Product Review of FreshGrade Connect
FreshGrade Connect is a digital portfolio platform, also available via web and iOS or Android app, that enables communication among learners, educators, and parents/guardians. Upon signing in, educators can easily create classes by adding or uploading learners and customizing standards and assessment scales. Then, add posts and activities to the feed in the form of events, portfolio items, or assessments. Posts may include standards, files, tags, audio, video, images, or cloud-based uploads. Depending on the audience, grown-ups or learners may add items to the portfolios in order to provide a clear picture of student progress. However, since educators control the visibility of each activity, what gets shared is easily manageable for each posting. Teachers can also take advantage of different scales to show student progress toward goals, mastery of standards, content knowledge, and more.
As an assessment tool, FreshGrade Connect offers educators options for monitoring a student’s learning process, progress, and outcomes. Student portfolios are a unique vehicle to get kids to show what they know in a way that’s most comfortable for them. Let learners play to their strengths when possible: The performers can record audio or video, while more camera-shy learners might opt for written submissions or visual projects. Since your classes can be tailored to any subject area, the platform offers flexibility in the breadth and depth of knowledge learners demonstrate that other tools can’t provide. Kids can record themselves singing, dancing, or acting in performance-based classes while they write in-depth essays, critiques, or fictional stories in others. Plus, encouraging kids to submit their best iterations of an assignment provides them with opportunities to experiment and reflect without the fear of a poor or failing grade.
On the fun side, it’s neat for learners and educators to post pictures from field trips, class events, or special projects as well. Balancing academic and social-emotional facets of education sends the message to learners that learning is valued in many different forms.
Consider FreshGrade Connect a way to get learners and grown-ups on the same page in terms of progress toward learning goals. Time-strapped educators often opt for summative assessments and acquisition of easily tested but forgettable knowledge over authentic assessment or project-based learning. However, the ability to view and measure growth over time in an accessible format might allow for more authentic assessment. It’s an invaluable way to predict and progress toward desirable learning outcomes. Through a platform that’s simple to use and understand, educators can easily differentiate instruction, provide feedback, respect learners’ strengths and learning preferences, and promote self-reflection.
In general, the accessibility features are great. Options to upload, record, and write content cover most of the bases in terms of learning preferences. Text-to-speech features would be a helpful addition, but educators can opt to share information in both text and audio formats. There are some minor issues, such as having to use the Back button after adding a comment to a student’s submission, and difficulty adding learners to an established class. Also, although educators can use filters, the feed can get cluttered quickly. If educators want to remove posts, they have to delete them; an archive option or folder organization system would be helpful for educators who want to access posts and activities without having them clutter up the dashboard. Ultimately, though, the ability for kids to show evidence of learning in ways that feel most natural to them speaks to the power of the portfolio as a learning tool.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Allowing learners to shine and promote their best work helps kids buy in to the idea of presenting fine-tuned content. Receiving encouragement and feedback will make it meaningful for learners.
Curriculum and Instruction
The product is adaptable to learners’ learning preferences and enhances the school-home connection, increasing the likelihood that learners get the support they need. It also opens up assessment opportunities beyond tests.
There’s not much of a learning curve to use the product, and it’s easy for educators to personalize and differentiate assessments and submissions. Text-to-speech capability would assist learners who struggle with reading.