by Jennifer Rita Nichols
Educators and students of today have more knowledge and tools available to them than ever before in history.
Advances in technology have created a digital world where people from all wakes of life can interact and share knowledge–where the answer to almost any question imaginable is just a few clicks away, no matter where you are in the world or what time of day it is.
And yet, despite all of the amazing things we are now able to bring into our classrooms, many students continue to decorate folders or scrapbook covers so that they can paste in pictures they have drawn, writing samples, and short reflections/goals.
Digital portfolios have the ability to revolutionize and modernize the way students learn, while encouraging independence, responsibility, and reflection.
5 Reasons To Use Digital Portfolios In Your Classroom
- Digital portfolios expand on the repertoire of techniques available to students and educators to demonstrate learning. Pictures, videos and audio recordings are added to the typical paper and pencil tasks students complete.
- Struggling students (i.e. writing, reading) are given alternative modes of expression and means to demonstrate learning. This can lead to increases in self-confidence and achievement.
- Increased accessibility! Parents no longer need to find time to visit the classroom to see a collection of their children’s work, and educators no longer need to chase after students to return their paper portfolios to class.
- Development of 21st century skills. One of the 7 survival skills of the 21st century focuses on effective oral and written communication. Digital portfolios can help engage students in practicing these important abilities.
- Digital portfolios allow students to track and demonstrate their growth over longer periods of time. While paper portfolios get stored or discarded at the end of a term or school year, digital portfolios can remain available and easily accessible to students, parents, and educators.
Despite the obvious advantages of using digital portfolios with students, they continue to be pushed aside in favor of the typical paper portfolios. Why? Perhaps because it’s easier to continue doing something that is known, with tools that are easily accessible and easy to use. Paper, pencils, scissors and glue tend to be quickly found in any school.
Also, creating paper portfolios requires little instruction time with the students. However, more and more schools and educators are seeing the benefit of the e-portfolio and taking steps to teach students how to use them.
Students are growing up tech-savvy. They have an amazing ability to play with technology and figure out how to use it to their advantage and to meet their needs. Reluctance tends to come more from hesitant educators than from students. No worries though! Technology has evolved in a way that tends to be extremely user-friendly, and any willing person can learn how to effectively create and maintain a digital portfolio.
Besides, once started, the goal of a digital portfolio is to hand over the reins to the students and allow them to become responsible for demonstrating their learning and reflection.
Educators simply need to choose a method of creation and get the students started.