I was recently talking to a colleague about potential portfolio platforms. I have written about reporting packages in the past, but this is different. I therefore got thinking about the different possibilities. There are many things to consider, including accessibility for parents, students and teachers, ease of use, ability to incorporate different content, compatibility with different devices, the potential to transfer ownership and the level of security and protection. So here then is a start to a list of possibilities and some aspects to consider:
- Global2/Edublogs: Built on WordPress, Global2 is a Edublogs Campus provided by the Victorian State Government. Student blogs are managed via a central teacher blog. Although Edublogs allows users to add a range of media and personalise the blog in a number of ways, including the addition of a password on posts. Although Edublogs have done a lot to streamline the experience, WordPress can still be challenging, especially for early years students. Read more here, while for an example of portfolios, check out the Geelong College examples.
- Old Google Sites: Sites offers versatility and potential to integrate with GSuite. It is possible to make a template and produce a copy for every student, while then allowing students to make further comments. Similar to Global2, the complexity associated with editing can be a challenge for students, especially in the early years. Another concern are the limitations associated with connecting and communicating through the platform. Associated with this, is the problem where. unless you create GSuite accounts for adults, sharing directly with a wider audience can be challenging. For more information, read Anthony Speranza’s reflection.
- New Google Sites: A rebuild from the ground on up, it is easy to drop and drag content around the page. One of the concerns with the new Sites is that much of the functionality associated with the old sites is missing, such as the ability to adjust permissions for different pages or embedding HTML code. There is also no means of providing feedback, unless you add a Google Form. Like Google Classroom, it will be developed further. However, there is no guarantee what and when. For more information, check out Eric Curts’ walkthrough.
- Blogger: One of the benefits to Blogger is the ease of use and integration with GSuite. With simple themes and the ability to add video and images, for some it is a more convenient alternative to WordPress/Edublogs. Similar to Global2, there are means of moderating comments, while protection is provided by adding different users to the blog. Another benefit is that blogger can also be managed through Hapara. When students leave, ownership can be transferred as students move on. From recent conversations it would seem that Google maybe looking to give it a facelift. For more information on Blogger, go here, while Bill Ferriter has shared some of his experiences with Blogger too.
- SeeSaw: A relatively new addition, SeeSaw allows users to document a wide range of learning artefacts. Associated with this, it provides the means to comment, annotate and attach text. Teachers are able to develop classes and add students, while users can sign in with their GSuite accounts. It is easy to share between parents, students and students and is available as an app or in browser. It is free to sign up, however the paid version allows for more control, especially around archiving content. One of the real pluses is that it does not necessarily require a 1:1 environment, as I have heard of cases where a teacher uses a tablet to capture work and link it to the specific student. Go here for more information.
- Slides (and GSuite): Although not the most sophisticated method, another options is using Slides. It provides the ability to create a template and push it out via Google Classroom (or Hapara), while files can easily be shared between teachers, parents and students. There is the ability to engage through comments, even allowing for spoken feedback through extensions, such as Talk & Comment. Another added benefit is the ability to add video from Drive, therefore avoiding the need to publish to YouTube. For more on Slides, go here.
This is a start. Other options that I have not really explored in regards to portfolios include, Weebly, Book Creator, Kidsblog, Schoolbox and Onenote. The reality is, each context will have its own set of concerns and considerations. I hope that it offers a starting point for a deeper conversation.
So what about you? As always, comments welcome.
Update: in an original version of this post, I incorrectly suggested that there was a connection between Google Sites and Wix, which there is not. Thank you to the anonymous comment which highlighted this error.
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Picking a Portfolio Platform by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
I am the founder of KeptMe.com and I have been offering our portfolio platform to Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and UK for the past 2 years. We are similar to SeeSaw but we offer deeper capabilities and wider flexibility. We also offer both free and paid versions. Check it out!
