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Monday, January 09, 2012

ePortfolios

Do you employ ePortfolios in your classroom, or are you currently considering using that tool to lift student learning?  Students in my fourth grade class started using ePortfolios in September.  Each child has a wonderful online collection of poetry, writing and reading response work.  Some students have added math projects and research work to their ePortfolios as well.

If you're considering this venue, I offer the following suggestions:
  1. Create your own ePortfolio first to try it out and use as an example when you are teaching students about the venue.
  2. Walk students through the creation process slowly.
  3. Allow students to choose their own template design.
  4. Start with a consistent, regular routine of ePortfolio work; you can loosen those parameters as you move forward.
  5. When choosing page settings, I prefer the "announcement" setting for student work.  That way each time they add a section under a main heading, they simply add a new post.
  6. When possible, have students add images to their work on ePortfolio as that seems to boost their writing and description.
  7. Complete the first piece together in class.  Troubleshoot together, then make sure you add a positive comment to each child's first post.  That will inspire future posts.
  8. Limit sharing at first while students get used to the venue.  My students only shared with me at first, then ventured out to their classmates.  
  9. Pay attention to privacy settings and make sure they fit your school's policies.
I hope those tips are helpful to people starting out with this tool. It's a great vehicle for student learning and sharing.  I look forward to hearing others' success stories in this regard.  I plan to continue to build my use of this tool in the months to come. 

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