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A virus ate my e-portfolio, miss

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An e-portfolio is a digital collection of pupils’ education documents, but it has the potential to do much more.

Before technology got sophisticated, pupils stored their work in notebooks or folders, which were vulnerable to loss and damage and filled up.

An e-portfolio can hold background material in the form of notes, cuttings or links to web pages, photos, graphics, video and audio.

While organising it, the pupil can think about their interests, progress and motivation, and plan what they want to do next, what to study and what qualifications that might lead to.

This can teach a host of other skills, including research, presentation, organisation, editing and collecting. It goes without saying it will improve ICT skills.

And creating an e-portfolio can link in to personalisation and pupil voice, because the young person can use it to get a clear picture of what they want to learn, and where and how they want to learn it, as they build up experience.

Because the space is unlimited, they can adapt the portfolio as they progress through the school, and eventually it can be used to store cvs, college course material and job applications.

It needs to be portable so that it can move on with the pupil, and adapt easily to slightly different systems.

E-portfolios will vary depending on the aims and ideas of the institution that hosts them, but they usually need to have the following features:

  • Files for documents and images and audio and video footage
  • Education records in set format from the institution
  • Cv tools, and showcase to provide evidence of learning
  • Tools for planning the pupil’s next move
  • Catalogue of courses available at the school/college.

Accessibility needs to be built in from the beginning. Software to allow pupils to use their e-portfolios easily, such as colour coded symbols, or a keyboard with larger keys for those with sight problems, or a joystick for those with physical disabilities, need to be incorporated.

Creating them beyond educational establishments is the next challenge. In Wales, they are hoping to provide every Welsh citizen with an e-portfolio. https://www.careerswales.com/progressfile/

In Nottingham, the local authority hosts an e-portfolio, which schools and colleges recognise and which links into Lifelong learning, the national project which tracks people’s education and training throughout their lives.

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