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ePortfolios: What are they and Why students should have one

Updated: Jul 19

E-portfolios have been used for years, across career fields, to help individuals document, organize and archive learning, skills or experiences. It is a tool used in many capacities and in addition to a traditional resume. An ePortfolio can be a valid learning tool for students to track their educational goals, knowledge and accomplishments; to reflect on those goals and accomplishments; and to showcase achievement to college admission boards or potential employers. ePortfolios are a key tool in metacognition. They help students think about their own thinking and learning. Let's look at reasons why students should create an ePortfolio based on some education standards.

ISTE's (International Society for Technology in Education) Student Technology Standards

-Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.


-Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.

-Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.


Students will be using their ePortfolio to communicate their skills, knowledge, and experiences. Using a digital tool to create their ePortfolio, students can add any media to demonstrate their mastery such as YouTube videos, website links, online documents, etc. ePortfolios encourage students to be creative in how they present their knowledge; creating innovative content to share what they learned.


ePortfolios allow students to update and share skills over their entire academic and even professional careers. Information can be added or swapped out at anytime as students gain more skills.

Bloom's Taxonomy

Educational Psychologist Benjamin Bloom of the University of Chicago, along with collaborators developed a framework for categorizing educational goals and objectives which they called Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. For 16 years these goals were modified and then became populary known as Bloom’s Taxonomy. The taxonomy has been used for years by K-12 teachers, college and university instructors and professors in their teaching. The framework consists of six major categories: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. The categories after Knowledge were presented as “skills and abilities,” with the understanding that knowledge was the necessary precondition for putting these skills and abilities into practice.


-Analyzing: When students gather media resources for their ePortfolio, they will need to determine how the photos, videos, documents, and/or resources relate to one another and to the overall structure or purpose of their ePortfolio.


-Evaluating: Students must make judgments about what to include based on criteria and standards given by their instructor or the program admission committee.


-Creating: ePortfolios allow students to put various media elements together to form a coherent or functional representation of their educational career and skills.

Gardner's Multiple Intelligence


Howard Gardner of Harvard has identified seven distinct intelligences. This theory has emerged from recent cognitive research and "documents the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways," according to Gardner (1991). According to this theory, "we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, and an understanding of ourselves. Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences - the so-called profile of intelligences -and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains."


ePortfolios support visual-spatial and bodily-kinesthic learning. Students can use visual media to help others understand their educational experiences in a way where words alone are inefficient. Furthermore, they will use tools and real equipment and objects to communicate their ideas.

There are a number of tools students can use to create an ePortfolio. Here is a list of my three favorite digital tools.

Microsoft Sway


Sway is a Microsoft's digital storytelling app for creating engaging presentations, personal stories and more. With Microsoft Sway, students can add images, videos, text, documents and even personal twitter feeds that create the perfect eportfolio.


Microsoft OneNote


OneNote is a digital 3-ring binder used for taking notes, organizing and curating resources and media. Students can use OneNote to capture images, videos, text, documents and more in a digital notebook that is easy to share. Moreover, many school systems are already using OneNote with students to it would be an easy transition to copy content over into a new notebook as an eportfolio.


Pathbrite

Pathbrite is mostly used by young job seekers. Their ePortfolios allow students to collect and showcase knowledge, skills, abilities, achievements and more. Students can use this site to build a visual portfolio that can be used for college, special program admission, or for a job interview.


Check out my ePortfolio samples below:


Sway ePortfolio

OneNote ePortfolio

Pathbrite ePortfolio





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