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Wrapping my Mind Around Digital Portfolios

August 4, 2010 Assessment, Digital Portfolios, Video 14 Comments

image licensed under CC by "Boogies With Fish"

Digital Portfolios have intrigued me for a while. I had a preconceived notion about what a portfolio was, an accumulation of work that demonstrated accomplishments, an analogy to a photographer’s photo album which showcased his best images…

Here are two other blog posts I have written about Digital Portfolios:

Web 2.0 Cloud

The digital part of the term “Digital Portfolio” was the most interesting part for me, since it meant I could implement and use all the different technology tools to create, organize and embed these accomplishments in a central location somewhere  in the “cloud”.

Artifact Accumulation

The digital part was fascinating, because it meant a portfolio was accessible anytime and anywhere compared to the traditional paper portfolios that were more physical and static in nature.

What I had not wrapped my mind around yet was the “reflection” part of portfolio equation. A Digital portfolio is according to Dr. Helen Barrett a combination of

Process & Product

Part of that process includes the important reflection part.

David Niguidula, in his chapter “Digital Portfolios and Curriculum Maps” of the book Curriculum21 by Heidi Hayes Jacobs (ASCD, 2010) says:

The process of collecting, selecting, and reflecting on the work in a portfolio is what makes it powerful. The portfolio is a representation of what students know and are able to do, and the opportunity to present that work to an audience of peers, parents, and teachers shows that the world can take the students’ work seriously.

Chrissy Hellyer, a 21st Century Learning Coach and former 5th grade teacher at the International School of Bangkok, is in my opinion one of the pioneers of digging deep into using digital portfolios with her elementary school students. Her blog posts Journey into the World of E-Portfolios and step-by-step guide to Using VoiceThread as a Digital Portfolio are an invaluable resource. I based the following visual on her Portfolio Prompts for Elementary School students.

Valuable resources I have looked at along the way:

Here are the visuals I created that help me make sense of what I am learning. They are based on the work, resources and presentations mentioned above who helped me construct my own understanding.

Digital Portfolios as a Story of Learning

A transcript shows letters & numbers, a portfolio shows knowledge and achievement.

There are three levels of Digital Portfolios:

Three Levels of Developing a Digital Portfolio

Tools to Create Digital Portfolios

Media used to create and include Artifacts

Dr. Helen Barrett, dubbed as the grandmother of E-Portfolios by some, gave an inspiring presentation at the American School of Bombay about the blending of Social Media and E-Portfolios (see video below) . You cannot conduct research about e-portfolios without running into Dr. Barrett’s name and work. Especially her Electronic Portfolio Site is a gold mine of resources and information.

Another audio recording of one of Dr. Barrett’s presentation on “Balancing The Two Faces of E-Portfolios.

Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. Chrissy H says:

    Thanks so much Silvia for sharing this with us all. I totally love the visual you’ve created with the portfolio prompts!
    It’s so rewarding to see students grow their eportfolio over time. Using Blogs or VoiceThread as a platform for that portfolio takes it to yet another level because of the authentic audience it can provide access to. I believe that this motivates students even more to increase the quality of their reflections to choosing the pieces of learning that demonstrate what they are proud or even what they would like to improve.
    ePortfolios can seem like they are a lot of work – but they’re real and relevant and it really is worth the effort.

  2. Silvia,

    Thank you for sharing your resources on eportfolios. I am also trying to find a way to include these in my own teaching setting. Right now, I am looking at the Linguafolio, which evaluates different components for language learners of different levels and backgrounds. This instrument was developed by The Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS) and is available for teachers free of charge. To learn more, go to: http://casls.uoregon.edu/lfo.php

  3. wow, this is amazing work!!!! thanks for sharing, as always.

  4. [...] Langwitches Blog » Wrapping my Mind Around Digital Portfolios [...]

  5. Gail Corder says:

    Boy, is this exactly what I needed!! Many thanks!

  6. Eleni says:

    Dear Silvia,
    I have been following your posts the past few weeks and very much enjoy reading about your interests of education, technology, art, travel, languages and different cultures. I share many of your interests and hope that as a teacher I too can fuse these together to teach (and learn alongside) my students a few things about the the world.
    I am a student at the University of Michigan right now pursuing an MA in secondary education through the MAC teaching program. We have a tech course in which we learn a variety of ways we can include technology in the classroom and make learning more fun and interactive. Your blog is very helpful and has offered many ideas on how I can incorporate technology into my teaching.
    Thank you for your inspiring words and ideas. I will continue to follow your commentary and your art :)
    Best Wishes,

  7. Michelle Howell-Martin says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I have been thinking about portfolios since coming to 3rd grade and having to assemble portfolios for my students who scored a 1 on FCAT. Basically these are another battery of tests, and since these students didn’t do well on the “big test,” I don’t feel as if they show what these students are truly capable of. I am now in the thinking stages of helping my students to develop portfolios of their work to show what they are learning. These will not be used to evaluate whether or not they will be promoted, but I hope to use them, and indeed have my students use them, as evidence that they are growing as learners. Your work here adds to my knowledge and gives me more to consider as I begin this journey. Thanks again.

  8. [...] Langwitches Blog » Wrapping my Mind Around Digital Portfolios [...]

  9. [...] Langwitches Blog » Wrapping my Mind Around Digital Portfolios [...]

  10. [...] Langwitches Blog » Wrapping my Mind Around Digital Portfolios (tags: eportfolio) [...]

  11. [...] I found the portfolio prompt (along with the link to Chrissy Hellyer’s google doc) graphic,  on Wrapping My Head Around Digital Portfolios helpful . Add to this, Jon Mueller’s thoughts (Reflection on Samples of Work) and Peter [...]

  12. h011y says:

    Thanks for sharing your thorough and thoughtful ideas on digital portfolios. This is just beginning to come up at our school, and your work here will help us see the possibilities.

  13. [...] lay the groundwork to pilot this form of assessment in my collaboration with teachers and students, an additional blog post by Silvia Tolisano, a Technology Integration Facilitator and 21st Century Learning Specialist, is [...]

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