Making Connections

Exploring Connections to Making Connections

When asked to give a title for my blog at the start of Coetail, I chose ‘Exploring Connections’.

This is my last post in the course, and it seems appropriate to entitle it ‘Making Connections’. I have moved from simply exploring the connections available on the web to having made connections.

What if…?

We recently had a fire drill at school, and it unleashed an avalanche of What if…? questions. As the What ifs…? became increasingly imaginative, we encouraged the children to write What if…? stories. By turning their fears into stories to be shared with others, we created a platform for discussing if the What if…? was likely to happen. It helped them understand that if a fire occurred in school we had systems in place to help keep them safe, but that many of their What if…? stories ventured away from the realm of reality.


I had the same feeling of What if..? when I first had to post Coetail blogs. What if  I wrote something stupid? What if…. ‘

A funny thing happened when I posted my first post, and the next, and the next….No fireworks, no plunging into the world of virals. Simply nothing! Sometimes a comment would come in response, a helpful, constructive comment.

Here’s one from Joel Bevans near the beginning of my Coetail journey:


Thanks Joel.

I had the same feeling of What if…? when Coetail expected me to connect with other unknown people on the internet.

What if they weren’t who they said they were?

What if….

I took the plunge.

I wrote blogs, and stopped expecting the world to collapse or explode because of them.

I connected with people.

Freddy the Teddy

My first steps at collaboration came via Freddy the Teddy. Freddy’s progress was recorded on blog and Twitter.

Twitter has also been a great way to share ideas within a professional community. Here’s an example:


I’ve also used Twitter to share interesting articles in general.

Are our teaching strategies effective?

What Doesn’t Work: Literacy Practices We Should Abandon by @nellkduke:

— Joy Walker (@JoyJwalker) June 10, 2016

Final Project – e-portfolios


Here’s another comment from Joel Bevans nearly a year on from the comment above, suggesting that our classes work together by writing comments on each other’s blogs. I hope that we can build on this at a later date. In the meantime, Joel has joined a collaborative Flipboard magazine on e-portfolios.


Online 5 connections

To consolidate some of the Coetail Online 5 connections that I’ve made over the past year, I decided to join Megan Kuemmerlin’s Global Book Club. This is also another big step – joining in a live hangout on air. I feel I’ve left that suit of armour I talked about in Course 2 way behind!

With some trepidation I joined in the first discussion.

I felt slightly more relaxed second time round and at the third meeting.

So inspired by @kmatthewsed @ramsdensuzy and @JoyJwalker in #GBCreatingInnovators embrace the tension to get to your purpose. #coetail

— Megan Kuemmerlin (@megankuemmerlin) October 30, 2016

We’re going to use Twitter as continue the discussions between meetings. Here are our next questions:

You can follow the conversation at #SlowGBCreatingInnovators.

 I created a visual in Unit two based on Connectivism. By being connected with Coetail and Coetailers, I’ve connected into a network of knowledge and learning. It’s an ongoing journey in a world of rapid change. I notice that already there is a new Unit One project on e-portfolios by Ken Fernandez, the subject I looked at for my Course 5 final project. In the next years there will be many new ideas that I’m sure will be explored on Coetail. I’ll keep popping back to make sure I stay connected!

Oh, and there’s that matter of continuing to contribute too. I’m sure I’ll be back blogging again some time soon! In the meantime, check out ISZL Eagle Times, where I’ll be supporting Grade 3-5 blogging at our newspaper club.

With thanks to the ISZL community for all the support given during my Coetail work.

U2w5 1


Playing with numbers

To help think about the relative value of the different kinds of uploads in e-portfolios discussed in my post  The Movie

I have given each type of upload a score from 0-2 against the criteria in the ISZL e-portfolio guiding philosophy:


With thanks to International School of Zug and Luzern for sharing their e-portfolio Guiding Philosophy

The type of upload that gains the top score of 22 (and please remember these numbers reflect my personal opinion only) is:

Student commentary plus short teacher explanatory note as needed (frequent uploads)

I found some areas difficult to score, particularly in the area of teacher uploads:

Does a teacher-initiated upload of work score the same as a student-initiated upload of the same learning experience in terms of reflecting the student’s learning journey?

