Leadership is essential for digital portfolios to be implemented schoolwide.
Below are links to a digital portfolio readiness tool and an action plan template that leadership teams can use for this work. In addition, a summary of the essential elements of a successful schoolwide change (excerpted from Digital Portfolios in the Classroom) is reprinted with permission.
Adapted from Digital Portfolios in the Classroom: Showcasing and Assessing Student Work (ASCD, 2017):
There is more than one pathway a school leader might take in implementing digital student portfolios at a schoolwide level. Every school has a different culture and climate. Having completed this type of change before, as well as being familiar with the literature and research on organizational change, I am confident that school leaders who follow these general steps will be more likely to experience success.
- Start with assessments. This includes expanding the types of assessments being used and developing assessment literacy with faculty.
- Assess your level of access. Without available and robust technologies, both hardware and software, we risk running this digital initiative into the ground.
- Start small. Instead of pushing every teacher to adopt digital student portfolios, allow faculty who are ready for this initiative to run a pilot.
- Attend to the culture. Introducing digital assessments into instruction is a cultural change as well as a technical change. Teachers need to believe in the importance of this type of work.
- Offer opportunities to lead. As a school leader, you are only one person. Let others facilitate the professional development and training whenever possible.
- Include families in the process. Parents and students have insights that are essential as a school moves forward with technology integration. They will become your champions for change if you let them into your adoption process.
- Be willing to pay. There is no such thing as “free” technology. Do your homework about the technology company you are interested in and allocate funds on a yearly basis for these resources as needed.
Above all, enjoy the journey in upgrading your assessment practices with the help of digital tools. Learning should be an exciting and rewarding experience for everyone involved in the process.