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Professional Portfolios


The Professional Portfolio is:

  • A tool for collecting and showing growth and achievement over time
  • An expanded, or multi-dimensional, resume
  • A common requirement for teaching placements
  • A good exercise in self-evaluation

There are two ways of presenting a Professional Teaching Portfolio:

  • A 3-ring binder/notebook-style
  • Electronically, stored on hard drives, Zip disks, websites, or CD-ROM.

Notebook-style Portfolio

Be A Smart Keeper:

  • Keep a large enough box to store portfolio materials for up to a year at a time.
  • Sort through your box at least twice per year.
  • Place in your box items such as printed results of special committee work you participated in.
  • Keep an inexpensive camera with fast film, flash and batteries in the classroom for visual documentation of your work.

Basics of a good portfolio:

  • Essential Components
    • Resumé
    • Educational philosophy and teaching goals
  • Professional Information
    • Unofficial copies of college transcripts
    • Non-credit coursework
    • List of professional development activities, including workshops and conferences attended
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Formal evaluations
  • Documentation of an Extended Teaching Activity
    • Overview of unit goals and instructional plan
    • List of resources used in unit
    • Two different lesson plans, one from your concentration and a unique lesson you taught.
    • Videotape of teaching
    • Samples and evaluation of student work
    • Reflective commentary by the teacher
    • Additional units/lessons/student work as appropriate


  • Keep It Simple:
    • Don’t overload your portfolio with page after page of lengthy text or repetitive photos.
    • Include:
      • Title of the item
      • Date produced
      • Description of the context
  • Be Timely:
    • Review your portfolio at least twice a year.
    • Pencil in changes to your resume at this time so that you can retype an updated version quickly and easily.
  • Make Copies:
    • Where possible, use copies of originals in your portfolio, keeping the originals in a safe place.
  • Make It Clear:
    • Create a custom cover for your portfolio with a three-ring binder with a clear insert on the cover.
    • Use clear plastic page holders inside to keep your pages clean and neat.
  • Keep It Legible:
    • Use a computer to type and print out easy-to-read information sheets or a table of contents.
    • Use 12-point type where possible for easy readability.

Electronic Portfolio*

Why create an electronic portfolio?

  • A portfolio that includes visuals, audio, and video formats can be more dynamic.
  • Information can easily be stored on hard drives, CD-ROM or Zip disks
  • An electronic portfolio is compact, can be easily updated, and can be easily transmitted to potential employers.

Equipment needed:

  • Computer
    • The more RAM, the better!
  • Scanner
    • A color flat-bed scanner is your best choice.
  • Digital Camera
    • Capture video and take single-frame pictures.
    • Close-focus adjustment is best for documenting writing samples.
    • You can also take pictures with your 35mm camera , which can be put onto a CD or scanned.
  • Programs

Multimedia Software Program

    • Consider using HyperStudio, which has the following advantages:
      • Easy to learn and allows the user a great deal of flexibility
      • Quick and easy input of sound, pictures, and video
      • Ability to link to other programs
      • Tools for "drawing" with the mouse
      • Available for both Macintosh and IBM
      • Ability to print to video
    • Other multimedia programs to consider:“HyperCard” and “Digital Chisel”

Web-Authoring Program

    • Off-the-shelf software allows you the freedom to create your own portfolio arrangement
    • Consider using a web-authoring program such as Claris Home Page, Macromedia Authorware or Macromedia Director


  • Step 1 - Get Prepared:
    • Technical skills required for developing an electronic portfolio include:
      • Converting files from any application
      • Scanning/capturing and editing graphic images
      • Digitizing and editing sound files
      • Digitizing and editing video files (VCR to computer)
      • Organizing portfolio artifacts, creating links and buttons
      • Organizing multimedia files and pre-mastering CD-ROM
      • Writing CD-Recordable disc using appropriate CD mastering software
      • Recording computer images with narration to video tape (computer to VCR
  • Step 2 - Plan Ahead:
    • Decide on content of portfolio items (see components of a portfolio (above)
    • Gather multimedia materials to include in the portfolio that represent your growth and achievement
  • Step 3 - Storing the Portfolio as you work on it:
    • Store portfolio artifacts digitally/on the computer during the development stages.
    • Some of the most common ways to store items include:
      • Computer diskette
      • CD-Recordable (CD-R) & CD-ReWritable (CD-RW)
      • Video Tape
      • High density floppy (Zip disk)
      • WWW or Intranet
      • Jaz disk
      • DVD-RAM
  • Step 4 - Create Individual Portolios
    • Open the template you created and enter information
    • Add information:
      • Text
      • Sounds
      • Scanned images
      • Pictures
      • Video
      • Links to other programs
      • Etc.
    • Save to desired location

* For help in creating your electronic portfolio, you might want to consult Digital Portfolios in Teacher Education, by Laurie Mullen, Jodie Britten and Joan McFadden
(Jist Publications, 2005)