My first instinct in trying out ePortfolios with my students is to use Google Docs. I am familiar with it, it is easy to use, it is free, and accessible from any computer/device with internet access. The major issue I need to overcome if I decide to use Google Docs is creating student accounts. I have to adhere to county guidelins related to having students sign up for online accounts, and want to be sure of student safety. Google Aducation Apps seems to be the best way to deal with that issue, but again, I must get approval form administration and our tech departments. So . . . I sent an email making the request . . . I feel a bit as if I threw a message in a bottle out into the Atlantic . . . we'll see what resonse I get.
In the meantime, I am exploring other options for using ePortfolios with my students. I realize I could just do digital portfolios using PowerPoint or Word, but I really want the collaborative ability that a web portfolio makes possible, and the acessibility as well.
As I have been browsing, I came across a web 2.0 tool which I had not encountered before: LiveBinders (http://livebinders.com/ ). This looks very interesting and quite useful for me. It is essentially a webspace to organize and save files, webpages, videos, etc. The neat factor is that you organize your digital stuff into virtual binders with tabs much like the huge paper binders most teachers have lining their bookshelves. This may or may not turn out to be the best tool for eportfolioing with students, but I have to say that the thought of having all of my binders of teacher resources and so on available wherever I am online, instead of lugging those heavy dusty binders around is VERY appealing!
Based on my first impression, LiveBinders would be a good place for students to store and organize their stuff, although may not allow the collaboration I was hoping for. Additionally, signing up requires an email, and requires users to be at least 13. I found an interesting work around for this by using my gmail address plus the students name to sign up. Ex- firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm going to play with LiveBinder a bit more to see if it might work for me. Maybe I will create a binder of resources useful for ePortfolios?
Who am I?
Sarah Allred is the Instructional Lead Teacher at Braxton Craven School, an all 6th grade middle school. She has 15 years of teaching experience at the middle school level. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education earned at the University of NC Greensboro, National Board Certification in Early Adolescent English Language Arts, and a Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology earned at East Carolina University. She has taught language arts, social studies, science, and technology. She serves her school in many leadership roles. Her passion is searching for new ways to use technology to improve student learning. Additional roles she fills are mother of two amazing kids, and wife of a police officer. She enjoys reading, gardening, and digital photography.