  • On the surface, they both reflect the student’s learning journey over both the short and long term. However, I decided the student initiated upload deserved a higher score. I think the meta-cognition shown by students who are able to recognise their learning and post about it shows much deeper learning than those who don’t recognise their achievements.

Do posts with in-depth teacher comments deserve a high score in terms of reflecting the student’s learning journey?

  • In theory in-depth teacher comments enhance the overall quality of the e-portfolio and help guide planning through teacher reflection on student learning.
    • In practice I feel (and again, this is a personal opinion and might change) the amount of time needed by teachers to observe and write these in-depth comments means they have little time available to support student-initiated uploads, and the total number of posts will be limited to a few, albeit high-quality, posts.
      • I feel this deprives students of the opportunity to learn by doing. The portfolio reflects student learning though the eyes of the teacher. It may or may not accurately reflect the thoughts and ideas that interest the student.
        • I’ve therefore only given a score of 1 to posts with in-depth teacher comments in terms of reflecting the student’s learning journey.
      • I accept the alternative viewpoint that posts with in-depth teacher comments should score higher as they offer a different perspective on the learning. Particularly in the early years, teacher observations can tell a story that students don’t have the skills to tell themselves.


The Movie

It seems I’m not alone in exploring the world of e-portfolios.

Other Coetailers have been here. Among others:

e-portfolios Reflection Process GOT IT

The e-portfolio as a tool for collective Reflection and story-telling by Zoe

Digital Citizenship and e-portfolios by  Carlina Fiordilino

Blog e-portfolios with second graders- Am I mad? by Mike Nonato

What’s the message of my video?

The world of e-portfolios is so vast that I found myself writing blog posts first to explore it. It was through writing the posts that I discovered my own views on what the main emphasis of the e-portfolios should be. Here are links to my exploratory blog posts:

What is excellence in portfolios?


e-portfolios – Getting Started

So is it simple?


Playing with Numbers

What is the message I want to give in my video?

I agree with Carlina Fiordilino’s post that the big ideas surrounding the e-portfolios are purpose, content and ownership. What does this mean for:

Who should be posting?

Who should be commentating?

Here are some of the options:

Teacher-driven content

Teacher-driven content

The Reggio Emilia movement puts great emphasis on observing young children:

Our role as adults is to observe (our) children, listen to their questions and their stories, find what interests them and then provide them with opportunities to explore these interests further.

If the purpose of the portfolio is to create a platform for sharing these teacher observations, the emphasis would be on the detailed observations of the teacher.

Skills-driven content

Skills-driven content

If the purpose of the portfolio is to collect content that provides evidence of student learning in key areas, uploads could be based around ensuring all skills are show-cased, with the teacher dictating this to ensure coverage.

Student-driven content

Student-driven content

To help in evaluating the various types of upload, I created a table looking at the various options in relation the eportfolio Guiding Philosophy. You’ll find these numbers in my next blog, Playing with Numbers.

It is not content coverage or in-depth teacher observations that I’ve concluded make the core of an excellent portfolio.

My conclusion is the main purpose of the e-portfolio is a platform for student reflection and sharing. A quote from Zoe’s page:

Dr Barretts describes reflection as the heart and soul of any portfolio, without it an eportfolio is merely a collection of  digital artifacts.

For genuine student reflection to happen, students have got to be given sufficient support and opportunity to reflect on and upload work on a frequent and regular basis, and for a proportion of the uploads to be shared with and reflected on by the class.

This takes teacher time, as all the student posts need to be listened to and approved, with explanatory comments to give the context where necessary added. Whilst all the other type of uploads have value, this is the heart of it and is where teacher time should be focused.

This is the message I hope to convey in my video. Here it is:

eportfolios 25 from Joy Walker on Vimeo.


I used various tools to make the video.

The main platform for putting it together was Microsoft Movie Maker, which is on the pc.

I used several apps on a tablet to do this, and had difficulty transferring them from the tablet to Movie Maker.

Initially I saved them to Google Drive, but was unable to download them to the pc as they were too large.

