Digital Portfolios – a Cry for Help!

I am obsessed with the idea of students having a positive online presence – a public digital portfolio – something that can serve as a differentiator for them (over the kid who just has a paper resume) when they are looking to get into college or get a job.  I love the idea of a portfolio for their work from Pre-K all the way to graduation and beyond.  But I need advice from someone who has been there, done that. Here are things I’ve considered for our students.

SeesawSeesaw

Pros: Seesaw is lovely for the younger students.  They can easily publish in a “safe space” to a known audience (their teachers, families, and fellow students), who can like and comment on their work.  They can export their portfolio in .zip format at the end of the year. Parents absolutely love getting a glimpse of their child’s daily activities.

Cons: I feel like the older kids need a wider (public) audience. The zipped archive doesn’t feel very transferable year to year, though Seesaw does market its product as a K-12 digital portfolio. We may be using an inexpensive version that doesn’t carry over year to year.

OneNoteOneNote

Pros: Microsoft’s OneNote is one of my personal favorite tools. Honestly, it has changed my life. I can easily see this as an excellent storage spot for a digital portfolio that grows year to year.  A student could have a different notebook for each grade level, with sections for art, writing, reflection, project sharing, etc. It’s not too difficult for a younger student to use, with a teacher’s guidance.

Cons: It’s not easily sharable.  You can’t share an entire notebook, only pages.  There is no public audience.

BlogBlog

Pros: I love the idea of a blog as a digital portfolio.  It’s what I’ve been using and it has allowed me to expand my ideas, thinking, and learning.  A post by George Couros, 5 Reasons Your Portfolio Should Be a Blog,  explains that a blog can be a place to showcase not only writing, but also art, podcasts, and videos. He says the “blog” part of it can be a “growth portfolio” while the rest can be organized in pages for a “showcase portfolio.”

Cons: This feels too advanced for elementary kids. From picking a URL for their blog (nobody wants to live with “cutekitties.com/blog” all the way into high school) to publishing to it, I’m not sure it’s the right tool for our younger students.

A Blend?

Maybe the answer is a blend.  Seesaw for elementary grades. A blog, beginning somewhere between 5th and 9th grade, for the growth and showcase part.  And OneNote for all grades as a storage/organizational spot for everything. Items in OneNote could be shared via Seesaw or the blog.

Advice welcome!

Comment with advice, please.

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4 comments

  1. I work in a high school, and we encourage students in certain courses to develop portfolios, such as Art & Innovation students. Art students use Weebly to create a site & post photos/videos of their work in various stages. This type of portfolio is a huge bonus if they are applying for a college art program or art-related job. Our Innovation students blog using WordPress to document their progress or projects & as a reflection tool. These can also be shared for college/scholarship application.

    How are you envisioning a graduate utilizing their K-12 digital portfolio? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the information, Martine! I love how you are using portfolios, and Weebly – that’s a good one to add to the mix. We envision the same thing, I think. We want our high school students – all of them – to have something they could use to showcase their work to a college admissions board, scholarship office, or potential employer.

      In my mind, a student’s portfolio doesn’t have to include only school work. The students would “own” their portfolios and could use it in any (positive and within reason) way they choose. If they are passionate about gaming, for example, they could include how-to videos or blog posts about leveling up in their game. If they are passionate about fashion, racing, fantasy football, movies, whatever! – they could post about what they love. Any subject that interests them will get them posting, and the more they post, the better their communications skills will become. They larger their network/audience, the more feedback they’ll get, and the more care they’ll take in creating.

      I just feel like, who would you want on your team…the person with only the two-page paper resume, or the one who can point to their website or blog as an example of what they can do?

      The K-8th version of the portfolio would probably be more for sharing with a smaller community – family, fellow students, school community members – but it would be a training ground for the high school portfolio.

      We are not doing this at all right now! But I want to start. These are just my thoughts, and I may be way off base. That’s why I’m asking for advice!

      So thanks again for your input.

      Like

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