What is a portfolio and why is it important?

Modern portfolio work in kindergarten is an authentic assessment method in which pupils are directly involved in the evaluation of their own achievements, giving teachers and parents true insight into the child’s educational progress. This collection of creative work can be analysed by the children themselves with positive reinforcement from both parents and teachers.

There are two forms of portfolio use:

One is in that it serves as a package and represents the learning that is happening within the classroom. It fulfils a documenting purpose.

The second is where a portfolio is part of the curriculum approach, and the learning happens through the application and creation of a portfolio which is done in the following format:

  • Select – decide what goes in
  • Modify  – adapt what’s already inside.
  • Compose – create content for the specific purpose of adding it to the portfolio.

We explore further into this process below.

What goes into a kindergarten portfolio? 

Two kinds of approaches can be implemented into portfolio curating. Each, of course, has different results.

  1. Task-related – where a student’s focus and motivation is to finalise the task. 
    1. This can teach children to be goal-oriented and teach them that it’s the effort and motivation to complete it that counts rather than the correctness of the actual assignment.
  2. Ego-centric – where a student’s focus is on the result of the performance. 
    1. The effects of this approach depends on whether or not the child has a negative self-concept (where permanent loss of motivation can occur in certain activities if poor feedback is accumulated) or positive self-concept (in which the student can gain further good experiences) (cf. Brand & Schweizer 2010, p. 172).

Luckily, a portfolio can incorporate both by encouraging students to curate the portfolio themselves and by letting them see if it stands up in comparison to others. Sometimes the tasks that are recorded within the portfolio might even be something created in cooperation with other students which can assist in relieving negative self-concept. Every educational interaction has impact on a students’ learning progress, however, the level differs between students (cf. Krnjaja &  Pavlovic-Breneselovic 2016)

Regardless, a portfolio can be a very personal collection and very unique to each student. Below are some of the things that could be found there: 

  • Art they loved making 
      • Some of the incredible work a young student will work on is their art – it captures their individuality and their creativity.
      • Adding a painting, drawing, or sketch brings to live who they are at their very essence
  • Top graded assignments
    • Once barely passed, now aced a maths test? Include progress students can be proud of! 
    • Written beautiful poetry? This should take its spot in their portfolio! 
    • Students should be encouraged to be proud of their hard work and successes!

While many teachers use folders or boxes to store the work a student has worked on throughout the school year, some assignments are not all 2D. Commemorating the work a student has done on a theatre performance, a clay model, a song, or a craft, is as much a part of their learning journey as their work in mathematics and writing. Students at a young age are didactic and in need of using their hands to be creative. We have an answer to this conundrum!

When a classroom is efficiently modernised, teachers can focus on being teachers rather than sifting through administrative work and figuring out new ways to keep things organised. A portfolio is one of the many tools a teacher will use to measure their class progress but if some assignments are not on paper, we believe there are still ways to capture that, review it, and remember it as a part of the educational journey. In comes the digital portfolio!

Why use a digital portfolio?

For starters, a digital portfolio broadens the horizons of a student’s creativity without limiting how innovative they can actually be. Encouraging children to be imaginative has a significant impact on their development and gives them immense pleasure, satisfaction and appreciation! (cf. Sitorus, Yus & Saragih 2020, p. 1421) When students opt in to scan, film, record, or photograph their hard work, it automatically teaches them to self-invest in their own pedagogical journey.

Apps continue to overcome and adapt to the ways in which children’s education can best succeed in the 21st century. In fact, apps like KidsFox have become essential in delivering on the needs of parents, educators, and administrators through tools such as video chats, cloud storage, translation languages, digital class registers, and timetables. Best yet, kindergartners are an essential element in the fantastic experience as they can watch their progress grow.

Education in general is far more efficient than it has ever been. However, digitised and innovative tools are only just starting to be incorporated into administrative processes, modern portfolios, and progress tracking (cf. Özdil, Simsek & Tugluk 2021). Kindergarten centres are especially lagging behind.

