Tag Archives: e-portfolios

Glow Blogs e-Portfolios Plugin, getting to 1.0⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

On Tuesday this week we released the Glow Blogs e-Portfolio plugin

The biggest reason for creation of a blogs in the Glow Blogs system has be e-Portfolios. There are 10s of thousands in the system. Until now the system used was based on one of 60 different e-Portfolio themes created by Alex Duff during his time at Education Scotland.

The old system had a couple of problems, firstly the creation of blogs was time consuming due to the way the old Glow Blogs were hooked into SharePoint, secondly the themes all needed maintenance and updating. This maintenance would be expensive as the 60 themes were all different. The amount of development and testing would have needed more resource and time than we have available. The first problem was solved when the blogs were decoupled from Sharepoint in October last year. The e-Portfolio plugin solves the second.

Early on in our planning of the new WordPress blogs in glow and the migration of the old plots we decided that the best way to tackle this was to move away from theme based e-Portfolios to ones based on a plugin.

This plugin would produce profiles from posts that were added to the blog. The profile is really the only way that the e-portfolio blogs differ from a standard blog.

Initially our thoughts were to separate the e-Portfolios and other blogs onto two different instances of WordPress with different functionality. At the start of development it became apparent that this would be both technically difficult and would risk loss or damage to the data in the system. As we got nearer to the old system being shut down it was decided that the e-Portfolios would be developed in a future phase after the initial migration and upgrade to the WordPress software.

During this time we did develop the requirements for a new system, and over the past year I’ve discussed these plans with a lot of our stakeholders. The requirements were put together and rationalised beautifully by Sonali Nakhate who was first the business analyst and then project manager for Glow Blogs.

We finally had space and time to start developing the e-Portfolio solution and Stephen Harris was brought into the team to carry out the development. Stephen took our ideas and turned then into an elegant solution that fits in seamlessly with the WordPress backend. For example on the profile creation screen you can reorder the sections of the profile by drag and drop. You can also tab through the sections and use the arrow keys to move the sections up and down.1

Running along side this development and feeding off the requirements was the creation of a test plan. David Orr and Grant Hutton from the Glow test team planned to test all of the new functionality and equally importantly that the new features does not break any of the old ones. As development finished the test team fed back and the odd bug were found and squashed. It is testimony to Stephen that the testing took less time than planned allowing us to get to release ahead of schedule.

The development and test teams are coordinated and run by Geoff Turnbull Glow’s technical architect, Geoff also fed into all aspects of the blog requirements gathering and development from the start. Many other members of the Glow team fed into the process along with colleagues from the digital directorate and other parts of Government (procurement, security and more). All of the blog team are also involved in other parts of the Glow program too.

There are still two other phases of e-Portfolio work planned, the adding of class sets to user mange to and a way for teachers to easily see activity from the pupils they are working with without having to visit individual sites to check for activity. I am look forward to watching these developments from a bit further off as my secondment finishes at the end of this month.

One of the most interesting and enjoyable parts of my secondment has been the chance to work in the blog team alongside these folk who both understand their respective jobs and how they fit together. In the past when I started blogging and podcasting with my pupils I hashed and bashed my way through the technicalities, it has been delightful to see the way this can be done well at scale.

We are developing some help for the e-Portfolio plugin on the glow blog help site.

I think the biggest smile I’ve had on my face in the last couple of years was on first seeing this page.

Featured image: Team Working Flickr by Mauro Public Domain.

e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 2⤴



East Renfrewshire logoIn June 2011, two of East Renfrewshire’s clusters worked with their pupils to create e-portfolios using Glow Blogs. This involved Eastwood High School, St Ninian’s High School and their associated primary schools. At the start of the 2011-12 academic session, the other five Secondary clusters did the same. Part 1 of this cookbook covers the background to this and the set up process for the e-portfolios.

Here in part 2, we focus on the use of the e-portfolios and the plans that one school has for this.


The schools in East Renfrewshire are using e-portfolios as part of their adoption of the recommendations in Building the Curriculum 5, and whilst every school in the local authority is following the same basic adoption principles, each school has its own specific plans for implementation and use. This cookbook highlights the plans of one of these schools.

Crookfur Primary School

Crookfur Primary is one of the schools in the Eastwood High cluster.

Gillian Graham is Depute Headteacher in Crookfur and has responsibility for implementing the e-portfolios. Supported by the National Glow Team, the school created e-portfolios with all of their Primary 6 and Primary 7 classes. Building on this, Gillian then worked with the Primary 5 classes to do the same.