I downloaded a screen caster, AZ Screen Recorder, on the tablet, and recorded the video parts using the screen caster, which allowed me to trim and compress the video parts. I could then upload them to Google Drive, download them to my pc and add them to Movie Maker.

As my project is about SeeSaw, I created another account in SeeSaw and then uploaded posts to it to describe my journey. I’ve taken snapshots of these to create the video.

Apps and Tools used:

Mindomo – to create a mindmap

SeeSaw – for collecting posts in

Google Slides – for creating a storyboard

Scratch – to create an animated visual for my final project journey

Flipboard – to collect relevant articles

Explain Everything – for sharing my thoughts on what should be in the e-portfolios

Microsoft Word and Snipping Tool to create Portfolios Redefined picture and PAPER words.

DoInk Green Screen – for putting myself in front of the road photo.

Google Blogger – for the Grade 3-5 newspaper club

What I’d hoped to add

Book Creator: Examples of students digital work produced in Book Creator – these are still in progress.


My Course 5 project describes the initial steps of a year-long project on introducing e-portfolios to Grade 1. We have four classes in the grade level at our school and it’s important that we move together, so I’ll be developing the project further over the year. To give you an idea of where it’s going, here’s the planning document for the year-long project:


Thanks for watching.



In my last post I thought about teachers adding explanatory comments on student uploads in their e-portfolios. In this post, I’ll think about

What should a teacher be uploading in addition to student entries?

A photo album?

Parents like seeing photos of their children.


Here we see students working intently together on a given project, using thinking social, and communication skills. Whilst they may choose to upload a photo of the finished product and talk about it, they cannot take a photo of themselves working on it.

So, if this type of photo is wanted in the e-portfolio, the teacher needs to take it.

For efficiency, a teacher might decide that all the students in the class are working well on this particular project, take time to photograph them all and upload them to SeeSaw with the same comment for each photo.

…collaborated well together to create a plan of our school using Lego.

This type of comment is different from one that follows an in-depth observation of a particular child.

—collaborated well with her friend. She suggested that the building be represented by a square of red lego bricks, and was able to discuss with her friend where it should be located on the base board. She listened well to her friend’s suggestions and they reached agreement having discussed several options.

It’s unlikely that a teacher could make in-depth observations for all students in one lesson, but they could upload photos of all students at work.

Does adding photos or videos of students having fun and working hard enhance the portfolio and reflect the e-portfolio philosophy, adding variety to the posts, or should such photos only be shared on a class blog for all to enjoy?

Evidence of work done?


Here the students are working together to estimate objects and then count the actual number.

Teachers are required to teach a curriculum. Photos in e-portfolios can provide evidence that the required teaching is happening. Here the photo shows work on estimation.

I question whether posting with the purpose of providing evidence of teaching fulfils the purpose of the portfolios.  The fact that something has been taught isn’t enough. It needs to show student learning.

Parents can be kept informed of work being done on a class blog.

So, would you say this photo shows students exploring the concept of estimation, and thus reflects the e-portfolio philosophy if a short explanatory note is given,  or does there need to be something more for it to qualify for a place, for example a comment on the numbers being estimated and how close the estimations are?

The answer has a big impact on the number of postings that can be made, as in depth observations take a lot of time.


shark book from on Vimeo.

It’s unlikely a student will choose to upload drafts that show process. Are these important? If so, should the teacher share them to keep parents involved in an ongoing project, or should they be saved and collated at the end. Should they be shared only if the student chooses to share them, or should the teacher upload them?

Missing good work

Having the students upload work of their choice may or may not show what they are capable of. What should a teacher’s response be if a student doesn’t choose to upload a great piece of work?

  • Teacher uploads it without consulting student?
  • Teacher encourages student to upload it but accepts student decision?

A Balance

To ensure a balance, students can be asked to choose work in a certain area e.g. some math.

Should all students have the same number of pieces of work uploaded

In my opinion, no! Students are individual. Their portfolios should reflect this.

Is it OK to upload the same piece of work for all the students in the class?

It’s certainly more efficient! Suppose each child chooses their favourite book, talks about why they like it, and reads a couple of pages or talks about them. Whilst all the students are doing the same thing, it looks very different for each student.

