Webfolio: Secure Digital Portfolio for Early Childhood Education
Willian de Oliveira Silva
1 a
, Arlete Teresinha Beuren
1 b
, Cristina Mesquita
2 c
and Rui Pedro Lopes
3,4 d
Federal University of Technology, Santa Helena, Paran
a, Brazil
Research Center in Basic Education, Instituto Polit
ecnico de Braganc¸a, Braganc¸a, Portugal
Research Center in Digitalization and Intelligent Robotics, Instituto Polit
ecnico de Braganc¸a, Braganc¸a, Portugal
Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro, University of Aveiro, Portugal
Portfolio, Observation, Interface, Web Development, Early Childhood Education.
In early childhood education, there are several techniques to understand children’s development in kinder-
garten. One of these techniques is based on Portfolios that, in early childhood education, allows the under-
standing of the progress of the child, allowing a shared reflection with the child, teachers, and the child’s
parents towards the understanding on the child’s learning process. The work described in this paper has as its
main objective the development of a web application, which allows support for the construction of a platform
for the storage and sharing of digital portfolios for early childhood education. In addition, it is intended that
an access control of users be made so that it is possible to manage access to certain portfolios or sub-parts of
them. The system has features such as: creating portfolios, creating notes, and managing user permissions.
After the application was implemented, usability tests were carried out, with the participation of teachers.
Through the techniques and methodologies used, it was possible to create a web tool to aid in the creation of
portfolios for early childhood education, allowing the registering of audio, video, or image files. In addition,
the system allows the sharing of portfolios with different users of the system who, in turn, can perform actions
in the portfolio according to their role in the system.
As Silva (1990) state, early childhood education has
a set of peculiarities that distinguish it from other lev-
els of education and teaching such as: the absence of
an official program managed by the Ministry of Edu-
cation; the pedagogical action based on the organiza-
tion of space and materials as resources for learning,
which are generally arranged by areas of activities
and accessible to children; the kindergarten teacher
considered as a determining factor in the educational
environment, establishing a close relationship with
children, facilitating and regulating the social interac-
tions of the group and mediating the process of learn-
ing and socialization of children; the absence of a
classification-based assessment, valuing the process
of learning over the product.
These characteristics have enabled the pedagog-
ical innovation that this sector of education has
demonstrated over the past decades but, at the same
time, act as constraints to educational action, since
the absence of standards and the lack of uniformity of
criteria in the procedures, particularly with regard to
planning and evaluation processes, mean that kinder-
garten teachers develop practices more by intuition
than based on scientific and pedagogical principles.
Taking child-centered education and the particular
characteristics of early childhood education as a refer-
ence, many educators express distaste for the function
of assessment, even when they are professionals who
are truly committed to their work. The reluctance to
evaluate in early childhood education is often asso-
ciated with the label that a teacher’s value judgment
can have on a child’s schooling, in a period when all
their skills are under construction. Thus, assessment
is considered by many to be “a kind of black spot in
this blue sea that could be the craft of teaching, if
we were excused from performing it” (Rold
ao, 2003,
Taking into account that early childhood edu-
cation preferably value the children’s spontaneous
learning in the interaction with their peers, in the di-
rect action with the materials, in the appropriation that
they make of the space whenever they act on it, and
Silva, W., Beuren, A., Mesquita, C. and Lopes, R.
Webfolio: Secure Digital Portfolio for Early Childhood Education.
DOI: 10.5220/0011051200003182
In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2022) - Volume 2, pages 475-482
ISBN: 978-989-758-562-3; ISSN: 2184-5026
2022 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
that they progressively dominate, in the cooperative
relationship with the educator, the mechanisms of ob-
servation, reflection, even if informally, are present
in the professionals’ action. In order for the process
to make sense, it is important to make it more inten-
tional, it is important that each one of us appropriates
tools for action and analysis that express this inten-
This broad approach to understanding the learn-
ing effectiveness and success in kindergarten leads to
the quest for tools and methodologies that can be used
for both reflect and help teachers improve their action.
In this context, this paper describes a tool for regis-
tering and managing portfolios, supporting acquiring
and storing different types of elements and providing
regulated and secure access to these data. The tool
should be accessible anytime, anywhere, so it follows
a web development approach towards a full fledged
web-based application, which we call WebFolio.
