A digital portfolio is a collection of student-created artifacts gathered over a period of time. Digital portfolios are a fantastic way to support personalization of learning and to show student growth and progress when communicating student learning. Portfolios support student agency and inclusive practices by emphasizing student voice and choice and empowering learners to focus on their goals. They also help strengthen the relationship between home and school.
Benefits of Digital Portfolios
While there are many benefits that come with using a digital portfolio, Matt Renwick outlines what he believes to be his top 10 in his book Digital Portfolios in the Classroom:
They celebrate all students as learner
Digital portfolios allow students to communicate their learning in any way that meets their needs. They can write, post a video, make a screencast, record their voice, etc. If they can digitize it, they can post it
They improve home-school communicatioN
Developing digital portfolios with students and sharing it with their family can help better inform them of what is happening in the classroom. This, in turn, can lead to richer conversations about student learning.
They facilitate better feedback
Just as students can communicate their learning in many different forms with digital portfolios, teachers are able to provide specific, authentic feedback by writing a comment, recording a video, screen casting or recording their voice.
They highlight the process of learning
The opportunity for students to exhibit their best work is inherent to the idea of a digital portfolio. However, students can also use digital portfolios to illustrate the process of their own learning. This can have the effect of validating and assigning value to the work that students have done along the way, not just the end product.
They demonstrate progress over time
Using a digital portfolio can help students connect discrete lessons and units of study into a single continuum of learning. This can allow them to reflect on their own growth over an extended period of time and encourage further growth.
They guide students to become self-directed learners
When digital portfolios are used to put the student at the centre of their own learning through reflective questioning and goal setting, it will motivate them to achieve those goals and increase their likelihood of success
They maximize formative assessment
Formative conversations between student and teacher via a digital portfolio help to reveal each learner's true level of understanding. This not only gives students a better sense of their own understanding, but can combined with in-class observations by teachers to guide future lesson planning
They integrate speaking & listening
Using reflective learning tasks in a digital portfolio can be used to bolster student communication skills and directly addresses all facets of the Communicating sub-competency within the Communication Core Competency outlined by the BC Ministry of Education
They advocate for every student
The flexibility built into digital portfolios ensure equity amongst all members of our learning communities by affording them the same opportunity to demonstrate their successes, regardless of their proficiency with more traditional forms of assessment
They allow teachers to work smarter
Setting up a classroom workflow that includes digital portfolios and encourages student reflection can simplify and inform the process of communicating student learning as much of the work is done along the way.
Using Digital Portfolios to Communicate Student Learning
The BC Curriculum is designed to provide flexibility to enable teachers to innovate and personalize learning. Classroom instruction and assessment practices have changed alongside this and are driven by the development of Core and Curricular Competencies in students. The lens of the curriculum is strength-based. It is rooted in the development of competencies and skills and focuses on: where students are, what they can do, and where they could be. Assessment of all forms needs to support this more flexible, personalized approach to learning and be able to measure deeper complex thinking. Digital portfolios can assist students and teachers with documenting different forms of evidence to triangulate proficiency and measure growth.
This presentation can also be downloaded.
Tools for Creating Digital Portfolios
For the remainder of the 2021/2022 school year, SD22 teachers have the opportunity to try out three different tools for creating digital portfolios (to see a feature comparison and upcoming learning opportunities, click HERE). Click on the icons below to access information on how to get an account with each platform and much more.