Blogs and Portfolios – for what purpose?
At school this year we are trialing several digital portfolio platforms with students to reflect on their learning:
Teachers and students are very enthusiastic about being able to have documentation of what is happening in the classroom and an easy way to share that with parents. I noticed last week that many students are having a hard time reflecting and we will need to do some more teaching around that. The students mostly state what they did and find it a real challenge to reflect on themselves as learners. It made me think that you need to know the reason for your portfolio before you can effectively determine what to include and to effectively reflect on your progress towards those goals.
Co-incidentally, I read an article on Edutiopia earlier this year entitled:
This inspired me to want to want to use one of the student platforms myself to start my own portfolio and use it as part of my own Growth and Evaluation process. This seems to make even more sense since I will have specific goals that I will be working towards and I can reflect on my progress as a learner. I was hoping that it would allow me to understand the students’ challenges with portfolio reflections and experience what it is like to try and document what you are learning using a variety of media.
But while looking at my Twitter feed earlier today, two Tweets about blogging stood out:
— Aaron Hogan (@aaron_hogan) October 16, 2016
— Dean Shareski (@shareski) October 16, 2016
These Tweets made me happy with my decision to return to blogging though a bit daunted by their emphatic way of stating the benefits of blogging. I remember when I was in Teachers’ College and as part of my Outdoor and Experiential Education programme I had to keep a journal. Being forced to take the time to stop and think about what I was doing and to make connections was invaluable at that time.
So what is the best tool for professional reflection? Now that I am blogging again, I am not sure if I should continue to use one of the portfolio tools our students are using or if I should just centre everything on this blog (after all, our grade 2s are using Edublogs as their portfolios…)
Sylvia Tosilano espouses the benefits of blogs as portfolios so that multiple goals can be achieved (Blogfolios). For me it feels like proprietary portfolio platforms centre on specific outcomes and artifacts while the wide-open nature of this blog might be too broad for me to use as a portfolio. I would like to be able to reflect on anything here – not just my professional goals.
Like with so many things, as Simon Senek says, understanding why before what (purpose before tool) is so important. I’m thinking that I may try one of the student tools to document and reflect on milestones specific to my schools Growth and Evaluation Competencies and use this blog to for my half-baked ideas. Welcome to my bakery!