I am a lifelong learner and have been a professional educator for over 20 years. Along my educational journey, I have seen many ideas come and go, but I remain focused on teaching students the skills they need to become successful members of society and to develop their own love of learning.
3 years ago I took the leap and began to use student blogging to incorporate digital portfolios into my classes. In addition to a blog page, students share projects, investigations, and a bit about themselves. The sites allow my students to catalog their educational journey and provide opportunities to
- Demonstrate mastery of content.
- Reflect on the process of learning.
- Develop 21st century skills - empathy, communication, critical thinking, creativity.
- Build an ideal resource for a resume and college applications.
Here are three questions to ask yourself as you embark on this new path.
1. How do I start?
Taking the first step can be the hardest so encourage yourself, and your students, to start small. I suggest beginning with a class portfolio to share the learning in your classroom once every week or two. This will help students see the progress of their learning and encourage conversations while building your own publishing skills. You can have individual students or small groups decide what to add to the portfolio and design posts. Then, once you and your students are ready, move on to having each student create their own digital portfolio.
2. Where should the portfolios be hosted?
Determine which tool is best suited to support your goals. If your school uses Google Apps for Education, you can develop incredible portfolios using Google Drive, Google Sites and Blogger. Some benefits to Google Apps for Education are the privacy settings. You can decide to keep the portfolios private, invite a specific audience to view them, or connect them directly with the worldwide audience. The ability for students to collaborate through Google is unrivaled. I use Blogger to host our class blog and students are guest bloggers who share their experiences in the class. I include the links to each of my student’s portfolios on our class blog so they're all connected in one place. You can check out our AP Bio Rockstars site.