LIBE 477

Reading Review Part B

Literature Research

I performed my literature research through searches at the UBC library, a variety of library and teaching association websites, Google, and YouTube. Through these searches, I have compiled a lengthy list of ebooks, journal articles, websites, blog entries, documents, and videos. I will attempt to outline just a few of the more essential resources in this post.

One valuable thing I learned during this search was the importance of using a variety of very specific keywords rather than one general keyword. General keywords delivered too many resources to search through, while specific keywords will brought up only those results that most closely matched what I was specifically looking for. Because keywords function better when specific, I needed to use a variety of searches to compile all the information I wanted.

I also quickly learned that those specific terms are important to the quality of results. For example, the term ‘ePortfolio’ is much more commonly used than ‘digital portfolio.’ When I began to use ‘ePortfolio’ in my searches, the results were more numerous and more closely related to what I was looking for.

My inquiry overview last week proposed 5 main questions for exploration. This week, I have organized my literature search using these questions to ensure the collection of resources covers all aspects of my inquiry goals.

1. What are the benefits of using digital portfolios to display student work?

Digital Portfolios – The Whole Child, The Whole Story

This was by far the best resource I came across for describing the benefits of using digital portfolios in the classroom! Through staff and student interviews, they show how the purpose and function of digital portfolios allow students to develop an awareness of their whole being. One quote that stood out to me was: “I don’t want to be hidden away, I want people to know who I am.” They also include a link to a Google drive with copious amounts of information for developing student portfolio.

10 Reasons Why You Should Implement Digital Student Portfolios

This article outlines 10 reasons to use digital portfolios in the classroom, including celebrating students as learners, better feedback, demonstrating the learning process and growth over time, formative assessment, and helping students become self-directed. The importance of portfolios in the classroom is apparent after reading this article. He also lists a few examples of portfolio platforms at the end of the article.

Using Electronic Portfolios to Make Learning Public

This article, from the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, discusses the use of electronic portfolios to make student work public. It is a bit old (from 2007), but has some good information about the sharing of student portfolios within a classroom community, addressing ideas such as student reluctance to share. I like that they take digital portfolios beyond just using technology as a medium for a paper portfolio; they use the portfolios as a way for student work to reach an authentic audience.

Why Digital Portfolios

A video introduction to the benefits of student portfolios, this video emphasises the purpose of the portfolio “is to create a sense of personal ownership over ones [sic] accomplishments.” It also outlines three levels of portfolio: documentation and storage, workspace and reflection, and presentation and showcase. I like how they position this as students creating their own learning story, through both the process and product.

EdTechReview: How Do Digital Portfolios Help Students?

This website describes how digital portfolios help students brand themselves, practice digital citizenship, develop their sense of learning, boost self-confidence, and introduce technical skills. It also lists a variety of education apps that can be used to create digital portfolios.

2. How are digital portfolios used to show/reflect student learning in primary grades?

Building Digital Portfolios

This website is a great place to start when considering digital portfolios in the classroom. It gives a brief overview of what a portfolio is, what should be included, what the student and teacher roles are, and how they can be assessed. This post gave me some background information on which to begin a deeper search.

ePortfolios with Google Apps

The general ePortfolio overview pages of this website give important information about creating, the process for maintaining, and communicating student ePortfolios. What was most helpful for me were the step-by-step process and the description of how to balance using ePortfolios as a workspace and as a showcase.

3. What criteria or directions would help students choose which work samples to include?

Digital Portoflios in Surrey Schools

The Surrey school district has created a website with excellent examples of portfolio activities, linking portfolios to learning standards and core competencies, and teacher feedback for all grades. The Primary Learners page showed me how primary students can show what they know through the use of digital portfolios.

EdTech Teacher’s 5 Things Everyone Should Include In Their Digital Portfolio

This website is developed for professionals looking for work, but some of their ideas are also relevant to the classroom. It reminds me to make sure student portfolios include a personal story, evidence, and learning network.

4. How are digital portfolios evaluated for and as learning?

Student Portfolios for Classroom Assessment

This video briefly outlines what a portfolio is and how it can be used for classroom assessment. He gives 4 criteria for assessing portfolios: completeness, organization, reflections, and quality of work. I like how those criteria address the process of creating the portfolio and reflecting on one’s work as being just as important as assessing the work itself.

Digital Portfolios in Action: Acknowledging Student Voice and Metacognitive Understanding in Art

This article, from The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas Volume, discussed the use of student portfolios in art. I particularly liked their discussion of student voice and assessment. They argue that portfolios should be used for students to see their own growth over time (formative assessment, or assessment as learning). One quote really stood out to me “It is noteworthy to add that no one dictated what da Vinci included in the notebooks, and he certainly did not receive a letter grade for his efforts.”

How to Reflect on Learning for Teachers, Students, & Parents

Kelli Vogstad describes her journey with digital portfolios. In this post, she discusses the value of reflection as a form of assessment in all three stages of portfolio development: choosing, capturing, and communication the students’ learning. She also uses three easy words to guide student reflection: Now (what did you learn), Not Yet (what challenges did you have), and Next (what would you like to improve). She also provides sentence starters and student examples. 

Note: I also really like her description of the 4 types of documentation she asks students to include: Two of the Same, Showing the Knowing, Celebrating the Learning, and Explaining the Hows and Whys.

E-portfolios supporting primary students’ writing performance and peer feedback

This article, from Computers & Education in 2013, discusses the importance of using peer feedback to increase student achievement in writing. They found that the process of having students provide each other with feedback helped students improve their own writing, as well as their feedback skills. This reminds me that ‘assessment’ need to include peer feedback as well as self-assessment and teacher feedback.

5. Which platform would be best for this application?

Three Digital Portfolio Styles – And Tools for Making Them
5 Good Options for Making Digital Portfolios 

Richard Byrne’s blog is an excellent place to start when looking for any technology tool – he offers comparisons, tutorials, and suggestions for almost anything. The first article describes three ways of creating digital portfolios: sharable folders, websites or blogs, and digital portfolio apps. For each form, he gives some pros and cons, then some suggestions on how to implement that type of portfolio. In the second article, he describes 5 apps specific to digital portfolios. Student Portfolio Apps and Websites

Common Sense Media is one of my go-to platforms for app, book, and media reviews. In this article, they have reviewed 15 digital portfolio resources, listing the pros, cons, and application to student learning. Some of these resources also include teacher reviews. This is a good starting point for comparing portfolio platforms.


Tutorials for all the platforms I brainstormed in my last post, as well as some new platforms from this week (like SeeSaw) are readily available through the platform websites and YouTube. When I choose a platform, it will be easy to find tutorials that teach me how to use that platform.


I had a difficult time finding articles that specifically addressed digital portfolios in primary classrooms. Website and blog posts were a bit easier to find, though most of my results were targeted to intermediate and high school classrooms. I must consider possible reasons for this and ensure the digital platform, criteria, and assessment I use will be appropriate for the youngest learners. That being said, much of the information I gathered can be adapted for primary students as well and I feel I’ve found a good overview of resources.