • Very difficult and frustrating to use for formal reporting
    • Interface differs between devices 
  • A Parent’s Perspective: The Pros
    • Opens communication between the teacher, parent, and child
    • Helps to log your child’s learning and start conversations about it
    • Allows parents to support the child’s learning at home
    • Gives a fuller-spectrum report card
  • A Parent’s Perspective: The Cons
    • Privacy: lack of information about where the data is being stored
    • Safety concerns, such as where custody s an issue



“Twine” reminded me of the choose your own adventure books that I often saw as a kid. I think that students would love this program as it involves technology as well as creative work and is an interactive activity. More recently, the popular TV show Black Mirrorhas released an interactive “choose your own adventure” film called Bandersnatch.Bandersnatch allowed the viewers to choose what would happen next in the film and would end at different times and give you different choices depending on your previous actions. The film was (and still is) extremely popular and one of the first of its kind in terms of technology and digital streaming platforms. The film also takes into account the difficulty of using a program such as “Twine” due to the fact that you will always need an end to the choices but it can begin to loop and end up without an option. I think that students (especially those in the older grades) would find this program very interesting and would actually enjoy storytelling and writing due to the technological advances and their ability to share it with each other. 

When I started to create my own adventure, I found it frustrating how many options I had to give for such fast results. Using this program would involve multiple classes and a lot of time so that the students would not get discouraged and give up. With only a short amount of time, if the students were to give many options, each one would only lead to one or two more choices afterwards and then quickly end without a result. 

  • Boxes are “passages”
  • Options for the readers to choose
  • Sort of like a choose your own adventure
  • Can go back and change the route
  • Bandersnatch is a example of how Twine works
  • Can be used for guided interviews
  • Use web browser to access Twine. Looks like google doc. 
  • Saves information in cookies in the web browser rather than a source
  • If you suddenly block cookies, it could disappear. When you are done, put it in a file and send it to yourself so you do not lose it when/if you turn off cookies
  • Does not like safari or internet explorer; weird things will start to happen. Use Firefox or Chrome.

March 21st Notes

                                                            Tech 336 Notes

Group Presentation #1 (Cole, Eric, Kelsey, Marney)

  • Google in the Classroom
    • Strengths
      • Accessibility
        • Accessible anywhere
        • Free for educational institutions
        • Good for ELL communication
      • Communication
        • Share work with family
        • Collaboration
        • Introduces online safety
      • Assessment
        • Peer-assessment through sharing posts
        • Freedom
    • Weaknesses
      • Need parental consent (parents can say no)
      • Work is only saved when online
      • May be used as a distraction or inappropriately
      • If students don’t have access to technology at home it will be harder to use
  • Google Classroom Verses Seesaw
    • Google Classroom
      • Available on any device
      • Convenient for assigning work and marking it
      • Can schedule assignments/quizzes to past at a specific time
    • Seesaw
      • More like a social media app
      • Focus on sharing and creating feedback
      • Not accessible on all devices
      • Allows feedback between parents, teachers, students, peers
      • Costs teachers $120 for the year
  • FreshGrade versus google classroom
    • FreshGrade
      • Good for parents, students and teachers
      • Has google translate (good for ELL)
      • Summative and informative assessment
      • Very good privacy
      • Available on devices
    • Google Classroom
      • Better for older grades
      • Doesn’t work on creating a great portfolio
      • Good for assigning work and marking it
      • Doesn’t share progress as well as FreshGrade
  • Microsoft Word Verses Google Docs
    • Microsoft Word is more popular for creating documents
    • Google Docs formatting is difficult
    • Google Docs is more complicated to use
    • Google Docs is free
    • Microsoft is now subscription based
    • Corporations on google and seeing them in learning spaces
    • Learning space branding
  • Google and Online Leaks
    • Leaks are possible in online platforms
    • Google data leaks
    • Internet giving out information and data
  • Privacy & Security Concerns (CBC)
    • Focusing on privacy over borders is creating a hysteria rhetoric
    • Concerned parents should look at the privacy information on google. The information page is not too long and is easy to read and will help them make their decision as to if they will permit their child to join the online platform
    • Six Things Google Knows About You
      • Location history
      • Youtube History
      • Google Search history

