I recently overheard a conversation between two students. They were discussing an upcoming homework assignment and the fact that it had to be posted to the students’ e-Portfolio. One student seemed really opposed to the idea of having his information and work posted electronically, while the other was actually quite ignorant and didn’t even know what an e-Portfolio was. Which got me thinking- I have an e-Portfolio that I created for an online class, but I never questioned WHY I needed it. What is the importance of an e-Portfolio and how does it benefit students in the pursuit of an Online Education?
According to Portfolios at Penn State, a website hosted by Penn State University to provide students and educators with information about and resources for creating an e-Portfolio, the standard use of portfolios is for the presentation of a student’s or instructor’s work and abilities. Because portfolios are dynamic and can be constantly changed and updated, they can help display individual skills or achievements while still acting as more than a technological or digital resume. Furthermore, thanks to the features made available by many e-Portfolio sites, teachers can use e-Portfolios to assign homework, post information, or increase interactivity and engagement in their classrooms.
E-Portfolios are not just for writing or the arts. In academics, the most valuable use of e-Portfolios is in the support of individualized learning, regardless of subject matter. Learners using e-Portfolios can adapt and adjust their learning experiences, take control of their learning, and use the many e-Portfolio tools to integrate media (such as audio and video) into their learning.
The use of e-Portfolios in academics helps put an emphasis on creativity, promoting originality and the individual process. Furthermore, students and educators who use e-Portfolios in their learning can develop key digital literacy skills and help move education toward the technologically and project-based learning of the 21st Century.
To sum it all up, here are some of the many benefits that students and educators can expect to see from the use of an e-Portfolio:
- Creating and maintaining an e-Portfolio can help students perform self-assessments in both their work and their learning.
- Students can take control of their learning, pacing themselves and developing their own goals
- The process of working on and learning through an e-Portfolio engages students, helping them develop life-long skills while also helping build self-confidence.
- Upon completion of their e-Portfolio, students will have a record of their personal learning and accomplishments, and could use it as a means of showcasing their work (and strengths) to others.
- E-Portfolios are a great tool for personal and professional development.
- And, they are portable, so they can be accessed anywhere, anytime!
- Teachers could use e-Portfolios to relate to students, taking part in the creative process and providing feedback for work and effort.
- E-Portfolios also provide an easily accessible record of learning, both personal and professional.
- When using an electronic template, e-Portfolios are often more organized than physical records and resumes, useful for the quick and efficient retrieval of information.
- Because of the clear way information is documented in an e-Portfolio, educators can use these sites to link lessons to learning outcomes and prior information and assessments.
- As with students, e-Portfolios can be used to assess a professor’s or course’s strengths and weaknesses, a great too for future professional and personal development.
41 Benefits of an e-Portfolio, by Karen Barnstable
7 Ways to Create e-Portfolios, by Debra Donston-Miller
Using E-Portfolios in the Classroom, by Mary Beth Hertz
Using Technology: Electronic Portfolios in the K-12 Classroom, by Mary Daniels Brown