An electronic portfolio (EP) “can act as multimedia containers for students and teachers” (Meyer, et al.) and is able to store anything from text to images to videos and everything in between. This is different from the traditional portfolio that “is paper-based , usually in manila folders, three-ring notebooks or larger containers” (Barrett, 2000). These portfolios can be used in various ways and serve various purposes. In a small scope, the EPs could be used for assessment on a single assignment. Students would build up the EP for the assignment and include everything relevant such as links, images, document files, scanned documents, etc. This allows the instructor to view the progress of the assignment and it allows students to reflect on what they have accomplished.
Looking at this from a larger scope, this single assignment EP can be a part of a large EP that contains all of the students’ assignments. Making the scope even bigger, this EP can be a part of the students’ whole educational life and contain information from all their years of schooling. Over time, this EP can become a bit messy so it is suggested by Brown (2011) that “over time, a student selects items from the working portfolio and uses them to create a display portfolio”. This means that students will have two EPs and can use the display portfolio when applying to colleges and universities (if they require one).
I personally see a lot of value in EPs because it allows the student to see their growth over time. It also allows instructors to see students’ previous work to see where improvement is being made and where the student still needs help. In my classes, I usually have the students’ build wiki’s online so that over the school year they can see the wiki be built. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and the EP should act the same way. Over the course of one course and over the course of their whole K-12 education, the student will see and be able to review their work.
In my K-12 program, I would promote the use of EPs for both single assignments and for the whole course/program. Barrett (2000) talks about the benefits for using and EP and they are “portability, long shelf life, learner-centered, and increases technology skills [of the student]”. For these reasons and more I would use EPs in combination with a robust CMS that allows for EPs to be built in seamlessly.
Barrett, Helen (2000, April). Create Your Own Electronic Portfolio. Learning & Leading with Technology Vol. 27, No. 7, pp. 14-21.
Brown, M. D. (2011, June 14). Education World: Using Technology | Electronic Portfolios in the K-12 Classroom . Education World: The Educator’s Best Friend. Retrieved September 3, 2011, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech111.shtml
Meyer, E., Abrami, P., Wade, A., & Scherzer, R. (2011). Electronic portfolios in the classroom: factors impacting teachers’ integration of new technologies and new pedagogies. Technology, Pedagogy and Education,20(2).