I am having a "virtual open house" for my students to showcase their work online. They are choosing several pieces of work to share, including traditional word documents, computer art, photographs of artwork and science projects, podcasting, video, and audio files. They are excited to share the link with out of town relatives and friends.

What do you think is the best way to showcase student work? A teacher's blog, student blogs, wikis, weebly, google docs? Any online portfolio tools that you'd recommend? The ability to post comments is important to me. Thanks for your help!

Tags: blogs, googledocs, student_showcase, wikis

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Great! So do you upload student work in posts, tagged by student name? Or, do you use static pages to post their work.
I have been working with Mahara a bit recently, and I really like it. We already do portfolios at my schools which the students then present to community members as part of their "exit" interview their senior year. We have always housed these on our server, but with Mahara, we are beginning to look at this option.

Check it out: http://mahara.org/
Mahara, an offshoot of Elgg, is designed as an eportfolio from the ground up. Elgg, with broader social networking capabilities, is also well suited. I am working with the Elgg developers to hammer out plugins specifically for use in the K12 environment.

Folks, there is more out there than blogs and wikis. Sometimes it is best to chose the right tool rather than try to twist something to make it meet your needs.
Steve,
YES! I am really thinking that lately. This is the reason I posted this question, even though the answer of blogs & wikis seemed obvious. I wondered if there was a portfolio tool that would be better suited.

At my school, they used our student information systems, which were intended to be for student information, attendance, and forms; and tried to "twist" it to include forums and networking tools. It didn't work. We just had this discussion a few months ago that the reason is that they are trying to twist it to be something it isn't intended for. So now, I'm on a team to develop a Moodle site for us to use to house curriculum and use forums instead.

I heard a bit about Elgg from Jim Klein on the CUE community, and one of the teachers at a school that uses it. The teacher described it as being used for social networking. Are you saying that there is a eportfolio option in there? I would really love to hear more. I just started a Ning for teachers and parents recently, but I'm looking for something different to use with students. We have about 1200, K-6 students. Do you think Elgg would be a good fit for me?
Elgg is an engine that is extremely configurable. Historically, it has been looked upon as a student centered portfolio by many educators. A few years ago, people were working on Moodle/Elgg integration as a means of providing eportfolios. Nathan Garrett developed the plugin Folio to extend the eportfolio functionality of Elgg from version .4-.9. Elgg was completely rebuilt with version 1.0 (now 1.5), so old plugins no longer work. I am not sure whether or not Nathan is planning on porting Folio to the new platform.

It seems that the Moodle devs have latched onto Mahara for an eportfolio (Again Mahara is an offshoot of Elgg). Mahara is very much customized as an eportfolio.

I just had a brief exchange with lead Elgg developer David Tosh regarding Elgg as an eportfolio and I look forward to continued conversation. Dave Mentioned that he felt (of course he has a bias) that while Elgg could function as an eportfolio, Mahara could not function so well as a social network.

At this very moment, Mahara would probably work out of the box right now. As time goes on (not much time), I think Elgg will work well and have the advantage of greater extensibility. Again, I am collaborating with the Elgg developers and other educational technologists on developing Elgg for the k12 setting in general--not just as an eportfolio.

If you have access to a server, give them a try. They are not difficult to set up. If you need help or temporary resources, let me know and I'm sure I can put something together for you to try. Additionally, you can get a feel for them by going to their sites and creating an account to try them out.
"Again, I am collaborating with the Elgg developers and other educational technologists on developing Elgg for the k12 setting in general--not just as an eportfolio."

If you get this going next year, sign me up! Seriously.

In the meantime, I'll set up a temporary account and will check them out. Thank you, again! You've been a great resource lately!
Here's a link for Jim Klein so you can read more about Elgg.
I agree with you to a certain extent. If portfolios are a major focus of your course then you should choose the best possible tool you can find.

However, if the portfolio is one project among many in a course, I would rather opt for a wiki or blog that is adaptable and can lend itself to many uses. This allows a variety of course resources and student work to be kept in the same place instead of being spread over numerous locations or sites. I have found over the past few years that one of the easiest ways to diminish student participation is by attempting to juggle too many online resources/tools.
Have you actually looked at Elgg ? Elgg does blogs and has "pages" which can function as collaborative documents. It has a microblogging platform called "The Wire" that can interact with Twitter. Elgg can be configured to include:

• Groups
• Forums
• Blogs
• Microblogs (with Twitter inetgration)
• Private Messaging
• File repositories including multimedia
• Social Bookmarking
• Pages (individual or collaborative documents)
• Wiki integration
• Calendars
• etc

Even Maraha has functions beyond eportfolio. I would consider wikis and blogs as much more narrowly defined applications. The exception would be WordPressMu combined with BuddyPress and bbPress.

I encourage people to look beyond wiki/blog/ning/googledocs.
Sorry I wasn't speaking of Elgg but programs more specifically targeted for portfolios. Elgg appears to have promise. How sophisticated are the collaborative pages and blogs aspects of Elgg? I've used Moodle for several years but was never impressed by the wikis/blogs it contained. That is one of the reasons I moved to pbworks as a portal for my course and have been happy with the quality of the product so far.
Thanks for the information about Elgg. It certainly looks powerful. But, it also looks like something that an individual teacher would not do independently. For younger students (I teach 5th) this looks like a lot. I didn't see anything about age requirements, which most social networking sites have. I have been using a class blog, directed significantly by me and wikis. I use wordpress.
True. As I teacher, we have 4 or 5 different systems that we engage with. It is frustrating to me to know what can be found where. I'd rather go to one place. So, I get what you are saying. No pressure... but if you have an example to share of how you organized the work in the blog (posts or static pages), I'd love to see it. Or post a link of one you've found that you think best represents your point.

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