My end project is to have students leaving 5th grade carry a digital portfolio with them through middle school. It gives them a landing place for their thoughts and place to showcase their learning to their parents. Having students create an ePortfolio opens up so many doors for their education. Many we are not comfortable with them venturing through but we also know that it’s inevitable and more so necessary these days. I read an article with 41 benefits from an ePortfolio. 41? I could’ve named about 5 or 6 before this! I never thought that some of those were even a possibility. The visible learning is what hooks me though. Trying to teach students at their level and with their style is the most challenging part of being an educator. Every so often I have a student that is very aware of what he or she needs to be successful in my room and has not problem voicing that. Not all students are quite as lucky to be able to identify their needs at such a young age. Having them use an ePortfolio allows me to see it through their point of view and offer more customized feedback. Immediately, I can see what they took from project, what’s lacking, and where to push them from there. Feedback from traditional pencil to paper style learning takes me days and isn’t always the most constructive.
I also like that it forces people, students and adults, to reflect on what they’ve learned, think about what they would like to move forward with learning. Usually when I ask my students to tell me something they learned or took away from our latest project, I’m flooded with the I liked it because it was fun or easy. There’s more in them than that. There always has been and always will be. Are we brave enough to force them to dig?
When you give students choice, you reap the benefits.