Digital Portfolios in Music Education Part 3 Publishing Options

Welcome to the second part of a 3-part series about digital portfolios in music.

So far we have covered:

A Place To Put The Artefacts

Once your students have gathered all the artefacts that demonstrate their learning, they’ll need to present them in a single location, in a coherent way.

There are quite a number of options for presenting digital portfolios, but whichever one you choose needs to handle all (or most) of the digital mediums we discussed in the earlier posts:

  • Video
  • Audio
  • Text
  • Images

Other things to consider include:

  • What type of device/tool do my students have access to?  Are they using PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, iPads or Android devices? (or a combination)
  • Does my school want me to use a specific tool like an LMS (learning management system)?
  • How much time do we have? Do I need something that is quick and easy for students to use?
  • Do I need something that will produce a higher level, more in-depth result because I am working with older students?

Online Options That Work On (Almost) All Platforms and Devices

If you need to have a solution that will work across a variety of devices and platforms, it’s best to choose an online, “in the cloud” option.  Students can create a website (a blog or wiki) to showcase their work, use a learning management system (LMS) or use online software.

  1. Learning Management System

Firstly, check whether your school is using an LMS such as Moodle, Edmodo, Blackboard, Compass or a custom-made LMS.  If they are, it’s likely that the school administration will want you to use that with your students because they will have invested a decent amount of money in implementing the software.

An LMS will allow each student to have an online space in which they can upload their work.  It’s easily accessible by teachers and sometimes by parents too.

One drawback of using an LMS is that it often does not look very “pretty”.

  1. Website (such as a blog or wiki)

Creating a website is a great solution for students to showcase their work and these days there are numerous tools that make it super-easy.

Weebly, Wix and WordPress are my top suggestions since they all offer ready-made templates and work on a “drag and drop” basis (no coding involved whatsoever if you want to avoid it!).

This is a more time-consuming option but the results are worth it if your students have the time available and/or they are older.

  1. Online software

A lot of the options in this category are simple and very user-friendly which makes them ideal for students of all ages.  I can recommend looking at:

  • Thinglink – an online interactive “poster”. Upload an image to form the basis of your portfolio/presentation and add text, links, videos and other media.  Very easy to use
  • Voicethread – a type of presentation tool that allows you to upload an image and record audio or video responses and feedback.  Great for collaborative projects
  • Padlet – a virtual, digital “wall” that allows you to add text, images, video and other documents.  It’s also an effective collaboration tool
  • Prezi – online presentation software with a difference. Prezi breaks free from the usual linear slide organisation of software such as Powerpoint and Keynote and instead it allows for visual storytelling.  It’s difficult to describe and best to see some examples to get an idea of Prezi’s capabilities.  The learning curve is a little steeper than some other tools, so it’s probably best for secondary students

Software for laptops and desktop computers

These two don’t need much explanation and most students are familiar with how they work so they can be a straightforward choice for digital portfolios.

  • Powerpoint (Mac and PC)
  • Keynote (Mac)

After the portfolio has been assembled in Powerpoint or Keynote, students can record themselves presenting their work and create an overall video file.

Apps for iPads and Android devices

There are many other options in this category, but the ones below are popular choices and all (except for Keynote) work on both iOS and Android devices which is a benefit if you’re at a BYO device school

  • Powerpoint (iOS and Android)
  • Keynote (iOS)
  • Explain Everything (iOS and Android) is my favourite choice in this category because of the extensive import and export options, the ease of use and the in-built tools available.  It’s also a multi-use app – ideal for digital portfolio creation but also for creating tutorials and screencasting
  • Book Creator (iOS and Android) is an ebook creator which incorporates text, images, video and audio

Part 4: A Digital Portfolio Example

In the fourth and final part in this series, I will create a series of digital artefacts for a sample project and put them together in a portfolio format using some of the options I’ve discussed in part 1, 2 and 3.

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