My digital Portfolio: bit.ly/mrlimbsdp My Resume: bit.ly/teachmrlimb
A digital Portfolio is what you make it to be. It is a digital reflection of you.
My primary example is for digital portfolios by students. It is a celebration of their work. It is a connection for their education between home, school and whomever else they would like to share with. It is challenging and rewarding. It is time consuming, but worth the effort. It is reflective of the student’s ability and passion. It is engaging, significant and provides a real audience: a real purpose. It is owned by them, shaped by them, shared by them and shared, assessed, celebrated with you as the teacher. It is forever, without ever having to blow the dust of it!
As a personal resume, it is a chance for you to separate yourself from the crowd, present yourself to be a forward thinker. You can share it with whom you please. It is a fluid document and is continually updated. This is more personal and establishes itself over time.
This seems to be the most interesting task to tackle for a handful of students new to a Google Account. The more they use it, the less it becomes an issue. I encourage you to keep an excel sheet with their username and password. It saves you having to reset passwords every time. Some students had to write their password down in a safe place. I also encourage you to give them a time limit in which they have to learn it by.
Essential editing skills. The button on the left that looks like a pencil. That is your edit button. Click on this to edit your page. The button on the right hand side (which looks like a page with a plus sign on it) it what you click to add a page.
Adding a page is easy enough. Make sure you read the instructions when you add a page. This is where and how you place your pages so that they flow. Refer to your ‘Site Map Plan’ to make sure that your page, sub page or sub sub page is put in the right place when you create it. This saves having to correct it later on.
To correct it later on go to: More > Manage Site> Pages and then drag and drop your pages to where they need to be.
Insert everything! A site in pure text is the site you skip because you are not interested. It is a multimodal text therefore create, create create!
The most common inserts are both image and link. It is the best place to start. It adds clarity and visual aesthetics to your site.Make an image (button) and create a link to another page or site. Once comfortable with this begin to explore other options. It works seamlessly with your Google Apps, this makes it easy prepare and share published works. This includes Google Videos and YouTube.
What program do you use to make an image? I use PowerPoint. Is is as simple as creating a wordart grouped with a picture. The border is optional.Once you have grouped them all together right click on the edge and proceed to save as a picture. This will allow you to save the image on your computer.
A button is no good unless it does something. Create a link with your image. This is a much better way to link between your pages on your site. I highly recommend this.
This skeleton of your site. Without the bones it falls in a heap. Make sure you understand how you want the site to navigate, how to edit and change this. Make sure you teach it to the students.
I present it as a family tree. starting with the patriarch or matriarch at the top, their children, then their grandchildren etc. Explain that it represents how you follow their family line to find a page specific to the family.
Planning it Out
Create a plan. Use whichever format you prefer. Butcher’s Paper, or mind mapping tools such as popplet. This can be done with your teaching group or your students.
My Popplet plan that I did with a handful of students.
Create a website
Once you have made a plan, it is time to click create. Follow the instructions:
- name your site
- edit the site location
- select a theme
- Write your Site description
- Scroll up and Click ‘CREATE’
Google Sites - Depending what sort of site you are looking to set up you can choose a template.
I personally prefer a blank canvas, but it is up to you.
There are too many unknowns with the template, who made it, what was it for, is it appropriate?
Looking at the top right hand side of your site you will find the most important buttons.
In order from Right to Left it says: Share and then More. Just like Oliver Twist, you want more!
This reveals your options. You can even create your own template here for students if you would like.
MANAGE SITE - is what you are after. This takes you to the cogs behind the site. Your control panel or dashboard. This is where you can really dig in to the presentation of your site.
Adjust Your Theme
You can change and adjust your theme at anytime.
To save procrastination I give the students 2 weeks in class (after they have entered in their work) to finalise their colours, headings, pictures and site layout. After that the site must remain the same, or if they learn something cool they can make a change at home in their time.
This is a real trial and error area space and takes time to get right. So encourage them to take the time to explore. It doesn’t hurt to set this as homework.
Add and Edit a Page
Adding and editing a page is the simple part. Organising them takes forethought.
Make sure that you prepare and organise your pages as you go, to make your portfolio easy to navigate and use.
Therefore be proactive about creating pages, subpages and organising your content. You do not have to see all pages from the front page. Create Subpage menus or drop down menus to help.
Side bar or Horizontal bar?
I let my students decide which they’d prefer to use. My own preference is the horizontal bar. I love the way you can create drop down menus and it’s clarity across the page.
The layout also includes how you use columns to distribute your text, pictures and gadgets around your page.
In Edit mode click on the Layout option at the top. This gives you a range of options for columns to alter your pages.
This is a significant part of a digital portfolio. You can add a range of images, diagrams, buttons etc. to support your text or presentation.
A picture of other projects or works made in non digital mediums can be uploaded to present and show off their work.
Insert Google Docs
Google Docs are fantastic as they are live documents. Therefore any changes are automatically updated. Unlike a PDF etc.
Insert published writing pieces in a Document, a Spreadsheet of data, Google Form to enter in information. Such as a reading log for when they finish a book or a presentation.
Just make the doc and then insert. Add and delete when necessary.
Insert Other Documents
This is necessary. We don’t do everything in Google Documents.
1. Save it as a PDF, that way Google won’t attempt to convert it.
2. Upload it to your docs so that you give the document a webpage.
We have a page called the Maths glossary. It is a perfect place to insert a YouTube clip that explains the specifics of a learned mathematical term. For example: when we were learning what a Highest Common Factor was, students were able to use one of three clips. The one they understood best. This is what they then used as a study aid.
Insert Web Page
Link to yours or other blogs, wikis or favourite sites. You can create a live iFrame that shows a webpage.
Make it Professional
Buttons, links, make it slick, smooth. Create a portfolio that is easy on the eye, talk about colour choices, dark and light. Keep it simple, not to much happening.
Show example of a few websites, ask them which is easiest to read and why.
Make a list of “What makes a page look professional’
Table and HTML
Tables are a great insertion however if you want it to look professional it may pay to play a little with the HTML. This allows you to thicken, remove and change the colour of borders. Cell colors and thickness of cells. This is more complex but well worth your efforts if you feel you are up to it.
The whole purpose is to share it. Nominate the share settings, share with whom you wish, protect it as much as you like. This is where the celebration happens!