Create beautiful graphics, web pages ad video stories in minutes
Others, Portfolio, Presentation

Tech Tip Tuesday – Adobe Spark

Are you ever looking for an easy way way to create visually interesting content, newsletters, or presentations?  If so, you might be interested in Adobe Spark.  It’s also great for personal stories, to make professional looking graphics, and even to make short videos.

Create: flyer, instagram posts, facebook cover, collage, webpage

There are tons of premade templates to help you get started but you can also start from a blank slate.  What I also like is that it gives you access to free photos, your Dropbox, Google Drive and Google Photos.

Once you create the item, you can link to it or embed it in OAKS, a blog, a webpage, etc.  It’s fast and easy with a very low learning curve.


Here are a few samples to help you understand what it can do:

  A Guide to Engaging Discussions . video screenshot Screenshot of a website

Try it now at

#onenewthing Padlet
Collaboration, discussion, instructional technology, iPad, Mobile, Portfolio, Presentation, Research

#OneNewThing – Padlet

padlet screenshot“Padlet is a virtual wall that allows people to express their thoughts on a common topic easily. It works like an online sheet of paper where people can put any content (e.g. images, videos, documents, text) anywhere on the page, together with anyone, from any device.” (Mrs. Treichler)

Platforms:  Web, iOS, Android, also has plugins for Chrome and WordPress


How It Works


Uses for Faculty & Students


  • Create a blank board and share it (either with specific people via their Padlet account, or via a general link.
  • Double-click on the board to add a new “sticky” note.
  • You can add:
    • Text
    • Audio
    • Video
    • Images
    • Files
  • Drag the notes around to organize and sort them.

Works on a computer or almost any mobile device.

  • Discussion and collaboration
  • Constructing a classroom code of conduct or an assessment rubric with your students
  • Backchannel where students can write questions during or before class
  • Exit ticket
  • Brainstorming
  • Planning
  • Student-to-Student image sharing
  • Writing prompts and collaborative writing
  • Student introductions
  • KWL Charts
  • Curation
  • Flow maps
  • Opinion forums
  • Inspiration wall
  • Portfolios
  • Website bookmarking tool
  • More…
  • Even more…

Get your padlet account today


Mobile, Portfolio

App of the Week: SeeSaw – Reflective Journals and ePortfolios

Special thanks to Gustavo Urdaneta, a professor in the Spanish Department, for recommending this app.

SeeSaw is an easy to use, online journaling and portfolio application.  The many features allows faculty and students to use the app in many different ways.  Professor Urdaneta is using it to allow his students more language practice time and to deliver practice material.  At the end of the term, both he and his students can see their progress through the semester.

screenshot of seesaw appSeeSaw’s features:

ePORTFOLIO – Students can “show what they know” using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. You can also import directly from most popular apps.

JOURNALS ARE ORGANIZED AND ACCESSIBLE – When students add to their Seesaw journal, content is uploaded, organized by student, and immediately accessible to teachers from any device.  Browse work from the entire class, or for a single student. Optionally, use folders to organize work by subject area or project.
ENCOURAGE DEEPER LEARNING AND REFLECTION – Seesaw helps capture the learning process, not just the end result.  Students can use Seesaw’s built-in audio recording, drawing and caption tools to reflect on what they’ve learned or explain how they got their answer.
STUDENT BLOGGING HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER – Seesaw Blogs are a simple way to share a selection of work from students’ Seesaw portfolios on a public class blog, giving students a broader, global audience for their learning.

Price: Free

PlatformiOS DevicesAndroid DevicesChromebooks, Any Computer with Chrome

More Information:

Google, Google Apps, Innovative Instruction, Portfolio, TLT

Using Digital Portfolios in the Classroom

When I first began teaching, each class involved a major research paper that was due at the end of the semester.  Much to my chagrin, most students never picked up their graded papers, having already left for home and forgotten the assignment entirely.

