Choosing a digital portfolio
Searching for the perfect digital portfolio can be much like hunting for the perfect pair of jeans. You want something comfortable but also something that has longevity and gives you a little room to grow. There are tons of brands out there, each with its own unique set of features.
The first question you should ask is this: Are you searching for a showcase or a developmental portfolio? Imagine a pair of jeans with patches and paint splatters. They have been with you for years and show your growth and experiences over time. Then there are the pair of jeans that show off your unique design skills of bedazzling. The difference between those pairs of jeans in the same difference between a developmental portfolio (which shows growth and learning over time) and a showcase portfolio (a collection of exemplary work).
I took these concepts into account when I was searching for a portfolio solution to support our secondary students. Many secondary students want a visually appealing portfolio – with photos, videos, documents and links – that they can take with them after they leave our institution. In our case, using bulb's digital portfolio platform for the showcase and Google Drive for the developmental portion made the most sense. Here's an example of a student who continued to use her portfolio after she left our institution.
As you evaluate your options, make sure you consider ownership, sharing, feedback and organization. Talk to your students, your team and your administration about the purpose, potential and possible pitfalls of portfolio platforms. Ultimately, you have to choose what portfolio tool is best for you and your students. Here is a list of questions to help guide your selection process:
If you are looking for additional resources to support portfolios with your pupils (can’t resist alliteration), I have curated a few more here.
Lisa Johnson is the author of Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students. Johnson has more than 14 years of education experience and holds a master's degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology. She works at a K-12 one-to-one iPad school district in Austin, Texas.
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