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May 24

ePortfolios in Education

Today’s #edchat was about using Portfolios in education.  Two great quotes I read:

when I hear portf talk, honestly, its usually a test hater w/o a great plan. –@drtimony

Dr. David Timony (@drtimony) is a “teacher, speaker, and researcher with more than 20 years experience in the classroom” (link).  He is no troll, out to get people upset with his comments.  He is expressing a frustration that I feel all too much: many people talk and talk about how things need to change, but throwing out a portfolio as a n option without coming up with a good, specific, and concrete plan for implementation is just not helpful.  I have been guilty of this too, and it is always for the same reason: I don’t know.  For instance, I know that evaluating a teacher based on student success is a horrible way to go about it.  In practice all it does is encourage teachers to make things easier so that students will do better and they will get promoted. However, when asked “ok, so how should teachers be evaluated?” I am stumped.  There are a number of skills and qualities I have that I think make me a good teacher, and so being rated on them would be nice, but I can’t see an objective way to do so.  I can see many ways I need to grow, but again having some objective measure on how you are doing is very tough.  Anyway, from this post, I feel encouraged to make more plans and come up with some clear ideas.
Portfolios show that mistakes are part of learning. Tests make mistakes lethal. –@inquirebook
Second, @inquirebook is the twitter persona for Thoughtful Learning, a publishing company that publishes “Inquire: A guide to 21st century learning” (link).  I agree with what the author says because I have seen many students experience it: they don’t know how badly they are doing until an exam comes.  They think they are doing well (despite all my attempts to provide feedback) and then get destroyed on a midterm exam with something like 25%, and then usually drop the course…or if they don’t, they don’t learn to change and just expect to do better on the final, and then get completely destroyed on the final.  For these reasons, I see a strong reason to try SOMETHING other than tests…but Portfolios?
So I’m thinking about it, but here are some links on using Portfolios (and e-Portfolios) in education:

Enjoy!

Rob

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