Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is LinguaFolio Online?

LinguaFolio Online (LFO) is an online language portfolio designed to help learners engage with the language functions set forth by the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements. Learners upload evidence to LinguaFolio Online (either via computer or their mobile devices) and self-assess how well they are able to engage in a given function. Then, educators or peers with permission to view the evidence can give feedback regarding learners’ progress. The learners will use this feedback to set new goals for themselves.

Visit our About page for more information about LinguaFolio Online.

I have 30 students, and I want to sign up! How do my students get accounts?

LinguaFolio Online is available for $2 per student per school year. You may sign up and pay for LinguaFolio Online here.

Once you receive your teacher account, you will need to register your students. That can be done by entering the students individually or by performing a batch upload. The instructions for doing so are located in the Teacher Welcome Packet in the document entitled “Adding and Removing Students.”

Pedagogical Questions

What are language functions?

Language functions are tasks that learners accomplish using the target language. In LinguaFolio Online, these functions are captured by the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements. While language control and vocabulary are important to engage in language functions, they are not sufficient to evaluate a learner’s proficiency. Instead, engagement in language functions requires using the target language to interpret and respond to real-world situations.

What is the best way to incorporate LinguaFolio Online into my classroom and convince my students that it is a meaningful tool?

A common misconception of LFO is that it should be used in a summative fashion. However, we do not recommend this practice. Instead, educators should weave LFO into the fabric of their classrooms. Correct usage of LFO involves learners not only capturing evidence regarding their respective proficiency levels and reflecting upon that evidence, but also using that reflection to set goals for subsequent work in the class. In fact, as Moeller, Theiler, and Wu (2012) discuss, there is a statistically significant and positive correlation between students who set goals for themselves well and performance on the Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP), a language proficiency test. Given this cycle of setting goals, working towards the goals, reflecting on progress, and then setting new goals, LinguaFolio Online should be an omnipresent tool within a classroom if educators wish to unlock its full potential for learners.

On a related note, educators need not spend a set amount of time each day forcing their learners to engage in LinguaFolio Online. Instead, the use should be determined by the opportunities the learners have to engage in meaningful, functional language use and reflection on their productive and interpretive skills.

It still seems like LFO takes up too much classroom time. How do I fit it in?

Using LFO during class does require some time, but there are ways to make it fit in seamlessly. If you have a trusty wireless connection, we recommend using LFO to Go, our free mobile app that allows learners to record evidence as they produce it. They can type directly into the app and take photos, audio, and video recordings instantaneously, and then upload the evidence and their self-reflections to their online portfolios directly. Thus, the creation and capturing of evidence should take no longer than doing an assignment in class and passing it in.

We acknowledge that transferring files to the computer version of LinguaFolio Online is a process that does require class time. The implementation of any tech tool does come with a learning curve. What seems clunky and slow the first few times of use will run more rapidly and smoothly with practice. Also, you will save some time that you used to spending passing out and taking up work by digitizing the output of your learners. Finally, your learners can practice self-reflection and self-evaluation while their files are uploading.

Using LFO meaningfully seems like a lot of work. I already have district initiatives that I have to consider. How can I possibly do everything at once?

Using LinguaFolio Online does require careful and intentional backwards design. We are here to help! We have created a unit planner designed to complement other unit planners that are commonly used in the United States and abroad including Understanding by Design, Project-based Learning, and International Baccalaureate unit planners. Our unit planner is not intended to be done in addition to other district-related initiatives, but rather to give you an idea of how to meet your district-related initiatives while implementing LFO with integrity.

Another important result of using LinguaFolio Online is that it has the ability to eliminate time spent grading. Feedback given on LFO is holistic and does not require teachers to add up point deductions, for example.

It feels like my students never have the opportunity to create evidence in class. What do I do to fix that?

Try to shift some of your focus from teaching about language to allowing students to practice understanding and producing language. While you should not ignore teaching grammar and vocabulary, make the primary focus of your class helping students to use language in meaningful, authentic ways.

What if I don’t like the evidence that my students upload to LinguaFolio Online?

LinguaFolio Online allows you to communicate your evaluation of a student’s work by simply clicking how well you think a student engaged in a given language function. You may also choose to write brief and descriptive feedback when making this evaluation.

