Digital Portfolio Guidelines


Digital portfolios provide an efficient way to store and view student’s work.  The use of “glitzy technology” can sometimes become the focus of the digital portfolio and take attention away form the student’s work.  These guidelines may help you when creating your digital portfolio.



The digital portfolio is a container that stores and presents your work.  The focus of your digital portfolio should be your work.  A weak piece that is presented beautifully is still a weak piece of work.  Once viewers are no longer impressed with the technology of digital portfolios, they will be concentrating on the work.  Be sure that your portfolio shows your best work.



Digital portfolios make your selection of work both easier and more difficult.  The technology enables you to place work in a digital portfolio that is not possible in a print portfolio.  In the digital portfolio, you can have a recording of a musical performance or a speech, display 2D and 3D art work without having the bulk of the pieces or including a short video tape of your work.  The down side is that long printed essays are not easy to view on the computer screen.  If a long written piece is essential, then you should write an overview of the piece so that the reader can get the concept of your essay without having to read the entire piece.  Another good technique is to divide the piece into separate parts similar to chapters in a book.  This way the viewer can easily skim through your work.



Organize your work so it is displayed in the most effective manner.  If the focus of your entry is a piece of writing, then that should be the first thing viewers see.  If there were illustrations with the writing they should be included but, behind the main work.  If the focus of the entry is the art work, then the illustrations should be viewed first and the writing should be secondary.



The use of recorded sound in your portfolio should support your work and improve the presentation of your work.  A short recorded speech, musical performance or narration of your work is appropriate.  Be careful about long messages.  More than 30 seconds of sound becomes boring, so try to keep this as your guideline.  Remember, this is your portfolio and it contains your work.  Therefore, recordings of your favorite music for background or for special effects are not appropriate and are violating copyright laws.  Only put your work in the portfolio.



Video use in a portfolio should follow the same guidelines as audio use.  Digitized video takes a lot of disk storage and should be kept to a minimum.  Video clips should show action during the length of the clip which should be a maximum of 30 seconds and preferably 15 seconds.  Good use of video would be for student performances such as catching a touchdown pass, a passage from a play, detailing a piece of 3D art or documenting a process such as a science experiment.  Student speeches do not make good videos.  A still picture of the student making the speech accompanied by a recording of the speech is more effective and takes a lot less disk space.


Digital portfolios are on the cutting edge of technology.  Soon digital portfolios will be common and people will no longer be impressed by the technology.  Set clear standards and make your portfolio last the test of time by creating a good presentation of quality work and not just a flashy show of technology.


The skills that every student should possess include:

·         Problem Solving is the ability to define a problem, determine what techniques can be used to solve the problem, finding a solution to the problem, and justifying that solution.

·         Written Expression involves many different kinds of writing, including descriptive writing, expository writing, and technical writing.

·         Take and Support a Position is to develop a position on issues where multiple positions are possible, provide a justification for that position, and show supporting evidence for that position.

·         Research a Topic includes the ability to note what is different and what is important about the thing that is being observed, and to use appropriate tools to observe different aspects.

·         Response to a Printed Text may be in discussion, in presentation, or in writing.  The response should refer to the original text, either to support or refute the claims made in the text, or to provide evidence for what the writer wants to say.

·         Artistic / Kinesthetic Performance means using any artistic medium or physical movement to express an idea or accomplish a goal.  This may occur in art, music, dance, or physical education classes; an artistic or kinesthetic performance can also be a part of a performance in another area.


Commonalities in the content across the curriculum areas include:

·         The life Cycle – Student  work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

§         The universal human experience of birth, growth and death

§         Characteristics of the human body

§         Nutrition, health and wellness

§         Caring for and/or observing other forms of life

·         Symbols – Student work will demonstrate a learning in these areas:

§         History of language

§         Mathematics as a symbol system

§         Symbols as a way of expressing feelings and ideas

§         Speaking, listening, reading and writing across the curriculum

§         Ethics of communication

·         Aesthetics – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

§         An appreciation of music, dance, drama, and/or the visual arts

§         Performance and/or exhibit experience in the arts

·         Time and Space (Perspective) – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

§         An understanding of one’s place in time and space

§         Geography and astronomy

§         Influences of other cultures on our own

§         Personal roots

§         Intergenerational connections

·         The Social Web – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

§         Governmental functions

§         Informal social structures

§         Varieties of groups / families

§         Webs of institutions

§         Cross cultural studies

·         Producing, Consuming and Conserving – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

§         Simple economics and different money systems

§         How work varies from one culture to another

§         Respect for craftsmanship

§         Producing and consuming products which support and enhance life

§         Conserving natural resources

·         Nature – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

§         Ecology

§         Human connectedness to nature

§         Principles of science

§         The impact of technology on life

·         A Larger Purpose – Convictions and Commitments – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

§         Special meaning of their life

§         Their own values and beliefs

§         Ethics

§         Respect and responsibility