My Public Diary
What is an Eportfolio and Who Owns it?
An eportfolio is an electronic account of what I have done, want to do, and what I believe – and I own it – every word of it…or at least, I should. Wow! There, I said it. That’s what an eportfolio really means to me. It’s like having a diary and leaving it open in the break-room. What if someone objects? What if my beliefs rub my co-workers, or worse, my boss the wrong way? I guess we’ll find out. My eportfolio, currently in its infancy, will be a collection of ideas and experiences I have either used or created lately.
I attest to the usefulness of the apps I post, and the dialog I maintain about my personal experiences as teacher, trainer, and technology director. For me, the eportfolio holds history about my work,which I can reflect upon and either change my course or remain stead-fast. But there is a downside about eportfolios worth mentioning. Again, I take ownership of this opinion since it sits on my blog.
The personal opinions, ideas and beliefs found in an eportfolio are just that, not to be confused with quantifiable fact, nor can they portray completely the knowledge and abilities of their creator.
Several years ago I began following a few bloggers who posted on topics about technology education. They were simply bloggers back then. (Eportfolios pose to be richer in nature, stacked with evidence of one’s actual skills and tangible accomplishments.) These thought leaders stay above the fray with their ideas on approved topics like “How to get buy-in when teaching tech to teachers”, and “The best iPad apps for elementary classrooms”.
I also found the occasional blogger whose posts ruffled my feathers. I was drawn to read them and came back for more only to smolder in the thought that these writers might be on to something, as they rocked the educational boat. Topics like “Too much tech to handle” and “Kids have no freedom to learn in schools” seemed so much more inviting to me. These aren’t the actual post names of course, but you get the idea.
Over time my interest in communicating online rose and the opportunity to create an eportfolio presented itself. I liked the idea of being able to add my voice in support or disagreement. In the past few months I have been gadding about the internet creating my personal communication space. Now, I must decide what to do with this creative outlet. What purpose will it serve? How can I use this space to make a difference, and grow, personally?
I’m very fortunate to hold a leadership position in which I introduce new teaching and learning strategies to novice and seasoned teachers. My eportfolio may be just the right tool for saving my great ideas, and recording my colossal failures. But does it showcase my true skills? No.
I find it challenging to use this platform as the be-all for my professional experience because my best work isn’t quantitative. It’s nearly impossible to express what makes my work successful except through these words. What an eportfolio is not, what it can’t capture is an account of my overall ability as a leader in my school, in my community, and as a change agent in the learning process of those whose lives intercept my own.
I have yet to find any app, You Tube video or reported link that describes the technique I use to tactfully connect people to processes, reassure new teachers their ideas matter, and respect the experience of my elders when they resist change, which is inevitable.
So for the moment, until I discover better ways, I will use this space to share my ideas, what I have done, hope to do and my personal thoughts about my real work. Perhaps an eportfolio created by someone else will look very different, and serve a different purpose. I must stay true to what I believe will help me grow as an educator. To me, the point of an eportfolio is less about the tech tools I communicate about or through, and more about the relationships I build because of them.