Through Conserve School’s e-portfolio system, students record and reflect on their academic and extracurricular activities in order to enhance their overall Conserve School experience. Academic research shows that reflection and self-assessment — often referred to in educational literature as “metacognition” — are powerful tools for improving student learning, and that e-portfolios are particularly effective in eliciting and guiding this self-reflection. (See scholarly sources that support the use of student self-reflection and self-evaluation to enhance academic achievement here and here.) By reflecting on and writing about their schoolwork and activities while attending Conserve School, students become more thoughtful and intentional about putting their newly acquired knowledge and skills to good use. Creating an e-portfolio encourages Conserve School students to engage in higher-level thinking at a critical developmental phase, when they are deciding who they will become as adults and making choices that influence the rest of their lives.
In addition to promoting personal growth, creating e-portfolios at Conserve School helps prepare students for college and careers. Students can use e-portfolios as material for college applications, and Conserve recognizes outstanding e-portfolios with college scholarships. In addition, Conserve’s e-portfolio requirement parallels the e-portfolio expectations that more and more colleges are adding to their academic programs. Click here to see one example, from Clemson University. Finally, the professional world uses technology routinely to showcase achievements, products, and services, so by teaching Conserve students how to assemble an online portfolio, we’re giving them a boost on their way to developing the skills and outlook of professionals.
Conserve School e-portfolios are published within the school’s Google Apps for Education domain. They allow students to store their memories online in a way that is easy to access both for friends or family members while students are away from home, and for themselves once they leave Conserve School. For confidentiality, e-portfolios are initially set up to be accessible only by members of the Conserve School community. Students can choose to share their e-portfolios via an e-mailed link with families and friends, and we encourage them to do so.
~Mary Anna Thornton, Assistant Head of School