Updated September 2019

Welcome to part 2B of the series about digital portfolios in music.

In Part 1, I covered the “what” and “why” of digital portfolios and gave an overview of the “how”.  We looked at the different types of digital artefacts (video, audio, text and images) that might make up a portfolio and I went into more detail about the first two – video and audio – in Part 2A.

In this installment, I’ll discuss some of the available options for creating text and images.

Other parts in this series:

Creating text artefacts

Text-based artefacts can include essays, written responses,  definitions, song lyrics, and may also include hyperlinks to further reading or other support material.  Students can also use:

The choice of software or app that students use to create text depends largely on the choice of software/app they will use to gather all of their digital portfolio artefacts together since most of those options have text-creation tools built into them.

Finding and creating images

As discussed in part 1, there are numerous types of images that can be included in a digital portfolio, including:

  • Photos
  • Icons
  • Screencaptures (screenshots)
  • Diagrams
  • Mind maps
  • Flow charts
  • Digital drawings
  • Word clouds
  • and many more

Photos

Photos of students “in action” or of objects that are an integral part of their project can be created with the following:

  • DSLR camera or similar
  • Smartphone
  • iPad or Android Device
  • Laptop webcam

Students can also use existing photos that are in the Public Domain or Creative Commons-licensed.  If you work with young students you might like to curate a selection of photos for them to use in their projects rather than send them searching for images themselves.

My favourite places to find images online are:

Icons

Icons are just like digital stickers! They make a great addition to a digital portfolio since students can use them to communicate an idea or concept simply and cleanly.

Try the icons from The Noun Project. You can take a look at some of the music icons here.

Word Clouds

Students can create an image based on a series of words they have been learning, or from the lyrics of a song by using a free word cloud generator.  Try:

Screencapture (an image of your screen)

Taking a screencapture (also know as a screenshot or “print screen”) is an excellent way to capture something that has been created on a computer, iPad or other device. 

Screencapture options vary across platforms and some have their own in-built methods.

  • iPad or iPhone: on older devices, hold down the power switch and home button simultaneously for a brief second. On more recent devices, hold down the power and volume up buttons. The image will end up on the Camera Roll
  • Android: hold down the power switch and volume button at the same time
  • Mac: hold down Command+Shift+3 (Command+Shift+4) to take a picture of the whole screen. Other options are explained here.
  • Windows: instructions for taking a screen capture can be found here.
  • Screencapture software on desktop: Snagit is the one I use. It has more features and options than using the inbuilt screencapture shortcut

There are lots of other screencapture software and app options – too many to mention here!  It can be worth asking friends and colleagues for their favourites.

Adding text, making collages and editing images

There are times when you will need to crop photos, add text or borders or shapes, add a filter, clone, flip or combine images.  Students may also like to create a visual quote for their portfolio – a striking background image that has text over the top.

The following apps are useful options:

  • PicCollage (both iOS and Android)
  • Canva free online image editor
  • PicMonkey free online image editor
  • Adobe Spark Post
  • Handy Photo for iOs for iOS or Handy Photo for Android does some pretty cool stuff like removing people from a picture (it replaces the “gap” with background so effectively you would never know the person was there in the first place!) or making an image wider by cloning the background at the edges
  • Remove a background from an image with Remove.bg 
  • Word Swag (iOS only) add text to photos using ready-made templates

In part 3 of this series, I will share some options for publishing and sharing digital portfolios.

Other parts in this series:

 

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