Leafing through the brilliant ideas from PebblePad's MiniBash event in Canada

by Gail Ring


Leafing through the brilliant ideas from PebblePad's MiniBash event in Canada

~ PebblePad Events ~

SEPTEMBER 23rd 2019· by Gail Ring


I eagerly anticipate any PebbleBash event as a place to share ideas, best practices and overall excitement about the transformative teaching in which we are engaging. Our last MiniBash in Canada did not disappoint! Participants from 4 colleges in the Toronto area came together to share ideas and stories. This short post provides a glimpse of the fabulous practice and words of wisdom shared by our Canadian customers, along with links to further information and resources. So read on to gather some PebblePad inspiration and shining examples from the Land of Maple.

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Stories of the journey – from charting a course to transforming the landscape

The breadth and depth of PebblePad use that was shared showcased the innovators, trailblazers and champions of extraordinary learning experiences: from a snapshot of ‘10 things that faculty, staff and students do with PebblePad’ through detailed case studies of supporting learners throughout various stages of their learning journey, to innovative examples of harnessing the power of our assessment engine, ATLAS.
As our opening speaker reminded us, innovative, student-centered teaching takes time but, as was evidenced in the presentations, this effort has the potential to yield great rewards. Some of the key insights from the day included:

  • Purpose: helping students make connections to their own experiences, situations, and goals ultimately helps them visualize and articulate past + present + future relevance to themselves as effective learners

  • Scaffolding: the importance of providing useful questions to help peer reviewers give constructive and professional feedback

  • Approach: a staged approach using PebblePad at the beginning of the program provides students with a space to reflect on and document both curricular and co-curricular experiences

  • Student voice: the power of reflection as well as the difficulty that students have actually taking the time to stop and reflect and how PebblePad provides an “avenue for that reflection”

  • Transformation: the introduction of a learning portfolio has the potential to drive curriculum development and support changes to content delivery.
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High-impact practices, magnificent failures and the power of reflection

This event coincided with the release of our recent High Impact Practices (HIPs) publication and three of our presenters wrote case studies about how they are addressing HIPs in their courses using PebblePad. If you'd like to learn more about how PebblePad can be used to support high-impact practices, and nurture future-ready graduates, you'll find a link to the HIPS publication below.

Image shows a snapshot of the PebblePad High-impact practice publication

Two of our presenters from the University of Waterloo discussed the importance of reflection and learning from mistakes, or as Chris Rennick calls them, “magnificent failures” where students reflect on what didn’t work as planned and what they learned from these experiences. The presenters call attention to the importance of self-reflection, empathetic reflection, and reflective communication as a means to foster critical thinking.

Throughout the event, the presentations all reiterated the power of reflection and the role that PebblePad plays in facilitating the reflective process. Each presenter highlighted the importance of scaffolding reflection whether from peers, instructors, mentors or externals. We also learned from both faculty and students that learning portfolios and their reflective nature has the potential to transform the university into a more learner-centered space that prepares future ready graduates. You'll find a link below to the presentations from the day. 

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Event resources

High-impact practice publication
First published in June 2019, this paper explores how PebblePad can be used to support high-impact practices to help educators nurture future-ready graduates. The paper is supported by 10 examples of practice.

Presentations from MiniBash
Our presenters have generously made available their presentation slides, while three of the presentations were recorded and are available to watch. Please click on the link below to access the presentation summaries and resources.

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Gail is a great believer in the power of portfolios for learning and has been using them in her teaching and research since her graduate work at the University of Florida. Formerly the Director of the ePortfolio Program at Clemson University, Gail joined the PebblePad team in 2015 as she wanted the opportunity to share her knowledge and passion for the transformational nature of portfolio with a broader audience. Therefore, on any given day, you'll most likely find Gail eulogising all things portfolio somewhere in North America (albeit with a healthy bias towards a rather wonderful portfolio platform going by the name of PebblePad).