The Digital Portfolio lesson utilizes various technology tools and programs for students to create portfolios. The central question for this lesson is "What are digital portfolios and how can we use them?" During the school year, students collect and organize projects, photos, and school work into a multimedia format that represents what they have accomplished. Assessment of products placed in the portfolios is also an important component of this session. Students present their digital portfolios at the end of the year.

Lesson Introduction

Students will learn the uses and importance of digital portfolios and how to create them. They will also learn methods of selecting the best of their own products to be a part of their portfolios They will review/learn about various pieces of hardware/software to enhance their portfolios.



Harris, D.E., & Carr, J. F. How to Use Standards in the Classroom. ASCD. Alexandria,VA




Students Bring:


  1. Make sure you are familiar with the hardware/software you will be using.
  2. Make copies of check sheets for students.
  3. Make copies of rubric for students.
  4. Display task cards and directions at resource centers.
  5. Preview the elementary and secondary portfolio examples.
  6. Make sure you know how to work the digital camera.


1. Whole class or large group activity:

On the butcher paper, write the following questions with marker so whole group can see:

2. Present digital portfolio examples and have students comment or take notes to use in discussion following presentations.

3. As a group, the participants will create the guidelines or criteria for what to include in their porfolios.

4. With a buddy and using the checksheet, students complete seven centers, which are described below.

[Teacher Note: You may introduce the centers by going through and explaining each center to whole group or compose direction cards for each activity to be placed at each center. The centers can be completed randomly, except the Digital Camera and Scanner Centers must be completed before the Publishing Center. We have included task cards to identify each center, which can be posted by materials and directions. The task card templates and directions as well as the student checksheets are available in the .pdf file.]

Station 1: Digital Camera

  1. Take at least 2 digital photos using the digital camera. One photo needs to be a self- portrait, the other may be any subject of interest.
  2. Insert formatted disk in digital camera.
  3. Make sure that camera file is set for image size 640X480 resolution when set in the still mode. This will give you a file of manageable size that can be altered using a photo-imaging program.
  4. Your photos will be saved on the disk. Remove your disk from camera. Make sure your name is on the disk!

Station 2: Scanner

  1. Read and discuss directions to operate the scanner.
  2. Insert the photos that you have brought to class. You will scan the photos and save to your disks.
  3. Save photos as JPEG files.

Station 3: Publishing

  1. Take floppy disk with photo images stored on it and open up with program such as Adobe PhotoShop, Photo Imaging Software, etc.
  2. Select one of the photos and work with the editing tools ­ cropping, sizing, etc.
  3. Watch the size of the finished photo you save by saving in a medium or lower resolution, around #3. This is necessary in order to save your photos on 1.4 Mb floppy disks.
  4. Try to keep photos around 45 to 60 Kb.

Station 4: Internet

  1. From one of the following Internet sites (or your own favorite site), select four pieces of clip art that you would like to save and possibly use in your class portfolio.
    See Resources
  2. Save the clip art you have selected onto your disk.
    If you are using a PC, right click on the image you would like to save and save image to your disk.
    If you are using a Mac, hold the mouse button down until a window opens. It will give you a variety of options. At this time direct it to save to your disk.

Station 5: Setting up Portfolio

Create folders on a formatted disk in drive A. (Title suggestions: Session 1, Session 2, etc. or Clip Art, Photos, Internet, or whatever categories participant would like to establish.)

Directions for creating folders:

  1. Put floppy disk in drive.
  2. Go to My Computer, Click on A drive, click on File, select New, select Folder.
    This will create a new folder on your disk.
  3. Backspace on words "New Folder" and name the folder.
  4. You can always rename a folder by right clicking on the folder. A pop-up menu bar will come up, and you can choose the option Rename.

Station 6: Email

[NOTE: If you already have an email account, compose a note to send to your instructors.]

  1. Set up a free e-mail account with Mail.com, or one of the many options for web based e-mail. See collection at: http://thebestmails.bizland.com/
  2. On the Internet, go to http://www.mail.com (or the company of your choice) and follow the directions to establish a free e-mail Account.
  3. Once you have established your e-mail account, send your instructors an e-mail message.

Station 7: Internet Digital Portfolio Information

  1. Go to the Internet and open the following sites:
    Portfolio Guidelines: http://www.indiana.edu/~ist/programs/portfolio.html
  2. Look at each of these sites and record four good ideas about digital portfolios to share with the group during group discussion time.


See Rubric


Students will create family or community digital portfolios as their class assignment. They may create these digital portfolios on floppy disk, zip drive, CD, or with a web page. We can not stress enough how important it is to be constantly evaluating the materials in the portfolios to include the very best work!


Below are the anticipated outcomes of the Digital Portfolio activities. They are based on the New Mexico's Standards and Benchmarks, the National Educational Technology Standards, and the New Mexico Teacher Competencies.

Upon successful completion of this unit, the learner will


These pages can be downloaded to your computer as files. Files can then be opened and printed. You can choose from two file formats:

Microsoft document format opens the files in Microsoft Word. You can make changes in the pages before printing them.

Acrobat Reader or Portable Document Format (pdf) opens the files in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Pages cannot be edited in this format. However, .pdf files are less likely to be distorted. Pages that contain graphics or large images look better in .pdf and print very nicely. For your convenience, Acrobat Reader can be accessed from this page.

Microsoft Word (.doc)

Digital Portfolios Lesson and all materials

Student Guide for creating portfolios

Directions for Resource Centers (.doc file)

Signs for work centers(.doc file)

Acrobat Reader (.pdf)

Digital Portfolios Lesson and all materials

Student Guide for creating portfolios

About Acrobat Reader

Files in the .pdf format can be read using Acrobat Reader. Acrobat Reader is a free software. You can download and install it by clicking on the link below.

GO TO: Acrobat Reader Download Page


National Educational Technology Standards

  1. Basic operations and concepts
  2. Social, ethical, and human issues
  3. Technology productivity tools
  4. Technology communications tools
  5. Technology research tools

New Mexico's Standards and Benchmarks