"You never know beforehand what people are capable of, you have to wait, give it time, it's time that rules, time is our gambling partner on the other side of the table and it holds all the cards of the deck in its hand..." - José Saramago
SATs... ACTs... GPAs... Digital Portfolios? Move over paper and pencil and make room for a different way for students to showcase mastery of content. More and more colleges and Universities are accepting and reviewing student portfolios as part of their admission process.
You don't have to remind me that I am actually an elementary school teacher. My second grade students barely scratch the surface of standardized testing, and are seemingly years and years away from their college careers - if that is the direction they choose for their lives. What I'm telling you is that I think it is so important for people of all ages today to begin creating and fostering a positive online presence. I read a recent blog post published by the Harvard Business Review called "The Perils of Being a Social Media Holdout." Although the article focuses mostly on the business world, several of the reasons for developing an active online presence have a place in education as well. The authors point out that people will be talking about you whether you choose to participate in the conversation or not, that being invisible instantly makes you less credible, and that choosing not to be active online makes you susceptible to the perception of being behind the curve. Do I want this for my students? No.
I digress. Last year I embarked on a "new" adventure with my students. I used Weebly to create a page for each of my students and had them blog and begin documenting their work. Now that the year is over, I have had time to reflect on the process. When I first began having my students blog, I didn't quite know why. I know we should always begin with the why... I didn't. I began with an idea that I knew was a good one, but I just wasn't quite clear on the reason behind why it was so good. Now I know. I know that, among other things, blogging gives my students a voice and an authentic writing atmosphere. I also know that digital portfolios allow my students to gain confidence while working towards a goal, it shows proof of growth, and it allows them to reflect on their work. If you need help creating student Weebly pages, please view the screencast on THIS page (you'll have to scroll down a bit).
Now that I know why I want my students to blog and keep ePortfolios, I will make some changes for next year. I will help my students become successful, responsible, 21st Century citizens.
How will you do the same?
My name is Carrie Gaffney. Someone once asked me a question that remains in the back of my mind and helps to shape my life: "How will you be remarkable?" I am continuously trying to discover new ways to answer that question.