I believe in digital portfolios! As teachers, we took this job to change kids' lives. We need to remember that fact and not get caught up in the business of teaching. Our job is to motivate, to inspire, to instruct, to assist, to question, to model, to engage, and to be the wind beneath students' wings. None of my teacher hats is labelled, "Conform to Mediocrity". I checked.
That being said, we must engage and motivate our students to learn, and I believe allowing students to get excited about how they show they are learning is a must! There is an added bonus...standardized-testing will fall into place when we create a learning environment that fosters a passion for learning in our students. That is where digital portfolios come into play.
I love to write, and I love guiding my students in honing their writing skills to produce all types of media. My students are excited about writing, and I want to share their stories with other teachers. My students say part of the excitement comes from having choices and getting to share with the world. All of my students know they must master the content, and they must write to learn, to share, and to teach all of the content. None balk at this idea, though, because I allow voice and choice. My students help to guide our lessons by designing new ways to show mastery, constructing new problems to solve, and making suggestions on how we approach the content. My students also have choice in how they show they understand the concepts. In our classroom, technology tools are just as common as pencils and paper. Students have become experts in using these tools to advance understanding because they use the tools daily and have choice in how they use them. My students curate their best products in digital portfolios, and they absolutely love being able to share the hard work they have done with an authentic audience.
As part of my graduate work, I created a digital portfolio of writing strategies for my content area - science. I jumped at the opportunity to share digital portfolio ideas with my collaborative community while completing the assignment! We were given choices to curate our writing strategies. One choice was a blog, but those of you who know me, know I do not believe in using ONLY one tool. I teach my students to app smash, and I hold the same expectations for myself. Click on my Padlet Wall link to see my portfolio, as well as tips and tricks to use these tools with students.