What’s in a name?

Using the term portfolio or eportfolio carries with it certain connotations. Historically, portfolios were the domain of the artist or designer who would showcase their best work. Unfortunately, I still feel that that concept of the portfolio still exists in education as their sole purpose. While the ‘best work’ portfolio certainly has a place, and you will certainly see some best work demonstrated in our portfolios, the purpose of the portfolio is far deeper.

Literature will describe portfolios as developmental, assessment or showcase, or additionally personal, feedback, accountability or presentation portfolios. The understanding that portfolios, especially in the context of primary education as ours are, facilitate assessment for learning as opposed to assessment of learning is paramount to their implementation. The developmental, personal or feedback portfolios described above certainly describes the desirable attributes of active reflection and collaboration that supports learning through portfolios. But still the idea of the portfolio ‘construction’ process being more beneficial than the product is still a mystery to some.

So are our concepts of portfolios tied to the name?

In a recent discussion with other teachers, one of them mentioned that the name eportfolio didn’t really describe the examples of student eportfolios he had seen on his visit to our school. I am starting to agree with that more and more.

So how else to label them? Here is a selection of current terms.

  1. ePortfolio/e-Portfolio
  2. webfolio
  3. blogfolio
  4. eJournal/electronic journal
  5. learning log
  6. PLE
  7. digital portfolio
  8. eSelf
  9. digital archive
  10. My E
  11. digital repository
  12. eDOL

Do any of these sum up the purpose? Do they imply the integration of tools such as tags and RSS? Do they reinforce traditional concepts? How do you refer to yours?

My goal is to come up with the most appropriate term to name our learning and reflection contained within our WordPress site, currently named ePortfolios. Ideas?

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