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"Administrators, they lamented, did not understand the new technology." I think that this is true, but the folks that required the electronic portfolio probably didn't understand the technology and its potential either. I think where we have fallen short with electronic portfolio (and most other technologies) is that the electronic product is pretty much the same as the paper one. There is little that is improved or different.

Because of digital technologies, we can look at portfolios in a totally different way. It no longer has to be a static representation of what was done in the past, but can now be a true representation of who we are when we include the past, as well as the present and the future. And instead of looking at an electronic portfolio as a collection of powerpoints, word documents and PDFs, lets think about the richness that RSS, blogs, wikis, podcasts, social bookmarking and other tools can bring to this idea of electronic portfolios. I believe that when we do this, students will see the portfolio as an exciting, relevant collection demonstrating knowledge and skills of the past and present and guiding the future.

Carey G


Something to share on this topic. I have kept an online portfolio and resume for years. Since I was a graphic designer and web developer before becoming a teacher 6 years ago, it only seemed logical to me. Granted, 6 years ago it was more impressive. I did find that it was a rare occasion that administrators would consult my online portfolio when I was applying for jobs, and in my first year of teaching, I applied for A LOT of jobs. I did find, however, that the ones who did click that link and go through my portfolio were the ones who offered me a job, and who provided me with the kind of working atmosphere and working environment that is a good fit for me. Those are the administrators who not only believe that technology has a growing place in our schools, they expect their teachers to be using it with students and support technology programs with funds and opportunities for professional development. Furthermore, they appreciated that I go above and beyond expectations and that I am a creative and out-of-the-box thinker. Since they got that impression of me from my online portfolio, they came to expect it from me and they supported my efforts and welcomed my ideas. So, the question for your pre-service students is this- do you want a job, or do you want THE job that is right for you. Not every teaching job will be a good fit, but if you keep your mind open and resist the pessimism that sometimes pervades our profession, you will find that every teaching job will provide you with ample opportunity to learn and grow.
Thanks for the insight, my friend, this is definitely a worthwhile topic.


I love that video about digital students in an analog world because the students lament the lack of understanding of the digital world by their professors... your post clearly provides evidence that these students (and their counterparts in other colleges/universities) are prisoners of an archaic system. Soon, we will begin to read about the brightest and most talented students defecting to digital universities. Just as we must meet the challenge of the future learners or face the defection of our students to other modes of education that traditional schooling does not provide, so must higher ed wake up and meet the needs. We are all in the middle of the shift; we must get there not only first but best. Great minds must collaborate instead of stick in our cubicles and make the old way of doing things better, faster, and more. Just my take on it.

Scott McLeod

By the way, we're having a great conversation about this in other locations! Go here first:


then go here:


Christian Long

After several hours of mulling this over, the following comes to mind:

1. Bravo for Mike M. pushing on the question by posting this in the first place.
2. Bravo for Scott M. for contacting the university to find out what lay behind the application element.
3. Bravo to Dan M. for remind me (and all of us) that the university is being innovative and that 'constraint's allow for creativity at the end of the day.

Added my own 2centsworth blog-style here

Thanks to all of you; been a great conversation to enter today.

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