This is a guest post in our Educator Stories series by Maribel Martinez, Education Consultant for Editure/AUSSIE, New York, New York.

The arrival of the Common Core State Standards has set in motion major instructional shifts, revisions in curricula and deliverables, and new expectations for student evaluation, among other major changes in school and classroom practices.

In New York City, where my work as an education consultant demands eclecticism within expertise, technology projects and final performance tasks are born when the curriculum drives the innovation.

My work with Abigail Farahmandpour, 8th grade Social Studies teacher at PS/IS 204, The Holmes School, in Long Island City, New York began with a general conversation about her upcoming unit on World War II, her existing access to technology, the technology-infused projects she had done in the past, how she wanted to revamp old ideas to include technology that would engage students, and also give them a new way to demonstrate their learning while pushing their 21st century skills further.

Since Abigail’s goals for the project included student research and writing, she wanted to incorporate a technology application that would allow students to really develop their thoughts instead of just adding captions or short statements to images.

Abigail did not want the writing and the research to take a backseat to the technology piece; she envisioned a final project that told the story of WWII through the eyes of someone who experienced the conflict firsthand.

Enter Biteslide. Biteslide offers its users the ability to support lengthy text, audio, video, and images within a lifelike scrapbook-known as a Slidebook-that anyone can easily customize by dragging and dropping digital stickers, paper, borders, and die cuts. Because Biteslide is linked to Google and YouTube, students easily performed searches for eye-catching media and uploaded them in one step into their Slidebooks.

Best of all, nothing is ever lost in Biteslide. Whether you upload directly from the Internet or your own computer, Biteslide stores your media in Your Bites for later use, and you never have to worry about power outages or computer glitches because Biteslide autosaves while you work.

Lastly, group work is easily accomplished on Biteslide because users can collaborate with one another on the same Slidebook project, making group project work easy and fun.

Creating digital scrapbooks on Biteslide was a natural fit for the goals of this project and a great way for students to allow their creativity to put a personal stamp on their WWII stories. Some examples of our 8th Grade Technology-Infused Performance Tasks on WWII:

Aside from bolstering student enthusiasm and easing the pressures of traditional testing methodologies, developing technology-infused performance tasks with tools such as Biteslide accomplish important points with regard to student assessment:

1. Technology-infused performance tasks maintain the original intent behind authentic assessments, measuring what students do with what they know not just how much they know.

2. Technology-infused performance tasks are evaluations of both process and product.

3. Technology-infused performance tasks are designed using active verbs requiring students to manipulate, produce, and create application extensions as evidence of learning.

“The kids are loving Biteslide!” announced Abigail before students were even finished with their projects.

For teachers, a final performance task with Biteslide also means a permanent electronic work product to share on a blog, teacher website, or within a digital student portfolio, in addition to less time spent grading lengthy essays, and more time enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Maribel Martinez is an experienced educator, teacher leader, and education consultant who has worked to effect school change in three of the largest four school districts in the country over nearly two decades. Her areas of specialization include collaborative/collegial coaching, special populations, technology in education, and literacy. Sparked by her collaborative work coaching teachers, Maribel developed the New Teacher Residency Pilot Plan, based on her research in the areas of second-career teachers and new teacher preparation, as an alternative model for new teacher preparation in the United States. Maribel lives in New York City and can be reached via LinkedIn.