Three Recommended Technologies for Digital Student Portfolios

Right now I am closing in on finishing Chapter 4 of my upcoming ASCD book Digital Student Portfolios: A Guide for Powerful Formative Assessment (working title).

The first three chapters offer a definition of digital portfolios and why they should be utilized in every school. Now I am at the fun part: Describing the technologies that can be used for this type of initiative.

Next is a graphic I have “rendered” that summarizes the pros and cons of each of the three recommended technologies for digital portfolios: blogs, dedicated portfolio applications, and websites. It’s a draft. What are your thoughts on this topic? What am I missing or possibly misinformed in my knowledge about these tools? Please share in the comments.

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Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is a 17-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th grade teacher. After seven years of teaching, he served as a dean of students, assistant principal and athletic director before becoming an elementary principal in Wisconsin Rapids. Matt is now an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District (http://mineralpointschools.org/). Matt tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com).

6 thoughts on “Three Recommended Technologies for Digital Student Portfolios”

  1. Hi Matt,
    Where can LMS options fit in? My school district has brought Schoology to the elementary schools and I see there is a portfolio option there.

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    1. I am not as familiar with Schoology as I am with Edmodo, Mandy. Explore that portfolio option if you want and let us know what you think.

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  2. This is probably more complex than you want in your chart, but here goes:

    Instead of simply websites (Google Sites, Weebly), you might consider the entire Google Apps environment. Not only is it free to schools, but provides tools for students to create individual pieces of work (Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets, Drawing, etc.) but also provides Drive, which is storage for a variety of media types (images, movies, etc.). Teachers can manage student content/interaction through add-on tools like Google Classroom or Hapara’s Teacher Dashboard. Furthermore, upon leaving a school, a Google Apps administrator can transfer ownership of all documents to any non-education GMail account.

    One of the limitations of the dedicated portfolio applications can be the continuity of portfolio development after leaving a school. Hopefully, learners are building skills to support lifelong learning and using commonly-used “worldware” digital tools creates a more authentic learning environment.

    Data posted in different blogging platforms (Blogger/WordPress/EduBlogs) can be transferred using using an XML file. The process is explained on several support websites… not as straightforward as with Google Apps, but not too difficult.

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  3. I have a few notes about your first row. I can’t speak for Kidblog, but Edublogs/Wordpress can be very efficient to organize. Students can create Pages and yes, while using tags and categories would also be helpful, they wouldn’t need to use those initially. Also, Edublogs can be password protected and/or kept private between the teacher and student. Third, Edublogs data can be exported as an XML file and imported to another blogging platform once the student leaves the system. It’s actually one of the most exportable options I’ve seen for student portfolio work.

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