If each child writes a story, and they are all uploaded to the portfolios, they will look different for each child, depending on the child’s writing abilities. It’s efficient, differentiated and ensures they all have a writing sample.

What’s missing? The child has not had opportunity to reflect on their work to decide what to upload, at least in the writing example.  The ‘allowing students to curate work for appropriate audiences’ and ‘It promotes ownership through self-reflection’ clauses in the ISZL guiding philosophy have not been fulfilled.


Whose e-portfolio is it anyway?

I wonder if things were switched round, and the student had to  approve teacher posts before they were published, how many of them would be approved?

I wonder what percentage of posts need to be selected and uploaded by the student for them to feel they have ownership. How crucial do you feel student ownership is to e-portfolios fulfilling their purpose?

Next steps

Developing student reflection and commentating skills.

I think this could be a whole new blog series!


So is it simple?

In my last post, I explained how I set up the classroom to integrate the e-portfolios.

It’s easy

  1. Teach the students to take photos of their work.
  2. Have them select their best to upload to SeeSaw.
  3. Have them voice-record an explanation as to why they chose it.

It couldn’t be simpler!


Options in SeeSaw

Skills and Folders in SeeSaw

SeeSaw gives the option of adding folders and skills to tag each piece of work. As a school we’ve decided to add folders for the transdisciplinary skills – communication, thinking, research, self-management and social. Subject folders have also been added so specialist teachers can easily find their posts, but all posts will be tagged with one or more of the transdisciplinary skills. This helps teachers think about skills they are developing beyond a subject area.

I’m also tempted to add two more folders: Selected by student and Selected by teacher.

The not-so-easy



Once students have uploaded their work, teachers have the option of editing (or deleting) it before publishing. There is opportunity to add an explanation. This could include:

The context: What was the child working on? Who with?

…wanted to show he could make the number seven into an even number. He explored various ways of combining seven squares to see if he could find a way for them all to have a partner. He eventually concluded that this wasn’t possible, and that seven is never even.

The learning: What does the post show?

Through doing this work, …developed his understanding of conservation of number, and that seven will always be odd. He clearly defined his goal before starting, and tried different ways to achieve it until concluding that it was impossible.  He was able to transfer this knowledge to another odd number in a later discussion, where he told me that five would also always be odd.

How much work should students post?

Think about going for a walk in the mountains with a nature lover. You may point out a pretty flower – the purple one over there. The nature lover can immediately tell you it’s name, the environments you find it in, how common it is, other flowers it’s related to, how long the flower will last and so on. He’s the expert.


Photo taken by J.Walker

So it is with e-portfolios. As the students collect their work, we have opportunity to comment on what it tells us about their knowledge, skills and understanding.

Let’s go back to flower collecting. When a child begins to collect flowers to press for an album, they will probably be happy with flowers that can be found easily, for example in the UK they may collect dandelions.

If they pursue their interest in flowers further, they will soon be looking for other species and ignoring the dandelions. The more flowers they collect, the more discerning they will become, providing they spend some time reflecting on their collection. Maybe they will decide later on to throw out some of the early examples.

With children collecting work for e-portfolios, I believe we should allow them the opportunity to learn for themselves what is valuable by allowing them to upload what they want, providing it showcases learning, is appropriate and isn’t a duplicate.

Where does that leave us with teacher comments?

If a child collects a ‘rare species’, something they haven’t collected before, it’s a great opportunity for the teacher to add a comment highlighting the new learning.

Should teachers make a comment on every entry?

If the answer is yes, there needs to be a restriction on what the child can upload, as it takes a lot of time to add in-depth comments.

Personally I would chose to allow students some freedom in what they upload, and provide teacher in-depth comments only where I see something new or interesting. Remember that the students have to add a commentary with every upload as to what the work is and why they have chosen it.

Having said this, I also respect the viewpoint that students should upload fewer entries so teachers can provide in-depth comments on every entry. Maybe this is one of those school discussions…..

I’ll finish this post with the portfolio guiding policy of the International School of Zug and Luzern (ISZL), with thanks for permission to publish this:




E-Portfolios – Getting Started

In my Unit 4 Final Project I shared an ‘Understanding by Design’ Template, which I will use to guide this project.