Gillian has been taking part in the Education Scotland pilot group for Pupil Profiles and when introduced to the e-portfolios, immediately saw a way to link them with the pupil profiles.

Working with staff and Headteacher Fiona Loudon, Gillian developed the format of the profile document that the P7 pupils in Crookfur Primary will complete. This document will contain the pupil’s reflections on their learning, their progress through the curricular areas, information on achievements across learning plus a section for parental comment on their child’s progress.

In ICT time, pupils add information to their e-portfolios about their weekly achievements, to build a permanent record throughout the year. This will be used at the end of the year to help pupils complete their profiles. These will then be attached to their e-portfolios.

Staff can access each pupil’s e-portfolio and comment on the posts that pupils write and parents can view the e-portfolios when their child logs in to Glow at home to show them.

In the following audio clips, Gillian Graham explains Crookfur Primary’s plans for use the e-portfolios:

Who will be using the e-portfolios and why (0:41)
Gillian Graham – who will use e-portfolios and why

Use of e-portfolios and Pupil Profiles (0:51)
Gillian Graham: Pupil Profiles


 In the following video, we’ll look at one pupil’s e-portfolio and how they have included their pupil profile in it.

Pupil profile in their e-portfolio (8:10)
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 2

You can also view a sample of the pupil profile document being used in Crookfur Primary in the following attachment:  You can also view a sample of the pupil profile document being used in Crookfur Primary in the following attachment:    Pupil’s primary 7 Profile


In order for pupils to be able to attach their profile to their e-portfolio, they first had to learn how to add content to their blog. The Crookfur pupils learned the same things as the pupils in all of the East Renfrewshire schools.

This included:

–          Adding information about themselves on the blog’s welcome page

–          Learning how to use the Blog Dashboard to write a post and edit it

–          Finding out how to categorise and tag a post

–          Learning how to attach documents and images to blog post

Pupils were also shown how teachers can comment on posts and how they can then read those comments and reply.


Learn in the following videos how to do the things listed above:

How to set up the ‘All about me’ welcome page (8:48)
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 2
How to use the blog dashboard to write a post, categorise and tag it (9:54)
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 2
How to attach a document to a post (6:10)
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 2
How to add an image to a post (8:38)
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 2
How teachers access a pupil’s e-portfolio and add comments to it (7:11)
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 2

One additional thing which pupils did, to give ease of access to their e-portfolio, was to create a button on their Glow Light screen to take them straight to their e-portfolio. Find out how to do this in the following video:

How to create an e-portfolio button on the Glow Light screen (3:39)
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 2


Each of the schools in East Renfrewshire plans to use the pupil e-portfolios in different ways and so the impact will be different for each.  

In the following audio clip, Gillian Graham gives her thoughts on the benefits of using e-portfolios, including access from home and parental access:


Benefits of using the e-portfolio (1:16)
Gillian Graham: Benefits of e-portfolios


Ninian’s High School:
Josef Fuchs is Principal Teacher of Development at St Ninian’s High School in Giffnock. He has been heavily involved in the implementation of the pupil e-portfolios there and commented on the benefits that he and the school see for their usage:

 “E-portfolios allow our pupils to keep an online record of their progress and achievements throughout their school life.  These records can be categorized into achievements and/or curricular areas.  Pupils post updates on their progress and achievements, also being able to attach media files such as photos to evidence these. 

As these can be updated continually, this record is a much fuller account of their experiences than if completed as a paper exercise termly or annually which was the previous method. 

We have a strong emphasis on pupils being responsible for updating their own e-portfolios regularly.  Staff across the school encourage pupils to add in for example test scores, extra curricular activity involvement and achievements such as awards gained.  School staff can easily view and comment on pupils e-portfolios at any time although we plan to timetable a formal review on a termly basis. Another use is that we can make resources available, for example PE fitness test scores and Home Economics Food Diaries that pupils copy and paste into their e-portfolio and then fill in the answers online, allowing pupils and staff to access these.  It also removes the ability to lose them while also saving paper and filing space. We believe these to be invaluable as we prepare our pupils for the next stage in their lives. 
The benefits include:

  • Giving pupils the necessary communication tools to use in the world which is becoming more and more digitalised. 
  • Preparing pupils for using e-portfolios at further/higher education level and beyond in many professions such as Medicine, Dentistry and Law.
  • Encouraging pupils to be self reflective, important in many professions such as Teaching and Nursing.”


These comments reflect the impact on just two of the schools involved in the implementation of e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire. There are many other benefits being enjoyed across all of the schools.

Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 1⤴



East Renfrewshire logoIn June 2011, just before the end of term, two of the East Renfrewshire clusters worked with their pupils to create e-portfolios using Glow Blogs. This involved Eastwood High School, St Ninian’s High School and their associated primary schools. In the secondary schools, every S1 pupil (the new S2 cohort) created an e-portfolio and in the primaries, every P7 pupil did so, in preparation for their transition to high school. In many of the primaries, the P6 pupils also created e-portfolios for use in P7 and beyond.


BTC 5In line with Building the Curriculum 5: A Framework for Assessment (BTC5) , the Assessment Team in East Renfrewshire was keen to ensure that all schools are providing opportunity for pupils to reflect on their learning, evaluate it and record evidence of what they have achieved, both in school and outwith. They felt it to be essential that there was a consistent approach across all schools in the local authority. This approach is encouraged in BTC 5:

“It is important that shared standards and expectations should apply among the primary schools in a cluster and across departments in secondaries. Transition will be greatly assisted by sharing ideas across sectors.”

To help ensure consistency, staff from East Renfrewshire contacted the National Glow Team to enquire about the possibility of having a custom-built Glow Blog theme created for their e-portfolios. This was readily agreed to and a theme reflecting the East Renfrewshire priorities was created. The theme incorporates an image for the header, widgets, categories and three ready-made pages. This can be seen in the ‘how to’ videos later.

Creating the e-portfolios

Members of the National Glow Team worked with staff and pupils in all of the Eastwood and St Ninian’s cluster schools to create the e-portfolios.

Each pupil created a Glow Group in their My Glow area and into that Group they added a Glow Blog. It is the Glow Blog that is used as their e-portfolio. All staff were made members of the Glow Group where the blog lives. This membership alone, however, does not enable them to access the e-portfolio. Since no one can access another user’s My Glow area, pupils additionally had to provide staff with a link to their blog. This link to the view of the blog was added to a web links web part in a school e-portfolio Glow Group. This Group had been created ahead of time in preparation for the pupil sessions.

Pupils learned how to add content to their blog by writing posts, categorising and tagging them, adding media such as images and attaching documents. They also learned how staff can comment on the posts and where they can then access those comments from.


In preparation for the pupils creating their e-portfolios, each school had to do some work in advance. This involved them creating a Glow Group to host links to the pupil e-portfolios. They also had to ensure that both Glow Light and Glow Blogs were switched on for all pupils. (This task is done by the school or local authority Accounts and Services Manager – ASM)

During the pupil sessions, the pupils required the following:

– To have Glow Light enabled

– Create a Glow Group in their My Glow area

– Add the Glow Blog web part to their Group and create a Blog

–  Add teachers and non-teaching staff as administrators of the Glow Group Note: One of the reasons that  (Administrator access is recommended so that any comments left by staff on the pupil’s blog are automatically published. If, for example, staff are given Contributor rights, they can still access and interact with the pupil’s blog but their initial comments would have to be approved by the pupil before they are displayed)

– Put a link to their Blog into the school e-portfolio Group to enable staff to access it

– Carry out some ‘admin’ on their blog – apply the Local Authority theme; delete the default post; delete one of the pages; set a static welcome page and a page to display latest posts

– Add information about themselves to their welcome page

– Learn how to use the Blog Dashboard to write a post


The following videos explain the process that the pupils went through to create their e-portfolios, as well as looking at the preparatory work the schools did to create the Glow Group to host the links to the pupil e-portfolios.

Step 0 (for staff) – How to create a school Glow Group to host links to pupil e-portfolios
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 1
Step 1 – How a pupil creates a Glow Group in their My Glow
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 1
Step 2 – How a pupil creates their Glow Blog
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 1
Step 3 – How a pupil adds staff as members of their Glow Group
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 1
Step 4- How a pupil adds a link to their blog into the school e-portfolio Glow Group
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 1
Step 5 – How a pupil uses the Blog Dashboard to apply the local authority theme and customise it
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 1

The following video covers the whole process for steps 1-5 above. There is slightly less explanation than in the separate videos but the video provides a good overview of the entire process:

The whole process for pupils creating their e-portfolio
e-portfolios in East Renfrewshire – Part 1

For videos on how to add content to the blog, see part 2 of this cookbook.


Each of the schools in East Renfrewshire plans to use the pupil e-portfolios in different ways, depending on their particular focus. Part 2 of this cookbook looks at the plans for two of the schools and discusses the impact they hope the e-portfolios will have.

Rating: 4.5/5 (6 votes cast)