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You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you might find you get what you need: Reflections on the PebblePad Rollin’ Stones Tour

Start us up! if you start us up, we’ll never stop! 
start us up, start us up, we’ll never stop! 
start us up! yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahhhhhhh! 
start us up! we are Rock Stars on PebblePad 
making things easy,  
for KPU Faculty 
yeah, were making things easy, 
that’s what we be! 
ways of learning like you never, never, dreamed! 
start us up! 

The crowd sings and dances along as the lyrics flash across the screen, synchronized to the music video that fills the virtual space. Was this a virtual rock concert? No, this was the PebblePad ePortfolio professional development launch party at 9 am on KPU’s Zoom install: that is how we roll (and rock) at KPU.

So, why all the hype on a rainy Monday morning in January? What was the appeal of this new ePortfolio platform at KPUWhy were there over sixty faculty and staff signed up for this workshop? Moreover, why did more than half of the registrants attend the “optional” one-hour kick-off session during the chaos of semester start, in the middle of a pandemic? I want to think that this is no accident. With the challenges of the past year and the cognitive load faculty and staff have experienced, the PebblePad Rollin’ Stones Tour workshop series was designed to be fun, self-paced, and arguably most importantly, low time commitment. 

The PebblePad ePortfolio platform is an important addition to the KPU learning with technologies ecosystem. This platform was selected as it aligns with the KPU academic plan 2023, specifically, Student Success (1.1, 1.4), Open Education (6.8), and Teaching Excellence (2.2, 2.4). Find out just how PebblePad Aligns with KPU’s academic plan 2023 in this VIDEO. Furthermore, the PebblePad platform was carefully chosen for its assurance of student information privacy and security.  

PebblePad is the right choice for our institution. This platform can support learners’ development in diverse contexts and support students in articulating their learning experiences and meeting 21st-century competencies.  

Shane Sutherland, CEO and founder of PebblePad, attended the kick-off session and shared how twenty-years ago, the platform’s idea was born at the University of Wolverhampton in a course called Learning for Success, “we helped predominantly first-generation students learn to survive higher education.” Their survival was dependent on their ability to plan, make sense of, and reflect on their learning experiences. Shane designed the solution with some “technology wrapped around it” by creating the PebblePad platform to support students’ reflective learning process.  

From its inception, PebblePad has been more than just another software or EdTech tool and is aptly deemed a learning journey platform. This tool can foster more profound learning experiences for KPU students and help create a culture of “folio thinking” at our institution when thoughtfully adopted by faculty and programs. PebblePad is designed to be used by learners wherever and whenever they are learning and offers various features to help learners plan, record, reflect on, and evidence their learning. Faculty can guide, scaffold, encourage students to share with peers for feedback, and provide reflection templates that support deeper and more meaningful learning experiences.   

KPU partnered with PebblePad in the spring of 2020, with a soft launch over the summer and into the fall. Currently, the Teaching and Learning Commons and Learning Technology support over 900 faculty, staff and student users, and that is just in the first six months! 

Many of these users have reached out to share their enthusiasm for both the technical ease of use, and the learning value in the assignments and activities they have created for their students. Check out these TESTIMONIALS AND SAMPLE E-PORTFOLIOS.  

Faculty and staff are sharing their journey with us and are seemingly singing PebblePad’s praises from the mountain tops…which brings us back to that rockin’ morning kick-off session that made PebblePad’s CEO Shane announce “a hell of a party in the rain, on a Monday, in the morning; what a crowd!”.  

The PebblePad excitement is growing as more faculty and staff recognize this platform’s significance with supporting reflective learning practices. 

What are you waiting for? The KPU PebblePad learning journey is only beginning, and faculty and staff can create a PebblePad account easily using their Banner number and password HERE 

Still want to hop on the tour bus and join the PebblePad Rollin Stones party? There is still time to jump on the Tour – it promises to be an awesome ride, or rather, a collaborative learning journey. Email Lisa Gedak or Chris Ryan to hop on the bus! 

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Lisa Gedak is a Teaching and Learning with Technologies Strategist at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). Lisa is passionate about instructional design, the intersection of pedagogy and technology, and philosophical approaches supporting learner-centred education. Additionally, Lisa is an Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Facilitator who values building on the strengths of individuals and groups and channelling energy to be positively focussed; and a Master of Arts in Learning and Technology (MALAT) candidate through Royal Roads University (RRU).

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