Technology Reviews: FreshGrade

The following review was written for Learning Personalized by Sherri Orr and Tammy Austin, both Instructional Technology Specialists from Denton ISD in Texas. Both can be found on Twitter – Sherri @sorr and Tammy @taustinITS.

FreshGrade is an ePortfolio program that allows parents a window into the lives of their children while they are at school. It solves the “Tuesday Folder” printing as well as the “What did you do at school today” questions. FreshGrade is free for individual teachers; the continuation of the ePortfolio past one year has a fee.

Ease of Use: How easy is it to get started? How easy is it to make this part of normal practice? How helpful is the support feature?

FreshGrade ReviewFreshGrade has a clean, uncluttered look with simple step-by-step account creation. Teachers can “pre-load” parents before school starts and invite them later. The support features are easy to access and follow once you click on their Knowledge Base.

Engaging Design: What features does it have to engage the learner?

Teachers have the ability to add a “Quick Note” about what is happening in the classroom. Students and teachers can upload information to FreshGrade. Both can comment on activities, and students can ask for and give feedback. The clean design of FreshGrade allows the students to focus on the current task.

Benefits: Why should I use this?

Parents can see the work students are engaging in on a daily basis. Teachers are able to create reports that focus on the whole class or on an individual student or assignment. There is a parent permission letter that explains how FreshGrade can be used. With the district-managed version there is also “Student Information System” integration as well as “Single Sign On” abilities. Teachers can add their own standards as needed.

Limitations: What can’t it do for me (yet)?

The objectives that are available within FreshGrade are Common Core, which is a benefit for the states using Common Core, but it can be a limitation for those states who have their own standards. Teachers can upload their own objectives, so there is a way to work for other states. In the free version, ePortfolios do not carry over from one year to the next. There is a limitation on file uploads to only 300MB, so videos need to be kept short. If teachers use free accounts, students will need to create their own accounts. The file type uploads are somewhat limited; all documents (Word, Docs, etc) will need to be converted to PDF prior to upload. Currently, there is not a way to integrate with Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or Apple’s iCloud.

Connectivity: How does it work with other platforms?

FreshGrade works with the current stable versions of any browsers. It also has Apps for Android and iOS devices. The district-managed version has SIS Integration and “Single Sign On” options.

The following formats can be uploaded:
Images: gif, jpg, jpeg, png
Audio: mp4, mp5, mp4a, wav
Video: mp4, Quicktime
Documents: pdf

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