Creating digital portfolios is a good way for students to keep track of their work throughout a project or throughout an entire course. In my case, I’m having students build portfolios as a means to remembering and reflecting what they’ve tried as they build toward completion of independent projects in my computer science classes. That’s just one of three approaches to digital portfolios that I’ve used over the years.
Individual Formative Portfolios
For the last couple of years I’ve used digital portfolios as a formative assessment tool. My students manage their own Google Sites on which they post images, publish videos, and write about their independent projects. My students update their sites weekly and I give them feedback on their work in progress. I have relatively small classes this year so it’s easy for me to keep track of the addresses of their Google Sites. If I had larger classes I’d use Google Sheets to keep track of my students’ sites.
Google Sites isn’t the only tool that I could use for this, but I use it because my school uses G Suite for Education. Other tools that I could use for this include Edublogs, Seesaw, and Weebly for Education. Seesaw’s support for audio and video feedback make it a good choice for giving portfolio feedback to elementary school students.
Group Formative Portfolios
“Group Formative Portfolios” can refer to giving feedback to a group of students who are working on a project together. It can also refer to having students work in small groups to give each other feedback on their individual projects. That’s what I’ve done in the past.
In the past I’ve had students give each other feedback on their portfolios in two ways. First, by simply having students sit in small groups and discuss their work with each other using a few “things to look for” sheets that I provide. Today, that would have to be done in breakout rooms in Zoom. The other method I’ve used is to have students complete a Google Form in which they select feedback options from drop-down menus.
There is a new digital portfolio tool called Spaces (disclosure: currently advertising on FreeTech4Teachers.com) that includes a feature made specifically for small group portfolio work. Spaces refers to them as “asynchronous breakout rooms” in which students share examples of their work and give each other feedback.
This is the classic use case for digital portfolios. In this case students publish completed projects like edited videos, podcasts, slideshows, digital collages, functioning apps/ programs, or just about anything else they’ve worked on for an extended period of time and feel is completed to the best of their abilities. Again, I’ve used Google Sites for this in the past. Wakelet and Padlet are also good choices for this type of portfolio.
Five Tools for Making Portfolios & Tutorials to Get Started
- Google Sites (tutorials here).
- Seesaw (tutorials here).
- Spaces (tutorial here)
- Padlet (tutorials here)
- Wakelet (tutorial here)