Electronic portfolios are flexible,
motivating, and extremely useful teacher tools that can address
a range of needs from student assessment and development to
creating connections between teachers, students and parents.
They are growing to become a vital interdisciplinary part
of the classroom. (Garthwait
and Verrill, 2003)
is an e-portfolio? Simply put, an e-portfolio is an
electronic collection of student work (either on CD-Rom or on
the Web) that can be used to chart progress, build self-esteem,
encourage reflection and more.
E-portfolios can be incorporated into the
cutting-edge classroom for grades 3 and higher. (The
reason for starting at 3rd grade is because the kids will be
doing the technology work involved.)
your school already has a website, I highly suggest you create a
classroom site (if you haven't already) and include your
student's e-portfolios there. If not, then put them on
disk. In order to protect the studentís
copyrights (if the e-portfolios are published on the Web), a
letter should be sent home for the parents to sign giving you
permission to put the studentís work on the Internet. (You'll want to do this anytime you put student's work on the
technology involved: A Web design software such as
FrontPage, a flat bed scanner, an art program for kids such as
KidPix. You may even want to help your kids create video
shorts and take digital photos... The sky's the limit on how
wild you get with the techno side of this!
are my ideas of what an e-portfolio could include:
Each studentís e-portfolio can open with
a cartoon self-portrait along with his/her first name and
last initial. It's not a good idea to put a child's full name on the
A personal ďbioĒ can be a little time
capsule of fun information such as height and a list of
their current favorites (food, game, movie, TV program,
song, musical group, color and activity). You may want to encourage kids to add graphics for
these items. Iím sure that this will be a good source of amusement for them
to look back at years from now.
Since one of the goals of the e-portfolio
is to show a studentís progress throughout the school
year, a hand writing sample and a video clip of a musical
performance from the beginning of the year and from the end
can be included.
To display their artistic skills, each
e-portfolio can have an art gallery composed of the
studentís ten best works from the year.
The students can also include a monthly
sample of creative writing and math work.
As these monthly items are added, it will
be a good time for students to go through their entire
e-portfolio to make changes and to review their learning
progress. This leads us to a very important part of the e-portfolio:
reflection. Reflection is the key to learning. It allows students to analyze their
experiences, make changes based on their mistakes, keep
doing what is successful, and build upon or modify past
knowledge based on new knowledge. (Mustang Public Schools, 2002)
Each month, the students can review their
e-portfolios and write a reflection. Two other important areas for reflection
writing are the art gallery and their monthly creative writing samples.
The students can write a reflection paragraph for
Finally, the studentís e-portfolio can contain a science experiment
and/or one or more major project or reports.
Written reports can be scanned (if they are hand-written) and
3-dimensional projects (such as the standard sugar cube mission)
can be digitally photographed for inclusion.
E-portfolios are a powerful example
that technology has a tremendous impact on student learning and
the communication of student achievement. The
goal is to keep students focused on learning rather than on
individual projects or products. E-portfolios are part of the learning process, not a
result of it. (Garthwait and Verrill, 2003) Throughout
the year, students can see their progress and all that they have
past victories will give them the courage to conquer future
and Verrill found that students who used e-portfolios were
highly motivated and took more educational risks. (2003)
In addition to being a great benefit to the
student, e-portfolios are great for parents, teachers and
any time during the year, a parent can go online and review
their childís work. (And
easily show it off to friends and family. What
grandparents wouldn't love to be able to go online and see their
grandchild's latest accomplishment?) They can even
see what his/her classmates are doing. A suggestion is to encourage parents to have a special
monthly meeting with their child to view the e-portfolio. You may even want to suggest that parents write their own
reflections to keep in a family album. Learning should be a family venture!
At the end of the year, you can provide a
CD of the e-portfolio to the parents as a keepsake. As for the teachers, e-portfolios (especially the
reflections) are a great way for them to learn FROM the
students. A good
teacher is always learning, improving and evolving. For the school and the administration, e-portfolios are a
way for them to really show off what they are accomplishing in
the classroom. Serving
as a great marketing and public relations tool, e-portfolios are
cutting-edge and exciting Ė they show that everyone is
** I also highly
recommend that you teachers keep an ongoing e-portfolio on
yourselves. They come in handy at evaluation time and they
really impress administrators!
**And, for you who
are working towards becoming teachers, e-portfolios are very
impressive to prospective employers. Always keep in mind
that a school will want to hire someone who can teach their
faculty something new. They need the young bucks (and
buckettes) to really know their technology!! You should
have an e-portfolio that highlights your strengths and shows
samples of the work you've done in school.