The Importance of an E-Portfolio

My previous experience in an elementary school saw us trying to have all of our students develop an e-portfolio to add to year to year.  Some attempts were more successful than others but one thing never changed.  Every student was excited to document to process of their learning on their e-portfolio and even more proud to present their work to teachers and parents.  Having the work documented over the year and year to year meant every students saw the evidence of their learning and their progression as a learner.

An e-Portfolio is a great place for students of any age to collect their learning into one place and develop it into a sort of on-line resume.  In order to collect items for your e-Portfolio begin by gathering artifacts of your learning.  These may be physical items that are photographed for your e-portfolio such as prototypes, objects, or metaphorical items. For example, a photograph of a globe may be an artifact for the use of social media to connect to a classroom in another country.

A reflection is a piece of writing to accompany your artifact telling how this artifact contributed to your teaching and learning, what was successful about the learning and, perhaps, what you would change for next time.  These reflections can be the outcome of a blog, on-line journal or hand-written journal that you are keeping as a reminder of these initial stages of teaching or the continuation of your education.

Once you have collected these artifacts and reflections, spend some time describing your philosophy of teaching and learning.  The emphasis you see in the artifacts that you have collected or the themes that continually are present in your reflections should make this document easier to write than before you have done the initial work.  Leave room in your philosophy for growth and change because you will not be the same teacher, educator or person after a few years in the field.

Collecting other certificates of professional development and items that have contributed to the teacher and learner that you currently are can be kept in the folder as well and you can pick and choose what you would like to be visible to a prospective employer.

A digital copy of your resume should also be included.

Your e-portfolio should be a living document.  Spend some time each week or couple of weeks or after a particularly successful unit, lesson or learning outcome to update your e-Portfolio.  The field of education means you may be changing classrooms or schools or post-secondary institutions more often than you thought and your e-portfolio provides continuity for various experiences.

I haven’t spoken of particular platforms or software but this general introduction will have you on the look-out for items to include when you decide how you will be working on your e-portfolio.

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