Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2017


Slick portfolio tool has cool features, limited feedback options

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts

  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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5 images

Pros: Flexible, attractive interface makes content creation a snap.

Cons: Bare-bones options for teacher feedback; potentially prohibitive cost.

Bottom Line: A neat tool for publishing online, possibly better suited to teacher content creation than student publishing.

Teachers can create their own Bulb collections and pages to share content for a unit or lesson. Assemble a series of primary-source images or articles as pages in a collection, and encourage students to review the pages and respond to them in writing or discussion. Each student also might contribute a page to a teacher-created collection: Consider using this as a way to have many students submit responses that other students can then review and comment on. Alternatively, ask students to create their own pages or collections: Students might use their Bulb collection as a place to show off their work over the course of the year or assemble a series of articles or images on a related topic. 

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Bulb is a website for creating your own digital portfolios. Teachers and students can create their own free accounts and start creating pages (which feature text, images, and other media) and collections (which are groups of pages). The simple content-creation tool allows users to upload images, type, and add links. Finished posts have a slick look with large featured images and limited text on screen. 

The "bulbFree" accounts come with slimmed-down features. Paid bulb accounts cost $9 per student per year: Users can create more groups, and they get more storage and features to attach files and embed webpages. School-level accounts include the same features as the standard paid version, and they're priced at the building or district level. 

Though Bulb's developers tout the site as a portfolio tool, it lacks some of the assessment features that distinguish other portfolio tools available. Teachers and students can comment on each other's pages, but that's about it: There aren't extensive features for tracking students' submissions or offering ongoing feedback or formative assessment. Overall, this is an attractive tool for creating web-based content and sharing it, but look elsewhere for a portfolio tool to help you track and assess students' work. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

These portfolios and collections make bold images stand out, and it's appealing to create pro-looking webpages with only a few clicks. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Publishing features make it easy for students to create and share their own content, but there's limited potential for peer collaboration or teacher feedback beyond a slim commenting feature. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Short videos illustrate the site's potential, and the content creator is straightforward and easy to use. 

Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

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