Should Students create their own digital porfolios?

Looking at market trends and industry models to determine the feasibility of creating a digital portfolio is astounding.  There are not enough hours in a day to gather and process all the information but hopefully I can outline some key things to consider as we evaluate the data and the documentation available.  Through this evaluation, there is enough support to determine we need to provide learning opportunities for our students to build their own digital portfolios.

Students can use a digital portfolio to stand out from their peers. It not only reinforces course work learned, but helps students develop computer skills.  67% of students with high technology scores have greater confidence to use technologies when they start college. (Ecar, 2015)

Students can share their digital portfolios with their peers, expanding on what social media is already doing but being more of a resource for future learning.  Students can have more control of their portfolios compared to the typical social media platform and make it more engaging.  According to the Ecar Report, 50% of students reported that technology helps them to connect to their peers. (Eden, 2015)

One K-12 educator, Martin, decided to instruct his students to develop their own portfolios and saw a rise in the number of his students graduating and attending a college.  One portfolio website had over 500,000 students creating portfolios that connected directly with universities and colleges seeking qualified candidates.  (Smart, 2009)

Educators have started to teach the use of digital portfolios because they “recognize that the process has the power to transform instruction.”  (Danielson & Abrutyn, 1997) The use of a digital portfolio helps students share their passions, academic successes and turns a traditional classroom into an organic learning environment where students are allowed to be creative and free thinkers.

Use of digital portfolios provides for a wide variety of learning styles to be incorporated and can follow a wide variety of formats to meet almost every students need for individuality and creativity.  Teachers using portfolios “argue that compiling, reviewing, and evaluating student work over time can provide a richer, deeper, and more accurate picture of what students have learned and are able to do than more traditional measures.” (“Portfolio Definition,” 2016) (Darling, 2016)

Although students use technology extensively, there is evidence that technologies are not achieving their full potential for academic use. We have seen a growth in technology but the growth within the academic world is slow to rise according to industry trends.  The majority of students say they learn best with a blend of online and face-to-face work. (Eden, 2015)

Therfore, we need to develop a teaching environment to include the use of creating digital portfolios for students to reflect on their learning and have the face-to-face connections with instructors to guide their learning. Digital portfolios are going to be a part of the learning environment and could become a mainstay for college entrance requirements.

Carey, J. (2013, February 5). The Truth about Digital Portfolios. Retrieved from

Danielson, C., & Abrutyn, L. (1997). An introduction to using portfolios in the classroom. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Darling, K. (2016, April 20). Blackboard Learn. Retrieved from         _1&message_id=_3948726_1#msg__3948726_1Id

Eden Dahlstrom, with D. Christopher Brooks, Susan Grajek, and Jamie Reeves. ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology, 2015. Research report. Louisville, CO: ECAR, December 2015.

Fast Facts Back to School Statistics. (2015). Retrieved from U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Statistics   website:

Goodbye PDAS, here comes TTESS. (2015, Winter). The Classroom Teacher36(4), 9-15. Retrieved  from

Meeker, M. (2015, May 27). 2015 Internet Trends — Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. Retrieved from

Payne Smart, Maya.  (2009, May 29). Digital Portfolios Pull Double Duty. Retrieved April 20, 2016 from Edutopia website: admissions

Portfolio Definition. (2016). In The Glossary of Education Reform. Retrieved        from

Portfolios for Students & Teachers (K-12) – Retrieved April 16, 2016, from

Roscorla, T. (2014, December 16). 10 K-12 digital trends to watch in 2015.  Retrieved April 17, 2016, from Center for Digital Education website:




Reform or Revolution?

Do you endure your work environment waiting for the weekend to come or is what you do almost feel like a part of who you are as a person?

Education can tend to dislocate people from their natural talents.  Sir Ken Robinson shares his thoughts on education in this TedTalk.  He states that we need more than just reform-improving a broken model, but a revolution to transform our current education system.  Innovation is the key to this revolution and it’s so exciting to think about being a part of this change as I continue to learn in my graduate studies.  Sir Ken Robinson is an engaging speaker and can explain this better than I can and let’s face it, he’s funny too.

Enjoy and share your thoughts.  Do you agree or disagree?

