2 articles Tag online portfolio

Teachers Portfolios – What Are The Options?

It seems that more and more teachers are becoming comfortable with technology and want to jump in feet first. This is great, because they are becoming more in control of their digital footprint. The first step a teacher can take when they accept the internet as a positive contributor to their professional life is to develop a digital portfolio. It’s becoming more and more common for teachers to have a digital portfolio, along with an online CV, details of work experiences and jobs as well as a range of other aspects about their career.

There are many options when creating an online portfolio. A lot of people have a blog and that is where they write reflections on their learning, reflections of what they have taught, displays of students work, etc. Sometimes they also have static sections where they list their work experience, contact details, references, etc. This is much more fluid and changes every day/week/month.

Others are more static, so it doesn’t change very often and is only updated when your resume updates. I think this is less effective as it wont show up very high in search engine results (you wont have many links on it or people wont have your page linked very much because there will be nothing to share on it, plus it’s not updated a lot. All factors which contribute to high search engine ranking). Also, this way of creating an online portfolio is much more like using new technology (websites) in old ways (static resume).

So here are some options when creating a professional teacher portfolio:

www.blog.com – This is a free blogging platform (with the option of a paid upgrade), powered by WordPress. It has advertisements but has good customer support and allows a lot of customization for a free service.

www.wordpress.com – A free blogging platform very similar to blog.com. Example – http://seanscoetailblog.wordpress.com/

www.weebly.com – A free service (with the option of a paid upgrade) that let’s you create websites/blogs. It is very user friendly as it uses a drag and drop system. Example – www.isshkjslibrary.com

www.pbworks.com – A wiki platform that you can easily use to create websitex (less visual modification is available). This is what I my course delivery site but it could be customized any way you like. Example – www.misternorris.pbworks.com

WordPress (with external host such as www.godaddy.com) – similar to WordPress.com, but it’s fully customizable, has no adds and allows you to make sure to fully constomize your URL. You have to pay a small fee each year for the domain (URL) and website hosting (about $50 a year). This also allows you to have your own custom email account (E.g. me@misternorris.com). This is what I use for this site.

As you can see, there are many options, depending on your needs, budget and how much customization you use. If you are using something else, be sure to share in the comments below.

Why Open Online Digital Portfolios?

Going forward this year, onward and upward, I have the very large goal of each student from Grade 3 to 7 having their own online portfolio. I think this is a great way for students to showcase their work as well as reflect on their learning. I also think it is very important for students to have an authentic audience which I hope will also increase the quality of their work. Another benefit is that parents can keep track of their child’s learning and know what is happening in each class and what is being submitted to the teachers by their children. Last but not least, if the student uses it to reflect and not just display, it promotes higher order thinking skills such as analyzing, evaluating and creating.

I was searching to see what other schools and students were doing with their online student portfolios. I managed to find a range of very interesting portfolios that were developed by students in the same age range as the students I plan to develop portfolios with. Here are just a few great examples:

 

www.emilysblog3s.edublogs.org

Emily is a student from NSW, Australia (my home state) who started her portfolio when she was in Grade 3. She is now in Grade 4 and during that time she managed to win the coveted Edublogs prize for ‘Best Student Blog’ which is an amazing achievement, especially considering her competition. It’s also great to see her aunty and grandparents have left comments and are keeping up to date with her learning.

 

www.blogs.isb.ac.th/haleygrey

Hayley is an 11 year old students from the International School of Bangkok. She not only displays lots of her work, but also seems to spend a lot of time developing those higher order thinking skills by including a lot of reflections in her portfolio.

 

www.erich4.edublogs.org

Eric from British Columbia in Canada started his portfolio when he was in Grade 6 and is an avid writer. He shares a lot of his stories on his blog and receives feedback on his stories from all over the world.

 

These are just some great examples of open online student portfolios, you can find many others from many other parts of the world just by doing a simple search. A good place to start looking is the nominated Edublogs entries.

While researching my idea of open online portfolios, it was interesting to read other educators opinions. Jeff Delp, a K-12 administrator wrote a great article outlining the benefits of blogs in education on his portfolio Making Molehills out of Mountains. In the article he outlines six main benefits of open online portfolios including reflection, inquiry, feedback and an authentic audience.

Kim Cofino, a technology and learning coach at Yokohama International School is also an advocate of online portfolios. She sees the organization and easy of use as just a few of the many benefits. She has used them at a range of schools she has taught at. She also outlines her opinions on her digital portfolio, Always Learning.

All in all, I am very excited at the possibilities ahead and have already seen some students take the idea and run with it. Some students have already contributed a lot to their portfolios, all completed in their own time without being ask to by the teachers which I think is amazing. It encourages the notion of life long learners and that education shouldn’t just exist behind school door between nine AM and three PM, learning should always be happening, all day every day for the rest of our lives.