Thursday, August 1, 2013

Why Create an E-Portfolio?

There are so many benefits to creating an e-portfolio.  E-portfolios give students a larger sense of purpose for their work.  There are many students who find so much more meaning in sharing their work with an audience beyond that of their teacher.  Students want recognition, reaffirmation, engagement, and especially to feel as though they have been "heard".  E-portfolios provide a platform for each of these and more.  As a result, e-portfolios generate a stronger feeling of ownership on the part of the student and in turn, encourage a greater acceptance of responsibility for one's work.  Knowing that their creations have the ability to be shared on a global level, can give students a stronger focus and a deeper feeling of purpose, both of which help validate the students efforts.  E-portfolios also encourage students to reflect on the digital footprint that they want to leave and therefore, become more thoughtful about their work.  Through this process of reflection, students can start to collect or curate that work for which they are most proud to showcase and receive feedback and engage in dicussions with a wider audience.  E-portfolios can expand a students' perspective on the world and therefore, generate a greater sense of empathy for and understanding of the world around them.

Balancing the purpose and the product of the e-portfolio is to recognize that the e-portfolio can have a different purpose for different audiences, as indicated in Dr. Barrett's slides on Balancing the Two Faces of E-Portfolio.  Again, as she states in her slides, as a process, they can be organized chronologically, with learning as the primary focus, and the reflection process is immediate.  As a product, the e-portfolio can be organized by theme, and the main purpose is as an assessment tool for accountability, and the reflection process is retrospective.   Having watched Dr. Barrett's slide show and having read the New Zealand Ministry of Educations Guidelines to Digital Portfolios for Beginners, I understand that thinking through the organization of e-portfolios during the planning process and throughout the creation process is key to balancing the purpose and the product.