Wrapping my Mind Around Digital Portfolios

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.