Back in 1999, I thought we were high tech by giving our students their projects on floppies or thumb drives. This just provided evidence, not actual collaboration or voice. The students just plopped their findings into a rubric that we prepared for them. There was no true ownership and not much creativity. The teachers provided feedback the old fashioned way with a grade, but no electronic feedback was recorded. At least we did integrate technology by teaching a new way to use and develop tech skills.
I read an interesting article on Flipboard by George Couros this morning. He emphasizes that people will find a way to use technology if they are truly invested and interested in learning. We must show people how to find that technology instead of focusing on teaching the technology. Isn’t this true ownership of a project or learning itself?
Proponents for ePortfolios encourage reflecting on personal projects instead of reflecting on data. We are encouraged to tell stories through ePortfolios to generate true creativity. Telling stories also create deeper learning. This reminds me of the COSTA model that our school has adopted. I’m extremely interested in reaching the “imagine” level in level 3 – Applying Critical Thinking Skills.
I’m really excited to help my students create their own ePortfolios. I think this process will foster thinking, growth, and creativity. Not only will there be an electronic tool to showcase projects, but also a place for prospective employers and prospective universities to view the students’ growth. As a teacher, I think an ePortfolio is a great way to get to know my students as well as a great pre-assessment tool for students that I’ll teach in the future. We should be able to determine a student’s ability to think, communicate, and solve problems. I can view the ePortfolio and decide which skills need to be re-taught and which skills are already mastered. I think ePortfolios will also build relationships with my students and build relationships with teachers. I would love to see math or science projects that my students have created!
Finally, my views on owning the portfolio are mixed. I think the student needs to have complete ownership. I don’t know how well the public school system will welcome students owning their own .com. Most school districts have firewalls to keep students from posting on social media. Unfortunately, most blog sites are blocked as well.
The key to making this work is communication – with campus administrators, network administrators, and co-workers throughout the district. There will always be pros and cons for any new venture. We’ve just got to do what is best for all students.