Why is it that digitalization is so difficult to adapt into kindergartens at a time where innovation is growing so quickly?

The answer is two-fold. Firstly, it’s harder for kids to be didactic outside of a kindergarten centre. Their access to materials and social comparison is limited right when they’re just starting to use their hands to write, cut, paint, grab, touch, and draw. 

Secondly, there is an outcry from parents on the increasing use of tablets, laptops, and computers among younger students which can bottle-neck the use of devices for modern portfolios. 

Throughout the years, both teaching and progress tracking in kindergarten centres have transformed in a digital age that has not only begun but thoroughly established itself within the education industry. It’s time for kindergarten centres to keep up!

What goes in a digital portfolio? 

The further one moves in education, the degree of digitalisation increases, while the work with the portfolio takes up a vanishingly small place in educational events. However, the development of self-reflection and the creative handling of a child’s own learning artefacts makes sense in every respect. If educational staff, parents, and students work together, the portfolio can already have a positive influence on the educational path in the day care centre.

Everything from research, writing, and history to calculations, data analysis, and processing has benefited from the digitalization of education. With SchoolFox and KidsFox, both our educators and our students, are part of a generation that uses innovative technology to better the learning experience, adapting not only to difficult circumstances, but also to differing teaching method options, and thereby writing a new chapter in education’s history. 

A digital portfolio provides both a teacher and their student with the opportunity to unleash their imagination because they are not limited to papers to see how they progress. It also directly involves them in the process of curating it! 

Here are some of the things you can add to a digital portfolio:

  • Pictures and photographs to capture a moment!
      • Students and parents love looking back at what they’ve achieved – capture moments where their individuality shines and where their grades radiate!
      • Record their work with modelling clay, textiles, AND paper; whatever they can get their creative hands on and everything they’ve achieved academically too!
  • In real time with videos! 
  • Videos are a great addition to portfolios as they capture not only the results but also the mood of the moment
    • Some art  happens unintentionally and isn’t not always meant to last. A snapshot in time of a sand castle or a chalk design on the sidewalk can be viewed in real time with video! 
  • Songs and speeches come to life! 
    • Educators can record conversations with the children in order to capture their often unique reactions.
    • If your students love singing, performing monologues, or simply say the most hilarious things, a digital portfolio is a great way to store recordings of these happy moments! 

With a digital portfolio, the classic folder in the group room is not replaced, but supplemented in a meaningful way. Handicrafts can be photographed, assigned to a child and shared with parents in a timely manner without significant additional effort. 

For instance, the cost for cloud storage is insignificant, which is a big advantage and despite the strong factor of the feel of analogue material, the storage of 3D objects is hardly feasible. Sound and video provide further possibilities for evaluating and applying what has been documented. Storage is easy to handle, as no educational institution has to deal with servers or any sort of safekeeping – everything is conveniently stored in the cloud.

Upgrade your kindergarten portfolio with Foxi!

A first step towards modernising your portfolio and upgrading your classroom is to check out our new companion app, in which students can upload pictures, videos, AND audio of what they have been working on throughout the school year. 

With Foxi, parents can have peace of mind that their children aren’t spending too much time on-screen. Only used on the kindergarten group tablet or in schools with the permission of teachers to capture creative achievements, students still develop their didactic skills by grabbing, touching and interacting with their arts, crafts, dances, etc. This allows the child to maintain interaction with peers and learn from others.

  • Let them photograph their own drawings.
  • Capture work from craft lessons in school.
  • Remember their modelling clay creations. 
  • Be amazed by their building block skills.
  • Record their poems, songs, noteworthy or simply funny sayings. 

Centrally and safely stored in our FoxDrive, Foxi allows teachers the peace of mind to try out all kinds of assignments and really push their students’ horizons. Students in turn can actively participate in curating their own portfolio to look back on all their successes throughout the school year.

All the info about Foxi at a glance?