This paper is structured in five sections, starting
with this introduction. Section 2 describe some re-
lated work, followed by section 3, that present the
software design and implementation details. Section
4 focus on results and associated discussion and the
paper ends in section 5, with some conclusions.
In agreement with the perspective of Leite and Fer-
nandes (2002), we argue that the existence of mo-
ments of reflection on the work developed helps chil-
dren to understand what knowledge they are building
as well as the means that facilitated their construc-
tion. The awareness of the construction of knowledge
itself, through the reflective act, transforms it into ef-
fective learning. This line of analysis leads us to an-
other broader discussion about the way the curriculum
is structured in early childhood education. Since this
level of education is generalist in nature which advo-
cates the integral development of the child in all areas,
implies that the evaluation process developed by early
childhood educators should not only focus on cogni-
tive knowledge, but on all dimensions of their devel-
opment. In this sense, the choice of assessment in-
struments becomes particularly important, since they
must allow for a comprehensive collection of all ar-
eas of learning, and through mechanisms of self and
heteroreflection help the child to situate himself in all
dimensions of his development.
Our readings (Herbert, 2001; Leite and Fernandes,
2002; Parente, 2004) led us to consider that portfolios
would be an assessment tool that could serve the two
functions stated: help the child to reflect on his/her
own learning process; and provide data on all dimen-
sions of the child’s development.
(Herbert, 2001) states that the portfolio as an as-
sessment tool enables critical reflection and aware-
ness on the part of the child about the work developed
and the entire learning process. He also considers that
what the educator wants is to understand the child’s
development as a whole, stating that occasional ob-
servations of the child’s actions in spontaneous situa-
tions provide a more individualized, and more accu-
rate picture of the child’s growth. The introspections
that children can make, together with the work they
produce and select, can be elements for both their own
and the kindergarten teacher’s evaluation.
This evaluation tool takes as a reference idea that
all actions are potential moments of data collection
that translate into a more globalizing survey of the
child’s path. We accept for this study the elements
found by Parente (2004) in different referencing that:
Assessment portfolios are systematic and
intentional collections of evidence made for
the purpose of demonstrating learning and
progress over time. Understanding the port-
folio solely as a collection of assignments is
a failure both from the standpoint of the con-
cept and from the standpoint of its potential,
hence the importance of reflection and selec-
tion throughout the process. The goals under-
lying the process of selecting work or select-
ing evidence transform the portfolio of work
into a portfolio with evidence and with re-
flections on the child’s goals, objectives, and
It is in this sense, that we believe that the func-
tions and processes of implementation of portfolios
should be very well understood. This statement im-
plies that early childhood educators must have the
courage to break away from the educational stereo-
types that underlie some of their of their practices and
to organize their work in ways that favor the child’s
learning, by themselves, with adequate resources and
tasks that help them that help them build new knowl-
edge, through discovery and and problematizing the
way they acquire this knowledge.
In contrast with other education levels, where
Learning Management Systems (LMS) (Leone et al.,
2020; Tenorio et al., 2018; Ten
orio et al., 2018), even
if supported with virtual assistants (Gubareva and
Lopes, 2020), are the standard tools to support record-
ing and assessing students progress, these tools are
not in use in early childhood education.
To assist in recording the development of children
in early childhood education, the portfolio includes a
CSEDU 2022 - 14th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
collection of items and information that illustrate and
represent the different aspects of the development of
the child Shores (2001). It supports the child’s educa-
tion, enabling the reflection of themselves, teachers,
and parents, helping them to understand the develop-
ment process and allowing them to keep a record that
can serve as a basis for the continuity of the work even
if by another teacher Neves and Moro (2013). Typi-
cally, portfolios are physical files of objects, including
text, images, collages, photographs, or videos. These,
due to their characteristics, do not allow easy access
to parents or the community, as it would be necessary
to be physically close to being able to explore and
understand it. Digital portfolios, on the other hand,
allow to store observations, comments, videos, pho-
tographs, and children’s work, as a basis for peda-
gogical documentation. Thus, the development of a
safe and free platform for the national community of
kindergarten teachers is of great importance.
