Does this happen in your school or district?
One teacher prefers google sites.
A different teacher prefers Edublogs.
One teacher started their students on seesaw.
So for the sake of “teacher autonomy”, we have students with minimal amounts of learning exhibited in a multitude of spaces. This also leads to students spending a lot of time learning technology instead of learning with technology. There is a difference.
What will this do for a student long term after they graduate from school? Will their footprint show that they tend to jump from one site to another, but not have the ability to not stick with anything over time? Is this ultimately our fault, yet they have to deal with the consequences long term?
One of the things that I truly believe is that schools need to come together (both at the school and district level), to figure out a platform that a student can utilize over time. In an earlier piece, “7 Important Questions Before Implementing Digital Portfolios“, I provided these questions for people to consider when implementing digital portfolios:
- Is this a learning portfolio, showcase portfolio, or combination of both?
- Who owns the learning?
- How will it be exported after the process?
- How will you make the audience eventually go global?
- What brings people to the portfolio?
- What impact will this have on the learner’s digital footprint?
- What about next year and other classes?
These are all important things to consider.
What is important to understand though is that I do believe there still should be teacher autonomy, but that would come through what you are putting into a portfolio, not necessarily what platform you use. What is crucial is the portfolio that you choose allows outside services to be embedded into the process (YouTube, Instagram, Slideshare, SoundCloud, or anything else that has an embed code). For example, if you are teaching a language, using something like SoundCloud (audio service), might be the best way to show development over time, yet this should be able to put back into the platform of the student.
The importance here is that we have a shared vision over time. This decision should not be made in isolation, and should not be made solely by the IT department either, although I believe they should contribute to the conversation. This space (my portfolio) that you are reading now is something that has developed over seven years and has been the most beneficial thing I have ever done for my own learning. It has allowed for depth of learning, instead of focusing on surface level. I do not wonder how I need to post something, or embed an object; the hardest part for me now is the quality of the content that I produce, not the ability to create and share. Is that not the challenge we want to provide our students? That they can focus on quality learning, not learning every new technology is out there.
It is important that we help our students produce something that is not only valuable to their learning, but valuable to them long term. We will need to come together as a community if we are going to pull this vision together.