Lately I have been working with two schools setting up e-portfolios. At one school we used Google Apps. This was a small rural school and I had some concerns about connectivity but it all seems to be working. We set up a class site with list of names linking to individual student pages, each password protected. To do this all students needed an email address of their own. This was also set up in Google Apps. The idea is that each student in the class can upload examples of their work and write their own reflection on their learning. There is an emphasis on process rather than product with students taking charge of their next learning steps in partnership with the teacher. It was a relatively easy set up and appears to be working well.
At the next school we set up e-portfolios using Wikispaces for educators. Each childs name was set up in the side menu and linked to their own wiki pages. Again the idea is to engage in student reflections on their learning and posting their work on the site. Each page is password protected using the code script which Lenva Shearing has provided on her fantastic site
It is a wonderful learning experience for the students as well as keeping parents and caregivers up to date with their student's learning however I do have some reservations in that some students do not have access to the Internet at home and may be disadvantaged by this. This could be alleviated by having access to school computers for parents before or after school. There is also free Internet access now in most public libraries so I guess if they really want to see the portfolios there are ways and means.
I would like to see the students taking charge of their own pages and provided with specific times for this under the supervision of the teacher - not having this as extra work for the teacher to complete. It will require time for students to learn how to upload and work within a web space, however most students are more conversant with this than the teachers! I see it working with year 5 upwards. I have seen some interesting ones set up through Knowledge Net but many schools can't afford this option. I would love to see how other schools are developing e-portfolios using the free software out there!