As this is a year-long project, I only anticipate completing the first stages to submit for my Grade 5 project.

In my last post I discussed what in this blog and how to present it.

Here are the first steps for getting the e-portfolios organised.

Setting up SeeSaw

Ed-Tech Coach – Download the SeeSaw app on the ipads and set up the class accounts on SeeSaw.


  • Print out the class sign in information
  • Invite parents to access their children’s work.
  • Enable New items require approval in SeeSaw settings

Organising SeeSaw in the classroom












And then…

Check that each post is OK and approve it.


Read the next blog post to find out some of the options that are built into SeeSaw.


In my last post, I thought about the criteria for excellence in portfolios.

I think this blog should tell our e-portfolio story thus far.

Idea 1: Write the blog post as a journal detailing what we’ve done each week regarding e-portfolios.

Problem: This turned out to be very boring reading!

Idea 2: Make a timeline showing what we’ve done using ReadWriteThink

Problem: The timeline is over-crowded! Here’s the draft without most of the uploaded photos.


Idea 3: Split the process into different phases

Phase 1: Getting organised


Here’s the start. There’s place to upload a photo for each.

Problem: As well as a photo, I want to explain the purpose of what we did. There’s no room for this!

Option 1: I could add the photo to a Word document, explain the purpose underneath, and then use Microsoft Snipping Tool to create a new photo to add. I fear the writing would be too small to read once added to the Timeline.

Option 2: Use SmartArt in Microsoft Word, using a blue box for what we did, a green box for an explanation and a photo to illustrate. Here’s step 1:


I quite like this format, although I think I need to add the date. So far I’ve identified 15 steps, and no doubt there will be more. I think there are four phases so far:

I could also add a Reflection section, or alternatively build the reflections into the four phases above.

More options: add all the steps into a Google Slides, or create a blog post for each section.

I think I’ll write blog posts. Watch out for the next post – getting started.

What is excellence in portfolios?

 Portfolios – the good, the bad and the ugly

I’ve seen many portfolios. Apart from those I’ve created myself (or supported my students in creating), mostly I’ve been shown them by other teachers, proud of their work, or asking if something is acceptable, or accompanying the moans of the teacher trying to get them together.

I have images of classrooms awash with plastic wallets, folders and piles of printouts, inhabited by frenzied teachers trying to find suitable math or language samples.

I also have memories of walking into classrooms, of a student taking hold of my hand and leading me to a row of neatly ordered files. They pull one out and say with pride ‘This one’s mine.’ We look through together, marvelling at the work.

The good, and the not so good…..


Staff Discussions

Have you been in those staff meetings discussing what should go into the portfolios?

  • Do you argue for freedom for teachers to put in what they think is best for each child, even if this doesn’t look the same for everybody?
  • Do you complain that some teachers put too much time into making their portfolios look perfect, making yours look shabby in comparison?
  • Do you advocate for a fixed list of exactly what should be included to ensure that they all look identical and no parent can complain?

Portfolios can, and do, cause tension in schools.

What is an Excellent Portfolio?

What would your criteria be? How would it look different for a paper portfolio and a digital portfolio? The University of Wisconsin has created an E-portfolio rubric.

Their first criteria is Selection of Artefacts, the Exemplary section saying ‘All artifacts and work samples are clearly and directly related to the purpose of the eportfolio’.

What is the purpose of a portfolio?

My personal opinion at the present time is a school portfolio has two main objectives. It should:

  1. be a platform for students to develop the skills of collecting, reflecting on and sharing their work
  2. share student learning with parents and teachers working with the student.

