An electronic portfolio, commonly known as a digital e-portfolio, is composed of a collection of student artifacts related to teaching and learning. It is an easy way for students to collect, organize and share their learning journey with fellow classmates, teachers and parents. While it takes time to establish an e-portfolio platform, this paperless documenting tool offers unique opportunities for teachers to provide feedback, access student work, and accommodate multiple file types.
There are multiple free platforms available to create digital e-portfolios. For example:
- Google sites: the teacher can create a class website where students can upload files, or each individual student can have their own Google site for their e-portfolio.
- Wikispaces/PBwiki: a tool where students can create their own website to share and organize their work.
- WordPress: students could also create a free WordPress site that easily accommodates a blog-style documentation of learning. While this would be a more advanced option, it offers lots of options for customization and creative expression.
- Evernote: each student could have an Evernote account, where they have different “notebooks” for each subject that can be shared publicly. Multiple file types (documents, photos, audio files) can be uploaded to each notebook.
While there are many different options for creating student e-portfolios, it is important to have a school-wide conversation about the preferred platform so that the e-portfolios can be carried forward year to year as students develop expertise with one platform.
As part of the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Creating Pathways to Success initiative, each student compiles a “Discovering Me” electronic portfolio, which is a Google site that documents their learning (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2013). The “Discovering Me” e-portfolio has 4 main sections to which the students can upload a variety of artifacts (documents, presentations, pictures, videos, etc.). The sections and their associated guiding questions are as follows:
- Knowing yourself: Who am I?
- What are my interests and abilities?
- What are my traits and values?
- What am I passionate about and what inspires me?
- What kind of learner am I?
- What are some of my accomplishments?
- How would my close friends best describe me?
- What are some of my best memories? How have they helped me become who I am?
- Exploring opportunities: What are my opportunities?
- What new things do I want to try?
- What are some occupations in my community?
- What do I want to be when I grow up?
- What skills do I need?
- How can I help my school community?
- Making decisions and setting goals: Who do I want to become?
- What are my hopes and dreams for the future?
- What are some things I want to accomplish after leaving high school?
- What are my goals?
- What does “success” mean to me?
- Achieving goals and making transitions: What is my plan for achieving my goals?
- What steps should I take to help me achieve my goals?
- What resources can help me plan my own pathway?
- Who can support me in achieving my goals?
- What will I do next?
Students used this template to create and organize the products they created during their school year. It was an effective strategy for reflecting on their personal and academic development throughout the year, and provided students with a creative outlet for every subject. This e-portfolio provided focus, pride and a sense of ownership over learning activities. The grade 6 students then applied what they had learned to teach the younger, primary students how to set up and upload documents to their own e-portfolios. It was wonderful to observe the students becoming the teachers!
Edutopia. (May 30 2013). Using E-Portfolios in the Classroom.
Ontario Ministry of Education. (2013). Creating Pathways to Success: An education and career/life planning program for Ontario schools.