About the StoneSoup Portfolio Collaboratory

Introduction

This project will be used for dissertation research conducted by Jenny Robins and Juna Snow. The project is currently supported by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana. StoneSoup is a distributed collaboratory for K-12 teachers. StoneSoup is a place where teachers can store and share all types of digital media, but its primary purpose is to hold student portfolios.

StoneSoup is a distributed collaboratory

A distributed collaboratory consists of many individual collaboratories. The individual collaboratories are available at no charge to participating schools. Each collaboratory, along with its collection of portfolios and other resources is the property of the participating school district. The collections are pooled via an indexing system so portfolios and other resources can be accessed by schools and school districts nationwide. Schools districts can withdraw their collection from the pool at any time.

Future plans for the StoneSoup Collaboratory

Due to the power of a collective, even more things are possible as the StoneSoup collaboratory grows. The strong semantic structure of portfolio units facilitates statistical processes that can be used to analyze what students write. Using computational intelligence, the collaboratory can aid teachers by offering suggestions for activities and resources.

Today teachers, school librarians, coaches and others guide individual students through instructional units, but no record of their work is created. StoneSoup portfolio units become a record of a teacherís work as seen through the eyes of students. This makes it possible to multiply the efforts of teachers by following the learning paths their students take and harvesting useful information for teachers and students in the future. Teachers might receive messages like the following from the collaboratory:

StoneSoup portfolios could also be used for assessment by comparing student progress to state or national standards. For example, teachers might receive this message:

Finally, where a single story about student performance is an anecdote, a collection of stories can be a body of evidence about what works in the classroom. The collaboratory is a way for teachers to share and demonstrate successful classroom practices.

This work is supported by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

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