Digital portfolios are an excellent way to collect, and display student work, as well as a way to offer an opportunity for student reflection on their work. Dr. Helen Barrett has done an enormous amount of work on this over the years.
There are various types of student portfolios, but basically can be distilled down to process or product. Many times the process evolves over time from collection of a digital archive to more of a reflective journal or blog to a portfolio used for assessment or display of student work.
Do you want to create a portfolio for student reflection, for formative assessment, giving and receiving feedback or for collaboration? These are process portfolios. They are not limited to the humanities. One can easily create process type portfolios for STEM courses as well.
Do you want to create a portfolio to display student work, for accountability? These are generally categorized as product portfolios. This is not just for artwork. Technology can help students document their thinking in all domains. A student can use screencasting and an online whiteboard, or an app like Explain Everything to walk through how to solve an equation.
After the decision about what kind of portfolio will be created, and this is not an all or nothing choice- think of a portfolio of art work (display) complete with student reflection on the work (process), the next step is to find the right tool. Is this portfolio going to be private, public, or have limited sharing? Is it going to be arranged chronologically or by topic/subject? Is this a portfolio that the student will keep and will follow him/her K-12 or some part of or is it course/year specific? Will the student be able to keep this work and take ownership at graduation?
Tools you may want to look at may include:
For the younger students- SeeSaw Journal is free and has gotten rave reviews from elementary teachers. This is from the Chrome Web Store:
Easily Capture Student Learning in Any Form
∙ Students can use photos, videos, drawings, text notes, links to show what they know.
∙ When students add to their Seesaw journal, content is uploaded, organized by student, and immediately accessible to teachers from any device.
∙ Teachers can browse work from the entire class or for a single student. Optionally, use folders to organize work by subject area or project.
∙ Teachers can flag items for follow up or to review at parent-teacher conferences.
Sign In Options that Work for All Ages
∙ Younger learners or classrooms with shared devices can sign in with a QR code. Older students can sign in with their existing Google Account.
Encourage Reflection and Provide an Authentic Audience
∙ Seesaw helps capture the learning process not just the end result. Students can use Seesaw’s built-in audio recording and drawing tools to reflect on what they’ve learned or explain how they got their answer.
∙ Seesaw gives students an authentic audience of their peers and parents, encouraging better work and real feedback. Teachers can control who can see what, and what feedback options are available, such as likes and comments.
Strengthen Connections Between School and Home
∙ Include families in the learning process by inviting them to view updates to their child’s Seesaw journal. Seesaw’s immediate, visual updates actually get seen by parents, provide encouragement for students, and cross language barriers.
∙ Teachers approve all new additions and comments before anything is shared with parents.
Weebly: Weebly for education offers an easy to use, drag and drop interface which we have had students from 4th grade up use for projects. Weebly sites can be set up as blogs or websites. We have a set of accounts to use at HES- so please don't set up more for the younger students.
The first video is over an hour long... "complete guide". The second one is 15 minutes and may answer most of your questions.
Wikispaces: A wiki can make an excellent place to store and display work. Wikispaces is free for education and offers a simple, fairly intuitive editing system. You can also set up your own wikispaces classroom.
Kidblogs, Edublogs or Blogger all offer various ways to both display and reflect on work. Edublogs and Kidblogs have teacher dashboards for more control. Blogger is currently not available for HES or HA.
Voice Thread is a great way to make a digital portfolio, offering a way to combine images, videos, or just about any type of document and an easy to use comment system
Try it out! Digital portfolios offer a wonderful way to give feedback, formative and summative assessment, a time and place for reflection and can be saved as a digital record of student work.