Join Kevin Kelly for an in-depth discussion in this video Using eportfolios for authentic assessment and measuring growth, part of Teaching with Technology.
- Most of the assessment strategies we've reviewed so far provide important data points, but on their own they don't provide a very complete picture. What if you want to step back and check to see if a student has made progress over several weeks? For a quick snapshot, you can look at your gradebook to see if scores are higher, lower or the same. To get a fuller picture, you can use electronic portfolios, or eportfolios, to monitor student competencies and growth over time. If you're not familiar with eportfolios, they're a virtual environment where students can collect and showcase their work for different audiences, such as teachers and fellow students, family and friends, potential employers, and so on.
Your students can use free web tools like Google Sites or WordPress, free eportfolio tools like Pathbrite or Content Builder, or subscription tools like myeFolio or Digication. While services like Box or Dropbox support sharing files and making comments, they don't have a presentation layer that is a critical aspect of any student-centered environment. Eportfolios are used at many grade levels. At a conference for the tool called myeFolio, they asked a sixth grade student from Minnesota to be the lunchtime keynote speaker.
She told the crowd how she used her eportfolio to run a parent-teacher-student meeting. The eportfolio made it easy to review what she'd accomplished, and the plans for the rest of the academic year. Let's look at one way to monitor growth over the span of just one activity. With an eportfolio tool like Pathbrite, you can create templates for iterative assignments like essays or research projects. Ask students to upload each version along the way, starting with an outline, moving to a first draft, then a second or revision draft that might include Track Changes and Reflection comments, stating what peer-reviewed feedback inspired each change, the final draft for grading might just be the revision draft after saving all the tracked changes.
As an added bonus, asking students to submit the drafts increases academic honesty. You can clearly see if the quality of writing changes dramatically from one version to another. After your class, students might even decide to post a 'final' final draft for families, friends, undergrad or grad program applications, or even potential employers. The nice thing about eportfolios is that they work for almost any media format. Let's say your research project requires students to put together a final presentation.
They can upload a PowerPoint file, or link to a VoiceThread presentation or a screencast movie on YouTube. If you want to track student progress over multiple academic terms, it might mean talking to other teachers at your school or within a department, to set up a consistent structure and expectations. Ask students to demonstrate integrative thinking and reflect on their own growth. For example, San Jose State University asks all incoming students to write a Letter to my Future Self, and reflect on it at various points during their academic career.
At the end of the day, eportfolios can serve a person over his or her entire life, acting as a transitional node between different schools, bridging to career, and showcasing professional accomplishments. In addition to facilitating assessment over time, eportfolios give students a chance to build a formal identity on the internet. This is especially important when false steps on informal channels like social media can create real problems for students. You can support the students by giving them identity management guidelines.
Start by showing them a Washington Post article with the title such as, "Jobseekers Beware: "Employers can see Facebook too!" Before reviewing the next movie, take a minute to answer the following question for yourself. How will you use eportfolios to monitor students' progress?
Author Kevin Kelly explains how learning outcomes can be adapted to support technology in the classroom, and guides educators through selecting the appropriate technology for their activity, module, or class. Then he shows how to apply technology in three key areas: finding, creating, and sharing content with students; facilitating classroom activities; and assessing learning inside the classroom or online.
- Including technology in your learning outcomes
- Applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles
- Finding and creating content and instructional materials
- Enhancing lectures and presentations with technology
- Getting students involved
- Facilitating in-class activities
- Assessing learning
- Teaching effectively online