An eportfolio is extremely important in any field. Without an opportunity like this course to have time to develop a portfolio, one might be hard pressed to create one of any substance at the last minute when a desirable job becomes available, or when asked to justify the value of one's work in a position. Every budget cycle, there comes the possibility of close scrutiny of each support role and every person holding those support roles -especially those that not everyone understands. I have grown to greatly value the time that this class has afforded to build out my personal statement to the world. Having my published and growing EP lets me control a big part of my own online narrative. I get to showcase my interests and successes. I can show through example how I engage with my instructional community. I can give people insight into how I got to where I am.
Originally, this site was For Them (Students, Teachers, Everyone). This course has allowed me to be a little selfish. There is room on this site for all of us - me included. I think that as teachers we forget about ourselves sometimes. We forget to take care of our own basic needs. This site, this EP is for me, and I am learning to be okay with being a little selfish, self-indulgent, wordy, foody, irreverent......
Approximately two years ago, the principal at one of my schools said to me, "I want to create a space in this building that looks like no other place we have here - a learning space that belongs in this century. Can you do that for me?" I gladly accepted the challenge and set out with my Rocketbook and ruler to scope out and sketch out a room for our awesome new space. I'll spare you the intricacies of a purchasing and approval system under supervision by the state, but I will say that the process took almost two years to get most things in place.
We now have a freshly painted classroom with a variety of student seating and collaborative grouping options. 3D and regular printers, shared monitors for each work group, whiteboard space, and three interactive LCD SMART Boards for student collaboration. All that remains is the mounting of the SMART Boards.
When students and teachers get a sneak peek at the room, everyone realizes how energizing a space can be. Students want to learn in spaces that show that we respect them as humans and learners. Student-centered spaces such as these allow for flexible grouping, choice in type of work space, and the ability to access both modern and traditional learning tools. This room intentionally lacks a teacher desk or work space. The student is the center of learning in this work space. We hope that one day, every student will have the opportunity to learn in a space such as this one. All students deserve that type of experience regardless of socioeconomic status.
Building out my ePortfolio and my website is a time consuming process. A valuable process. As I pull together the pieces and read about ePortfolios and intellectual property, I am forced to consider my own feelings about ownership of ideas and work product. It turns out that my beliefs about work product are close in alignment with those of a sharing economy, and not of one where the state (employer or school system) owns your work or means of production. I also think that everyone should work hard towards the common good and people should be able to survive off of their hard work; however, I do not believe that any one person should be able to hold all of the marbles when others have none.
The materials that I create, I share freely. The collections I aggregate, I make with love. The ideas I share, I give credit. I believe that collaboration, not competition, will make better teachers of us all.
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