About Digital Portfolios

What is a digital portfolio?

GD-Logo-4CIn 2015, Groton-Dunstable Regional School District created a custom digital portfolio system, managed at the district level, for every student. A digital portfolio empowers students to create, reflect and have open dialogue with classmates and teachers about themselves as learners. Writing and creating for an audience, outside the classroom, is a game changer and a digital portfolio provides a single, organized space for this opportunity! With the use of WordPress and a Google Apps for Education account, the setup, maintenance and support our digital portfolio system is device agnostic and a great use of our existing technology.

The process of publishing work to a digital portfolio prepares students to become strong digital citizens with control over their learning and digital footprint. A digital portfolio is capable of providing a secure-space for critique and showing understanding of our strong curriculum during their entire academic career. Their digital portfolio will become more than just an online folder of random files and will instead strive to reach a wide audience and receive thoughtful commentary. The idea of reaching a wider audience, beyond the classroom, is exactly what the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks is looking for!

What age should a digital portfolio begin?

With digital opportunities available every day, kindergartners can publish and share with an audience outside of their classroom. Of course for younger students, there is a need for deeper support and scaffolding in the creation and showcasing of their work. However, as students mature through middle school and beyond, teachers should play more of a supportive, facilitator role, while the student supply their energy and passions.

How do digital portfolios fit in with existing standards?

In addition to being a showcase, the digital portfolio enhances, captures and supports the mastery of many educational standards. For example, as a part of the Massachusetts Frameworks for English Language Arts, students who are college and career ready in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language, showcase the ability to:

  • Comprehend as well as critique
  • Use technology along with digital media strategically and capably
  • Build strong content knowledge
  • Use technology to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others
  • Understand other perspectives and cultures

Finally…

A digital portfolio is simply a blank canvas and suitable home for showcasing 21st century learning. What the final product looks like and how it is presented will greatly vary with each student, but we need to take the first step to support these efforts. Groton-Dunstable educators have opportunities to promote the exciting, amazing work of their students to the greater community through a digital portfolio.

If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to contact Luke Callahan, Director of Technology, at lcallahan@gdrsd.org.