Literature Review



Art I e-Portfolio

    Digital tools are becoming more prevalent in K-12 education across the world. With more and more schools going paperless or migrating to the cloud, student work has become more easily shareable, accessible by many, and more easily organized. Many teachers have turned to digital portfolios, or e-portfolios, for their students. In 2015, Brown shared that a traditional paper portfolio usually represents the only copy of portfolio content, making it difficult to share. A huge advantage of the portfolio being in digital format is that students can easily duplicate and share their work. They give students a platform to share their work with everyone who has internet access. This ease of sharing allows instant teacher feedback, more parental involvement, and encourages peer to peer interaction. Todd Bergman, an independent consultant and teacher at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska, defines a portfolio as a “purposeful collection of student work demonstrating the student’s achievement or growth as characterized by a strong vision of content” (Brown, 2015). I like the use of purposeful in this definition because that is exactly what I am looking for. I want our students to have a body of work that has purpose- purpose to them, that they can share with everyone.

For decades students have been completing assignments in school; this is how we learn. Often, these projects/assignments are seen only by the teacher, graded and returned to the student. Sometimes, the work is posted on a classroom wall or in a school hallway. There is usually not a good way to display students work that is accessible by students, teachers, and parents. Many teachers keep portfolios of student work for parent conferences or to use as examples later, while some teachers show students how to build their own traditional portfolios for their work. This does not allow the work to be viewed by everyone. With the inclusion of e-portfolios every student has a place to store, view, and share their work. In her blog post, Students As Creators: How To Drive Your Students To Be More Than Just Consumers, Briggs (2015) asks the question:

Shouldn’t students be creating at least as much as they are consuming? Granted, we have learned to cultivate creative impulses in our students, to bring out the best of their inner talent. But shouldn’t creativity be more fundamental, more tangible than this? Shouldn’t it be the rule, and not the exception? And shouldn’t our students be creating at least as much as they are consuming?

Shifting to e-portfolios will show that our students are creating and not just consuming what they are introduced to. The work will be displayed in a public forum to be viewed by many.

If the students are not creating, they will have no evidence of learning to share. This is not a system in which I am trying to belittle a student that might not understand an assignment, it is rather a system for me to be aware of a struggling student who may require extra attention to understand the assignment. If he/she is not posting their work for critique, I will know immediately. Brown (2015) points out in her writing in “Education World” that there are three types of portfolios, “the working portfolio – which contains projects the student is currently working on or has recently completed, the display portfolio – which showcases samples of the student’s best work, and the assessment portfolio – which presents work demonstrating that the student has met specific learning goals and requirements”.  Our students will be creating a portfolio that will utilize all three of these models. They will show current works, completed works, and works to be reviewed.

At their most basic level e-portfolios can simply be a place to store information. Our students will use their portfolio as a way to display current and past work, collaborate and reflect on their artwork, get feedback from teachers and peers, and possibly include a blog page to share ideas and thoughts. A student can link a piece of work to a statement describing a particular curriculum standard and to an explanation of why the piece of artwork meets that standard. This reflection on their work turns it into evidence that the standard has been met. Active use of the e-portfolio will create habits of lifelong learning by promoting reflection on what a student is learning and how they are learning. Schools are increasingly moving towards digital portfolio options where students and teachers can store student work in the cloud and the work can be accessible anytime and anywhere (Ark, 2015).

If we want our students to obtain the deepest level of understanding and knowledge about our subjects, a change is necessary in the way we are teaching to them and how they are learning. Having the students create an e-portfolio will give them control over how they display what they are learning and it will allow me to easily see if they are mastering the skills they should be. Imagine if a student began tracking his or her work beginning in the 7th grade and continuing up through the 12th grade and beyond. The portfolio could contain student resumes, essays for college and scholarships, research related to colleges and majors, career explorations, and most importantly for my art class, a place for every student to display their artwork. It is a great way to track growth, view improvements, changes in style or genre, and display student work for the public to view. This could be something that students could have access to even if they moved schools or moved across the country, since digital portfolios live in the cloud. The emerging use of cloud technology by school districts truly means that students can access their work anytime, anywhere, and they can receive feedback from teachers, their parents, or peers in real time (Lathram, 2014).