In the approach of Mesquita and Lopes (2013), a
method for recording child monitoring observations
in a mobile application is presented. This observation
can store data such as text, images, video, and audio,
contributing to creating an electronic portfolio using
a smartphone or tablet.
Childdiary (2021) is a web-based platform devel-
oped for creating portfolios, examining recording rou-
tines, managing children on waiting lists, parental in-
volvement through individual messages, and sharing
documents and invitations to meetings. The system
has access via computer, tablet, and mobile phone,
however, its free use is limited. Functionalities such
as the number of teachers who can access the system,
maximum number of children, reports, and visibility
for Management or Coordination are examples of lim-
ited resources in the system.
In the SeeSaw application, it is possible to cre-
ate digital portfolios containing text, images, and au-
dio, in addition to allowing the export of the file in
PDF format (Seesaw, 2021). The tool can be used
by students to autonomously document what they are
learning, in addition to sharing the portfolio with their
teachers, parents, or peers. However, its free use has
restrictions, limiting features such as class activities
per teacher, creating multiple posters, saving work
as a draft, creating and sharing activities and student
grade-to-grade monitoring portfolios. Moreover, the
platform only supports the English language, with dif-
ficult use in other languages.
In another approach, the EduClipper platform can
be accessed through the web or through the iOS
mobile app Educlipper (2021). It allows creating
and sharing dynamic content, in addition to allowing
recording feedback on children’s tasks. It is also pos-
sible to capture and track the development and per-
formance over time in digital learning portfolios. The
application is free to use and has no paid plans.
Three Ring is an Android or iOS mobile ap-
plication, allowing you to document classroom ac-
tivities, create multimedia portfolios and share with
parents, administrators and other teachers (Santos,
2015). In the application, it is possible to capture
photos, videos, audios, and class notes, in addition
to having unlimited storage. The use of the platform
is free.
Easy Portfolio is an application for mobile iOS
and Mobile and does not have a free version (Port-
folio, 2021). In the tool, students and teachers can
capture and share their work, such as photos, videos,
audio and music recordings, web addresses, digital
documents, creating a digital portfolio.
Most of these tools focus on individual use, with
most of the features associated with storage and orga-
nizing. As stated above, on important role of portfo-
lios for early childhood education is to stimulate re-
flection on the child progress among all the actors:
parents, children, teachers and staff. For that, collab-
oration is essential, while maintaining a secure envi-
ronment (Lopes and Mesquita-Pires, 2014).
The architecture follows the guidelines for web appli-
cations, with three tiers (Figure 1).
Figure 1: WebFolio architecture.
The database is document oriented, based on
MongoDB. The access is performed, exclusively
through the Web Backend, that exports its function-
ality through a REST API to both Web and mobile
3.1 Analysis
The guidelines for the functionality arise from the use
The “Login” use case allows any authenticated
user to access the system. To log in it is necessary
to enter the user’s email and password. Then, it is
Webfolio: Secure Digital Portfolio for Early Childhood Education
checked whether the data entered is registered in the
application’s database, otherwise, the login is not per-
formed. The “Create Account” use case can be per-
formed by any user to create an account in the ap-
plication. The user must provide the information of
email, name, password, and educational institution to
which he belongs. If the email is already registered in
the application, the account creation is not performed.
The “Recover Password” use case allows users to re-
cover and change their password. The user must en-
ter the email so that a password recovery message is
sent. After that, it is possible to change the access
password. The “Logout” use case is associated with
all users who accessed the application
The “Update Profile” use case is associated with
any user logged into the system. This allows users
to make changes to their profile and to change infor-
mation such as name, email, institution, and profile
picture. It is also possible to change the passwordThe
“Portfolio View” use case is available to any user in
the system, as long as he has adequate permissions.
Whenever a request is made to view the portfolio, the
“Verify Access Permissions” use case is activated to
authenticate this user’s entry to view the portfolio. In
addition, it is always checked by the use case “Ver-
ify User is Authenticated to the System” so that the
user can continue to use the application. If the user is
not authenticated in the application, he will be auto-
matically redirected to the login page to log in again.
