I spent the day working with educators who are developing their own learning portfolios, before we embark on a journey of students going through the same process. I truly believe that why digital portfolios have failed in so many places is that we are encouraging educators to teach them without learning how to do them first. This, to me, is the equivalent of someone teaching math who has never learned math. Though this process might be slower and not have students going through the process as quickly, it is the idea of going slow to move fast. The depth of this project can be much deeper if educators think of the process from the point of the view of a learner, not the teacher. Not only do these “blog-portfolios” help with educators understand the process through the viewpoint of a learner, it also helps in the following ways:
- Consistent focus on their own teaching and learning practices.
- Understanding how to develop their own digital footprint.
- Possibly creating future opportunities for teachers to write and present.
- Shared practices that help elevate teaching as a whole.
As we talked about this process, we discussed the idea of both “learning” and “showcase” portfolios. A “showcase” focuses on your “best stuff”, where learning shows growth over time. I often find the notion of a learning portfolio is one that people struggle with because the growth in a year might be harder to see, so I showed them, what in my opinion, is part of the potential of a learning portfolio. This link, “Artist Shows His Progression From 2 Years Old To 28“, displays the power of what you can see when you capture learning over time. Check out the samples of work overtime:
Now the picture at 28 is quite amazing, but when you see it compared to where the same artist was earlier, it becomes much more powerful. Yet this powerful learning journey has often been stored in our head, or been shown mostly in the form of numbers.
Showing growth over time helps us appreciate not only where learners are at, but where they have come from, which is something that we need to put more of an emphasis on in education.