How digital portfolios have killed portfolios at my school
Why is a portfolio important?
A school portfolio of work should provide an honest representation of a student’s school achievements. Format discussion can be saved for another time. The required content can range anywhere from just the highlights to absolutely everything – the good, the bad and the ugly. However, I accepted that there should be evidence from all subjects. For all the evidence which enters the portfolio, a student should reflect upon what has been learnt from the whole associated experience – not just a final grade.
The downfall of the portfolio
Few people enjoy looking at themselves critically and, unless well supported, the vast majority of students will not choose to do this. Furthermore, a blog is open to the world and demands interaction whilst a portfolio is a something which is shared with those that you trust, admire or want to impress. Therefore, the use of an individual’s student blog to represent a student portfolio defeats its purpose, and hence stifles both.
The re-birth of the portfolio
To help our students produce informative portfolios will require our guidance and our support and our time and an expectation that this should be done. Our guidance must be shown in teaching our students how to reflect effectively. Our support must come in the form of templates and/or scaffolding for student to initially follow. As educators, we should be setting aside time both in class (when work is returned) and before that (in extra feedback that will ignite their thoughts). Our expectations mean that this needs to be done and it is not something a student can avoid. Now I appreciate that the blog provides excellent digital portfolio functionality – an opportunity for a reflective statement and to embed school work. But this needs to be private in order to avoid plagiarism issues and to increase the value of events such as a Student Led Conference.