Digital portfolios are great tools for students and teachers that offer many advantages by providing a web-based space to collect student work, tracking learning progress over time, keeping record of work, teaching technology skills to students and keeping in touch with parents and the school’s broader community.
These portfolios enable teachers and students to have an open dialogue about the student’s work progress in an easy way and provide students with a place where they can showcase their strengths and keep record of their achievements which can be very useful at the time of making college applications.
The web offers many tools that can help you create digital portfolios to implement in your classroom. Here’s a selection of 4 great web tools to create digital portfolios:
- VoiceThread: It has become very popular for use in classrooms as a digital portfolio tool. Both students and teachers can add samples of student work to a repository upon which students can then reflect to identify areas of strength, see how their learning is progressing and find opportunities for growth. They can receive feedback from teachers as well as parents in a variety of formats. This is one of the greatest advantages of using VoiceThread; it accepts different types of formats so that students are not limited to adding just the text documents to their portfolios. Students can take pictures of their artwork, upload videos of their projects or scan and upload their solutions to problems. Students can access their portfolios anytime to reflect on their progress and set goals to accomplish. The app offers an increased communicative ability by allowing students, teachers, and parents to leave comments using multiple types of input which can be text, audio or video. Students can easily flip through their work and annotate it and share it easily with others. Using VoiceThread to create digital portfolios, students can make clear connections between their learning activities and the actual learning and make the learning process visual and audible.
- Weebly: It is a very easy to use tool for creating digital portfolios. It allows a teacher to create and personalize class websites that look great and are easy to navigate. Weebly offers a great collection of site templates and themes for its users to choose from. Once a class site is created, a teacher can create password protected sites for each student. Students can login to personalize and update their site on their own. Older students find it very useful to learn how to maintain a site and with younger students, the sites created can still be used and maintained by the teacher. It allows easy addition of pictures, video, and text to sites, and students also have the option of creating their own blog within their personal site. There is no advertising on any of the sites created, be it the classroom site or a student’s personal site. Parents can be provided with their child’s site password for easy viewing of the digital portfolio. The sites created can be viewed and updated anywhere. The Weebly mobile apps allow users to edit and add content on the go. Weebly for Education includes all of the intuitive website-building and blogging tools found on Weebly plus features built specifically for education. It also offers bulk creation of student accounts which teachers can manage and moderate. Using these accounts, students can create their own websites and blogs.
- Evernote: Is a tool that has various different uses in the classroom; it offers a ton of functionality, including the ability to use it to create digital portfolios for students. It has become a very popular app to use for digital portfolios in classrooms. It is easy for students to learn and use and allows them to capture photos, take notes, record audio, and make entries searchable. Evernote offers an app for virtually every devices, is free and makes it easy to capture and document paperwork. Students can use scanners or mobile devices which have Evernote installed, to immediately capture their work and send it to the Evernote portfolio. Teachers can record the ideas students come up with and save them to Evernote to show their progress over the course of the school year. They can email these progress notes to the parents immediately after they capture them. in this way, teachers are able to show parents their kid’s progress in school in real-time, without having them to wait for report cards. An important reason for using Evernote as a portfolio system is that it allows students to take their portfolios with them anywhere they like and watch their progress as learners, improve themselves, and continually add new and relevant pieces of work.
- Google Sites: It is another great free tool from Google that enables users to create and share webpages easily. It is designed with collaboration and sharing in mind, making it perfect for digital portfolio creation. It offers an easy to use interface, and the ability to make a site private, so that it can be viewed by invite only and a student’s parents can be allowed to see their work without having to make it public. With all student work digitized, available and easily shared in Google Docs/Drive, the creation or showcase of a student’s best work is now a relatively simple task. Using Google Sites, student can share and link to their very best work for the current year and for the school years to come. This portfolio can not only serve as a showcase for students, parents, and teachers but could also be quite useful when student apply for a job or attempt to get into the college of their choosing. All of the hard work of collecting and organizing student work is made easy and all that is left is to identify the students best and linking to it on their own web site.
What other tools do you use for creating digital portfolios? Share with us in the Comment Box below.