What Makes A Digital Portfolio Effective? #Edchat Summary

6pm CET/ 12pm EST Edchat Summary

Smiling School Boy

Every week, @rliberni or myself, @shellterrell, will be providing you with summaries of the 6pm CET/ 12pm EST Edchat discussions! This week’s #edchat started with a buzz as educators, parents, and learners from around the world discussed what makes a digital portfolio effective. Overall, the general consensus was that digital portfolios are an effective means of highlighting students’ and teachers’ projects and experiences, getting parents involved, establishing a positive digital footprint, preparing for careers, and motivating students to take charge of their own learning.

Topic: What do effective digital portfolios look like? How should they be assessed? What needs to happen to move in this direction?

What some #edchat participants had to say…

cybraryman1- I see digital portfolios as repositories of student work in a digital format. #edchat
kylepace- Effective digital portfolios must have clear, consistent guidelines. #edchat
angelbrady- A digi portfolio shows growth and is reflective of their work. All media (if possible) should be displayed #edchat
MissCheska- Educator portfolios, like those of students’, should celebrate and keep track of PD growth #edchat andycinek- Digital Portfolios need to have a scope, show growth and have relevance beyond high school #edchat MrR0g3rs- #edchat technically most important is that portfolio is easily accessible. No use using niche software if no one can view it.
technolanguages- #Edchat I did portfolio assessment with a small group of students. But it is really hard work to do it with a class of 25.
kanor74- Guidelines are good, but there needs to be allowances for design and creativity, too! #edchat
msstewart- We use student blogs, tagged 4 specific classes & assignments as student portfolios. Used across disciplines-math, Eng, History,etc #edchat
andycinek- Digital portfolios need to begin with “Why” and never end, but always be applicable to student growth and development #edchat
AtomiClint E-portfolios are a convenient place to collect and share media representing your PD history. We provide them with our 21PD package. #edchat
colport- I am hoping to use e-portfolios to bridge the home school gap AND as a means of showing assessments via e-books #edchat
andycinek- I think a combination of Google Docs and Wikispaces. They have worked for me and are always accessible #edchat
AmmarMerhbi- Mhara is an open source software that is sever based ( can be linked to moodle , to result in mahoodle) great tool #edchat
kanor74- Capzles and This Moment provide chronological embeds or links to show growth or progress on work. #edchat
cybraryman1- You have to 1st start with education then employ the technology #edchat
johnmclear- #edchat @kylepace I did kinda put an About Me section on my site, only gets a few clicks per week, has v basic info but does job
jsovick- For year to year use of portfolios I would highly value non proprietary formats. The more open the better! #edchat
cybraryman1- I feel you have to concentrate on content first. Dissemination is easy. #edchat
rliberni- I think blogs are very flexible and reflect the writer #edchat

Some questions & points that arose:

elanaleoni- @MissCheska-Do you know of any educators that keep track and celebrate student dig. portfolios? #edchat
etutoria- I would like to start my ePortfolio as a teacher. Some tricks and tips? #edchat
MrR0g3rs- @kylepace @andycinek what is a good software for tracking growth? Google Docs tracks revisions right? xackr- @andycinek Why use a USB stick? Why not give each student a gmail account and let them use Google Tools as lifelong digital stash #edchat
charlie1312- currently eportfolio problem = too many alternatives! Livebinders is good, but I think google apps / docs is better? #edchat
kylepace- @andycinek I was going to say something similar. Why wouldn’t a wiki work? At what age should this begin? #edchat
elanaleoni- What’s the most important part of an edu e-portfolio? Having a blog, LinkedIn, Twitter? #edchat

Links that were shared:

andycinek- My student protfolio vision http://bit.ly/5gMyrK #edchat cybraryman1- Ditial Portfolio sites: http://cybraryman.com/teachertools.html #Portfolios #edchat
Marisa_C- #edchat What can you put in a portfolio – some ideas http://tiny.cc/DtINa
Blythe_Musteric- @ShellTerrell I really like your digital CV! Very nice! http://bit.ly/4B48XU #edchat
AmmarMerhbi- Google sites is a great eportfolio tool Check out Dr. Helen’s http://bit.ly/5CeVQZ 4 resources on google sites andstudy articles #edchat
Marisa_C #edchat Here is another useful site http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic82.htm

Note: Read the entire transcript by clicking on @jswiatek’s archive

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations


  1. Hi, Shelly, I though you might be interested in this:

    I was recently asked, “can anyone shed any light on the “theory” of successful student engagement using ePortfolios in the vocational area of learning?”

    And this was my reply:

    This is not an uncommon problem, particularly with purpose-designed systems.
    The issue, in my opinion is one of ‘ownership’.

    1: If the system you are using is just a tool for subject delivery/assessment there is little motivation for the student to do yet more form-filling.

    2: In some institutions the e-Portfolio is just used as a content delivery system as a substitution for a VLE which might not be capable of managing the tutor/mentor feedback and peer-review that an e-Portfolio should be capable of managing. And this is where, I suspect, that the popularity of Web2.0 has intruded itself.

    3: It is an educationally recognised fact that the e-Portfolio needs to ‘belong’ to the learner. If there is no self-identity, no self-representation that shouts out “This is ME”, there is little chance that any but the most studious will invest time and effort in doing something that is obviously not ‘mine’ but the College’s.

    4: The e-Portfolio should contain personal information that helps the tutor/mentor to better understand the learner and thus develops a better student-teacher relationship. The more information that the learner is allowed to include, including rich media, the better the relationship can become.

    5: Of course, the organisation, layout and choice of pages and sub-pages, the templates chosen and colour-schemes, of avatars etc are all part of the psychology of ‘ownership’. It is quite often these very obvious presentation choices that immediately tell the experienced teacher much about their students than might be intended.

    6: However, perhaps the most important aspect of the e-Portfolio is what tools are embedded to provide formative feedback, peer review, polls, surveys and comments that really begin to support the type of student activity we should be seeing in the classroom, with or without walls.

    7: An obvious requirement of e-Portfolio functionality is that the learner needs to be able to control who-sees-what. A good e-Portfolio will allow the control of audiences so that concurrently different readers will see different ‘views’ of the one e-Portfolio.

    I could go on for ages, but hope this is a start. Please check out my links below:

    Best Wishes,

    Ray Tolley FEIDCT, NAACE Fellow, MBILD
    ICT Education Consultant
    P: http://raytolley.v2efolioworld.mnscu.edu/
    B: http://www.efoliointheuk.blogspot.com/
    W: http://www.maximise-ict.co.uk/eFolio-01.htm
    Winner of the IMS ‘Leadership Regional Award 2009’

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