I’ve decided to write this post about Eportfolios because even though I’ve been using them with my class for quite a while, I am constantly asked for advice on how to set them up. This post will hopefully help those people with any questions they have. If you think I’ve missed any important information out or have addition questions please feel free to comment at the bottom of this post.
What are Eportfolios?
Basically an eportfolio is an online digital space that pupils can use to reflect on learning, record wider achievement and teachers can use as an assessment tool.
Why did I start using Eportfolios?
Currently the school I work in uses a Learning Log as a way for the children to share their targets and reflect on their learning. This learning log is a folder which contains sheets of paper which the children fill in. I’d been finding that completing these logs was becoming very time consuming and very uninspiring for the pupils. At that point I had just not long completed my Glow (Scottish Schools VLE) training and decided to use this as a place to house our eportfolios.
How do you create an Eportfolio in Glow?
There is a National Eportfolio Glow group which can be found here. There you will find help sheets and videos which will take you through the set up process. However three things you will need to do before setting up eportfolios are
1. Ensure all pupils have Glow Light enabled (this can be done by clicking on pupil or staff home, scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking on Change Glow Light Settings. You must then ensure that Use Glow Light as my default home page when I next log in has been ticked)
2. Ensure that all pupils have permission to use Glow blogs (this can be done by your school ASM or by your Glow key contact)
3. Create a class or year Glow group which can be accessed by all the pupils. Either use the weblink part that already exists or create a new one for the pupils to put the URL’s of their eportfolios.
Once you have completed these 3 steps you are now ready to create your eportfolios with your pupils using the How to create an eporfolio help sheet.
What if I don’t have Glow?
The main part of the eportfolio that is created in Glow is a blog which uses wordpress. You can create your own free blog at wordpress.com. There are lots of other sites where free blogs can be created e.g. blogger, edublogs, primary blogger, etc.
How can I use eportfolios with my class?
1. Each pupil’s eportfolio has a static front page; this allows them to create an All about me page. They can create an avatar and write some text to introduce themselves.
2. All posts the pupils write must be categorised. This makes it easy for readers to find posts on a similar subject; this is especially useful for interdisciplinary learning. Our eportfolios have categories for all areas of the curriculum, achievement, attainment, targets and review of the week.
3. Pupils can use the eportfolios as a place to record any targets they set for themselves and review their learning.
4. Pupils can report about and reflect on any learning undertaken. This becomes a very useful assessment tool for the teacher as it is easy to determine the level of understanding each pupil has of the activity they have participated in.
5. Eportfolios can be used as storage for evidence of work i.e. pieces of writing can be typed up and posted. Using a site called Slideboom PowerPoint presentations can be embedded into the blog. Websites that have been used for digital literacy activities e.g. voki, animoto and GoAnimate can also be embedded.
6. Feedback – All posts that are written can receive comments. This allows teachers to give instant feedback and also allows for peer to peer assessment.
7. Eportfolios can be shared extremely easily with parents who can also comment on their child’s posts.
Using the eportfolios with my class has been very successful. The pupils really enjoy creating posts and sharing their work. I’ve noticed a marked improvement in their enthusiasm to write and in their writing skills. Often pupils will post stories that they have been writing at home.
I have been involved in providing training other teachers in my cluster in how to set up eportfolios. Our next step is to decide what information an eportfolio contains so there will be continuity when P7’s move to S1.
Below is the animoto I created using the slides of my presentation I gave on Eportfolios at the Scottish Learning Festival 2011.