Document Student Growth with Portfolios

“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” – Yvon Chouinard

Digital portfolios are one of the most powerful ways my students take ownership of their learning and reflect on their learning journeys. Digital portfolios help students set, track, and achieve their academic learning goals. Check out several of my students’ reflective portfolios here. Students attach screenshots and links to their work along with a personal reflection of how they will apply the learning. This is followed by an overall reflection. This year I want to improve the portfolios by including three important parts. Part one entails setting academic goals and reflecting on strengths and weaknesses.  The second part is to get students to benchmark and reflect at more regular intervals through student led conferences. The third part includes the final reflection. The time to implement digital portfolios is at the start of the course. To help you get started find a slide presentation, tips, web tools and resources below. Also, check out my recent webinar recording of the process here.

Get your copy of The 30 Goals Challenge, Learning to Go, or Hacking Digital Learning. Ask me about training your teachers,!


  • Suggested tools for K to 12 educators, include Mahara, Showbie, Seesaw, Livebinders, Educlipper, PadletEdublogs, Kudos Wall, and Google Sites. You might also try PinterestWeebly, Bulb, and Pathbrite.
  • Start with goals! Find student goal templates for any age group here.
  • Get learners to track and reflect on their progress at regular intervals, such as each progress report time, with student led conferences (SLC).
    • Check out this great SLC guide by  NYC schools with handouts.
    • Students can use an Assessing my Assessment sheet to reflect on their growth and identify areas for improvement.
    • As a team- the student, parent, and you- come up with strategies for further growth.
  • The third part is the final reflection.
    • My student final reflections are sometimes separate from the actual portfolios. For one course my students used Pinterest for their portfolios and Prezi, Voicethread, and Capzles for their final reflections.
    • Last year I experimented with Padlet for a final reflection. Check out my template to copy and adapt.

Check out more of my back to school posts here!

Challenge: Get your students started with digital portfolios.

Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

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),, and on her blog,, 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

One comment

  1. Onenote Classroom is integrated into Canvas, the LMS my school uses. Has anyone successfully and effectively used Onenote as a digital portfolio platform?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *