The Plastic Brain

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e-portfolios for students…and staff!

My colleagues and I are currently investigating the use of e-portfolios. There are, of course, many platforms available, each with a range of features. The trick is finding the one which best suits your purpose, and with which you feel the most comfortable.

With respect to purpose, our discussion was driven by the requirement for documentation of two processes:

1. for students

Our Year 10 students are at the beginning of their South Australia Certificate of Education (SACE), which is mostly completed in Years 11 and 12. However, in Year 10 they complete a Personal Learning Plan (PLP). The PLP is undertaken over the course of the year, and requires students to reflect on their learning thus far, be introspective, explore life and career goals and plan their future learning path(s).

2. for staff

Under the new Professional Standards for Teachers, AITSL requires “evidence” for certification at each of the levels. Curating this evidence could be a complicated and frustrating task. e-portfolios may be a solution, allowing teachers to incrementally add CV details, teaching and learning artefacts and write professional reflections.

selected e-portfolio options

This is by no means an exhaustive list, simply a selection of options at the front of my mind. A more thorough list can be found here. Click on each image to investigate further.

the verdict

So, as I said at the start – all depends on your on situation, but here’s my summary:

Google Sites is flexible, and works well if you already have a Google account. Could suit either students or teachers.

WordPress is essentially a blogging platform, hence is useful if you want to encourage a focus on the process and reflection. You can add pages to cover the other stuff, like a CV. This is what I use (obviously), and you can see some of the pages I’ve added at the top of this page.

Folioforme seems like a pretty sweet platform. I’ve not used it, but it certainly has a good range of features, and unlike the previous two, is purpose built for e-portfolios.

Livebinders is a jack-of-all-trades web filing cabinet. Useful for storing and sharing your e-portfolio, but not particular user friendly or pretty to look at.

Carbonmade is a bit of a wildcard entry. Very much designed to appeal to younger and more artistic types, it impressed me with its splash page. I think students would go for it. However, looking at the example e-portfolios, they may be a little too visually-dominant to be of much use in an educational setting.