Creating a Digital Portfolio: How to Make Yourself Stand Out from the Crowd
As a pre-service teacher, there are many projects, lesson plans, assignments, and field experiences that you want to showcase - but how do you keep it all together? The answer is by making a digital portfolio! Creating a digital portfolio is an efficient way to get all of your materials organized. It is a great way to store past experiences that can be reflected on later in your career. Also, other professionals in your field are able to view your digital portfolio and provide feedback. However, the difficulties lie not in creating your digital portfolio, but creating it in a way that distinguishes you from others in your field.
The first step to creating an outstanding portfolio is to find out which website you want to use to create it. Some websites include Weebly, Wix, Google Sites, Wordpress, and more. The first impression of your digital portfolio is the welcome page. You need to make sure it gives insight about yourself, but it tells the purpose of your portfolio. It is also a good idea to include a professional photograph of yourself. Next, is to make clear and precise tabs for all your information for others to easily navigate. Making your digital portfolio easy to navigate will make your profile that much more appealing to your audience. Some standard pages that appear in a digital portfolio include:
- About me
- Contact information
- Teaching philosophy
- Lesson plan examples
- Photos/videos of your work
Aesthetics is more important than some realize; if you have an amazing portfolio that no one can easily read, then no one will know about your wonderful classroom management strategy or that awesome field experience you had. Simple is better, and it's always better to keep things to a minimum. For instance, when placing pictures in your digital portfolio, be sure that the pictures directly relate to what you are talking about. If there is a picture of you working in the classroom, be sure to identify what is going on in the picture and how it relates to the tab or section you have put it under. In addition, document that you have permission to use the photograph taken. Again, less is more, and so only choose the very best pictures and examples to put in your digital portfolio as examples of your work.
When you have finished with all of your content, organization, and presentations, always be sure to be the first person to preview your portfolio. Use another computer or logout of your website builder account so that you can see it through 'public' eyes. Visit every single page and make sure all content has been properly shared, linked, and can be viewed. Make sure there are no strange formatting issues with pictures or paragraphs. View your portfolio critically, and ask a friend to do the same with fresh eyes. When it has been checked and re-checked, you are finally ready to present yourself in the digital age in the best way possible!
Once you have perfected your professional digital portfolio, consider creating a positive and professional social media presence. You can use tools such as: Linked in, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others. This way you are able to make a presence, and be able to connect and network with other educators. In addition, you will be able to share your digital portfolio easily for others to view. This could help improve your lessons by getting feedback, and also help with the job search.
In sum, a professional digital portfolio is very beneficial and it is easy to continue to grow for years to come. Always continue to grow and develop your digital portfolio because it will help you as a future educator.
Hannah Wright, Senior Special Education Major
Katy Gibson, Junior Middle Level Math/Science Education Major
Grove City College
Grove City, Pennsylvania