Four years ago, much like I had been in high school, I was sent to the vice president’s office. Well, the VP asked for a meeting with me. I was told in his office that I should not bring up the topic of “digital portfolios” with faculty anymore as our institution was still demanding three ring binder portfolios created by “probationary” faculty. I guess when you start as a faculty member here you are immediately put on probation for three years. Whatever.
I was guilty. I had been trying to get faculty to amass “stuff” on the internet. You know, the things they use in online classes and stuff like that. I had been telling them that the internet is a big huge place. Bigger than Blackboard even.
So I said ok and I left. I continued to discuss with teachers how a digital portfolio might be used to better demonstrate competency in a field and that they might allow for a richer view of any teacher. Particularly, those teachers who teach online and have lots of digital stuff on the web. Not to mention the other reasons in the year 2012 to have a presence on the internet. So now, four years later I am finally working with a teacher who gets to turn in his “probationary portfolio” in digitally. Thank goodness for progress.
I say these things because on Saturday a large “portfolio” of sorts was given to me. It was really nice and had lots of pictures and handouts and all kinds of great stuff in it. I like making stuff and I loved it in school. I made all kinds of stuff in woodshop, metal shop, ceramics, silversmithing, and even my book reports had frickin beautiful covers! And I still love to do that stuff. But on Saturday this big book gets placed in front of me. I am starting a year-long class as part of my “professional development” in leadership. I am very excited and I really hope to learn/do more where leadership is concerned. Each class in the past has created a big ol three ring binder full of images, handouts, writing, and related material from the class. I commented that the thing might me done digitally and everyone loved that idea. So now I am in charge of that. I have a title to go with the role. I am the class historian.
As a high school English teacher I had students create some pretty neat stuff. Below is a portfolio from a student in a class I taught. It has writing and images. They really felt proud of the work they created when the presentation was so shiny and professional. Colored paper, some glue, a $4.99 binder from Office Max and it is amazing.
And then, we dreamed of putting it on the internet. And so we did. It looks like this. The students loved it and so did the parents, grandparents, family friends, and uncles and distant relatives.
So the big three ring binder in front of me was really nice. Yet, it will be way more sharable when digital and when we add yet another dimension, the possibility of participation by others! So it is like a book, only different.