The portfolio should:

  • Show learner’s growth over time.
    • Include work from different stages in the learning process:
      • pre-assessments
      • drafts
      • ongoing work
      • final ‘best work’.
  • Explain why work has been included
  • Be different for each student
  • Develop the student’s own voice
  • Develop student ownership of work
  • Be a tool for student reflection
  • Be a working document that is integral to classroom life
  • Be a basis of discussion between teachers and students
  • Be seen and valued by others

Portfolios and e-portfolios

Moving portfolios onto a digital platform enables:

  • Instant sharing of work with students, parents and teachers
  • Adding work in a variety of formats e.g. videos, voice recordings
  • Easy access from home and school
  • The option of sharing work with a wider community
  • The facility for adding comments
  • The opportunity for student to develop digital communication skills

Team Agreements

For those working in Grade level teams, and maybe also in multi-grade teams, writing agreements may help everybody pull in the same direction to ‘beach the boat’. Here are some of the points I think could be discussed:

  • Privacy and access
    • Parent, student and teacher access only
    • Class access
    • School community access
    • Public
      • Note: I’ll be working with SeeSaw. This allows students to view each other’s posts in class, for the posts be shared with individual parents, and a class blog where posts can be shared publicly.
  • Amount of time to be dedicated to blogging/e-portfolios
    • e.g. 45 minutes class session each Friday morning/ flexible working as appropriate for each child, supported by assistant
  • Success criteria for the e-portfolios – or the process of creating it
  • Content of portfolios
    • Student/ Teacher choice
    • Skills/ knowledge/ standards based
  • Expectations for commenting on student portfolios
    • Students commenting on each other’s posts
    • Teachers commenting on student blogs – number of comments/ type of comments
      • Their own students
      • Students from other classes
  • Grade level prompts for students to use when commenting

Everything you need to know about e-portfolios

Check out this fantastic link to Dr Helen Barrat’s work:

Her free online course is particularly helpful.

I’m flipping other articles of interest into a Flipboard magazine

View my Flipboard Magazine.






Course 4 Final Project: The details


Following on from the discussion raised in my previous blog Course 4 Final Project: Tuning In, this blog looks in more detail at what my Course 5 work might look like in practice. I’m looking at the introduction of e-portfolios and how they can be successfully developed in primary schools.

Zooming in

What are those small steps that we need to take to move forward? Here  are some initial ideas based on the first units of the year:

Grade 5: Natural materials can undergo changes that provide challenges and benefits for society and the environment.

Focus on developing digital communication skills. Are the accounts of experiments clear? Have students reflected on their results? Are all links to supporting work provided? Is information presented visually where appropriate? Comments on other blogs focus on ‘I think/ don’t think it was a fair test because….’ ‘A good use for that material would be….’ ‘Another experiment that would be interesting would be……’ ‘You’ve inspired me. I’m going to try….’

Grade 4: People interact with each other and communicate using arts.

Students develop collaborative blogs across the grade level or with another school, with different groups creating blogs focusing on different art forms. Students document the development of the blog and their own contributions to it on their e-portfolio.


Grade 3: Choices of role models reflect the beliefs and values of individuals and societies.

Students follow the blogs of several role models that both students and teachers nominate. Students evaluate the blogs, thinking about what makes an interesting blog post, and reflect on their responses to the blogs in their e-portfolios . Are they influenced by it? Why? How do others respond?

Grade 2: Transportation systems enhance and connect communities.

Students use their e-portfolio to develop reflection and communication skills. Students select work each week to upload relating to the unit, reflecting on why they have chosen it, what they think they have learned and what questions they still have. A focus is given to reading each others’ blogs and responding with an ‘It’s interesting that you… I think….I wonder…..I didn’t know……’ response.

Grade 1: Knowing about ourselves informs our learning and development.

This is the unit I’m going to redesign! Here it is:

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

  • Finding quality time to be given to developing e-portfolios. 
  • Developing a culture where students support and encourage each other and respect all work that is shared.
  • Ensuring that all students have opportunity to share work on a class blog if they would like to, avoiding:
    • selecting work from only the ‘best’ students to showcase.
    • students selecting blogs because they’ve been posted by their friends. 
  • One concern arises from years of observation in many different schools. Sometimes competition, or worse, resentment, can build if somebody is passionate about their work and ‘goes the extra mile’. Some colleagues fear that other passionate colleagues will make their own work look inferior, and worry that it will raise expectations from admin and parents for all staff.
    • My concern is that the e-portfolios are introduced in a way that:
      • helps develop a supportive and collaborative team spirit rather than competition or resentment. 
      • allows individual staff enough freedom to experiment with how they can best implement e-portfolios in their own classrooms so that:
        • individual job satisfaction is fostered
        • different ‘evolutionary’ approaches are tried so the best can be developed further
        • sufficient commonalities across the grade levels are maintained.