What is Disruptive innovation? Is it scary?

What really has struck a cord with me is hearing the word “disruptive” brings to mind something troublesome, unruly, disorderly and then attaching “innovation” which sparks new ideas, creation and rebirth sounds like a weird connection.  Putting the two words together is best described by “as an innovation that creates a new market and value network displacing previous market leaders”. How is that possible?

The example in the video below about spotting disruptive innovation in a corporate setting was very interesting in reference to the gaming systems.  I have two gaming sons and I tried to keep up learning each gaming system and played some games with the boys.  I even played Pokemon when it first came out!   Whenever I tried to explain the different gaming systems to friends that had no idea what they should purchase for their children, I would always say the wii has the family friendly version that allows for everyone to play and be interactive but if you are a true gamer looking for the best graphics you would want to purchase an XBox or Playstation systems.  As an adult that didn’t grow up with gaming systems other than the old school Atari, having to press A/B, YX, and the up down sticks was much too challenging.  Who can’t handle the wii remote to “swing a bat” versus the very cumbersome method using the Playstation remote? I never really thought about how that little remote was a disruptive innovation that brought more gaming systems into homes that might not have had those systems. What an excellent example of change and growth using a simple idea to answer a consumer’s needs.

How to Spot Disruptive Innovation

I love the examples and videos in our book, Blended; Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools.  This book was exciting to read because it supports what I’ve been doing for years as a homeschooler, allowing my children to learn at their pace, pushing them to learn through their own learning environments and allowing access to every tool to enrich their learning environment since we didn’t have school budgets to support that learning.  I’m only part way through the book and I wish I had unlimited time to watch every single video example of the use of “disruptive innovation” within schools, or blended learning.  The examples used in the book have been great visuals that put this whole idea of disruptive innovation into perspective both within education and beyond.

So Disruptive Innovation isn’t about causing “trouble” in the education field but finding easier, cheaper ways of allowing students to have a handle on their own learning experiences.  So why would you want to put a child that is very hands on learning into a “factory” setting education that requires that they sit attentively at their desk and “take tests”, read their textbook or fill out worksheets all day?

I think the biggest challenge will be to bring the changes needed into our education system.  Just last night I read that  there are over 2.04 million students being homeschooled and 310,000 students enrolled in full-time virtual schools.  If you don’t think the government is going to take notice and start enforcing new regulations and restrictions, perhaps you live in Utopia.  So I look forward to learning and applying my class project of disrupting the ways things have been done to bring back the passion of learning to our students and allowing them to have more control in their own education.



Brian D. Ray, “2.04 Million Homeschool Students in the United States in 2010,” National Home Education Research Institute, January 3, 2011 (

Harvard Business Review (2008, October 20). How to Spot Disruptive Innovation Opportunities.  Retrieved from

Horn, M. B., & Staker, H. (2014). Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. John Wiley & Sons.

Digital Portfolio Building Lessons

What I have learned in three months of graduate school?  That I have so much more to learn.  I have barely tapped the surface of everything that is available and I hope I never stop learning.  I began my learning journey by creating my own personal reflection video to share about my past, present, and future journey with technology.  I’m slowly learning what it means to be involved with technology in education and how much the world of technology has grown.  I have to remember that I shouldn’t be forcing technology into the classroom environment, but allowing technology to be present and available so the students develop their creativity in learning.

This year I am teaching a Spanish Course where I had the students use a digital tool for assessment and provide me feedback on the use of technology.  It was a fun and engaging exercise so I decided to do a second lesson where the students can work independently to do a book report with a comic book strip app.

Then we evaluated how much education is changing, what we think needs to change and how technology plays a role in those changes through our Learning Manifesto.

What I have learned is how important having a professional learning community or network of peers that can share what has worked, how to find new avenues of approaching desired goals and possible new digital tools. There are so many resources available and hopefully my site can be a resource to home schoolers and others that are approaching developing their digital portfolio for the first time or even just about learning what is available for educators.

These videos and resources are but a beginner’s first approaches and hopefully I will learn to tailor and refine each of these reflections, tools and manifestos to reflect the growth I hope to gain in my future coursework.