Our students' digital portfolios are a place for them to house artifacts that they feel showcase some of their best work. Last year our students started their portfolios using Google Sites. We created a template for them to use and they did their best to make it their own. The students introduced themselves with an All About Me page and updated their data page throughout the year. Every few weeks we would have a portfolio "dump" and new artifacts would be added.
We heard about Weebly at the Convening Conference put on by the Institute @ CESA 1 last November. Angela and I were pretty established with our classroom website and the students' portfolios, so we didn't think too much about it until this past summer. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been blogging for years, but Google Sites does not come easily to me. I find it difficult to navigate and adding to our website was always cumbersome to me. We felt the same frustration from the kids. Because of that, we were looking for a new platform and remembered that someone had mentioned Weebly.
After playing around with it for 30 minutes I knew that it would not only be a better option for us, but also for our students. There are tons of themes/templates to get you started, and the drag and drop interface makes it very easy for adults and kids to use. If you visit the Weebly for Education site you'll see you can manage multiple student sites from one account and their are a variety of easy to use features. As the teacher, you control what is posted and you can be certain that your students' sites are kept private. I also love that you can easily add text, images, slideshows, audio, links, documents and more!
Since we are looping with our students, and our parents are familiar with our classroom website, Angela and I will be continuing to use Google Sites this year. Next year we will move our website to Weebly. Our students, however, will be recreating their digital portfolios this year using Weebly. Here is a sneak peek at an example of a student portfolio. The students will have the opportunity to make it their own, but they will be expected to include the given tabs across the top. Check back throughout the year for updates on their portfolios. I will be sure to post a few student examples once they're up and running. It'll be a great back-to-school activity within the first few weeks!