Put an end to messy backpacks and binders and document learning with digital portfolios.
Is there a better way to collect work from our students in today’s classroom? Does anyone really think that our students look back in their binders to find a packet from earlier in the year? Enter Digital Portfolios to the rescue.
This year, my college anatomy class is lucky enough to have access to Chromebooks in the classroom daily. After years of trying to help students organize notebooks and binders and determine what is important enough to keep for review later in the year, I decided to test out digital portfolios. I knew it would take some planning and would evolve as the year progressed, but I was eager to help my students become more efficient digital learners. When I introduced it to the class there were mixed reactions. Most thought it would just be extra work. However, as I explained it more, the students were eager to hop on board and test it out. I decided to use Google Sites, since our school had adopted the Google Suite of apps and chromebooks. It turns out, the students really like it because of the wide range of features, such as embedding flashcards, videos, and slideshows. My students organize their portfolio by unit to make it easier to find all of the content later on so it is a truly a digital notebook. Each unit must contain all of their original work that they submit for grading, which includes:
Slide shows from microscope labs including labeled photos taken with digital cameras
Digital projects for alternative assessments – such as presentations or videos of songs and tutorials for review of content
Students are encouraged to add any other materials that will help them to review and document the important content for the unit such as:
To help reinforce the importance of the portfolio, I count it as a test grade for the quarter and also grade their assignments directly from their site. When students are ready to submit it for grading, I have them enter their site URL into a form with a brief comment about what has been added that they would like me to focus on. Feel free to take a look at my form here.As the year has progressed, I have learned several important points for success
2. Periodically check on portfolios so students do not save work until the last minute
Jennifer has taught science since 1999 and has been a district technology leader since 2002. She is also a Google for Education Certified Trainer and an Apple Certified Teacher. Her interest in technology started with an MS in Instructional Technology from NYIT where she learned ways to effectively teach technology integration. She has always loved integrating technology in her class starting with using probes for science experiments in the early years to leading a 1:1 Chromebook pilot in the last few years. As she delves deeper into a SAMR model of teaching, she focuses on creation tools instead of simply consumption, which includes students creating digital portfolios to document their learning.
I love your idea and that the students bought into it well. How do you keep track of all those websites? I have 100+ middle school students and I’m just trying to figure out how I’d be able to access them all easily.