Classes are bigger, teachers are working harder, and families are moving more. This does not bode well for a student’s continuity of education, which I witnessed first hand growing up as navy brat. It comes to lie on the parents to keep a record of their children’s work and progress. Records help teachers understand where a student’s strengths and weaknesses lie so they can help them in the best possible way. They can also safeguard their keepsakes over time in a way that doesn’t take up a lot of space. ePortfolios are a way for parents to take control of their children’s education in the form of record keeping and sharing.
They are also pretty neat.
Keep them tidy, like your blog or office (well – not my office), and you will be able to access what you need in a matter of minutes. There are also ways to send automated updates to grandma, who enjoys keeping up with the latest and greatest projects from your little one.
It beats digging through old boxes and file-folders. It also gives the student a sense of pride in their work to know that it is being recorded and shared with loved ones. Here is a step-by-step tutorial for setting up and getting the most out of your ePortfolio:
1 Create a New Blog and Setup Labels
First, of course, you want to create a new blog dedicated to schoolwork only. Each of my kids has one of their own, for sanity’s sake. I used Blogger’s Travel template by Deejpilot and added a stock photo from their library for a simple background.
The widths are 1120 & 380 to fit the extra large photo format option in the posts. I also left justified everything for simplicity because when you post via email in Blogger, the post will be left justified unless you go back and edit later. Do a test post with your platform and see what will be easiest for you.
Next, set the blog to private in Permissions Settings. This is especially important if you have any personal or sensitive information or links about your children included.
Labels will let you organize the portfolio in a way that you can easily find what you need. We organized ours primarily by grade or level, with a few add-ons for type.
Homeschool, Preschool, First, Second, … Twelfth, Art, Science, Math, Practical, Essays, Trips, and Sensory
2 Add Gradsave Links and School Information
One of the ways we save for college is Gradsave, which lets family and friends donate gifts toward their education. We added this link and another contact link for reference and a way to congratulate the kids for good work and milestones.
Because this is a private site, I keep a record of their schools here and the years they attended for reference. You can add extracurricular activities and, when they get older, a work and volunteer record. All of this gives a snapshot of your student and shows their interests and progress.
3 Add Schoolwork by Sending an Email from Your Phone
So at the end of the day, I have four kids and maintaining their record could get really tedious if not for the post by email option. When they have work, I snap a photo with my phone and share via email. You will get a special posting email address for the ePortfolio in the Settings. Send to this address with the subject line as the title of the post. Hit send and done. When you have more time, you can go back and correct any formatting and labeling.
If you post the photos the day they do the work, the post dates will let you know later exactly when they did the work. This is by no means necessary, but it is pretty neat!
4 Setup Sharing and Automated Emails
Now you want to go back to the Permissions Settings and setup who has access to your private site. Here you can add another caretaker as an author and add your family and friends as readers. You can also add some or all of these readers to the email list in the Email Settings. This will send an automated email to them every time you add a post (automation is my efficient friend). Grandma will receive emails with photos of artwork and be able to stay up to date on her granddaughter’s school progress.
I added this note to the bottom of the ePortfolio so approved visitors understand it’s privacy:
This is a private site only viewable by invitation. If you would like to be added to the email list to receive automated posts, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the address you would like them sent to.
Now all you have to do is email photos! My daughter get such a kick out of seeing her work up on the big screen. I can’t wait to show her these same drawings when she is 12!
Print these instructions for free here:
Do you have any tips for maintaining a student ePortfolio?