“I heard paper portfolios,” Jeanine told me as we pulled into the parking lot of the House of Joy Chinese Restaurant, “were on their way out.” As I held the door open for her, my reply was a simple, “You are right! The day of digital portfolios, or ePortfolios as they are sometimes referred to, has finally arrived! It’s so easy these days to share content online, it’s often a matter of organizing it all in one place.“ Tools like Evernote and Postach.io can facilitate this process, although they are far from being the “only” tools available.
Note: This continues my series on Evernote and Postach.io to impact teaching, learning and leading. If you decide to get an Evernote Premium account, I hope you use this referral link. BTW, you may want to check out Diana Benner’s slideshow on ePortfolios!
Chances are, you’ve encountered ePortfolios that are “Showcase Portfolios.” That is, a portfolio that documents a person’s best work. Usually that work is a collage of content constructed through an entire educational, and/or work career (depending on the person). It can include the research papers, art work, and science experiments which best represent the student’s skills and abilities, as well as resumes and published content.
Helping our students gather this best work in one place that can be easily shared is important. Portability is a key factor…what happens when our students leave the District and want to take their data with them?
In White Oak ISD in Texas, the school district has made every effort to enable students to have their own, portable digital portfolios. As they point out, their goal is to “Provide a stable, long term platform for students to display an electronic portfolio of work that they feel portrays their abilities.” Since the portfolios are based on WordPress blogs hosted by a third party blog host (Edublogs), students can easily export their content and “take it with them” when they go elsewhere.
When they began the initiative, they brought in the renowned Electronic Portfolio expert, Dr. Helen Barrett (visit her ePortfolio web site) to provide professional development for staff White Oak ISD also seeks to use their ePortfolio site as a way to “Provide a communication portal for staff to share information with students, parents, and the community.” This is done by enabling each teacher to create a web site for their classroom, too.
Various ePortfolio Solutions
For individuals, showcase ePortfolios enable people to highlight their strengths, blending a combination of text, images, and video. Although there are a variety of tools ranging from web site creation (e.g. Weebly, Wikispaces, PBWiki, GoogleSites,) to Career web sites (e.g. CareerSushi.com , you may need one place where to organize content. And, digitizing content for placement in an ePortfolio is incredibly easy.
A GoogleSites eportfolio-view example
If you have a tablet computer (e.g. iPad, Android), you can easily take photos of content (e.g. letters of recommendation, pictures of your best work), record audio (e.g. interviews with your references), or include video. You can also share this content easily online. One approach is to rely on Evernote.com and Postach.io You can place content in an Evernote Notebook and Postach.io shares the content of that notebook as a blog (http://mguhlin.postach.io is one example).
Of course, there are other solutions available. My daughter, for example, has a “everything but the kitchen sink” site, but also has the much easier to browse CareerSushi.com web site.
Aida’s CareerSushi site. Notice the quick navigation bar on the left side, the ability to scroll over and explore content, and add certificates for awards and achievements. (view example)
When she entered college and began applying to virtual internships—and discovered that the internship providers were checking her online social media spaces (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, her Tumblr blog, her Google Sites page)—she was glad she had her info online in an ePortfolio. The conclusion we came to was that they were checking to see what she was doing online—acting naughty or nice. Her reaction brought a smile to my face: “Wait until they see the pictures of my work and blog entries of me sharing that work!”
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure