What Teachers Should Know About Digital Portfolios | D2L
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What Teachers Should Know About Digital Portfolios

  • 3 Min Read

See how technology in the classroom allows teachers and students to collaborate more freely

As the new school year approaches, educators may be considering new and innovative ways to encourage student engagement. Research shows that teaching style can have a direct impact on student engagement, which in turn promotes future success in learning objectives. Building this engagement, however, can require a great deal of effort in the classroom. Technology isn’t a quick-fix solution, but tools such as a digital portfolio can allow teachers to streamline their approach to teaching. Not to mention, it can be easy and fun for the students to use as well. A digital portfolio, in a nutshell, is an integrated tool, part of a learning management system (LMS). It is a secure, online space where students, teachers, and parents can communicate, collaborate and witness the evidence of learning. Here are a few things about digital portfolios that teachers may find useful in their daily classroom activities.

A digital portfolio allows quick sharing

Let’s say you’ve created an activity that requires each student to create a popsicle stick model at their desk. In older grades, this might be a physical representation (or even a written-out diagram) of a mathematical equation. A teacher may want to share a particular student’s work with the rest of the class, but without technology, is forced to have students crowd around a desk. But what if you could take a snapshot of this and have it immediately broadcast to a smart board at the front of the class? Students can easily view it, access it, share it, and more. Subsequently, when a teacher comments upon it, shares other resources, etc., students can access it from their own electronic devices, both in the classroom and at home. For students, keeping track of their course material is easy and this enables them to better prepare for exams or future assignments.

Assessments done on the spot

Rather than having to wait until the end of class to input grades, assessments, and to provide personal feedback on in-class activities, teachers can do all these things in real time. That is to say, if a student is working on an in-class assignment that is captured in a digital portfolio, a teacher can provide feedback on the spot. Even for simply remarking “great job”, the digital portfolio captures the exact moment this feedback was given. Instead of having to wait weeks for a grade or assessment on an assignment, students can feel immediately praised for their efforts, which can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Student engagement at a one-to-one ratio

As educators, you understand the importance of the one-to-one relationship in class. But it can be incredibly time-consuming to speak personally with each individual student. Electronic communication allows teachers, students (and even parents), to collaborate more efficiently. But this communication is made more impactful when it can be done on a specific assignment done in class. At home, students and parents can reflect on the feedback, grade, or backtrack to review assignment details and instructions. This allows teachers to better communicate their own reflections, feedback, and work more closely with students to keep them on track for success.

Ontario teachers have access!

Did you know that all K-12 public school teachers in Ontario have free access to Brightspace as part of a provincial Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)? To get Brightspace for your classroom, reach out to your Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching (TELT) contact.

Watch this demo to learn more about how a digital portfolio can help to capture moments of learning in a K-12 classroom.

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