Digital Portfolios and Project Documentation Tools
A digital portfolio is a computer-based collection of student performance over time. Portfolios make classroom learning more accessible to parents, administrators, and other district support staff because they provide a window into student learning. A portfolio showcases both student achievement and student learning over time. To demonstrate growth, a portfolio will often include similar work done over the course of several years.
What Should a Digital Portfolio Include?
When used as a student assessment tool, digital portfolios should demonstrate that “the student is involved in meaningful performance tasks; there are clear standards and criteria for excellence; there is an emphasis on metacognition and self-evaluation; the student produces quality products and performances; there is a positive interaction between assessor and assessee.” (Burke, 1999) The performances students include in their portfolios should be related to the curriculum and evidence their engagement in meaningful learning. Students should choose the content of their portfolios with the clear understanding that the items must include examples of their best performances, demonstrations of achieving a particular objective, and examples showing personal and academic growth. The content should be indicative of a wide range of skills and abilities and provide a clear demonstration of student ability.
One of the most important ingredients in a portfolio is the student’s reflection on their work. Students should include reflections on each performance to clarify why pieces are included in the portfolio. This is perhaps the most valuable part of the portfolio since it provides a much clearer window into the learning of each student.
Why Go Digital?
Computers and authoring programs provide students with tools to compile a digital portfolio. Using multimedia tools, students can create portfolios that demonstrate performances using text, sound, graphics, and video, making them highly representative of a varied body of work. Self-reflections can be recorded, as can oral presentations, dramatic performances, musical compositions, and more. In today’s connected world, a digital portfolio is easy to retrieve, store, and share.
How Do You Begin?
Before students begin working on portfolios, be sure to determine your assessment goals, priorities, and outcomes. You need to develop clear definitions for the selection of content. You will want to start by creating a shell, or template, for the portfolio. This will help ensure that students effectively organize the information in their portfolios and will guarantee that reflection and assessment criteria are properly represented. You can organize a successful portfolio around your state’s proficiency goals, or by your district’s curriculum content. Just because students start with a template does not mean their portfolios should be formulaic and dull! Be sure to leave room for students to showcase creativity and personality. They can do this when they create the self-reflection and by their choices for portfolio content. You may also want to leave room for them to decorate or personalize their portfolios with photographs, illustrations, music, and original artwork
Below is the list of my favorite Digital Documentation tools you can use for your class, take a look at them and determine which of them will fit your necessities:
- Book Creator: the interactive ebook creator that was only available on Apple is now available online in Chrome. (YES, this will work on Chromebooks!) The free version allows for one educator library and 40 active books. (If an educator is a tech/lab teacher, set up an account for each "home" teacher for your students.) Books can include comics, audio, video, drawings and can be published online. Students can continue to add to the ebook throughout the year adding photos, pdfs of the work or videos, then adding comments for reflection on the same page. [ Teacher Sign-In ] [ Student Sign-In ]
- League of Comic Geeks:
- Weebly: a website creation tool that has an education side and will allow teachers to create an account that has as unlimited student websites. All websites are free and controlled under the teacher's account. Students can be "editors" on individual pages instead of an entire website. If an educator wishes to create a paid account for more features, still select to stay within the EDU platform, this will then carry the "paid" features to all the websites under that account without additional fees automatically. There are no upload limits per website. The interface is "drag and drops" to add widgets or components to the webpage such as text, images, links, buttons, slideshows, media, etc.
- Pixton: is described as a 'popular comic maker and storyboard creator for teachers and students and is a website in the Home & Family category. There are more than 10 alternatives to Pixton, not only websites but also apps for a variety of platforms, including Windows, iPhone, iPad, and Android. [ Teacher Sign-In ]
- Make Beliefs Comix: is a platform to create comic strips with a drag and drop platform from many background choices and a large collection of characters. Objects and characters can be placed and adjusted in size and location within each panel. Users can choose comic size within a choice of how many panels to use. The addition of words or thought bubbles completes the creations. No account is needed to create....comic can be printed or saved....emailing will require a sender's email address.
- Books2Read: is our reader-facing, author-empowering tool, loaded with industry-first and industry-leading tools to help promote you and your books.