My Reflections

  • Personally, I like Microsoft word far more than Google Docs. I have found that Google Docs formatting is very difficult and is not clear to use. Though collaborative work on Google Docs is helpful, when someone else makes changes it will change the format and will be difficult to change back. I do like that Google Docs saves automatically so you will not lose information, but I have become accustomed to saving my work every five to ten minutes anyway through command-s (save shortcut). Even this post was created on Microsoft Word and then moved to my blog after. I have gotten into the habit of writing on Microsoft and then moving it to the online base that is required for me to hand in the work. There have been arguments that Google Docs is easier to add extensions and additional apps to the work, but I have found in my own experience that on the rare occasion I do need to add extensions, the small amount of extra work (if there is any, I don’t really know) is not that big of a deal. 
  • In my previous experience, I found that Google Suite was difficult to use even for university students and may cause confusion for children as well. We were confused as to how to find and add assignments.
  • I found that the google security information was very interesting. Google is not hiding what you are doing but you have to go to the location (six things that Google knows about you) so you can find out what information google has on you. I looked at my location history and was happy to know that I had turned off location on my phone and computer and had nothing to show. 

Amy’s 3D Printer Presentation

  • Common printing object is a small Pikachu
  • You cannot just send an image, it will take parts at a time and then come together
  • 3D printing from the University of Victoria is not expensive, only 0.10/gram
  • This is good for the classroom as you can make custom manipulatives as well as print things out in order to cater to those who may have difficulties working with the initial class moduals (ie. Looking at pictures may be difficult for people with bad eyesight but if you print out a 3D object from the image could allow the student to feel the picture instead and get an idea of what they are studying
  • Thingiverseis a great sight for 3D printing
  • Thingiverseeven has an entire section for education and gives you choices as to what you will be trying to teach
  • Thingiverseeven gives lesson plans according to what you are teaching (some even have assessment portions)
  • Thingiversehas a creative commons licence so it is legal to use
  • Shell and infill are the parts of the 3D models
  • There are multiple settings that are of different speeds that will either look more realistic and show less lines or be faster, a bit rougher and show lines (if you would like something fast and rough, print it where you can see lines; some may take around 3 weeks for others)
  • Put object in hot water and the filament comes off
  • Prints can make things that look like they are interlocked (ie. Chain) but actually come out as one piece
  • If there are brittle things that you would not want students to touch in case they break, you can make a plastic 3D model so they can touch it, get the same experience but not be able to break it. 
  • You can even print out geography 
  • Common mistakes
    • Almost everything is printed onto a base plate (need to know that)
    • Warping because the first class is hot plastic, second is hot plastic onto cold plastic can cause warping. 
  • Download TinkerCAD
  • This will be used in classes in the future. Technology is working quickly and there has been a lot of improvements to the technology even in the past year
  • We can build tissue or even ears now. Can grow an organ from the model by putting stem cells around it and then allowing the specific person to have the transplant. By putting the individuals stem cells around the 3D model will reduce the change of complications in a transplant
  • You can make prosthetics from the 3D printers
  • It is good for students to get used to this technology because it will be used a lot in the future
  • Resources to get started on 3D printing
    • TinkerCAD
    • MakerBot Print
    • Thingiverse
  • My Thoughts 
    • I would love to use 3D printing in the classroom but am unsure of my technology skills and my ability to navigate the machines. I hope to learn more about them using Amy’s great resources and eventually be able to use it on my own. Many of my friends are engineers and I may use them as a source to teach me how to use the printer and the different ways to create objects that may need less or more finesse. I know that there are 3D printers that you can buy on your own but many are very expensive so I would likely use a public one. I am aware that there are 3D printers of a lesser price that are used to create rougher objects (my friend has one in his house of which he uses to create Catan pieces and pieces for other board games that have gone missing for some reason) but I would likely not use it enough for it to be worth buying for myself. I am glad that UVic has the resources for me to use and learn about these printers to that, maybe, one day I will be confident in my skills to be able to print off objects that I could use as an educational source in my classroom. 

