The feedback on Otto’s answer to Mary’s question about which digital portfolio to use with her students was tremendous. Clearly, it’s a topic on people’s minds. Here’s a thorough discussion of this including what ‘digital portfolios’ are and why you should be using them:
By fifth grade, students have lots of school work that needs to be 1) saved for future use, 2) accessed from home and school, 3) shared with multiple students for collaborations, 4) linked to other pieces of work or online sites. For example, a student can create a project summary at school, access it at home and link key words to websites found by a classmate that supports the project discussion. As an educator, you might have goals for your class that aren’t adequately fulfilled by network file folders or binders on a shelf in the classroom. You might be looking for ways to 1) help students become more reflective about themselves as learners, 2) demonstrate evidence of student growth and achievement, 3) inform instruction, influence practice, and set goals, 4) learn about your students, and 5) help students see technology as a tool rather than an end to itself.
This can all be accomplished with Digital Portfolios—also known as digital lockers or e-portfolios—electronic collections of student work that provide evidence that the student is meeting a set of goals.
The concept of digital portfolios is supported by national and international education pedagogy: 1) ISTE makes it important to “interact, collaborate, and publish with peers…” and “contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems”, 2) the International Baccalaureate PYP program requires a digital portfolio be maintained throughout the student PYP school years, and 3) Common Core State Standards considers collaboration and publishing fundamental to accomplishing educational goals.
If you’re new to digital portfolios, here are some Guidelines for Developing a Digital Portfolio Program from Todd Bergman, an educator who’s helped hundreds of students create portfolios