Best Tools to Create Digital Portfolios for Students

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Digital portfolios or e-portfolios are great teaching, learning, and assessment tools. In today’s post, I am focusing on the learning part and looking at e-portfolios from a student-centric perspective. To learn how teachers can leverage the power of portfolios in their instruction, check out Arter and Spandel (1992) paper (see reference list at the bottom of this page). 

By definition, a portfolio, according to Arter and Spandel, ‘is a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits to the student, or others, her efforts or achievement in one or more areas’ (cited in  Baki and Birgin, 2007, p. 77). The keyword here is ‘purposeful’, a portfolio is different from a folder in that it has a purpose and is guided by a number of learning objectives and expected outcomes. Without intentional planning, a portfolio becomes a mere receptacle of one’s work.

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Three processes are involved in portfolio creation: collection, selection, and reflection. Each of these processes trains students in a number of skills. Together they provide students with the know-how necessary to help them take responsibility of their learning and thrive as budding life-long learners.

There are numerous benefits students will gain from incorporating portfolios in their learning. Here is a summarized list of some these benefits (see source list at the bottom of this post to learn more):
  • Portfolios enable students to record their learning and document their growth over a period of time.
  • They provide students with a venue through which they can showcase their learning.
  • They can be used as a tool for self-assessment, self-reflection and personal development.
  • They help students focus on the process of learning rather than the end product.
  • They promote deeper learning as students actively engage in the learning process.
  • They develop students metacognitive skills (reflective practices) and help them take control of their learning.
  • They empower students' voice.
  • They promote 'self-discovery and confidence building’.
  • They help students develop personal and academic identities.
  • They assist students in locating their strengths and weaknesses and plan for future improvement.
  • They help students develop their writing skills.
  • A portfolio presents a concrete evidence of students achievements to prospective employers.
There are several web tools students can use to create digital portfolios. Some of my favourite tools in this regard include:

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1- Google Sites

This is one of the best platforms I have been recommending for teachers over the last few years. Students can use it to create and host their own digital portfolios. The site is simple and easy to use and they can set up their new website within minutes. They can create as many pages as they want,  upload their content, and share with others. Google Sites Help has everything students need to get started using Google Sites.

2- Weebly

This is another good website  students can use to create digital portfolios. Like Google Sites, Weebly provides users with a simple drag and drop editor that allows you to design your website the way you want. No HTML or coding knowledge required. You simply select a template, customize it the way you want, and when you are done publish it to the web. A similar tool is Wix.

3- Google Slides

Google Slides can be used to create digital portfolios in the form of  presentations. There is actually a pre-made template for that. This Portfolio template provides students with a tentative layout and structure to build their own portfolio.

4- Seesaw

Seesaw is a powerful tool to help students create and share digital portfolios. It allows them to capture and showcase their learning in multiple formats. They can include videos, drawings, text notes, links, and several other materials to their portfolios. Teachers and parents can easily access and check students work.

5- Evernote

This is another practical option for creating digital portfolios. Students record their thoughts using notes then  use things such as photos, audio files, links, and attachments to further enhance these notes. Evernote provides various organizational features that enable users to effectively organize their work so it can be easily searched and accessed across different devices.

6- Blogging platforms

Blogs are another great platforms where students can create and host their e-portfolios. Sites such as Wordpress and Blogger offer free tools to get started creating your blog. Edublogs is another good alternative to consider. 

1- Arter, J. A. & Spandel, V. (1992).  Using portfolios of student work in instruction and
assessment. Educational Measurement: Issue and Practice, 11(1), 36-44.
2- Baki, A. & Birgin, O. (2007). The use of portfolio to assess student’s performance. Turkish Science Education, 4(2), 75-90. Accessed from
3- 41 Benefits of An e-Portfolio (Stable Transition).
4- The Benefits of E-portfolios for Students and Faculty in Their Own Words (Association of American Colleges and Universities).
5- Introduction to Using Portfolios in the Classroom (by Charlotte Danielson and Leslye Abrutyn, ASCD).
7- 3 Reasons to Use Portfolios in Education ( by Bernard Bull, Etale- Education, Innovation, Experimentation).
8- The Importance of A Portfolio (Career Centre).
9- Chapter 7- Portfolio Assessment (NC Public Schools).