As I have mentioned in previous work, I am currently a graduate student in the Digital Learning and Leading program at Lamar University. On beginning the DLL program, I knew that we would be required to develop an eportfolio as evidence of our learning. While I was excited to be able to do this, I was hesitant due to my inexperience in building a personal website. I had little experience blogging about personal learning, struggles, and successes with each assignment. Upon enrolling in the first course, Concepts of Educational Technology, I wanted to get a jump start right away to begin building that eportfolio with the very first assignment.  I have really enjoyed the process of not only watching my own growth, but it has truly built my confidence in a way that wasn’t there before in this particular area. Building an eportfolio has challenged me to reflect on exactly who my audience is, and who they will be as my work continues to grow beyond the DLL program.

In my current course, Applying Educational Technology, we have been asked to reflect on our reflections, and blog about those reflections.  As this may sound redundant, it is actually quite intriguing. At first, I struggled with the fear of feeling exposed. In this program, we have weekly discussion posts that we will share safely within our cohort.  This is comforting because we know that we are essentially a team working toward a common goal, so when we discuss issues with one another, it feels safe. Now, we are being asked to be brave and share our voice through an online reflection.  I must admit that I have often stared at my computer screen with a blinking cursor demanding my response as though it is tapping its foot, out of patience and out of time.

With all of this said, below are three main takeaways in my experience with building an eportfolio.

Keep It Authentic

My eportfolio is essentially a living reflection of myself within the digital world.  It captures my beginning without the expectation of an end. An eportfolio allows permission to grow, and to engage within that growth online while collaborating with others.  It opens the opportunity for uniqueness to radiate within every aspect and detail of my platform. In the Digital Learning and Leading program, we are encouraged to approach every assignment through the COVA framework.  It promotes a foundation for the learner to choose, own, and develop their voice to showcase their learning which then establishes an authentic learning environment.  At the end of the day, my eportfolio belongs to me, and is a reflection of my presence in a world I hope to leave better than I found it.  As Allison Fallon would eloquently put it, “you have everything you need to begin. You are not starting with nothing. You are starting with YOU-the very most important thing you could have, and all you need to do is begin” (Fallon, 2016).  For more information on getting started with an authentic eportfolio, see Getting Started Tips and COVA.  

Collaborate With Others

We are built for community.  Humans need connection, it is written in our hearts.  We desire this connection not only face to face, but online as well.  We live in an era where so much of our personal lives are posted online through social media.  It is clearly important that the majority of us desire to connect with one another through a balance of both in person and online networks. Developing an eportfolio connects like-minded individuals together, and paves an influential path that surpasses beyond what we could do in person. Having an online presence connects us to international colleagues, and challenges us to develop new perceptions about the world that we share with one another.  I have joined several incredible learning networks that have been influential within my own pedagogy within the first few weeks of the DLL program. Joining learning networks helped me feel less alone in failure, and provided mutual celebration in successes.  For more information on networking, see Professional Learning Networks.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

With this being my first eportfolio I had ever attempted to create, it was as equally as intimidating as it was exciting.  For every success, there was a failure that preceded. In my first course with the DLL program, we were asked to read Mindset by Carol Dweck.  This book helped us as learners recognize our fixed mindset and growth mindset voices, as well as build a foundation that is safe to fail forward.  It is about learning, and the process of learning how to learn that generates success. Success is not a destination, but the journey along the way.  One of the most powerful takeaways from Dweck would be her emphasis on the word “yet” (Dweck, 2006).  Yet gives us permission to fail. It provides resilience in our attempts. Just because we haven’t reached our destination, doesn’t mean we never will.  Sometimes when I feel stuck, I refer to these words that are so simple yet powerful by Arthur Ashe, “start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can” (Ashe, N.D.).

Navigation

I am excited to continue showcasing, reflecting, and producing evidence of learning through this platform.  I also look forward to connecting to like-minded colleagues around the globe. This is a unique time to be an educator, for we have more tools now through technology than ever before.

References

Fallon, A. (2016, January).  What no one ever says about new beginnings. https://allisonfallon.com/new-beginnings/

Harapnuik, D. (2016, March).  EDLD 5303 Getting started tips. http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=6322

Harapnuik, D. (2019). COVA. http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=6991

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Ballantine Books.

Ashe, A. (N.D.).  Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/149539.Arthur_Ashe


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