I can remember carrying around my big black portfolio at Central Michigan University’s teacher fair when I was a fresh new teacher. We worked throughout the last part of our college career putting together a showcase of sample lesson plans, evaluations, student work, student letters, a resume, and test scores. It was beautiful.
Not one principal at the fair asked to look at my portfolio. I had two different schools interviewing me before I accepted a position. One interview team did not even look at my big black portfolio. The other school flipped through it. I had worked so hard! CMU had emphasized how important it was to have a magnificent portfolio to get hired as a teacher.
Digital portfolios are a great way to showcase work, share with others, and reinforce learning. CMU had good intentions for my teacher portfolio. I felt the purpose was to get hired by showcasing my work and sharing it with possible employers. Really it was to reinforce learning along the way to becoming a teacher. David Niguidula 2005, has a great article called Documenting Learning with Digital Portfolios. He states, “portfolios must be part of a purposeful assessment program with clear learning goals.” He outlines essential questions that schools need to address before establishing a digital portfolio system. Ultimately, his article should be used as a guideline when setting up your schools digital portfolios.
As a school counselor, I could see using digital portfolios in two ways. First, I could see high school students creating digital portfolios throughout high school and then finishing with a cumulative assessment at the end of their senior year. These are sometimes referred to as a Senior Capstone e-Portfolio. By providing students with a way to showcase work they will have a clearer vision as a learner, find pride in their work, and share with possible colleges or employers.
The second way would be for school counselors to create a digital portfolio for their school counseling program. On your school counseling website you could have your vision and mission. You could display your calendar and use of time assessment. Now your Advisory Council could access your results reports before the meeting. What a great way to showcase your program, share with others in your profession, share with those that don’t understand your profession, and a learning opportunity throughout your career!
When setting up your digital portfolios you will want to address the essential questions that Niguidula 2005 outlines and then create a rubric. For a Senior Capstone, researching what other schools have already done and looking at sample student work will help guide your vision. Digication is an e-Portfolio platform to set up digital portfolios. They also provide sample work from high schools. Free ways to set up your digital portfolios would be through Weebly or WordPress.
For school counselors, sample work can be found on the websites of past RAMP recipients. Here is just one example:
These are just a few ideas to get you started creating digital portfolios. With the help of CEP 813 at Michigan State University, I am now creating a digital portfolio so that I do not have to lug around my big black portfolio! Now it is only a click away!
Niguidula, D. (2005), Documenting Learning with Digital Portfolios. Educational Leadership, 63(3), 44-47.