The use case “Update Portfolio” is associated with
the role “Child”, which allows the user of this type
to change the information in their portfolio, such as
name, age, group, or institution. The “Manage Obser-
vation” use case is associated with the actors of the
“Manager” role in the system. This use case allows
managers the operations of creating, changing, view-
ing, and deleting observations from a portfolio. The
Allow Access” use case is associated with the actors
of the “Teacher” role, which allows another user to
access a specific portfolio. The user must enter the
email of the other user in which he wants to allow ac-
cess to the portfolio.
The “Manage Portfolio” use case is associated
with the actors of the “Teacher” role, which allows
teachers to create, change, view, and delete portfo-
lio operations. To create a portfolio it is necessary to
enter information such as the child’s name, age, and
group to which he or she belongs. The “Update Role”
use case is associated with the actors of the role Ad-
ministrator”. The use case allows the user of the Ad-
ministrator” role to change the role of another user, so
that he can have more options for activities and func-
tionalities within the system, such as creating new
observations or portfolios. The Associate Portfolio”
use case is associated with actors of the Administra-
tor” type, in which it associates portfolios with users
so that you can view, change, or delete a portfolio or
observation according to the user’s role.
The information stored in the database is structure
in five entities (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Webfolio Application Class Diagram.
The User token class is used to recover the user’s
password in the application. The user, after obtain-
ing the token, is allowed to create a new password to
log into the application. The relationship shows that
a user can have more than one token created for pass-
word recovery. The Portfolio class can contain many
Observations, while each Observation can only be as-
sociated with only one portfolio.
The Observation class can contain many Files
while a File can only be associated with one Obser-
vation. The User class has user identification, name,
password, avatar, email, and institution. In addition,
the user has the create portfolio methods, indicating
that the user can create portfolios in the application,
create observation, that allows the user to create ob-
servations in the system, update profile, allows the
user to change their information on the system, re-
cover password, allow the user retrieve the user pass-
word if he lost it.
The Portfolio class has the attributes of identifi-
cation of the portfolio, child’s name, age, institution,
age of the teacher who created the portfolio, and fi-
nally its access permissions. The Observation class
has the observation identification attributes, observa-
tion title, activity description, observation date, ob-
servation files, and notes, which can refer to a child’s
particular performance during an activity. The File
class contains the information needed to store the file
size, its name, and path to access the file.
Even though a portfolio is linked to a user, it can
still be accessed by other users, as long as those users
are on your whitelist. However, the portfolio has only
one creator user of this respective portfolio.
CSEDU 2022 - 14th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
3.2 Implementation Details
To establish communication between clients and the
application, a RESTful API was developed. Ac-
cess control is performed through JSON Web Token
(JWT) authentication, which is generated after the
user logs into the system.
Some routes, in addition to requiring authentica-
tion tokens, also require a certain level of permission
on the system. To update a user’s information, for ex-
ample, the user who initiated the request must be a
user holding the “Administrator” role.
To prevent distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
attacks, the Express rate limit tool was added to the
application. It saves the Internet Protocol (IP) address
of each user who accesses the application in memory
(Redis, 2021). Along with the IP, the timestamp in
which the access is made is also saved, to attempt to
deny this user’s access or not and thus prevent an at-
The front-end Web application was developed in Re-
act with TypeScript, aiming at simplicity and user
friendly experience (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Application login page interface.
For the Dashboard page (Figure 4), an option for
system administrator was added to the menu, which
can only be seen by users who have the title of Ad-
ministrator”, to access exclusive resources for admin-
istrators. In addition, when there is more than one
user-created portfolio, a new button is added to the
page, called “Create Observation for Room”, which
allows the user to create an observation for more than
one child at a time. To facilitate access to a child’s
portfolio information, the name and or form can be
clicked on to access the chosen child’s portfolio. The
portfolio table filter can be used to help search for a
specific portfolio, thus optimizing the search for port-
folios in the system.