EDCI 336 Minecraft Reflection and Notes

Gaming in the Classroom

  • Presentation (Guest Speaker)
    • Minecraft
    • Microsoft was supposed to be piloted in the school by this spring but it has not yet. In the future, all students will have access to Minecraft and will be able to create Microsoft accounts
    • There are big differences between the EDU version that the speaker’s school has verses the Microsoft one (Microsoft is better and has more opportunities)
    • There are wide-open servers (red flag for parents and teachers) and private ones you can share with people you approve/allow access. A technique for parents to use if the students want to use the wide-open Minecraft groups is to not allow the child to play on it without the parent being there to supervise against negative players and content
    • How to get onto Minecraft (Speaker Slides)
      • Launch “Minecraft Launcher”
      • Select MinecraftEdu… click “Launch” in the next window
      • In the game window, type your name (must be at least 4 characters long)
      • Click continue
      • Click “multiplayer” button… then click the “Direct Connection” button
      • Enter the server address in the black box… then click join server button
      • Students must join as ‘I am a student” and click the “connect” button
    • My experience with Minecraft
      • I found that I do not know how to play Minecraft and found myself getting slightly sick based off of the constantly moving environment and the 3D simulation
      • I would like to get better at the game and understand it more knowing that it is very popular with children and can help to build community and work together
      • I was able to get help from the other people in my cohort as I have very little experience with video games (minus Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros) and needed guidance from those who had either found something that I needed already, had learned an ability earlier or had previous experience with the game. I enjoyed the group participation and the help that was given while we all played the game at the same time
      • In the free-world game, I was still confused but did like the challenge of the monsters and spiders that were able to challenge the game. The monsters helped to promote teamwork as the other players brought people into their Minecraft homes as shelter from the rain and monsters; others helped to slay the monsters that were trying to attack the players. 
      • When we were playing the free-world game you could easily hear the talk between the people in the class that was providing help to each other and giving reassurances. Players were on fire, yelled for help and other players yelled out solutions. I, myself, flew too high by accident and needed help to get down to the earth again. Once I was told the solution on how to get down after flying too high, I was then able to help the others.
    • Minecraft in the class
      • Builds community
      • Students help each other to complete individual and group objectives
      • Students learn more and more about the game and quickly gain skills off of experience
      • Choosing a leader for the class helps with leadership, group work and communication
      • Creative and critical thinking to solve problems
      • Minecraft uses the xy grid for coordinates which is something that is on the grade 7 curriculum. Minecraft exceeds the grade 7 curriculum as it uses the xyz grid and they use positive and negative coordinates
      • Explore coordinates in a 3D environment
      • Teachers can change the aspects of the games (who can write, what can make the students have to start over [death by skeleton, thirst, hunger, monster… etc.] and other variables that can change the way the children play the game)
      • Teachers can “gift” people things (ie. Something that will allow the students to create/begin a code that they discovered [cow resurrection centre]) 
      • Minecraft allows students to develop strategies
      • Children work on their own solutions; it’s not just on the teacher to reinforce all of the rules. Students think of what can happen if someone breaks the rules
      • Helps children learn about civilizations
      • Children build a world together
      • Class is a safe environment to play Minecraft and helps build community and promote collaborative learning

Blogs are Great!… If you follow the guidelines

Blogging is a great tool for teachers to connect with their students and the parents, but it is also important to keep in mind what you are posting, if it follows the privacy that the students require and what the parents have requested. We have found some great blogs but we have been slightly skeptical of some due to the use of the actual students’ pictures being posted onto a public blog of which anyone can access as well as giving information (nothing personal, more-so on what activities they have been doing) on the child’s progress and active participation.

It will be important for us to remember students’ privacy and to make sure that the blog is set to an adequate privacy setting (ie. Dayforce has manageable settings in order to allow the students’ privacy and will require permission from the parents). Screening who views the site will also be helpful to make sure only those who should be looking at the site can. Sites such as ePal are very interesting and, luckily, only allows verified teachers to use the site and can only be used via permission from both parties. Sites that allow sharing are best if there is a mutual agreement as to who can view and add to blogs and discuss teaching strategies. 

