The power of ePortfolios in the classroom

Kimberly Moore is a school librarian and digital literacy educator who helps students create electronic collections of their work.

Multiple definitions of ePortfolios

There can be confusion over how and why ePortfolios are used in education. Educators use ePortfolios to help students bridge inquiry and integration, as well as to deepen their learning. There are three basic ePortfolios which can overlap in practice:

  • Learning/Process  - an intended collection of specific works sometimes 'in progress'
  • Showcase - a display of students' best work 
  • Assessment/Accountability - to document what a student has learned

ePortfolios are both a product and more importantly, a process. An ePortfolio is a collection of work (evidence, artifact) in an electronic format that showcases learning over time. It can include just about anything that can be uploaded: 

  • File of various formats (text, pictures, video, etc.) 
  • Evidence related to courses taken, programmes of study, etc.
  • Writing samples that might include several drafts to show development and improvement 
  • Projects prepared for class or extracurricular activities
  • Academic records and achievements
  • Evidence of creativity and performance both personal and professional
  • Evidence of extra curricular or co-curricular activities, including examples of leadership
  • Evaluations, analysis, and recommendations

Student learning enrichment 

An ePortfolio could be called a living resume that permits student ownership and control. Employment of ePortfolios guide students to:

  • Develop a growth mindset
  • Strengthen metacognition - improve self-assessment
  • Improve self motivation - set and meet personal goals
  • Showcase achievements
  • Grow into empowered learners
  • Expand digital literacy
  • Channel creativity and innovation
  • Demonstrate learning across courses and time

Students are in charge of what to include within guidelines set by their teacher. They decide how to design their ePortfolio and which artifacts best represent their learning and sometimes what medium these artifacts take. It is important to allow students some control over their final product. The products students include in their portfolios should be related to the curriculum and evidence of their engagement in meaningful learning.

Successful implementation  

Encourage your students to consider portfolio creation as a way to take ownership of their learning and the freedom to choose multiple creative formats. It is a way they can express and prove their knowledge outside the norm of essay writing and test taking! Prendes Espinosa & Sánchez Vera recommend six steps to ensure successful integration of ePortfolios:

  • Give students information from the very beginning. Why ePortfolios? 
  • Limit the number of components 
  • Explain the evaluation criteria of portfolio 
  • Teach and facilitate the process of self-reflection and self-evaluation
  •  Indicate the appropriate time for the portfolio 
  •  Provide advice and prepare students for the realisation of portfolio

You can see there will be considerable work on your part to help guide your student utilisation of ePortfolios. Start simple by adding only a few elements at a time.  By guiding students and explaining the process thoroughly, you can ensure successful and meaningful implementation of ePortfolios with your students.  


Prendes Espinosa, M. P., & Sánchez Vera, M. M. (2008). Portafolio electrónico: posibilidades los docentes. Pixel-Bit. Revista de Medios y Educación, 2008(32), 21–34. 

About Kimberly Moore

Kimberly is a Librarian and Digital Literacy teacher at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Fort Worth, TX, USA and Adjunct Professor at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. Kimberly spoke about her work at Internet Librarian International 2019 #ILI2019. Her professional website is