What's a Digital Portfolio?

Our district technology plan lists digital portfolios as a possible assessment tool. What exactly is a digital portfolio?

As with traditional portfolios, digital portfolios provide a place for students to collect and display samples of their best work across all content areas. Such samples may include documents, graphics, and even audio and video clips. Unlike with traditional portfolios where physical storage space rapidly becomes problematic, work saved in a digital portfolio takes no shelf space as it is stored electronically. This doesn’t resolve all storage issues, as the files still need to be saved somewhere. But compression technologies and read-write optical storage media such as CD-ROMs make this more manageable.

One important benefit of a digital portfolio is ease of access. Students and teachers can readily review, add, and assess work without having to sift through piles of papers to find what they’re looking for. There are commercial products schools can use to set up and manage digital portfolios. Some schools also choose to use Web pages, blogs, wikis, and other online tools to create their own portfolios.

Next Tip: Is Temporary Use of Software Fair Use?