There is a lot of talk about the benefits of an ePortfolio at the college and university levels. Truth is, an ePortfolio can benefit students no matter their grade level. As such, faculty and administrators should be encouraging their students not only to craft an ePortfolio, but also to understand all the ways it can benefit them in high school, higher education, and beyond.
6 Ways to Use an ePortfolio
1 – Developmental: Since an ePortfolio contains samples chronicling the evolution of a student’s work, it is easy to track improvement in multiple subject areas over time (e.g., each semester). By having documentation of these improvements and student’s self-evaluations of specific assignments, it is easier craft a developmental plan that will keep propelling the student forward toward success.
2 – Teacher planning: Students aren’t the only group in an educational setting that can benefit from an ePortfolio. It can also be a valuable tool for teachers, too. By using an existing portfolio system (e.g., commercial, online) teachers can receive information about an incoming class of students and plan their coursework accordingly.
3 – Assessment: It is hard to tell if ePortfolios are working or what areas need improvement if there’s not an assessment process in place. Assessment helps with measuring student learning outcomes and determining graduation eligibility. Constantly refine your tools, criteria, and methods so that you’re delivering the best possible outcomes for all involved.
4 – Showcase: Document a student’s best work accomplished during an entire educational career (e.g., research papers, artwork, and science experiments) by showcasing which best represents the student’s skills and abilities.
5 – College Admission: A well-kept ePortfolio can be a tool used by college and university admissions to better determine whether a student will be a good fit on campus because it goes beyond a written application and shows what the student is capable of.
6 – Employment: As students get ready to take the next step and find employment, an ePortfolio gives them a better understanding of their work readiness skills. Portfolium makes this step even easier because employers can search by skills and fit exactly what they’re looking for.
Why an ePortfolio Matters Before College
New Technology High School in Napa, California had an ePortfolio program, but not many people, specifically university admissions officers and potential employers, seemed to visit it. As Lisa Gottfried, the school’s digital and interactive media teacher told EdSurge.com, “I always thought, ‘To what end and why do we do this? How do we make it more relevant, more shareable?’” So, in 2015 the school gave their ePortfolio program more purpose. Students were expected to go beyond documenting what they learned and actively consider their audience. The new approach had a twofold goal: first, to allow students to learn from others portfolios, and secondly, provide insight to educators on what works and what doesn’t in the classroom. ePortfolios are more than blogs or diaries. When they are treated as such, the audience is severely limited to the people at the school. To remedy this, have students post about their projects, presentations, et al on their social media accounts. Schools can also pick standout ePortfolios or projects to feature regularly on official social media platforms.
There are many advantages to having ePortfolios. The key is to make sure they are curated with quality information and that students and educators alike are engaged in the process.
Share in the comments how your school is effectively using ePortfolios.
Photo Courtesy of: Ksayer1