corrected student’s spelling or content they would
have missed out on this meaningful context for
employing writing conventions.
Just before going live, we held an informational
meeting for parents who wanted to know more
about just what that would mean. We wanted to
show parents how their children’s ePortfolios were
in line with all of our school website content and
our digital citizenship agreement and how unlikely
it was that anyone could randomly discover their
child’s ePortfolio. We also needed to take the lead
in reserving the ePortfolio space as showing
growth over time. Because the ePortfolios looked
very much “published” we wanted to be sure that parents saw the value of their children having
this public space in order to take risks and show their growth and learning.
Peer teaching: A student teaches a peer how to scan
work for use in her ePortfolio
After this meeting, parents had a better understanding of the ePortfolios and their live status. All of
our parents gave consent for their child’s ePortfolio to be posted publicly on the Internet. At this
point, we changed the settings on the portfolios to “everyone in the world can view.” Students were
now free to share their portfolios with family and friends who they were far away from, something
that was very important in their lives.
As we came closer to the Student-Led Conferences towards the end of the academic year, we
created a conference ePortfolio for each child. The parameters and settings for the conference
ePortfolio were similar to the original ePortfolio that the children had being using all year. The
difference was that this end-of-year ePortfolio was the students’ birds’ eye view of themselves, their
progress, and their areas for development over the course of the academic year. They created hyper
links to artifacts from their regular ePortfolios or added new material. Some of their reflections
about their learning and themselves as individuals was humbling. One student wrote about her
work on learning her multiplication tables in third grade,
“...But now, when I look back, I feel a slight, strange glimmer of a feeling. I'm just a little bit proud of
myself. Maybe all my effort and frustration was worth the struggle? The tables do require a lot of
revision and ‘polishing,’ but they have helped me enormously this year.”
As ePortfolios entered our classrooms, the way students interacted with portfolios changed.
Perhaps the simplest and most profound result of using ePortfolios was that our portfolios were
now relevant to our everyday learning lives. Students began stories with a sense of appointment for
sharing them online. They requested pictures of their math problem-solving models before they put
them away. They posted their progress on their math facts and their touch-typing. Students also
began to notice the histories they were making and used their past posts to generate learning goals.
Reading through her math posts, one student realized that she was spending a lot of time reflecting
on multiplication and decided to make learning her multiplication facts a goal.
Using ePortfolios to capture and share learning stories was a lot easier than we anticipated. We
found that students who were working on their computers began adding to their ePortfolios
seamlessly in class (or at home) without asking permission or waiting for a special time set aside
Evolutions : Tech Integration Stories from the American School of Bombay 47