Laptop screen displaying "digital portfolios for remote learning."

Digital Portfolios for Remote Learning

Developing fair assessments is one of the challenges that many of us are facing because of a rapid transition to teaching online. Based on the number of emails I’ve received about giving timed tests, it seems that many schools are trying to go that route. I’d argue that creating and maintaining digital portfolios might be a better way to asses students’ work over the course of weeks or months.

Last fall I started having my students create digital portfolios and I’m continuing that now that we’re in a virtual school environment. Maintaining a digital portfolio provides students with a nice way to show examples of their best work and the process of developing that work. My students are using Google Sites because my school uses G Suite for Education, but there are other good options for creating digital portfolios to consider using.

Website or Blog as Portfolios

Have students write blog posts or create web pages to showcase examples of their best work. When students do this they should include explanations of why they document, presentation, video, or other artifact is an example of their best work.

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano coined the term Blogfolio to describe using blogs as portfolios. I recommend reading her detailed overview of the ways that students and teachers can utilize blogs as portfolios.

If you decide to pursue using blogs or websites as portfolios I recommend trying EdublogsGoogle SitesWeebly for Education, or Blogger.

  • Edublogs is great for kids who don’t have email accounts or Google accounts because you can manage their usernames and reset passwords for them.
  • Google Sites is good if your students are already using G Suite for Education because they can import anything from Google Drive into the pages of their Google Sites.
  • Weebly for Education is a good choice if you want to have students make their own websites, but you’re not a G Suite for Education school. Weebly for Education will let you create and manage student accounts.
  • Blogger is my last choice of these four options but it is still solid if your students are over age 13 and they have Google accounts.

Tools Specifically Designed for Making Digital Portfolios

There are two tools that I recommend more than any others in this category. Those tools are Seesaw and ClassDojo Student Stories.

Both Seesaw and ClassDojo let you create multiple digital classrooms within your account. In those classrooms you can assign activities to your students. An activity could be a prompt to add a particular type of artifact to the portfolio. Both systems let students take pictures, record videos, and write explanations of the items that they add to their portfolios. Additionally, Seesaw will let students record themselves talking over pictures that they have added to their portfolios. Both systems were designed with K-6 students in mind, but can be used by students of all ages. You really can’t go wrong with either service.

Create Group Portfolios With Padlet or Wakelet

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from someone looking for a way for students to be able to submit examples of their artwork and have them displayed in a public gallery. The suggestion that I made was to try using Wakelet or Padlet to gather and display examples. Both services will let you embed your galleries into Google Sites and other website builders. Take a look at this video to see how to create a gallery with Padlet and this video to see how to make a gallery with Wakelet.

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