Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Digital Portfolio

                As I thought about creating a digital portfolio I was filled with quite a bit of trepidation and anxiety.  I have purposefully not wanted a large footprint online because of being a male high school teacher.  Yet, as I examined different hosting sites I began to become truly excited about the possibilities that this type resource could provide.  I have carefully thought about each type of document and resource that I have included on this portfolio to show the best of what I as a teacher have to offer.  I choose to use the website About.Me to host my digital portfolio, because I found it to be very easy to use and provided the information I wanted to include in a clean and simple format.  My page showcases a number of lessons, units and projects that I have created throughout my teaching career.  This page, I hope, will become a digital resume for me as I look towards my future. 
                The first choice I made on my page was to not change the background image.  I experimented with different images of myself, but none of them conveyed the message that I wanted or distracted from my true purpose of the page.  Each of the links that I included was very purposefully chosen to highlight some aspect of my teaching.  Each unit I included, United Nations PBL and World War 1, provide anyone access to all the resources necessary to teach the unit.  These units show the emphasis I place on higher level thinking and the scaffolding that I provide throughout units to allow all my students to achieve to the best of their ability.  I did not provide editing privileges to these documents as I really just wanted people to view what I could bring to an educational team, not change the materials to fit their own classroom. 
                I next included two projects that I differentiated for students in my class.  The first is based on the abilities of the given student, and is the more traditional way to change an assignment for students.  The second project is one that I changed based on the students interests, and where based off of students responses to an interest survey that they took.  I found that with both assignments, the differentiation that I provided allowed for me to more accurately assess the student’s level of understanding and receive a higher level of participation.  The project based on interest provide amazing feedback as students were working around areas that they were really passionate about and put forth more effort than is typical on other types of assessments. 
                Finally, I included two assessments that show the type of work that I expect and how they allow for a genuine overview of students understanding.  The leveled assessment clearly demonstrates how students achieve and demonstrate their knowledge on a traditional test.  The video project was the culminating activity in which the students presented information in an interactive and creative video that was then sent to their parents.  This allowed for what was occurring in the classroom to be shared with others, and contribute to a community of learning.
                At the bottom of the page is the more traditional resume type information that employers or others would already have.  While obviously an important part of this digital portfolio, the main purpose of this site is to showcase my units, lessons and projects that actively engage students in diverse learning situations.  I really appreciated this opportunity to focus on building a dynamic site to showcase more of who I am as an educator.  As districts and companies shift more to Web 2.0, sites like this will perhaps become more common place and expected as people try to distinguish themselves and their abilities.

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