Chapter 1 - What Is a Portfolio
'a space in which you can plan and reflect in depth on your practice, helping identify your strengths and find ways of building on these' (p.1).
'a collection of materials put together in a meaningful way to demonstrate the practice and learning of an educational practitioner' (p.1).
IT IS NOT
'a random collection of materials and artefacts'.
What is the purpose:
* to illustrate achievements?
* to demonstrate ongoing developments of thinking and practice?
* to collect evidence?
* to provide a vehicle for reflection?
Types of portfolios:
* Course Content - contains items that have significant relevance to a course.
* CPD Portfolio - contains record of professional development with reflections and evaluations.
* Competence-based Portfolio - achievement against specific criteria.
* Accreditation for Prior Learning - contains evidence related to prior learning.
* Project Portfolio - contains resources and reflections of groups related to a specific topic.
There are quite a few similarities and differences between what we place in different types of portfolios that it is easy to get blur the boundaries between the main focus or to use the wrong tool for the job. In this age where many use blogs and wikis as their electronic means of reflection and evidence, I do question whether the correct tool is being applied for the correct purpose. How often I have seen wikis being used as a reflective tool in the format of a diary and blogs being used as a place to record evidence when the other way around would be much more beneficial. Surely as years roll on it is much easier to view an organised wiki to view specific key evidence that trail through a specific tag in a blog and likely so, it is easier to map development by viewing the learning journey in a blog than fish through a wikispace.
If you are using a blog or a wikispace: what is the purpose of your online space? Look at the different types and purposes and see if you can reflect on the reason you have either chosen a tool or been asked to use a tool and is it the right tool for the job. Hopefully by looking at the above key aspects, you will begin to understand the 'why' and 'what' of ePortfolios and the online tools available. There will be cross-overs and stand-alone moments but at the end of the day the underpinning purpose should be a place to map the development of one's relationship between learning and practice.
My Personal Response:
I originally created this blog, not to illustrate my achievements or collect evidence but to share what I was doing with technology in the classroom with a wider audience where the knowledge of the crowd was far greater than the knowledge of the individual. By joining the 'community of practice' of my fellow educational bloggers, I could learn from them and reciprocate this knowledge sharing by sharing my ideas through this blog where developments in emerging technologies were at the heart of my reflections.
Over the years, this blog has moved a little towards collecting evidence, however, still has the reflective process and sharing as the main reason for posting. It has still not, to me, met the purpose of 'illustrating achievement' due to it being my personal reflective area to connect with others and converse rather than just show. Illustrating my achievement comes primarily through my professional CV or through my personal wikispace that provides more a timeline of events and evidence rather than the reflective process.
So the question is, why am I writing about Portfolios and discussing my blog? It appears that many use blogs for the purpose of a Portfolio and tag specific aspects of learning. For me, this is not the purpose of my blog, and like the old saying goes, 'what is one man's meat is another man's poison'.