Within our Digital Learning and Leading cohort, we engage in weekly discussions over various topics regarding innovation within education. This week’s topic probed the question, who owns our eportfolios? As much as we would like to admit that we own it completely, the question dove deeper into the discussion that asked, who owns our ideas? This is why reflecting on not only the data and inspiration derived from others who’ve gone before us is important, but the process of reflection executes a key role in composing our own foundational beliefs.
“Students are the subjects of their learning, not the objects of educational technology software” (Watters, 2015). Often times our schools don’t do a good job of utilizing technology in this way. Instead of technology being a vital tool in helping learners develop and take ownership of their own ideas, it turns into a another “regurgitate what we want you to know” which in turn leaves out the learner’s voice and authenticity. Digital citizenship and ownership through an eportfolio would allow our students to not only discover a new platform for their digital presence other than YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or God forbid-Snapchat, but to have the space and freedom to develop their own intellect. They may even find that learning is fun! I absolutely love the idea of students beginning their eportfolios as early as possible so they are able to be proud of their process upon and beyond graduation. This gives our students so much more than a list of extracurricular activities they happen to be a part of throughout school, a list of grades, how many honor societies they joined, or the beginning of a resume. It is living evidence online of their growth. They will then begin to see the importance of why the learner is the one who owns the eportfolio. It gives them a sense of belonging, and that their ideas, influence, innovation, and participation with their audience truly does matter. Gardner Campbell said “students would not only acquire crucial technical skills for their digital lives, but also would engage in work that provides richly teachable moments. Fascinating and important innovations would emerge as students are able to shape their own cognition, learning expression, and reflection in a digital age in a digital medium” (Campbell, ). For more information on eportfolio ownership, visit Who Owns the ePortfolio?
As both an educator and a learner, I do find that so far the Digital Learning and Leading program has done an excellent job in helping us discover not only what we are doing, but how and why we are doing it. In order to “walk the talk” in guiding my learners in developing their own eportfolios, I must be able to produce evidence that I connect deeply with my own eportfolio. “Eportfolio proponents all point to the power of reflection but unless the student is reflecting on ideas that they own rather than reflecting on artifacts and data the power of this reflection is lost. Making meaningful connections is what leads to learning” (Harapnuik, 2015). “We must enable students to create personal cyberinfrastructures where students become effective architects, narrators, curators, and inhabitants of their own digital lives” (Watters, 2015). The power of creating a digital presence gives agency to the learner to inspire other learners across the globe. Can you imagine the ripple effect that this outlook on learning would have in modernizing education? Students would be able to connect meaningfully with their intentions and develop a platform that they are proud of.
“If any concept should be seen as an uncomplicated good thing in higher education, it’s innovation. Defined by a common-sense notion of “doing things better” and burnished by the sheen of dazzling technological advances, what’s not to like about innovation?” (Groom & Lamb, 2014). While other businesses such as social media provide platforms that give us some voice, it is still under the control of the one who owns that particular domain. Social media can provide a positive space to connect with others, but it will never fully be our space. The beautiful reality of creating an eportfolio, is it can be the most authentic representation of you. At the end of the day, you own your eportfolio. It is sacred, really. We all have ambitions that drive our daily lives in hopes that our efforts will produce a result we are seeking. An authentic digital presence through an eportfolio would mirror our efforts and keep track of our hard work online. The secret in reaching our goals is simple. It is all about the learning. It is about having grace for ourselves in the process. Go leave a legacy, I’m rooting for you.
Watters, A. (2014, April). Beneath the cobblestones…a domain of one’s own [Blog]. Retrieved April 2, 2019 from http://hackeducation.com/2014/04/25/domain-of-ones-own-incubator-emory
Harapnuik, D. (2015). Who owns the eportfolio. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=6050
Groom, J., & Lamb, B. (2014). Reclaiming innovation. EDUCAUSE review. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/visuals/shared/er/extras/2014/ReclaimingInnovation/default.html
Attwell, G. (2012, September). Image retrieved from http://www.pontydysgu.org/2012/09/who-owns-the-e-portfolio