Digital Portfolio Project

Pearland Homeschool Alliance should develop and offer high school students a program to create and develop their own digital portfolio to display their high school achievements, sport videos, volunteer and work experiences along with any honors and certificates received during their high school career.

The use of a digital portfolio helps students share their passions, academic successes and turns a traditional classroom into an organic learning environment where students are allowed to be creative and free thinkers. Educators have already started to teach the use of digital portfolios because they “recognize that the process has the power to transform instruction.”  (Danielson & Abrutyn, 1997)

We should encourage students to develop an impressive, engaging active blog site, collaborating with their peers both in the classroom and in their social circles to promote both creativity and what they have learned through videos and supplemental articles.

How will creating a digital portfolio aid the student in their future? 

  • Videos will display an athlete’s skills and abilities better than words on a piece of paper and will be much more engaging to their audience than most traditional methods.
  • A digital portfolio can also store and analyze all their current and past coursework and achievements for future presentations.
  • Students can reflect on their own learning experience and gain confidence from the feedback received from their audience, finding their true passion or hone in on that passion.
  • Students can brand themselves on their specific skill sets and promote their brand to their audience (teachers, mentors, peers and possibly future employers and university advisors).

While a digital portfolio will allow the student to document their learning and work experience, perhaps the greatest and most valuable tool is the boosting of a student’s self-confidence and showcasing their technical skills. Students can share their digital portfolios with their peers, expanding on what social media is already doing but being more of a resource for future learning.  Students can have more control of their portfolios compared to the typical social media platform and make it more engaging.  According to the Ecar Report, 50% of students reported that technology helps them to connect to their peers. (Eden, 2015)

We should even consider a student portfolio as a potential senior class project that could be shared with our PHSA community to tell the story of each individual student, where they are headed and how they will get there at their graduation celebration.

A growing numbers of schools and universities are encouraging the development of blogs and digital portfolios.  The University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia provides it faculty and 5,000 students with a domain to, “Explore the creation and development of their digital identities.” (Vander Ark, 2015) This university even provides their students with the software, technical support and hosting capabilities until the student graduates and then allows the student can take their portfolio to a separate hosting site.

While there are many websites for portfolio creation, this course should develop and encourage each student to engage with their peers and instructor one-on-one for instant feedback.

The digital portfolio is a great way to encourage deeper learning, group work skills and technical knowledge for future work experience through group collaborations, classroom discussions and outside readings.  Higher education views the keeping of a collection of written work and research via a blog or portfolio as “an excellent way to introduce technical skills” not found in other course work currently offered in most education systems.  (Bharti, 2014)

Therefore, we need to begin planning a digital portfolio curriculum that will promote the creative and technical skills that more and more universities and employers find as a valuable resource to viewing an individual’s qualifications and abilities.

References:

Bharti, Prasanna. (2014, September 29). Via EdTech Review. GDC Team. How Do Digital Portfolios Help Students? Global Digital Citizen Foundation. Retrieved from https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/how-do-digital-portfolios-help-students.

Danielson, C., & Abrutyn, L. (1997). An introduction to using portfolios in the classroom. Alexandria,Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Eden Dahlstrom, with D. Christopher Brooks, Susan Grajek, and Jamie Reeves. ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology, 2015. Research report. Louisville, CO: ECAR, December 2015.

Vander Ark, Tom. (2015, June 26) Every Student Should Have a Digital Portfolio. Getting Smart. Retrieved from http://gettingsmart.com/2015/06/every-student-should-have-a-digital-   portfolio/

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