Spaces is a great digital portfolio service that I’ve been using and recommending for the last couple of years. Like all good edtech tools, it started with a handful of really good and unique features. Since then it has steadily added more features based on feedback from teachers like you and me. And just in time for the annual ISTE conference, Spaces has unveiled a bunch of new features.
If you’re going to the ISTE conference you can learn all about Spaces by dropping by their booth (# 1549 located north of the BrainPop booth and two rows south of the NearPod set up in Hall H). You can also book time for a demo with the Spaces team and get a free t-shirt when you meet with them. Those who are not attending ISTE and those who are attending and would like to get a preview of the new features should read on.
Faster Enrollment and Easier Activity Sharing
Nothing stops momentum in a classroom like having to go around to each student and say “click here” or respond to students saying “it won’t let me in.” That’s why Spaces has introduced new enrollment and sharing options.
There is now an option to generate QR codes for your students to scan to join your Spaces classroom account. Students simply scan a QR code and are enrolled in your class. Watch this short video to see how it works.
In Spaces you can create activities for your students. Students can view activities by logging into Spaces. But that’s not the only way to share activities with your students. The easiest way for students to find activities is in the LMS that you’re using for your classes. Unique URLs are generated for each activity. You can post those activity URLs in your LMS. Additionally, Google Classroom users have the option to post directly to their Classrooms from their Spaces accounts. Take a look at this brief video to learn more about activity URLs and sharing.
Curriculum Standards, Goals, and Proficiency
Last fall Spaces added the option to tag student work with curriculum goals and or alignment to state standards. The best part of that for me was that Spaces made it super easy to find the standards and apply the tags to submitted work (watch my demo). Spaces is now expanding that capability to activities.
Now when you create an activity in Spaces you can tag it with the standards to which it aligns. The benefit of doing this is every artifact submission that a student makes for that activity is automatically tagged with the correct standard. This is helpful in showing students’ progress towards meeting standards. For a glimpse of a students’ view of activity completion, watch this brief video.
Speaking of progress towards meeting standards, in August Spaces will be rolling out proficiency scales. Proficiency scales will appear as color-coded labels that you can apply to your students’ submitted work in Spaces. Think of this as a quick way to tell students if their work meets a proficiency standard, needs more work, or if it exceeds expectations. Jump to the 27 second mark in this video to see Spaces proficiency standards in use.
Create a “Best of” Portfolio
One of the things that first drew me to Spaces was the ability to create individual, group, and whole class portfolios. But until now there was no way to quickly put the same submitted work into multiple portfolios. That has changed with the latest update to Spaces. Now you can quickly copy students’ work from a group or class portfolio into an individual portfolio. This makes it possible to do something like create a “best of” portfolio for students to share work that they have done in groups and done individually throughout the year.
Learn More and Get Started!
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Spaces will be at ISTE this year. You can find them at booth 1549 located north of the BrainPop booth and two rows south of the NearPod set up in Hall H. Tell them I sent you!
If you’re not attending ISTE and you want to learn more about Spaces, take a look at my demo videos here and then sign-up for a free account to get started.