            I am not meaning to negatively portray anyone’s blog as they clearly put a lot of effort and time into making sure that people can view and navigate the site in order to access the information that they are searching for, but there are some aspects of blogs (such as the use of children’s’ pictures on an open website) of which may endanger the children or overlook the parents’ wishes. The blogs that did have information about the kids may have had permission from the families, I don’t know, but that is just something we noticed could become a problem if the proper steps have not been taken. This tech class as well as many others have emphasized the importance of confidentiality so that is why we quickly became aware of the blogs where the teachers posted information about their students and we have all become greatly aware of what we should do to make sure that the parents and the students are okay with their educational experience being shared on the digital world and in which way.

I still believe that blogs are a great way to connect to your class and will be using them in my own teaching practice, but the negatives and the cautions of blogging need to be discussed in order to avoid making the mistakes.

Magical Math Blog: Group Tech Inquiry 336

            The blog Musing Mathematically is a useful tool for both teachers and students. Nat Banting (@NatBanting) posts regularly on how to teach math to students in a fun and encouraging way. The blog has an entire tab that provides classroom resources to use in order to teach some of the more difficult topics, explains why they are useful and gives the links resource. I like this blog as it caters to three audiences; parents, students and teachers. Not only does Nat provide resources, explain the difficulties of teaching certain mathematical concepts and teaches the reader how to teach/learn the skills; but they also blog on their home page that documents their experiences as a teacher, how they overcame problems and what they have noticed about other exceptional teachers. Each post on the home blog has a title, gives a small paragraph as to what it will be about and then has a “continue reading” tab if the reader would like to learn more. The fall-down tab allowing the reader to continue is useful for people browsing the blog as they will not have to scroll through extremely long posts in order to see what they are looking for. 

            Musing Mathematically’s main menu consists of Home, Musing Mathematically Blog, Presentations, Publications, Classroom Resources, Math Fair, Links and Contact; this is helpful as it is accessible and easy to understand and move around in. The blog is organized in a way where even those who do not use much technology can easily search the blog and find useful information or resources. 

            I enjoyed this blog as one of the subjects I am anxious to teach and provide tools for is math; this blog can help me in the future if I am ever stuck teaching a topic and need help as to how to address the class’s or students’ needs. I am very happy that I found this blog and believe that it will be very beneficial to me throughout my career. 

I have provided the link to this amazing blog:

ePals Blogging

A different view of the use of blogs is the international opportunities that they can provide. International blogs and teaching sites must be thought of very carefully in order to prevent just anyone from following the blog, but it does provide opportunities for the students to share their culture with those around the world. The article “Boundless Opportunity” by Diane Schaffhauser (2009) presents the case of two partner schools whom of which connected and shared blogs that could only be seen by the other class and their guardians in order to share their work and to see the diversity of the classes. The class used ePals (an online blogging site) in order to communicate with the other class; one was in Isreal while the other was in the United States. Schaffhauser states that the blog between the classes was used “so their two classes could express their unique cultures and learn about music and dance specific to other parts of the world” (p. 13); this would be very useful if the class were to be creating a project in those subjects and would like to share that work while also being introduced to a new type of music and dance found in other cultures. Collaboration between the classrooms will also allow the students to study and understand other countries to a better degree, this would also be helpful if students were studying other places in the world and would thus get real-world experience with them rather than reading from text. The article wrote that “in the midst of doing a unit on Latin music, teaching her class dances, instruments, and music styles. Baugher [The United States teacher] said ‘Then it occurred to me that this would be a good opportunity for them to express their dance culture’ [and then posted a video labelled] ‘This is how we dance in DC” (p.14). The teacher got a reply from the other class showing a very different form of dance that was very choreographed and unique to their culture. Also, ePal allowed the teachers to help teach the opposing class their language. This site could be very beneficial to the classroom and has safety measurements to protect the teacher and the students alike. Only teachers are allowed on the site so students would not be online posting, the teacher must approve another classroom to connect with them and the teachers come from qualified schools. Students, as always, would also have the opportunity to not be included in any photos or videos that are shared on the site and this blog would only be used if the parents have given consent for the students’ photos to be taken and shared with the other class(es). 


Schaffhauser, D. (2009). Boundless Opportunity. T H E Journal36(9), 13–18. Retrieved from