Digital Portfolio: Initial Considerations

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As I begin the task of creating my own digital portfolio to showcase my learning during the IT & DML program, I am careful to consider how this process will not only serve to communicate my evolving identity as a learner and educator, but also how it will support my future work with students as I lead them to create their own digital portfolios. Therefore, at the end of this process, I am looking forward to having my own product, as well as extensive notes, resources and personal knowledge to share with my students.  

When beginning the process of creating a digital portfolio, it is important to first consider purpose, which in my case, is to make a claim about my identity as a learner and educator in this program.  It is also important to identify, and anticipate the needs of, my targeted audience.  When creating a paper portfolio, the issue of audience becomes less complex because the audience is quite limited; however, when in digital form, the range of potential audiences is widened to now include anyone who is able to access the product.  Therefore, as the creator, I must keep this in mind.  Once purpose and audiences are articulated, it is then important to decide on the platform and actual medium that will allow me to best achieve my purpose and address the needs of my audience.

Key concepts  in creating any portfolio include reflection and metacognition because in order for the process to be purposeful, each decision must be carefully considered and thoughtfully reflected upon.  According to Beth Holland in Digital Portfolios: The Art of Reflection, successful digital portfolios must reach beyond merely collecting artifacts as representations of growth. In fact, they must include “reflection and documentation of progress”  and “insight” into the “what, “how and why.” When these aspects are included, the product becomes an active representation of personal growth and learning. An effective strategy to help students achieve this kind of long range view of themselves as learners is to begin the year with essential questions and use those questions throughout as a thread that guides reflection.

As I create my digital portfolio, another concept that I would like to keep in mind is one that is examined by Dr. Helen Barrett, which is Digital Storytelling. Although Dr. Barrett suggests various helpful resources to guide creation of these stories, I am most intrigued by the overarching idea of telling the story of my journey in this program and how my work has helped me to evolve as a learn and as a teacher..  As such, I anticipate that my collection of artifacts will include my best work and also reflections about my process to achieve those levels of mastery.  As I continue in this process, I am beginning to think about ways to tie the parts of my portfolio together with a common motif, which will creatively contribute to the aspect of storytelling.

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