About four years ago, I was cleaning out my office, and discovered an entire filing cabinet filled with abandoned graded papers.  Seeing this inspired me to alter my signature assignments.  I began reading about the “write to learn” movement, which emphasizes process over product.  I learned about scaffolding assignments, low-stakes writing, journaling, and free writing.  I then participated in a workshop in which I learned more about writing across the curriculum, including the value of student portfolios.  By the way, if this sounds interesting to you, I highly encourage signing up for the Writing Institute hosted by First Year Experience and English professors Chris Warnick and Amy Mecklenburg-Faenger (for College of Charleston faculty only).

Back to portfolios…

Student portfolios are collections of academic work and can be used for pedagogical, professional, or assessment purposes.  In my writing-intensive classes, I decided longitudinal portfolios would be the most meaningful.  This type of portfolio focuses on documenting the entire writing process, including notes, drafts, feedback, and revisions.

Next, I had to decide how students would curate their work. I could ask students to print hard copies of their papers and keep them in three-ring binders. But I have only so many filing cabinets in my office, and I had nightmares about being buried alive by stacks of papers. So I decided a digital option would be best.

There are a multitude of companies which provide e-portfolio services, but most of them require expensive subscriptions.  Thus, I decided to use an application that College of Charleston students, faculty, and staff have free access to: Google Drive.

Google Drive is part of the Google Apps for Education suite, providing cloud-based storage space.  Students can access their Drive from any device that connects to the Internet and files are automatically saved.  For more information about Google Apps for Education, visit the TLT tutorials blog.

At the beginning of the semester, I ask students to create a folder in their Drive specifically for their class portfolio.

Create New Folder












The students then share that folder with me by adding my email address.  Within their portfolio, they can create sub-folders for each writing assignment or each phase in the writing process.  I ask students to upload everything—every draft and peer review, and all the feedback I have offered.  For speeches (my class also includes a public speaking component), I require students to include their outlines, self-evaluations, and links to their videos (I upload videos of their speeches to Kaltura Media Space or an unlisted You Tube channel).

Share Folder Right Click Menu













At the end of the semester, students compose a letter, addressed to me, reflecting on their evolution as a writer and speaker.  I ask students to go through their portfolio and critically examine the strides they have made and the hurdles they still have to clear.  Because they have access to all their work, they can select examples that provide evidence to support their claims about strengths and weaknesses.

In order for this type of reflection to be truly effective, I have learned to build a culture of reflection in my classes.  Throughout the semester, students engage in peer editing, workshopping, and self-evaluation, giving them the practice necessary to successfully complete the final reflection letter.

Using Google Drive is a simple way for students to curate their academic work, share it with peers and faculty, and engage in critical reflection.  From the longitudinal portfolios created for my class, students could cull their best work and create a separate “showcase portfolio” that may be useful when interviewing for internships and jobs.

If you’re interested in learning more about Google Drive, TLT hosts training sessions throughout the year.  Check out the training schedule at

Dear TLT, Portfolio, Productivity, Research

Dear TLT: How do I Merge Multiple PDFs into One File for T&P?

Dear TLT,

I do not have Adobe Acrobat XI Pro, and I need to merge multiple PDFs into one file for my Tenure and Promotion (T&P) packet.  Are there any FREE solutions that will produce the same results?


Professor C.F. Xavier


Dear Professor Xavier,

Thank you for this very timely question!  There are FREE solutions available.  Since you did not mention if you are a Mac or Windows user, we will provide applications for both (see table below).

[table id=1 /]

Please contact your instructional technologist, if you have any questions or concerns, and do not forget to check out our upcoming training sessions at

Best regards,


TLT logo
Assessment, Pedagogy, Portfolio, Round Table Discussion

Roundtable Discussion is now available for viewing

Roundtable Discussion: Student Portfolios for Assessment, Reflection, & Employment is now available for online viewing.  Panelists:  Dr. Chris Warnick (English), Dr. Chris Korey (FYE), Dr. Beth Goodier (Communication), Dr. Kevin Keenan (Political Science), Denny Ciganovic (Career Services).
Description:  Five people give their take on student portfolios and discuss what they look for in a portfolio and the ups and downs of doing them.  In the discussion they look at three types of portfolios: student reflection, program assessment, and employment.

If you wish to view this or any of the past Faculty Roundtable Discussions visit Teaching > Roundtable Discussions on this blog.