Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blogging + ePortfolios = Reflection & Growth

Obvious to you. Amazing to others. - by Derek Sivers

The end of a school year is the perfect time to spruce up your ePortfolio and catch up blogging about your successes and trials this school year.  Haven't started an ePortfolio or blog?  Use this summer to get started!

I first embarked on blogging as part of Shelly Terrell's Teacher ReBoot Camp 30 Goals Challenge.  I couldn't even begin to image why I needed to blog.  I thought, "Certainly no one will want to read anything I write".  Then I realized that I didn't need to blog for anyone but myself.  My blog was my own personal reflection tool where I could write about successes and trials and examine them "out loud".  

Think back to your student teaching experience or, if like me it's been too long to remember that far back, review what student teacher interns must do-REFLECTIONS, REFLECTIONS, REFLECTIONS.  Student teachers must reflect on absolutely every aspect of their teaching experience so that they can learn from their time in the classroom.  Why then do we as educators stop this reflection as soon as we obtain our teaching certification and step foot in our classroom, closing the door behind us?  Isn't this when we should be reflecting even more?  

What I have discovered now almost four years into my blogging journey is that not only have I learned through reflecting while writing my blog posts but I have learned from others who have read and responded to my blog.  Other educators have offered ideas and suggestions for how to approach a lesson, presentation, etc in ways I would have never thought of on my own.  I am so grateful for the awesome PLN (professional learning network) that began with my timid steps into the world of blogging.

Professional ePortfolios add another layer of reflection to the mix.  ePortfolios provide educators an opportunity to demonstrate individuality that is as unique as a fingerprint. 

*The benefits of creating an ePortfolio include:
  • demonstrates effort, progress, and achievement
  • makes connections between theory and practice
  • documents your learning progress over time
  • provides evidence of meeting professional standards
  • enhances communication and organizational skills
  • greater awareness of strengths and weaknesses
  • encourages reflective self-inquiry
  • illustrates good teaching
  • supports professional growth
  • leads to goal planning
  • visible collection of skills to present to a prospective employer
  • celebrate accomplishments
  • improves teaching
  • often considered authentic assessment

This summer I am presenting a three hour hands on session at AETC (Alabama Educational Technology Conference) on ePortfolios for both students and teachers.  In preparation I have taken a closer look at my own ePortfolio.  While I like the areas I have chosen to highlight - Presentations, Publications, & Honors, I have overlooked one of the most important components in an ePortfolio; reflections.  That is, for each link included in my ePortfolio I should also have, even if brief,  a reflection about the presentation, publication, honor, event, etc.   Adding this component is one of my summer goals.  

Through blogging and maintaining an ePortfolio I am able to reflect, learn and grow and more importantly share and learn from others.  

Get your own blog and ePortfolio started TODAY! 

I'm a Pinterest freak! Check out my Pinterest board on ePortfolios.  I have also compiled a great list of library/book blogs.

Please share shamelessly! (Quote stolen form the amazing Gwyneth Jones aka: The Daring Librarian)

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