Documenting and reflecting on making

Educator uses documentation as a means of providing a meaningful context for reflection, assessment and understanding of learning and growth.
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Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator develops reflective documentation skills by capturing student work and using captured moments as tools to assess and better understand learning and growth.

Method Components

Documentation comes in many forms. It involves using the tools with which you are most comfortable to create a record of your work and asking questions of the created artifacts. Ideally, this would be an integral process of the classroom, in which you and the learners (and any classroom guests) document their work and processes. Practice these processes yourself, and then encourage your learners to take part in the documentation process as well. The ability to document in a reflective way is an important skill for learners to develop, and it also connects to K-12 standards related to communication, technology, digital media. Explore the Partnership for 21st Century Education’s Framework for 21st Century Learning for more information.

The Reflective Documentation Process:

  • Determine the documentation method that works best for you, your space, and your specific learning goals.
    • Photos, online diaries, audio recordings, videos – all of these are examples of potential tools for documenting one’s work.
    • Exploration of a few great documentation methods is available in the Resources section.
  • Determine what you will be documenting.
    • What is the project that you and (ideally) your learners will be documenting?
    • Look to document lessons, activities, projects, and events from start to finish.
  • Determine the questions you are seeking to answer about the learners in your space and their projects.
    • Your desired learning outcomes will be unique and directly tied to the goals of your space. Documentation and evaluation will help make these goals and outcomes visible.
    • Maker Ed’s Youth Makerspace Playbook describes how “many existing toolkits and innovative research methods are available that may help you decide how and what you’re most interested in tracking. Some spacemakers focus on subject content and others attempt to measure student engagement, interest, meaning making, and the soft skills innate to learning and development” (Chang et al. 61).
  • Document
    • Take pictures, write notes, make videos, draw – remember your guiding questions and make sure the artifacts you create are intentional.
  • Reflect
    • Why did you choose to document the aspects of the lesson that you did?
    • How did your documentation help answer the questions you set out for yourself?
  • Think about getting your learners documenting.
    • Documenting is not one-sided. Just as you should be documenting to help measure student progress, learners should be provided opportunities to document their own work and learning processes.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Burton, Frederick R., Mara Krechevsky, and Melissa Rivard. “Accountability in Three Realms: Making Learning Visible Inside and Outside the Classroom.” Theory Into Practice, 49, 2009, 64-71.
  • Chang, Stephanie, Steve Davee, Maker Ed, Goli Mohammadi, Lisa Regalla. Youth Makerspace Playbook. Maker Education Initiative, 2015.
  • Chang, Stephanie, Anna Keune, Adam Maltese, Christian McKay, Kylie Peppler, and Lisa Regalla, editors. Open Portfolio Project: Research Brief Series. Maker Education Initiative, 2015.
  • Martinez, Sylvia Libow, and Gary Stager. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, 2013.
  • “Framework for 21st Century Learning.” Partnership for 21st Century Learning,


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 as well as a “Yes” for each component in Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(200-word limit total per response):

  • In what type of learning environment do you work? (school, after-school, library, museum, etc.)
  • Ages of learners?
  • What subject(s) do you teach?
  • Do you currently document student projects/in-class activities? How?
  • Why are you interested in documenting student work/progress?

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

  1. Educator must submit the artifacts created through the process of documenting their lesson or activity (photos, writing, video, drawing, etc.)
  2. Educator must provide written documentation of the desired learning outcomes for the documented lesson/activity, the questions they sought to answer through documentation, and how they went about using documentation to answer these questions.
    • 200-300 words
  3. Educator must annotate documentation in order to point out at least five specific moments, why they were captured, and how these captured moments will help measure student learning and growth and track learning outcomes.
    • Annotations should be 200-300 words in length

Part 3. Educator Reflection

(300-word limit per response):

  • How did the process of documenting feel? What were some challenges? Surprises?
  • How might you document differently in the future?
  • What steps do you plan on taking to encourage your learners to document their work moving forward?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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