Monday, 28 December 2015

2015: Year of the Digital Portfolio

A reflective quiet has blanketed the Robinson home.  It's not something I expect to last. 

The bustle of family over for the holidays, the excitement of presents under the tree, the fullness of church events . . . all over for now, giving me a moment, albeit a small one, to reflect on my learning in 2015.  The benefits of blogging are that not only do I have snapshots of learning to go back to, but the people have weighed in on their weightiness.  I not only get to see what has been important to me, but also what has been meaningful to others.  With that in mind, I will reflect on the top 4 Connections-based Learning posts of 2015.

Digital Portfolios: Where to start Part 2

I spent a lot of time this year reflecting on digital portfolios.  What started as a simple question on my blog blossomed into a whole series on starting digital portfolios.  I didn't want the focus to be on the nuts and bolts of it but more to take even a further step back: what needs to happen in ourselves as educators before we jump into the world of digital portfolios.  Part 2 was by far the most popular of the posts as it looked at what awesome educators were doing with their portfolios.  It also gave me a chance to talk about the different platforms and apps that teachers were using. Digital Portfolios: Where to start Part 1 emphasized the need to develop one's own portfolio while Digital Portfolios: Where to start Part 3 demonstrated how digital portfolios transform our teaching.  This was a great series to work on as I got to seek out the amazing things that were happening with digital portfolios far and wide.


The Connections-based Learning post called #FamilyBloggingMonth came in as the third most read post of 2015.  I have to admit that I had great hopes for province-wide participation in this event.  I had grandiose ideas of families breaking down walls and coming together around their blogs in the month of November.  That parents and children would spend most of the month in a veritable virtual group hug loving on each other as they came to a deeper understanding of each other's inner child.  That dogs and cats would put aside differences and join paws with the blogging mice and unite in the spirit of connection as they barked, purred and squeaked out a chorus of "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

It didn't play out that way. 

Moreso, I found that it was a chance to share with colleagues and a few of my connections on Twitter the importance of getting parents to read and comment on student blogs.  I did squeeze out a post from my own father in Remembering Education Past and made sure I got my own students to share their blogs with their parents AND get their parents to comment.  But you watch out for November 2016.  Practice up your Kumbaya and Trust-fall skills because #FamilyBloggingMonth is not going away.

Meaningful Comments: Why?

Well the whole #FamilyBloggingMonth thing got me thinking that we can't just say to our students: "Comment on each other's blogs, please" and watch magic happen.  We have to teach them how to do it.  That started a series of posts on commenting.  I went through the who's, why's and how's of commenting, sharing ideas and actual comments from my own school as I facilitated comment learning for multiple classes.  Once again, a great learning experience for my students and myself.

Who needs a Digital Portfolio?

The second most read post in 2015 was about me sharing my own digital portfolio story in Who needs a Digital Portfolio?.  I had to write this post.  We were sitting around the table as educators at my school talking about how to instill the importance of digital portfolios in our students.  It became very plain to me that my own story was the perfect testimony for this.  My digital portfolio made a difference in my life.  It got me my job.  I don't know how to make it any more plain.  It is worth it.

This post has been excellent to have to share with students at my school.  You might want to share it with your students.  It communicates better than simply saying, "Class, you have to put effort into your digital portfolio."  My story plays out for my students as they see me day after day, doing what I love.  Hopefully that can be your story as well.

As the quiet fades, and the bustle begins, I can see that for me 2015 was the year of the Digital Portfolio.  What was 2015 for you?