September 17, 2012

Dear Otto: What are Options on Digital Portfolios

tech questions

Do you have a tech question?

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

I received this question from Mary.

I teach Media Production, where my year 9 students get creative with Adobe Photoshop, Audition, Premier Pro and Stop Motion Pro. They have a wonderful time, but I would love to be able to provide them with a way of keeping a digital portfolio of their work. Our school runs Blackboard, but the digital portfolio add-in is very expensive, too much for our small school.

Are there any free web-based options I should know about, or less expensive ones?


Hi Mary

Have you considered getting students signed up for wikispaces? You can create a free wiki, add each student as a member and let them create their own page, then they can embed each project right onto their wiki page. I did this with 5th graders last year and got some beautiful results (albeit mixed because of the age. Some got it; some glazed over).

Another option is Google Sites if you have an education account for Google Apps. Each student has access to a Google Site website, which allows embedding. Not free, but no cost if you’re already a Google Apps member.

Finally, an option I’m trying out this year with 5th graders (who don’t yet have access to Google Apps and have difficulty remembering a wiki log-in and maneuvering through it) is Kidblogs. It’s based on the easy-to-use WordPress platform and I’m hoping provides lots of the same WordPress blog options as you see in this Ask a Tech Teacher blog on a closed school platform. I’ll let you know how it goes.

And, I’ll post this and see if anyone has other ideas. Thanks for the interesting questions.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a K-6 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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