Archives For Portfolios

Day 1 #ISTE13 June 22, 2013

Today is my first day at ISTE here in San Antonio.  It’s bigger and better than I could have imagined.  I have spotted lots of ed tech rock stars and a tone of people keen to get to their Saturday sessions and learn.

ePortfolios using Google Apps

Spent part of the day with Dr. Helen Barrett learning about ePortfolios (or mPortfolios as in m for mobile) using Google Apps.  She runs a course on ePortfolios too. She has been studying and working on ePortfolios since 1991.  She suggests that the No Child Left Behind mandated a lot of testing in school district so many teachers stopped using portfolios for assessment. Portfolios went from being a state wide initiative to an optional classroom based approach. Helen suggested that portfolios took root in the 80s and 90s with the Writing Project.

What do people collect and why?

People collect all sorts of artifacts including prizes, medals, and especially pictures.  We collect things because they tell the story and bring back your memories. You can go back and recreate the experience. We collect things that remind us of pleasurable experiences.  At school and ePortfolio is a purposeful collection of student work. We can use our personal collections and professional collections to help students can see a model.

ePortfolios: What

Three parts of a portfolio according to Helen: a collection or digital archive; the reflective journal and the showcase portfolio.

Balanced ePortfolios are student-centered and school centred.

Student Centered: Focus on intersts, passions, goals; choice and voice with reflection; lifelong learning.

School centred: focus on standards and outcomes; accountability achievement; time sequence restricted to term and graduation.

Balance must also be found between learning portfolios compared to showcase portfolios. Below is the chart to explain:

Barrett Balancing Portfolios


Examples of Portfolios

All examples she publicly shares here.

Helen’s blog as learning portfolio of process (can be called chronological portfolio).

Helen’s ePortfolio is a showcase portfolio (can be thematically organized).

Student blog which is both chronological and thematic.

Teacher an curriculum leader Kim Cofino‘s portfolio (looks like a website to me (and a great one), but this was presented as an example.

High School Senior’s Portfolio and his mission to teach teachers how to use Google Apps.

Thought Shrapnel

  • A portfolio is like an ongoing student-led conference.
  • Take screen shots of progress on online math games and iPad apps as artifacts.
  • Super goal: that students decide when they need to capture a learning artifact into their portfolio (this should be the case with a 1:1).

Things to follow up on and things I am not sure about:

  • Should I have kids store images in Picasa? What are benefits over Dropbox? Is there an App?


The Power of Portfolios: What children can teach us about learning and assessment by Dr. Elizabeth Hebert.

National Educational Technology Plan (2010) talk about student-managed electronic learning portfolio that are part of a persistent learning record.



Assessment Management Systems

Hapara Managing google apps

Mahara Open Source Portfolios

Digication ePortfolios




Lisa Morris and I are at TLLP and we are struggling with going GAFE and Googly or going with a paid for ePortfolio product like Pathrite.

The problem is simple:

1) Go google and accept that google is data mining kings and queens. Enjoy the upside that it is free and available. This allows for us to use Google beyond the life of our TLLP. It also makes sharing knowledge with other teachers easier because most will have access to the same tools for free.

Basically, if you are not paying for the product, you are the product!

2) Use a platform like Pathrite for ePs. Data may (or may not) be more secure. Students may not have access to their content after the course ends. It may be harder to scale and share with other teachers because costs and access to other platforms.

A cheeky and wonderful Canadian singer named Carolyn Mark sings a song called “The Cereal is the Prize” which is the right way to begin this post. To me, this song title screams don’t-you-get-it? This is exactly how I felt when I decided to shift a research project about ePortfolios to an iPad project only to realize that the iPad is a portfolio.

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