New Initiatives? Digital Portfolios Can Help

As the school year starts, many educators are excited to start new initiatives. So how will we know how well these new initiatives are working? Digital portfolios allow your students to document their progress.

Whether you are introducing project-based learning, wanting to improve math performance, or implementing a new one-on-one technology distribution, the main point of the initiative should be to improve student learning. It’s useful, then, to look at samples of student work from the beginning of the year, and compare them to the work they do as the initiative takes hold. Hopefully, a student’s first project will be just a starting point, and that later projects will show a stronger grasp of what goes into a project.

Having the student work stored in a portfolio also lets your school engage in a little action research. What qualities of work do you want to see change over time? How has your new initiative affected the student work? In a Richer Picture portfolio system, students typically write reflections; to support an initiative, you can ask students to look at two of their entries and ask them to compare the experiences.

The collection of student work can also allow you to course-correct. Examining the student results halfway through the year can give you an indication of how effective your new initiative is, and allow you to make adjustments as you continue to go.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be running some webinars on various initiatives, and how they are related to digital badges and portfolios. This week, we’ll look at data dashboards; next week, we’ll discuss career pathways.  There will be more sessions throughout the year – Please feel free to register and join the conversation!

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