How do I use LFO as a growth-measurement tool? How do I assign grades?

We designed LinguaFolio to belong to the students, and it was created to develop proficiency and is not meant to take the place of standardized proficiency tests. LinguaFolio Online is formative and reflective; it is not intended to be summative. Thus, we do not recommend assigning grades with LinguaFolio Online. Currently, all reports are generated based on student self-assessment.

If you do need to assign grades using LinguaFolio Online, we recommend that you consider evaluating the students’ reflective process. This evaluation could include a rubric to analyze the quality of the evidence uploaded, any justifications that students are able to provide you for their self-evaluations, and how well the goals that they set for themselves embody the consideration of their self-reflections.

Tech Questions

Does LFO work on mobile devices like Android and iOS?

LFO to Go, our mobile app, is free to LFO learners and is available for Android and iOS. Please see our tech tutorials. Please note that the new LFO to Go will be available by August.

How do I assign Can-Do Statements to my students?

Learners may always self-select the Can-Do Statements that they wish to be working on. However, teachers may assign Can-Do Statements to learner groups. In order to do so, please  download the Teacher Welcome Packet and read “Assigning Can-Do Statements.”

I want to use LFO to Go in my classroom, but I don’t have enough mobile devices. What are some solutions?

There are a variety of solutions to this issue. The first is to have learners work in teams and share mobile devices. The second solution is to allow learners to work individually, but to do the activities in multiple waves or to provide different groups with different activities to work on simultaneously in which only one of the groups uses LFO to Go at a time. Also, implementation of LinguaFolio Online in your classroom does provide the opportunity to write a grant for mobile devices for your students.

What do I do if the wireless connection at my school won’t support my students using LFO simultaneously?

The solutions to this issue are similar to the ones mentioned in the previous question. First, teachers can eliminate strain placed on the bandwidth by allowing learners to work in teams or to work in groups in which only one group uses LFO to Go at a time. Another option is to have learners upload the evidence that they capture on their own mobile devices using data connections. If this approach is not feasible, learners may capture evidence on their personal devices and wait to upload their evidence until they have a more trustworthy wireless connection.

My students keep losing their passwords for LFO! What is the solution for that issue?

You can recommend free apps such as 1Password to help your students store all of their passwords. Also, you may reset their passwords using this tutorial, or learners can request that their passwords be reset. Since the information for resetting the passwords is emailed to the learners, make sure that the email filters used by your school district do not block the learners from receiving their emails. Furthermore, make sure that your district’s firewall filter allows lfolio@uoregon.edu. Finally, you can request that the learners list your email as their own emails when setting up accounts so that the password resets will be sent to you.

 

What are some ways that I can prepare my classroom for using LFO?

We recommend the following steps to set up your classroom for using LFO.

  1.      Make sure that LFO to Go  is downloaded to the mobile devices being used before class begins.
  2.      Check the Wi-Fi connection in your classroom. You may find it beneficial to work elsewhere.
  3.      Work with the technology specialist at your school to verify that filters aren’t blocking emails and to troubleshoot any issues with Wi-Fi connectivity.
  4.      It will save time and confusion to perform a batch upload of learners rather than having them use a join code to register individually. For more information, see the “Teacher Profile Overview” in the Teacher Welcome Packet.
  5.      If you use join codes, make sure that you give the group join code to students and not any other code (such as the school code, for example).
  6.      If learners use LFO to Go on their mobile devices and do not have wireless connectivity, they will need to be mindful of the fact that they are using their data plans.
  7.      Most importantly, we recommend that educators create a student account for themselves so that they are familiar with the student interface and are able to help troubleshoot any issues that may arise. Similarly, it would be beneficial to explore LFO to Go on both Android and iOS devices so that you can be accustomed to the differences that exist between the two platforms.

Where can I get tech support?

Many of your technical questions can be answered by looking at the resources in the technology tutorials on our website. You may also email lfolio@uoregon.edu or call (541) 346-5699 (8:00-4:00 PST) for help.

 

References

Moeller, A., Theiler, J., and Wu, C. (2012). Goal Setting and Student Achievement: A Longitudinal Study. The Modern Language Journal. 96. 153-169.