It won’t surprise anyone that I am a strong proponent of digital professional portfolios. I demonstrate how to create them here, and over the past year, George Couros has worked with Principal Associations in Ontario (CPCO/OPC/ADFO) to help our school leaders become connected learners, including the idea of using a blog as a portfolio.
I’ve bought into this hook, line and sinker.
I exude visible thinking, open learning, reflective practice, and I promote it in professional practice with every breath.
I know, you’ve heard enough.
So I have to ask, then, if I am wrong? Is it actually a disadvantage to have a digital portfolio?
Because right now, it really feels like it is.
Let me explain.
Over the past three years, I have sat through a number of professional interviews, on both sides of the table. I don’t hear any questions about connected learning, open professional practice, or Professional Learning Networks being asked. Ever.
I have yet to hear a single question about how an interviewee models the learning we want to see in the classroom.
I have never heard a question about whether the interviewee blogs or sees any value in blogging.
I have not heard a whisper of any competencies around modern learning or 21C practices.
As the person being interviewed, I have watched eyes glaze over at the mention of anything digital. Anything.
What’s going on here? I hear everywhere how TELT (Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching) is a priority in this province, how the renewed vision for excellence is all about creating global citizens and digital leaders for this changing world.
And we are doing this – very well in fact. We have absolutely amazing learning happening in schools. Teachers in Ontario are world leaders in modern pedagogical practice. We KNOW what TELT looks like at the level of the student desk because that is what we are doing every single day as we connect and share and challenge each other to keep getting better at it.
Teachers are flocking to edcamps and Twitter chats, taking charge of their own professional learning and busting out of the model that says learning has to be provided and into the culture where learning is sought.
Educators are flattening the organization. Principals are not “instructional leaders” any more, they are co-learners, because the real learning at all levels is happening where the students are learning, not in a banquet hall in a Toronto hotel.
This is absolutely the most exciting time to be in education. The shift is palpable and visible in classrooms.
When we think about spreading excellence and adapting best practices, we need to stop thinking exclusively about horizontal spread.
How do we spread digital leadership, open reflective practice, networked learning and the modelling of 21C (modern learning) competencies vertically in our education system?
Until we can do that, Digital Portfolios will continue to be invisible.