Support Learner Agency with Digital Portfolios

Display, Showcase, or Best Works Portfolios

International School Mainfranken
International School Mainfranken

Most effective portfolios also contain a reflective element, where the student has in some form contemplated her or his own strengths and weaknesses as a learner. Portfolios can be divided into two groups: process oriented or product oriented portfolios.

Out of these two main groups, we usually use either one or the other or a hybrid one:

  • working portfolios (process)
  • display portfolios (product)
  • assessment portfolios (hybrid)

Although the types are distinct in theory, they tend to overlap in practice. Consequently, a school’s assessment policy may include several different types of portfolios, serving several different purposes. As a result, it is vital for educators to be clear about their goals, the reasons they are engaging in a portfolio project, and the intended audience for the portfolios.

Supporting Learner Agency

Selecting the tools to empower our students. In order for the portfolio to be a success, we need to know our students. There rarely are solutions that are good for everybody, the needs of an early years student are different from the upper primary. Mapping out the needs is vital before making a platform or app choice. Once we know the What and Why we can make a decision of How:

Digital portfolios have a dual meaning – they can be used as a workspace for learning and reflection process making it more transparent and inspiring, and as a showcase being the inventory of all evidence/artifacts of skills and competencies. With digital portfolios, assessment is not just assessment of learning or assessment for learning, but also assessment as learning. Thus, Digital Portfolios are used in self and peer assessing, giving feedback, co-creating evidence of competences in shared platforms and utilizing different digital applications. This increases the students’ feeling of competence, relatedness, and autonomy, which are fundamental for creating motivation and wellbeing in learning.

Besides, Digital Portfolio can be seen as a vehicle for students to share their learning stories thus leading to positive digital identity development that enables students’ choice and personalization, further helping them to find their voice and passions.

The Real Power of Technology

Technology can do a lot of things in our classroom, but one of its most important impacts is the ability to put the power of learning in the hands of the learners. The potential for communication, collaboration, and creation is available online for everyone. With correct tools we can enhance skill building and in-depth knowledge. I know that our students are usually engaged in learning, but I want to do more to empower them to be in control of their learning and their futures.

Seesaw Calendar
The build-in calendar view allows me to see activity and engagement with one look

Using Seesaw during student-led conferences

Seesaw is an app that can be genuinely transformative. Whether building a product, process, or assessment portfolio Seesaw can be used to enhance the content, presentation, and creativity of all portfolio types as mentioned earlier. Best of all, Seesaw allows all primary students, regardless of age or literacy skills, to access this process. With its easy UI and age-appropriate tools, we can focus on the quality of the process as learning instead of fighting with the technology.

Seesaw Guidelines

Here are the links for you to prepare students and Seesaw portfolio for the upcoming Student Led Conferences.

1. COLLECT WORK IN SEESAW! 

2. SEESAW: CREATING & USING FOLDERS

3. TEACH STUDENTS ABOUT WOW WORK4. ADD WOW WORK TO THE CONFERENCE FOLDER 

5. GET PARENTS CONNECTED WHO AREN’T YET!6. PARENTS ADD A SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR THEIR CHILD AT THE CONFERENCEINTERESTED IN STUDENT LED CONFERENCES?

If you are interested in including your students in parent-teacher conference conversations, check out this wonderful step-by-step guide written by Seesaw Ambassador Andrea Birzer.

In addition to these fine tips you might want to consider:

  • use Seesaw to make their thinking visible and heard
  • a conference time is a great learning experience for the whole family – let’s use Seesaw to document and reflect on it
  • use Seesaw to support agentic learning by facilitating for forethought – building anticipation and criteria for reflection by
    • setting goals
    • action steps
    • planning the centers

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