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The Pros and Cons of Using Digital Portfolios for Student Work


4. Some portfolio builders may spend more time to fashioning the "look" of their portfolio than highlighting the substance of the academic learning.
The Pros and Cons of Using Digital Portfolios for Student Work
Digital portfolios are hypermedia documents, consisting of a set of screens or "pages," according to the software applied. Digital portfolios are used for demonstrating the skills and knowledge of the students and exhibiting the vision of the individual schools. They help the students to know about the quality that would be expected from them. Digital portfolios are ideal for assessing a student’s individually, by the school committee and deciding whether he or she possesses the necessary qualities. A close look at all the systems, including the curriculum, scheduling, administration, and pedagogy is required, to evaluate the students, properly.

Instead of judging the students through abstract test results, these portfolios help in the true assessment of performance, by recording their interests and accomplishments in art. Digital portfolios usually begin with the student's identity, discussing the various achievements of the student, including photographs and videos. It is actually a computerized process of saving the work of the student, allowing the viewer to go through the entire portfolio. A digital portfolio makes it very easy to view the work, as many times as desired. The displayed instructions guide the users in navigating through the different sections of the portfolio.

Pros of using Digital Portfolios for student work
1. Digital portfolios expand on the collection of techniques available to students and educators to demonstrate learning. Pictures, videos, and audio recordings are added to the typical paper and pencil tasks students complete.
2. Struggling students (i.e., writing, reading) are given alternative modes of expression and means to demonstrate learning. This can lead to increases in self-confidence and achievement.
3. Increased accessibility. Parents no longer need to find time to visit the classroom to see a collection of their children’s work, and educators no longer need to chase after students to return their paper portfolios to class.
4. Development of 21st-century skills. One of the seven survival skills of the 21st century focuses on effective oral and written communication. Digital portfolios can help engage students in practicing these crucial abilities.
5. Digital portfolios allow students to track and demonstrate their growth over longer periods of time. While paper portfolios get stored or discarded at the end of a term or school year, digital portfolios can remain available and easily accessible to students, parents, and educators.
Cons of using Digital Portfolios for student work
1. Digital portfolios require students to know or learn how to use computers, cameras, scanners, photo and illustrating software, and other tools. Though mastering these tools is a positive learning experience, it requires class time on a regular basis.
2. Students may also need teacher support in building a portfolio template, determining what to include in it, and deciding how to describe it.
3. Also, not everyone in the hoped-for audience of parents, families, other teachers, and peers will view each student's digital portfolio. Students may be disappointed when they do not get feedback from readers.
4. Some portfolio builders may spend more time to fashioning the "look" of their portfolio than highlighting the substance of the academic learning.
Bottom Line
Students are growing up tech-savvy. They have a fantastic ability to play with technology and figure out how to use it to their advantage and to meet their needs. The goal of a digital portfolio is to hand over the reins to the students and allow them to become responsible for demonstrating their learning and reflection.


4. Some portfolio builders may spend more time to fashioning the "look" of their portfolio than highlighting the substance of the academic learning.

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Brittany Washburn
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