Sunday, April 12, 2020

Google Photos e-portfolio You Can Do

One of my favorite books of the past several years is "The Innovator's Mindset" by George Couros. It sat on my bookshelf for a good six months before reading it, but when I did ....... WOW! Very early on in his book, George shares 2 definitions of innovation on page 19 that I carry with me on a daily basis:

The Innovator's Mindset, George Couros, p.19 (2015)

I've included this as a preface to my share today. Like many of the other items I have shared, today's is a product of a conversation with a teacher I work with and is aimed at filling a need she has. Like many schools around the world, we are deep in remote learning right now. And like many schools, we are doing the best we can as we learn this new way of educating our students. Our awesome curriculum director provided clear direction as we move forward into this method of educating our students. She referred to it as the "One-third rule." 
1/3 new learning
1/3 practice
1/3 feedback

From this mindset, a first grade teacher called me and wanted to talk about how to do the feedback part. It's easy when you are AT school ... it's easy when the student is right in FRONT of you ... it's easy when you spend 6-7 hours each weekday with them ... but what about now? We talked about what she was hoping to do, what she needed to do, what she wanted to do, the tools we have, and so on. Long story ... several ideas tossed around ... and finally ... around 10 pm, I asked her to remind me what she absolutely had to have. She said an easy place for parents to share photos, two way communication, and for it to be simple. [It's important to note - our 1st grade students do not access email, nor have they heavily used Google Classroom, parents had been sharing photos of work already, AND we need to keep this SIMPLE.] 

That is when it hit me. I called on the "iteration" definition from George - why not use Google Photos to create a shared album for students (&/or their parents) to share their work with the teacher?!?! I have used Google Photos in my personal life for quite some time, and I love the sharing ability AND the commenting ability.

Next hurdle ... what about parents who don't have a Google account? Have no fear - our students all have Google accounts! Why not have the parents use the child's Google account to do this? No new accounts AND it will "live" with the child's school account for as long as necessary - even when we return to school.

It's definitely a different line of thinking ... and will take some work to set up, but I believe it's a doable option. Many adults are used to taking & sharing photos, so this borrows on that already learned skill. This also streamlines the sharing for the teacher - it's all in one spot. The commenting also provides evidence for feedback as well as notifications for both sides - home & school.

Now, I'm not one to throw ideas around without backing it up with some instruction/guide. I created a slidedeck to help the teachers and parents. Feel free to make your own copy or share it out as is. You will also want to check - like I did - that Google Photos is turned on for your students. 

I hope this provides an easy method of communication for teachers, parents, and students. The feedback the original teacher has already received has been positive. I know there will be hiccups along the way, but I'm excited to see how this goes!

Looking for a link to a View Only version? Please use "File --> Make a Copy" to make your own copy.

Want to look at the Template version? Please click on "Use Template" in the upper right corner to make it your own.

I'd love to hear how this goes for you if you choose to use it. And if I can be of help, please don't hesitate to comment below; contact me on Twitter (@kiefersj); or email me (


  1. This is such a great idea!! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Absolutely! Providing feedback remotely is difficult for sure! I hope this helps others out.