The importance of high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning experiences has been the subject of many discussions among thought leaders in the past few years.  There is a need to better integrate humanities and arts education into STEM classes and programs, hence the movement of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) learning is on the rise in schools across the nation (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2014). Our students could use their e-portfolios to share art projects and show work to other teachers to promote cross curricular learning. A shift is taking place in the focus of pedagogical practice in schools all over the world as students across a wide variety of disciplines are learning by making and creating rather than from the simple lecture and introduction of content. An e-portfolio is a great way for our students to show what they are learning about and creating to the world.

As stated in the NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, “The hope is that if learners can connect the course material with their own lives and their surrounding communities, then they will become more excited to learn and immerse themselves in the subject matter” (Johnson, Adams, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015). Our students are consumed with technology today. Most have smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc. at their disposal with constant internet access. This is reiterated in the “ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology” research report that technology is embedded into students’ lives, and students generally have positive inclinations toward technology. Technology has a moderate influence on students’ active involvement in classes (Dahlstrom, Christopher, Brooks, Grajek, Reeves, 2015). Many students are taking advantage of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and entering the classroom with their own devices, which they use to connect to the school’s network. BYOD policies are becoming more popular because they reflect the contemporary lifestyle and way of working and learning. Implementing the BYOD policy to create students e-portfolio will be beneficial to the school and the students. The students will be working with tools they are familiar with and comfortable using while cutting school spending. Integrating technology into our classroom has to happen- it is happening. Technology is here and it is not going away. It is my duty as a teacher to figure out how I can include digital tools to individualize learning for our students.

“If our goal is to teach and nurture future scientists, artists, engineers, entrepreneurs we need to understand and nurture the creative potential because creativity has provided the foundation for art, science, philosophy, and technology,” says Chavez-Eakle. “If we want to teach children to become productive human beings, and more satisfied with what they do with their lives, we need to support them in the process of discovering and enjoying their creative potential” (as cited in Briggs, 2015).

Teachers are no longer the primary sources of information and knowledge for students. Students have websites like google, bing, and yahoo to search for anything they need or want to know.  Instead, it is up to teachers to reinforce the habits and discipline that shape life-long learners, and guide their searches to credible sources.  Creating and utilizing an e-portfolio will foster the kind of learning that will compel our students to push beyond an internet search and dig deeper into the subject matter because it will be an ongoing project that each student can add to and update for many years to come (Hertz, 2013).

In conclusion, the information I have found demonstrates how our art students creating e-portfolios will advance our students and our school into the digital era quickly and with purpose. Our students will be on the leading edge of technology and well ahead of many others by creating and utilizing an e-portfolio. Integrating technology in the classroom is a step in the right direction where we will eventually travel even further.  It will give our students more opportunities to have their worked viewed and assessed by myself, other teachers, peers, family, and anyone in the world who may be interested. The artwork will be easy to view because it will be organized by the medium in which it is made (oil paint, acrylic, pencil, clay, etc.). The e-portfolio should not take the place of a traditional portfolio because the students need to keep all original artwork accessible; however having this e-portfolio will open doors for our students to display their artwork in ways that have not been accessible before. This is an exciting time for digital technologies and digital tools. Today’s students are tuned into this technological environment, and digital portfolios are a natural fit in the wave of the present and the future of sharing information.



Ark, T. V. (2015, June 26). Every Student Should Have A Digital Portfolio | Getting  Smart. Retrieved from

Briggs, S. (2014, September 20). Students As Creators: How To Drive Your Students To Be More Than Just Consumers – InformED. Retrieved from

Brown, M. D. (2015). Education World: Using Technology | Electronic Portfolios in the K-12 Classroom. Retrieved from

Eden Dahlstrom, with D. Christopher Brooks, Susan Grajek, and Jamie Reeves. ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology, 2015. Research report. Louisville, CO: ECAR, December 2015.

Hertz, M. B. (2013, May 30). Using E-Portfolios in the Classroom | Edutopia. Retrieved From

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Lathram, B. (2014, August 5). From Turn-It-In to Posting, Publishing, Presentation, & Portfolio. Retrieved from

Perkins, K., & Byers, C. (2015). 2015 Internet Trends Report — Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. Retrieved from


2 thoughts on “Literature Review

  1. Pingback: Implementation Outline | Technology in art

  2. Pingback: Pressing Ahead with e-Portfolios in Art | Technology in art

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