By Lani Aquino
Paper trails with projects and activities getting lost in the shuffle are a thing of the past. As the digital world plays a heavier role in student learning, it’s key for this same digital world to play the role of learning archiver. With digital portfolios, students are able to create and/or transfer all of their work in one easily accessible platform. This allows students, teachers, and parents to quickly view student progress and pinpoint areas of growth and/or concern. These portfolios are pivotal in the gradeless classroom and offer that growth and understanding snapshot that are poorly represented by a subjective letter grade.
Depending on the grade level and subject area, the use and format of a digital portfolio may differ. Luckily, there are lots of options out there for the choosing to showcase and archive a collection of student work. These 5 digital portfolio platforms have their differences, but they are all easily accessible and highly beneficial when it comes to capturing student learning and growth all in one place.
Seesaw- With multiple packages available, Seesaw can be a schoolwide initiative, a by teacher purchase, or even a free option with a limited but effective set of tools. Multimedia tools can be used to capture student learning, and there are 100s of other apps that are compatible to this system. Learning can be captured in drawings, photos, videos, notes, or by attaching files. There are multiple options for organizing and viewing student work. With the QR code sign in option, this is an easy-to-access system for young learners.
FreshGrade- The collaborative nature of FreshGrade makes it a perfect tool for communicating learning and growth between students, teachers, and parents. The real-time documentation of learning allows teachers to streamline the assessment and feedback processes, and learning can easily be aligned to existing standards. The ability to create custom goals and objectives offers an excellent way to support the learning of students with IEPs. Pricing and features range from free with limited options to the availability of school or district purchase plans that open up a boon of tools and resources.
Kidblog- Blogging is a mainstream way of communicating just about anything and everything these days. Student learning and understanding can easily fall under that communication blanket with Kidblog. The free 30-day trial for individual teachers offers an opportunity to explore this worry-free online publishing forum before purchasing the affordable $54 per year membership. There are also district and school purchase plans available. This Google compatible resource allows students to share their work with an authentic audience and customize posts to showcase their individuality and learning growth.
Google Sites- For those embracing everything Google, students and teachers can easily use Google Sites as a digital portfolio format. With so much already happening via the Google platform, students can easily transfer that work to a personally created website. There is no short supply of easy-to-follow directions for collecting artifacts and creating a site or even YouTube tutorials to easily bring digital portfolios to life via Google. Whether teachers create a template for students to copy and personalize, or students take the lead on designing their own site, digital portfolios are only a few clicks away in a suite of tools already being utilized in most classrooms.
WordPress- WordPress is another great blogging platform that students can use to create digital portfolios. Its widespread usage well beyond the classroom years makes this a tool that can truly grow and grow and grow with students. While WordPress may not offer many of the components that can be found in portfolio platforms designed under the lens of classroom usage, it does offer students a leg up on learning the ins and outs of a program they are likely to encounter and utilize later in life.
Helping students see the big picture when it comes to learning can be captured via the usage of digital portfolios. When students are able to take ownership of their work as they prepare it for viewing by others, they gain valuable lessons in understanding themselves as learners and their potential for growth. By utilizing a digital portfolio system in the classroom, teachers are utilizing a method of communication and celebration for all the efforts and achievements that abound on students’ personalized learning journeys. These 5 portfolio platforms offer a variety of accessible entry points into the learning process for teachers, students, and parents.
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