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Kudos Wall: for building that first portfolio

We build portfolios in school. We use tools like Seesaw and Easy Portfolio.  And yet, the onus is usually on the teacher or the librarian to get the ball rolling and sustain the efforts across grade levels.

I wonder if the kids themselves get invested in the importance of safely beginning to build a footprint.  I’ve been able to gather together my own stuff on an About.me page and there are many other options for adults.

In so many cases we remove their names from everything good they do, sharing on our behalf rather than theirs. When it comes time to examine a student’s academic digital footprint before they apply for college, the search often unveils an unbalanced profile of party pictures. We’ve done a fine job obscuring stunning works of art, powerful digital stories and the science fair triumphs.

KudosWall is a free app and web platform that allows kids themselves to archive the good stuff about them–the stuff we see at school, as well as the stuff we don’t. And lots of good stuff happens outside of school walls–concerts, dance recitals, 4H medals, athletic competitions, community service and volunteer efforts, scouting badges and badges for informal learning.

Available for Android and iOS, KudosWall allows kids to build portfolios, to share across devices, at first with the help of a parent. Parents can turn the portfolio over to their children for independent management after the child reaches the age of 13. According to the privacy policy: Children below the age of 13 years are not supposed to use the content of the website without a guardian/parental consent.

The platform was launched by a parent who wanted to make sure his son’s achievements could be preserved and shared:

Being a kid in this generation involves more than simply going to school, students these days are experiencing many successes in and out of the classroom. I believe that these accomplishments and the lessons learned from them should be preserved. This thought, a proud parent’s simple desire to preserve their child’s accomplishments, was the inspiration for KudosWall, a platform for creating a portfolio of proud moments just like Nikhil’s.

The sweet spot for KudosWall is middle school, when students are just beginning to think seriously about career possibilities.  But the platform easily grows with a student through high school helping them get a head start on the college application process, scholarship opportunities, competing for spots on college teams, and for preparing resumés for those first real jobs.

Logins may be created for three profile types:

  • Family–with one family member managing the achievements of the other members;
  • Student–a student manages his/her own portfolio
  • Educator–which allows educators to manage groups, make announcements and write recommendations

Students can upload or link to images, videos, presentations, and documents related to their achievements, skills, projects and awards, and may add summaries or personal statements. Students can share achievements in such categories as: academic, services, arts, sports, miscellaneous. Their portfolios may also be viewed as resumés or websites.

Users choose how and with whom they will share their portfolios and whether or not to invite or find friends.  Options allow teachers to create calendars of events and groups–which may be set up as private.

The website shares a couple of sample portfolios for John Appleseed and Jane Appleseed .  A premium portfolio offers more personalization features that looks more like a formal website with headers, color and font palettes

Here’s a little peek at the educator’s dashboard:

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I can see sharing KudosWall at PTA meetings, with coaches and club sponsors. With parents as partners, librarians may want to use it to lead the way in guiding young people in building positive digital footprints.

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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