Influenced by Helen Barrett, Silvia Tolisano, and George Couros, my unintentional ramblings on Blogger evolved into a more intentional purpose, my digital portfolio. Silvia calls them blogfolios, and they invite interaction into a learning / reflection arena. I’ve “labeled” posts with ISTE-C standards, or Danielson domain indicators. As Bill Ferriter is doing, it’s easy to search, curate, and share “learnings” posted to a blog. Additionally, I subscribe to my own blog and have my posts “flipped” into a Flipboard magazine, using an iPad, Flipboard provides an easy to read, attractive option as a portfolio. Example here; https://goo.gl/PYBiVu
Portfolios are a cornerstone of authentic assessment. The opportunity for reflection and longitudinal tracking drives personally impactful, transferrable learning; good for students and teachers alike.
Thank you Bob for your comment, I had forgotten about Couros’ work. My particular focus was/is student portfolios. I probably did not make that clear. If I was talking about portfolios in general then I would talk about such spaces as Medium and WordPress.org. This makes me wonder where the cross-over exists.
I’ll be diving into the new version of Google Sites very soon with kids …
Also check out the following teachthought.com
+Aaron Davis sorry about that one
Check out the following http://www.portfoliogen.com/
+BARB Cotter thanks for the link. Seems a bit outdated. Pretty sure Kidsblog is no longer freereadwriterespond.com
+Aaron Davis sorry about that one. I have sent a more current list. Hope it will suffice
Some of my educators fave and mine are here. Hope you find some for you too +Aaron Davis https://www.commonsense.org/education/top-picks/student-portfolio-apps-and-websites
+BARB Cotter thank you
+Aaron Davis https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/zHSNGVZb1dx_LLYXoGKzkV6L0jwwGTHNEB2WFVonxpSFZFjo3Ux3xFTAid79rsHKFpLkzOlJPoI
No worries Aaron. My current thinking considers all educational stake holders as learners on a continuum. As far as cross-over, I subscribe to the notion of letting the learner explore and test different tools, consider the advantages or disadvantages of each, and then choose what best meets their needs for documentation of, for, and with learning (credit Silvia Tolisano for sharing this concept). When you say cross-over, a think of a place to curate and share links to the products of learning. Do you have a suggested process or place for curating and sharing student work?
I have used Global2 as well as Google Classroom in the past to create spaces where students could share. I think that there is as much to the technology as there is to the reason why. My students were sadly more intent on trying to identify the answer I wanted them to share.
Hey Aaron, nice work as always. I’m glad you mentioned Blogger. We use it as the school newsletter and it’s great for embedding anything we have in Drive. It’s fantastic to be able to embed video in there, or slideshows of school events. Some weeks it looks better than others, but generally I think it works well. I would think it would be a great portfolio. I look forward to seeing the facelift.
Thanks Eric for the comment. Interested why you chose Blogger? Its integration with GSuite? Wondering if there are any thoughts or concerns you would have with young students using it as a portfolio platform?
It was actually a mistake. One of the first things I wanted to to when the opportunity came up was move from a paper newsletter to something online. I (mistakenly) thought that a post could have multiple authors, but only once I’d test up the blog with a very particular style-set, discovered that this wasn’t the case. But, the new admin still liked the look of it, and I love the ability to embed video and slideshows. So much more engaging than a pdf. Also, we automatically have an archive of all our past newsletters. We now just have a shared doc that all contributors plug their content into, and then once it’s proofed, I copy and paste it into a new blog post and do any of the little bits of formatting that need doing (which is usually very little). We can also print off hard copies of the original doc for students who want them. Having said all that, I’ll revisit this decision in the next year or two and think about whether this has been the best option.
This is way off topic, I know.
I haven’t thought much about it as a portfolio platform. I did tinker with old sites for a while, which was handy as I could push out a template. This was with year 7s though, and it was a bit cumbersome for them. Likewise I found the learning curve a bit steep using Global2 with year 9s. New sites would be great, except for the limitation you’ve mentioned, not being able to give feedback. Now that I’ve said all that, yes, Blogger actually sounds like a good option.
+Aaron Davis People sure do love Seesaw. Question about export, though- how do students take their work with them? When Seesaw is no longer used? I’m still a fan of Edublogs or a WordPress or Blogger option with robust export options.
+Lyn Hilt to my understanding, there is an ability to download the content in SeeSaw. The paid version provides the means for schools to archive on mass. The ability to easily transfer is what lends me to Edublogs too.