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December 1, 2013

5 Tips for Creating Digital Portfolios for Students

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Category: Technology
X How to Create a Digital Portfolio for Students

How to Create a Digital Portfolio for Students

Creating a digital portfolio is a great alternative to keeping stacks and files of papers for your students all year long.  Not only does the digital portfolio save space, it also makes it easy to organize and customize each students’ work.  You do not need to have a lot of technical experience or digital equipment to be successful at making and maintaining digital portfolios.  Check out the 5 tips below to help you get started.


How to Create Digital Student Portfolios

1.  Make sure you have the right equipment.

You do not need a lot to make your digital portfolios, but the right equipment will make it go a lot more smoothly.  A digital camera (either a stand-alone or one on your phone or tablet) is a must.  A scanner is also an important tool to have on hand, so check to see if your current printer can also function as a scanner.  If not, there are apps that can be downloaded that will act as scanners for you.


2.  Decide where you will store the portfolios.

There are many options available for storing portfolios.  Some of the options you can use include Google Drive, photo sharing sites, LiveBinders, or create separate folders and store everything on a flash drive.  The key is to do whatever is easiest for you and will allow you to share the portfolios with the greatest of ease.


3.  Sort and Purge

Now it is time to decide what you will be including in the portfolios.  Do you need to include every single piece of work?  Maybe you would like to show the improvement from rough draft to final copy?  Are there art projects or presentations that are too large to scan?  Whatever you decide needs to be included can easily be added to the portfolio without fear of storage issues that are common with physical copies of the work.  For items that are too large to scan, simply snap a photo and upload it to the portfolio with a brief description of the project.  You might even want students to complete this step before turning in their assignments, so that it is ready for you to use in the portfolio.  Whatever does not need to be used can be sent home with students immediately or purged.


4.  Upload

Grade, upload, sort.  Make it a habit to grade the assignments, scan or photograph them, and sort them into each child’s digital portfolio.  The originals can then be placed in the “Return” basket and sent home for students and families.  Test scores, rubrics, and more can also be added to the portfolios as needed.


5.  Finalize

At the end of the school year, include any final thoughts, grades, or report cards to each portfolio.  You may want to ask students to create a cover for their portfolio using a drawing program.  Another option is to have them create a cover on paper and photograph or scan it in to place at the beginning of their work.  Digital copies can then be emailed to parents, placed on individual flash drives, or distributed per your school’s requirements.


While it may seem overwhelming to scan or photograph each piece of work, the amount of space digital portfolios save and the amount of clutter they reduce are alone worth any extra minutes.  Once you have a system set-up, you may find that you will never go back to physical portfolios.


Questions about digital portfolios?  Leave them for us below and we will be happy to help!

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  • Pat Melvin
    January 19, 2014

    What would you recommend to save the digital portfolios on to go into individual student’s IEP files at the end of the year?

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