ePortfolios

What's an ePortfolio?
ePortfolios are online journals (portfolios) of student work.  The benefit of having these online are that they are stored safely, easily searchable and students can easily reflect on their learning because they have instant access to all of their previous evidence of learning.

Tools
I would recommend 3 options to create the student ePortfolios and each comes with its own merits and downfalls.  At the end of the day, it's up to which solution best suits you.  First of all - check what other people in your school already do as there may already be systems up and running for you to use - ie. students may already have a blog, or be using a wiki for other classes.

Blog

 

 Wiki    

 Mahara

     

 
 
 

Blog

A blog is an online diary, journal or log - hence the name blog = web+log.  It is a website that only the owner can add to.  Each entry is called a post and is dated on the day it was created (you can go back and edit/tidy up a post at a later date).  Files can be uploaded to each post.  Students, teachers and parents can leave a comment on individual posts which is good for reflection.
 
There is a GREAT video explaining exactly what a blog is in plain English.  It is definitely worth taking 2 mins to watch this.  If you can not see the video below, click this link.
 
 
Suggested Method:
1. Create a teacher blog.
2. Students create their own individual blogs.
3. Use the teacher blog to update students with information about the tasks they should be placing on their blogs.
4. Tag each new post with the year level the post is targeted towards.
 

 Positives        

 Negatives

  • Free 
  • All information in one place
  • Information entered by date - easy to keep track of progress
  • Comments integrated into each post (reflection or teacher and parent input)
  • Comments without having to have an account
  • Group information via 'tags'
  • Students can only add a post to their own page
  • Easily send links of student work to moderators
  • Very open access - not private
  • It can feel like it can be difficult to keep track of student blogs
  • Not as easy to upload all filetypes - but still possible!
  
Blog hosting services
 
Free - not fully featured
Pro - about $100/year for 50 blogs - option to create a batch of student blogs
Students create their own blog and link to the teacher blog through the blogroll.
Add class blogs to an RSS reader (like Google) to see updates of every blog without having to visit them all individually.  
 
Free
You can sign-up to follow blogs and you can see a summary of all of the updates on the class blogs
- make sure you disable auto-linking to the 'next' blog 

Free
As with any free service we don't know how long it will be free - we have no control over the data and we can not be sure that it will still be here tomorrow!!!

Moderation for both blogs could be as simple as creating a document with links to each individual post for the moderator to access.

 
 
 

Wiki

Wiki means fast! A wiki is a website that is able to be edited and contributed to by a group of people.  Editing is as easy as using a Word document - you no longer need to be a web developer to make a web page - YAY!
 
There is a GREAT video explaining exactly what a wiki is in plain English.  It is definitely worth taking 2 mins to watch this.  If you can not see the video below, click this link.
Suggested method
1. Create a wiki.
2. Create a wiki page for each class.  
3. For each class, write the class list and link each name to a new page.  This will become the student's own wiki page.  Here they will upload all of their own content.
 

 Positives        

 Negatives

  • Free 
  • All information in one place
  • Easy to group information
  • Easily send links of student work to moderators
  • Easily upload and or embed ANY file
 
 
  • Information not chronological
  • Comments page general and not attached to specific post
  • Students can easily edit content on ANY page even if it is not their own.
  • Very open access - not private
   
Wiki hosting services
 
 
 

Mahara

Mahara is a FREE programme that you can ask your school technician to download and administer from your school server.  If you have Moodle, Mahara plugs into this so when students sign into Moodle they get their online classes AND their ePortfolio.
 
The best solution if you have this available through your school.
Download Mahara for free here.
 
Mahara hosting services
myportfolio
There is also a New Zealand site that will host your ePortfolios for you.  This has many advantages such as being able to belong to groups so as students can share their work with each other and teachers of a subject area (such as languages) could connect with other teachers.  At the moment this is free to sign up to.
 

Comments