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

  • Sharing children’s work has been a big step for me in Coetail, and this unit will allow me to develop it further, assuming the school and parents are happy for me to do this.

What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Students will require reflection and communication skills, both when choosing what to put on their own e-portfolio and reflecting on it, when selecting others’ blog posts to share with the class and when deciding what should be on the class blog.

Course 4 Final Project: Tuning In

Having spent some time looking at the use of blogs in Grade 5 Exhibition, I’d like to extend this in Course 5 to developing e-portfolios.

Blogging and e-portfolios – what’s the difference

My current understanding:

  • A blog is written to share thoughts and ideas.
  • E-portfolios (which can also be blogs) share work which has been selected with a specific purpose, and includes links to and reflections on the work.


There are many resources. Part of my reading for Unit 5 will be to delve into the subject by searching and reading what’s already out there. Here are some examples:

Learning Portfolios: 

As e-portfolios originated in paper-based portfolios, I think we need to keep in mind the pedagogy of Learning Portfolios: The Learning Portfolio: Reflective Practice for Improving Student Learning by   John Zubizarreta Professor of English, Columbia College, SC


Twitter recommendations – (thanks to Tricia Friedman @FriedEnglish101 for sharing this):


Examples of documentation from specific colleges: Camosun College

Information from tech companies: e-portfolios with Google Apps

Official Documentation: Digital Portfolios: Guidelines for Beginners from New Zealand, 2011

Blogs: Rudy Blanco – Picture This

Presentations: Dana Watts

For the moment, here are some questions to mull over:

Question 1: What is the specific purpose of e-portfolios in our school?

  • What is the purpose of e-portfolios?
  • Who are they for?
  • Who are they being shared with?
  • What should be included?
  • What should they show?
  • Who owns them?

Question 2: How can e-portfolios be effectively introduced into schools?

  • What are the time implications?
  • How can e-portfolios be used in a way that help develop team collaboration among students and staff rather than competition?
  • How can e-portfolios help develop a culture that celebrates excellence?
  • What guidelines or agreements need to be in place? e.g. Is it OK for e-portfolios to look different between students and between different classes?
  • What is the balance between privacy and sharing, and how can it be achieved?
  • Are there ways of inspiring teachers?:

This is something I see as really important versus This is something I have to do.

  • How can students be encouraged to take ownership?
  • What are the practical ‘small steps’ and realistic timetable that will support the effective and positive introduction of e-portfolios?


Enough of the big questions. What is my Course 5 work going to look like?

Describe the project: What will your students do?

  • The students will use digital tools to develop their e-portfolio.

How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL?

  • Course 1: Connectivism – How students can use e-portfolios to connect with each other and help develop collective knowledge?
    • Access to each others’ work
    • Focus on reading and commenting on each others’ work.
  • Course 2: Digital Citizenship – How students can develop digital citizenship skills through the use of e-portfolios
  • Course 3: Visual Literacy – Developing presentation and communication skills through e-portfolios
  • Course 4: Living with technology – how e-portfolios are managed and the influence they have on the classroom culture

What goals do you hope to achieve with this project?

As opportunities permit:

  • A much deeper understanding of the role of e-portfolios and their relationship with traditional Learning Portfolios: Extensive reading as a base, using social networks to find and share information
  • Experience of working with students to  develop e-portfolios
  • Supporting the development of e-portfolios at a school level, either as part of a committee or by developing ideas collaboratively with other teachers.

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

  • It builds on the work I’ve been doing regarding Grade 5 blogging
  • It has scope for incorporating many aspects of the work done in Coetail
  • It’s based on core concepts and key skills in education e.g. assessment and communication, which are relevant  at all levels.
  • It fits with the vision and goals of the school

My next post, Course 4 Final Project: The Details, shares some first ideas of how e-portfolios could be developed within a unit at each grade level, with a planner for one of these units.