Aug 10

Blogs as Electronic Portfolios

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Image used under Creative Commons from Zeusandhera, some rights reserved.

I’ve been having my students blog in my Science classes for years using David Warlick’s ClassBlogmeister. It was only this summer that I thought, “why not use those blogs as electronic portfolios?” Our school has been part of WA state’s Navigation 101 program and we are beginning to delve into electronic portfolios. Once a student has a blog account that student can customize his or her blog space, within limits. Adding widgets is a fun way to personalize blogs but students also have the freedom to blog about anything they want in between Science blog assignments. By taking photos of work students can showcase anything on their blog and have a one stop URL to share with parents on Student-Led Conference day or any day they want.

I was excited again about giving students the option of using their blogs as their electronic portfolio after this week’s Edchat discussion on student blogging.

Take this student blog for instance. She has a collection of Science reflections, including a couple of glogs. But her most recent article is one she just wrote to share something she’s interested in. That was cool! She’s been in my Science class for two years now and if I have her again next year she’ll be able to continue adding to her blog.

This student is going to be a sophomore in the Fall yet her blog still exists here. She had me for Science for all three years of middle school so by scrolling to the bottom of her blog and clicking Previous Entry you can see all the blog entries she wrote in that time. She was adept at placing pictures in her blogs, something I need to work on with all my students. If she wanted to share this blog as part of her high school electronic portfolio, she could.

This student really enjoyed making glogs so you can see a few more prominent glogs on his blog. I don’t mind if students write posts from other classes. I’m hoping they do those posts outside of my class though 🙂

One teacher in the edchat asked about having students blog for homework. I tried that for years. I’d start by having students blog in class so they could see how to do it and try it out. Then I’d assign certain blogs for homework. Year after year I had only a handful of students actually complete their blogs for homework. I didn’t have them blog in class more than a few assignments because I had ten computers for them to use. Ten computers are great for teams of two or three to work collaboratively on something but for individual assignments or reflections two and three was a crowd. I’ve always had a hard time coming up with engaging seat work to rotate students through the computers. Paper and pencil seat work in Science just didn’t seem right to me (even though I have done it).

Last year I stopped assigning blogs as homework because I was saddened by how many students weren’t blogging at all and more students blogged and we got some good commenting going with a few other classes. This fall I’m hoping to have students blog more because I’ll have one machine of some sort for each student. I’m excited about that. I’ll see if they get into their blogs more if they will do more at home.

So what do you think about having students use blogs as an electronic portfolio? Anyone doing that? I’m thinking at least as an option and if students use something else I will still expect them to link to their blogs so they can share those at their conferences at least.

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  1. I think its a great idea! I\’m a huge fan of blog platforms being used for things other than blogs. For example I\’m an adjunct at GWU in the School of Media and Public Affairs and I have my students use to create online digital portfolios.
    Go for it!
    If you need any help or suggestions I have a WordPress handbook of instructions in a PDF if you would like to use it as a reference.

    ~Andrea Genevieve

  2. I started blogging with students last year. I primarily had them use them to complete a few assignments and to reflection on projects. This year, I plan to make them into full-blown electronic portfolios. I’ll be using Edublogs (which uses WordPress).

    Since we’re both in Washington, we should keep in touch!

  3. Hey Tyler, great idea! I’d love to get our classes reading each other’s work and commenting!

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