Digital portfolios (or e-portfolios) are great tools for students that tick a number of different boxes for teachers. Aside from the obvious advantage of being a web based space to collect student work, it can also serve many other purposes – like tracking progress over time, keeping track of the work done towards meeting Common Core standards, teaching students technology skills, and easily keeping in touch with parents. Portfolios enable an easy way for teachers and students to have an open dialogue about the student’s work and progress, and give the student a place in which to showcase their strengths that might not be shown in a letter grade on their report card. In many cases, they’re also useful for college applications!
Not that we thought we needed to sell you on the merits of e-portfolios, but perhaps they have more utility than you originally thought. So if you’re thinking about implementing portfolios in your classroom (or maybe you already use them, but in paper form, or even in a digital form that you’re not super happy with!), we have a few awesome tools that will help you on your way.
Evernote has a ton of different uses in the classroom, most of which take pesky stacks of paper out of the teaching equation. For a free tool, it offers a ton of functionality, including the ability to use it to create digital portfolios for your students. Rob Van Nood is a veteran teacher who wrote an awesome guide to creating digital portfolios using Evernote for the company’s blog – you can check it out here. In a nutshell, he uses a scanner and Evernote to collect a student’s work over time, give feedback, and share the work and the feedback.
Google Sites is another great free tool from Google that enables users to create and share webpages easily. It is designed with collaboration and sharing in mind, making it perfect for digital portfolio creation. It offers an easy to use interface, and the ability to make a site private, so that it can be viewed by invite only (so that you allow a student’s parents to see their work without having to make it public).
WordPress, while commonly known as a blogging platform, is another easy, (potentially free) way to create digital portfolios. WordPress.com is free and is mostly functional for blogging, and WordPress.org offers much more functionality but is self-hosted (users must buy their own domain name and hosting). Digital portfolios can be created using both, though the latter allows much more flexibility for making the pages look less like a blog. There are lots of pre-made themes for WordPress (some free, some not) which makes lovely portfolio design much easier.
Edublogs. Yes, we’re mentioning another blogging platform. Mostly because it was built with schools in mind, and many administrations find their security features much more mind-easing. It is especially easy to use (since it was designed for students and classrooms) and makes collaboration and sharing easy.