Portfolios are colored differently to differentiate
Figure 4: Application Dashboard Page Interface.
their permissions. In the table, the ballot that has a
green color indicates that the portfolio was created
by the user logged into the system, this portfolio has
three icon options, in which the first icon is related to
the functionality to update the portfolio, the second
icon has the functionality to redirect the user to the
portfolio page, for its full view, and the third and last
icon has the functionality to redirect the user to the in-
vite another user page so that that other user can view
this portfolio. The ballot in the table that has a pink
color indicates that the user was invited by email to
view the portfolio, so this table contains only an icon
with the functionality to direct the user to the portfo-
lio page. The purple ballot indicates that the user has
been associated with a portfolio through an adminis-
trator action, as this user also has teacher permissions,
he can edit, view, or invite another user through the
available icons.
In the interface to create a portfolio (Figure 5),
placeholders were included to help the user to know
what information is needed in the field to be filled out.
The interface to update portfolio has an extra field on
the form, in case the child has changed institution.
The update portfolio interface also has the informa-
tion fetched from the application’s database, the in-
formation of the chosen portfolio, when clicking the
confirm alterations button, the portfolio information
is updated. For practical reasons, a button to return
to the main page, which is located above the title, has
been added to these pages.
On the portfolio page, the observations have been
subtitled to help identify the child’s activity (Figure
6). Through the use of libraries such as “react-audio-
player” and “react-player” it was possible to play files
such as audio, video, and images.
To record a new observation, markers were also
added to assist the user in filling in the fields. To cre-
ate an observation, it is necessary to fill in at least
some field on the form, which has the observation
title, description, observation data, notes, and child
evaluation fields, while an interface of the update ob-
servation page works similar to the page of update
Webfolio: Secure Digital Portfolio for Early Childhood Education
Figure 5: Application Portfolio Create Page Interface.
Figure 6: Application portfolio page interface.
portfolio, in which it brings all the information from
the observation to its information update. The form
has all the information to create an observation for a
group, except for the grades and evaluation, as it is ex-
clusive information for that child, however, the form
contains a new Selectable field to search for a spe-
cific group in the application, allowing you to choose
which children participated in the observation (Figure
In the interface of the profile page, the user can
change the name, email, or institution without having
to change the password. If it is necessary to update
the password, the old password must be types, along
with the new password, and the confirmation of the
new password (Figure 8).
The portfolio association page contains all portfo-
lios created at the institution. The table contains infor-
mation about the portfolio such as the child’s name,
group, age and contains three options, in which the
first icon indicates associating the user with that port-
folio, the second icon indicates removing the user’s
association with that portfolio and the third icon indi-
cates to delete the application portfolio (Figure 9).
To solve the responsiveness of the system’s layout,
Media Queries was used to adapt the use of the appli-
cation on mobile phones, so that all navigation in the
Figure 7: Chosen group checkbox.
Figure 8: User profile page interface in the system.
Figure 9: Portfolio association page interface in application.
system can also be done by mobile phone. For the lo-
gin and user registration pages the content on the page
was limited to contain only the application logo and
the form for entering user information (Figure 10).
CSEDU 2022 - 14th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
Figure 10: Mobile version user registration login pages.
For the mobile version dashboard page, the but-
tons to create a portfolio and create observation for
the class were replaced by buttons with icons to main-
tain the application’s default layout.
For all forms of the system in the mobile version,
there were no changes in their content, there was only
content resizing to maintain the standard layout of
pages that have these forms. The administration page
and the portfolio association page only had changes
in their presentation, in which the portfolio icons and
information are now displayed in block.
Considering that the main objective of this work was
based on the development of a web tool to aid in
the creation of a portfolio for early childhood edu-
cation, allowing the organization and management of
different types of content, the application proved to be
useful and ready to use. Furthermore, it is expected
that the tool allows users to have different roles to
be played in the application and that there is also a
method of managing them. It is expected that the ap-
plication can help and facilitate the process of learn-
ing in kindergartens. The most important requirement
was the security assurance and, for that authentica-
tion and access control at resource level was imple-
mented, which requires a very flexible and efficient
mechanism to verify access permissions. For future
work, a functionality is suggested to hide the display
of an observation of a portfolio that is not yet com-
plete, apply internationalization in the application to
allow the application to be used in other languages,
and the use of tools to evaluate and prevent files sent
to the application that contains inappropriate content
for viewing or reproduction. It is also necessary to
perform in context test, with teachers, children and
This work has been supported by FCT Fundac¸
para a Ci
encia e Tecnologia within the Project Scope:
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