Understand the  Value of Digital Portfolio in Education

Today’s classroom is an increasingly complex and differentiated environment. Teachers are faced with a myriad of tasks – from guiding students as they learn and gathering data to differentiate the instruction, to creating documentation to help motivate and celebrate individual and group success.

The use of digital portfolios is a common, popular and appropriate way to support all of these processes. Portfolio guru, Dr. Helen Barrett offers that, “A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student’s efforts, progress, and achievements in one or more areas. The collection must include student participation in selecting content, the criteria for selection, the criteria for judging merit, and evidence of student self-reflection.”

As most teachers begin to contemplate the notion of digital portfolios, the question of “why” comes to the forefront. Generally, there are several schools of thought when it comes to the value of digital portfolios. Typically they can be used to support evaluation, to showcase learning, or even to offer evidence of skill to a prospective employer. As a teacher, a digital portfolio is sometimes used as part of the credentialing process, as a means to showcase expertise in an interview, or even to document and support the professional evaluation process.

To effectively help students create portfolios, teachers may find they are best served by creating a portfolio of their own first. Through experiencing the process firsthand, teachers will be better suited to guide their students through the workflow. The professional portfolio creation process allows teachers to authentically experience the issues of purpose, digital tools, page organization, aesthetics, content flow, and even issues of evaluation.

If you are curious about portfolios and are interested in learning more about the process of creating your own professional portfolio, along with tackling the creation of a lesson plan to introduce and implement portfolios with your students, please check out our course, Digital Portfolios for Teachers and Students!