Digital Portfolios

Presenter: AJ Juliani


What are Digital or Electronic Portfolios?

Digital or electronic portfolios are selective and purposeful collections of student work. Portfolios are records of learning, growth, and change on the part of the student. They provide meaningful documentation of students' abilities. Portfolios provide information to students, parents, teachers, and members of the community about what students have learned or are able to do. They represent a learning history. Portfolios bring together curriculum, instruction and assessment. Through the use of portfolios teachers and students can develop a shared understanding of what constitutes quality work.

A digital portfolio can be compared to a footprint. Each individual has a separate and unique footprint. A portfolio can be a digital reflection of one's life, a student's classwork, an employee's performance, and so on.

What is the Purpose of a Digital Portfolio?

Digital portfolios help students create a "richer picture" of their skills and accomplishments than a traditional transcript would allow. Portfolios also have the potential to help schools think about performance assessment by providing a more thorough documentation of how students are reaching goals. Grades may be subjective, but the ultimate display of understanding is through your actual work.

How to Build a Portfolio:

Portfolios can be produced in both paper and digital formats. Several software programs make it easy to create digital portfolios. Digital Portfolios in the past were made using the following: Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Hyperstudio, and Adobe Acrobat.

Today, given the litany of Web 2.0 resources, a digital portfolio can be a "mini-documentary" for each student and kept online. Creating your own website, social network, blog, and/or wiki would all be acceptable and efficient means to building a digital portfolio. However, for this session we are going to use the Ning Network -

Join our example network at

Sign up and look around. We'll create our own "Ning Network" next.

Follow These 10 Steps to Create Your Network:
1. Sign up for a Ning account (if you don't already have one) at
2. Create a Ning network for your class (make it private)
3. Add features to your network depending on your needs (i.e. if there is no need for photos, videos, or chat you can remove them).
4. Customize Your Appearance (remember, students will be able to customize their own pages - but this is for the main page).
5. Your Network is now launched - invite members and upload any content to your page (or main page).
6. Go to the "Manage" page and adjust your "Feature Controls" as needed (i.e. what you allow members to create).
7. Remove the "Gifts" feature.
8. Go to your "Settings" on the right and click "Email". Scroll down to "Turn off all emails".
9. Remind students this network is an "extension of the classroom". All school rules apply!
10. Give your students time to "play around" with the network and watch them create!


Look at some student work at HERE.

DIGITAL PORTFOLIOS IN EDUCATION - 2,600,000 Results - From the Past Year Alone

This isn't the "Future of Education"... it is Right Now!


Electronic Portfolio Articles and Websites

The following articles and links pages provide good background information for electronic portfolios.

Professional Educator Portfolio Articles

Electronic Portfolio Links Pages

Sample Electronic Portfolios

Explore examples of online portfolios. If you're searching for additional examples, use a search tool such as Google and include search words such as digital electronic teaching learning video portfolio.

Software and Project-Specific Portfolio Examples

Many companies produce software that can be used to develop or store portfolios. Some examples are provided below:

Electronic Portfolio WebQuest

Many schools and universities are involving students in the development of portfolios. Consider using a webquest as a tool for motivating students as well as guiding them through the process. Explore the following examples, then create your own:

Professional Portfolios

Professional portfolios help faculty document their teaching achievement, as well as their other scholarly activities including research and service. The reflective process of portfolio development can promote better teaching, develop fresh thinking about education, and encourage personal and professional growth. Teaching portfolios provide faculty with an opportunity to reflect on their teaching goals, instructional strategies, methods, and materials, as well as student/teacher relationships. Many materials may be included in a teaching portfolio including professional plan (goals, philosophy, reflections), teaching materials (syllabi, lessons, activities, student materials, presentations), sample student documents and projects, curriculum vitae, course evaluations (students, peers, administrators, self), reflections, video/audio teaching samples, recognitions (awards, publications, letters), and professional development (personal plans, teaching innovations, professional activities, service, research, publications, presentations, grants).

The portfolio includes materials that provide evidence or information that document a specific activity, as well as an interpretation or reflection on the importance or relevance of this material. Electronic portfolios can be organized in many ways. According to the AAHE (American Association for Higher Education), a teaching portfolio should be structured, representative, and selective. Rather than being an archive of all professional work, a portfolio is intended to be comprehensive and representative of the breadth and depth of experience.