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Great Tips and Tools to Create Digital e-Portfolio

Electronic portfolios are among the most important tools in your digital kit as a teacher . In its basic definition, an educational e-portfolio is a digital collection of student work that evidences mastery of a set of skills, applied knowledge, and attitudes. The notion of  portfolios has a long history in education but it is only with the revolution of web 2.0 technologies that digital eportfolios spawned the educational landscape making it way easier   to build, maintain, share  and  archive student learning in digital forms.

Advantages of the use of e-portfolios in the classroom

Here are some of the pluses of using  e-portfolios with your students :
  • e-portfolios make classroom learning more accessible to parents, teachers and administrators
  • They provide a window into student learning
  • They showcase both student achievement and student learning over time
  • They provide additional assessment information beyond what can be collected from traditional letter grade
  • They provide students with a vehicle for regular feedback and dialogue with their teachers
  • They allow students to think critically and reflect upon their work
  • They enable teachers to develop a picture of the learning that is taking place and show them areas that need more attention
  • e-portfolios  increase student engagement, promote a continuing conversation about learning between teachers, parents, and students, and extend academic lessons beyond school walls
  • Digital portfolios also offer opportunity for students to showcase skills and kinds of intelligence that often are not measured on standardized tests.
  • Creating digital portfolios provides an opportunity to teach students technology skills such as how to import pictures, resize images, take screen shots, or use a digital or video camera

Tips for creating successful e-portfolio

Here are some of the tips you need to  keep in mind while creating e-portfolios with your students :

  • First, explain to your students what an e-portfolio is all about. Let them know that the writing done in an e-portfolio is different in essence from the one done in, say, a blog, wiki, or diary
  • Clearly determine your goals and purposes behind creating-eportfolio and try to develop clear definitions for the selection of content
  • Encourage students to  think broadly and creatively about the kinds of evidence that might best illustrate their skills, thinking, accomplishments and interests
  • Try to design assignments that will push students to include different artifacts such as text, audio clips, videos, images or web pages
  • Consider sharing examples of effective reflection and providing other opportunities ( outside the e-portfolio ) for students to practice reflective writing
  • Work with your students on technical part of e-portfolio. Show them how they can select a template and customize it and how they can add text and links
  • Encourage students to showcase their creative powers and give them freedom to decorate or personalize their e-portfolios with photographs, illustrations, music, and original work

What should a digital portfolio include ?

Because digital portfolios are meant to showcase students work and help teachers assess students academic growth, the content of a student’s digital portfolio should :

  • Be related to the curriculum and engage students in meaningful learning
  • Include examples of students  performances
  • Include demonstrations of achieving a particular objective
  • Provide examples showing personal and academic growth
  • Content should be indicative of a plethora of skills and abilities
  • Include students reflections on their work and teachers commentaries
  • It should also include clear criteria for judging the merit of each performance contained in it
  • They should include a detailed rubric explaining the effectiveness and overall value of each performance

Portfolio Types

According to Teacher vision, portfolios can be divided into two groups :
P             Process oriented
Process oriented portfolios tell a story about the growth of a learner. They document the processes of learning and creating, including earlier drafts, reflections on the process, and obstacles encountered along the way. They may be organized into skill areas or themes, yet each contains a student's work from the beginning, middle, and end of a learning unit. For example, there may be three drafts of a short story: a preliminary draft, a reworked draft reflecting teacher and peer feedback, and a final draft. The student can comment on the ways one is better than the other. In this manner, the artifacts can be compared providing evidence about how the student's skills have improved. In any number of ways, in writing or perhaps during a parent-teacher conference, the student would reflect on the learning process: identifying how skills have changed, celebrating accomplishments, and establishing present and future challenges.

2                 Product oriented
Product oriented portfolios are collections of work a student considers his or her best. The aim is to document and reflect on the quality and range of accomplishments rather than the process that produced them. It generally requires a student to collect all of her work until the end, at which time she must choose artifacts that represent work of the highest quality.

 Web Tools to Create e-portfolios

Here some of the best web tools to help you create e-portfolios:

1    1-   Evernote

This is my favourite and I must admit that I consider it the best of them all. To learn how to use Evernote to create digital portfolios with your students I highly recommend this guide

2    2- Googlesite

 Google Sites provides a free application for creating your own web site. It is also an effective platform for creating and hosting your e-portfolios check out this guide to learn how to create an e-portfolio using Google site

It allows users to create multimedia slideshows using images, documents, and videos. Other users can then comment using text, audio, or video.

4    4-  Weebly

Weebly is  a platform to create free websites or blogs using a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface.

5    5- Mahara

This is an open-source e-portfolio system created by New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Commission’s e-learning Collaborative Development Fund.

iPad apps to create e-portfolios

Here is a list of the top 5 iPad apps you can use to create digital portfolios on the go. Check them out HERE.

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