Students are required to keep a portfolio in my class. Over the years, the binders and loose papers have presented a messy nuisance in the back of the classroom, so I decided to have students post their work online. This is my third attempt at online student portfolios and the blogging forum seems to be the best tool for creating and maintaining a portfolio.
- Posts can be continually rethought, reworked, added to, updated. The work being done does not have to be retyped or converted from one program to another. The teacher or another student can comment, thereby triggering the author to reassess or edit the work.
- It's paperless!
- A blog can be continually updated from any computer, without special programs or downloads. It doesn't matter what type of device you are working on, the product can be accessed and modified. Improvements are immediately available.
- Content can be organized around concepts. Our school has incorporated into its curriculum five "habits of learning": Thinking; Collaboration; Communication; Independence; and Creative Exploration. On a blog, a page could be developed for each of these. Alternatively, posts could be tagged with these keywords.
- It can be personalized to reflect the author's particular style and uniqueness, but the readers experience is still a familiar one and easily navigable.
- It doesn't have to be perfect all at once. It doesn't even have to be finished, which contributes to the user continuing with learning, reflecting, thinking, and communicating.
The point is, the blog-as-portfolio format allows the content to be quickly and easily presented without the user having to worry about the tool, without the tool becoming the focus. A blog isn't about being a blog, instead it renders itself as a tool for communicating results.
My students receive post instruction and prompts through their regular assignment delivery process. They each have their own individualized blog and have given me the url address for it. I can follow each student's individual learning and understanding, and see his or her growth over time. Come check them out and leave a comment.