What is a Digital Portfolio?

Part 1: Portfolios Defined

What is a Portfolio?
A portfolio is a goal-driven, organised collection of artefacts and reflections that demonstrate a growth or expansion of knowledge and skills over time. The content, organisation and presentation of materials in portfolios can vary greatly depending on the purpose and intended audience of the portfolio. An essential element of a portfolio is to show evidence of an individual’s growth and development.

A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that tells the story of a student's personal self and a student's achievement. Portfolios may demonstrate a wide range of student work. Students control the selection of portfolio content and material. Unlike standardized tests portfolios are direct indicators of a student's learning experiences.

Portfolios allow teachers and parents to share a real display of a student's performance without interpretation of test scores. Portfolios provide a natural medium for teacher-pupil discussions and the customization of individual learning experiences and goals. Comprehensive portfolios, maintained over a period of time, can exhibit comparisons of student work and illustrations of growth

What are Digital Portfolios?
Digital portfolios, sometimes referred to as multimedia portfolios, electronic portfolios, e-folios and web folios contain much of the content traditional portfolios include but present these materials in digital format.
Materials, also called artefacts, are presented using a combination of multimedia technologies such as audio recordings, database, spreadsheet, video and others.
Digital portfolios are a way of showcasing student achievement through class assignments, community service, and occupational experience.
Basically, a digital portfolio means that students can save their work to a disk, a CD, or a web page.

What are the Advantages of Student Digital Portfolios?
  1. Accessibility:
    • Portfolios in digital format can be easily and inexpensively reproduced therefore materials can be made available to a wider audience e.g., burning onto CD-ROM
    • Can be accessible from multiple locations and by many individuals simultaneously e.g., on the WWW
  2. Portability: Easier to transport than hard copy versions.
  3. Creativity: New non-linear formats and the integration of various media types allow students many ways to creatively express their professional knowledge and skills.
  4. Technology:
    • Digital portfolios are one of the best ways for students to communicate their knowledge and expertise related to their use of technology
    • Students can demonstrate proof of their technical skills while also displaying their ability to apply technology in the creation of multimedia presentations, software programs and the like
  5. Self-confidence: Building technology skills and fostering self-confidence in their own abilities.
  6. Community: Sharing ideas and resources.

What are the Disadvantages of Student Digital Portfolios?
  1. The creation of digital portfolios requires advanced knowledge and skills and sometimes expensive, high-tech equipment.
  2. Viewing a digital portfolio sometimes requires special software as well as additional knowledge and skills on the part of the viewer.
  3. Technology can often obstruct the view of students’ REAL accomplishments by using too many ‘bells and whistles’.
  4. Be aware of the possibility of plagiarism as it may be easier to use your information as it is already in a digital format and easily copied and pasted or saved onto another person’s computer.

Investigate other student digital portfolios found on these websites:
International School Dhaka
A portal for High School Portfolios
Other Examples

Discussion (on a blog post)
- describe three important features of a digital portfolio
- list three advantages and one disadvantage of a digital portfolio
- find a student digital portfolio that you like, hyperlink the URL and describe the strengths and weaknesses of this portfolio