The use of portfolios in the classroom has become a common practice among students and educators all over the world. It has been found that developing an efficient system to teach students how to create and maintain their own portfolios will help them improve their English proficiency and develop skills that will help them become more self-directed, motivated,and successful learners. It is in this context that we can understand the multiple benefits of the E-portfolio for students who are learning English at the present time, when the computer and the World Wide Web, as well as other digital gadgets, are used every day. Traditional portfolios are paper based, and teenagers and young adults find them not so motivating. On the other hand, e-portfolios,which let them make use of a website and computers, are more attractive for that kind of learner. Although e-portfolios provide both students and teachers with several advantages, it is also true that lack of real motivation may become a real obstacle for students to use them. This is a summary , enriched by other sources, of the work “An Overview of e-Portfolios” written by George Lorenzo andJohn Ittelson and edited by Diana Oblinger in July 2005.
What’s an e-portfolio? It is a digitized collection of artifacts including demonstrations, resources and accomplishments that represent an individual, group, organization, community, organization, or institutions. This collection can be comprised of text-based, grapic or multimedia elements archived on a website or on other electronicmedia such as DVD, CD-Rom. or USB memory. (Lorenzo and Ittelson, 2005)
According to Alonso and Blazques an e-portfolio is a compilation of the work done by a student which is available in the World Wide Web, CD-ROM, or DVD. It is similar to the traditional portfolio because it contains files and folders; however, the way to record information is different because it uses electronic meansi.e. databases, word processors, CD-ROMS, DVDs, Wikis and other tools. The e-portfolio can be printed or saved in external memories, and the information can be in the form of texts, graphs, videos, sounds images, and any other multimedia format.
However, the use of e-portfolios makes necessary to develop certain abilities related to the use of technologies associated to the use of thiskind of portfolio, something that will make possible a fluid interaction between teachers and students so that the latter can create, store, reflect, and organize their work and the former can check that work and give feedback. If those abilities fail to be sufficiently developed, the use of e-portfolios can become a demanding demotivating task for both, teachers and students as well. I think thatthis is not a big problem for most students, who are used to operating technologies, but for many senior teachers who might not be so familiar with the use of those technologies. This fact makes necessary for the teachers staff to build up abilities that enable them to work with information and communication technologies in such a way that they can interact with their students with ease andfluency.
In general e-portfolios help students become critical thinkers and aid them in the development of their writing and multimedia communication skills. E-portfolios can help students (and teachers) learn information and technology literacy skills and how to use digital media. Beyond academic evidence, they give students the opportunity to create a digitized showcase of their work andskills. (Lorenzo and Ittelson, 2005)
Alonso and Blazques say that in an educational context, the student designs a personal learning plan which contains a series of activities in which competences are put into practice and each activity promotes reflection processes. This means that the student becomes an active participant of the learning process and feels really motivated to set up...