Electronic Portfolios Demystified

I read about electronic portfolios for the first time last spring on Zite.  The word “portfolio” in the title immediately interested me since I already had my first graders create reading comprehension portfolios in my classroom.  Unfortunately, however, after reading the article I could honestly say I didn’t know exactly what an electronic portfolio was.  What did one contain?  What would a digital portfolio even look like?  What would this look like in my own classroom?  Each of these questions swirled through my mind.  Since then, I have explored the topic in great detail.  As a K-8 Literacy Coach in my school district, I surveyed other teachers and found out they were interested as well.  The result is this PowerPoint presentation that I will share with teachers on October 8th after school.

I can honestly say that I have tried the concepts and am impressed with the success my students are experiencing.  My students are currently creating two types of portfolios.  The first is a digital portfolio on the iPad using the app “PDF Notes.”  I am a fan of this medium since it allows me great flexibility.  I can create a document in Microsoft Word and then upload it into “PDF Notes” with the aid of a “Dropbox.”  I have been able to create different colorful, open-ended graphic organizers that go hand in hand with our district’s curriculum.  Students are able to simply print right on the iPad screen using a Stylus pen (or their finger) and document their thinking.  This portfolio is designed to help students reflect on their learning, set reading comprehension goals, and monitor their progress towards completion of their goals.

My students are also creating their own blogs to showcase different activities we are doing in class.  With my help, pictures and videos are uploaded and the students annotate them during our Daily 5 Work on Writing time.  This allows students an audience for their writing and allows parents to share in what we are learning in school.

Both portfolio types are meaningful and student centered.  They each have their own purpose.  The bottom line is that students are highly engaged in their learning and are being given a medium to share their thinking with a wider audience.

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