Learning from Others

My assignment for class this week seemed to be pretty straight forward to me: review other portfolios and discuss with your classmates. However, as I quickly realized, there are so many different varieties and styles! I spent the past view nights visiting and navigating through many examples. Despite feeling pretty overwhelming at times, I think that reviewing other portfolios is crucial in developing a sense of who you are and what is important to you.

I decided to start with Dr. Harapnuik’s ePortfolio. Although I’ve visited this many times in both 5302 and 5303, this week, I was looking at it a little differently. As a person who loves organization, I find his ePortfolio to be organized in a way that is straightforward and easy to navigate. I have recently been struggling with my own headings, and I felt as though I could benefit from some of the simplicity in his page headers.

My next stop was to visit his son’s ePortfolio. I instantly fell in love with the narrated video blog post about the impact of his ePortfolio on his life. I love how it showcased his spirit in a way that let you connect with his journey. He discussed how it helped to showcase himself as a “fully-rounded” individual, assisted him with personal goal-setting, as well as helped him to develop his brand and a professional identity. Although my personal life could not be more different than Levi’s, I feel as though each of those ideas directly relates to me. I truly feel that this ePortfolio is a chance to showcase my passions and form a bridge between my personal, professional, and social interests. It is my goal that anyone who views my portfolio will be able to understand each unique facet of my life.

Moving through the ePortfolios helped me to gain a greater understanding of not only the content I want to include, but also the layouts that are most appealing to me. I found myself jotting down ideas on post-it notes as I visited each site. Not surprisingly, my favorite portfolios were the ones with simple, well organized headers that allowed me to quickly connect with the author and the content. George Couros, the author of The Innovator’s Mindset, mastered this skill so well. Navigating his website was fantastically easy, and it made me want to keep clicking around. I quickly learned that the Elementary Education teacher in me loves color and visual images. I felt myself become very overwhelmed when I entered a portfolio that had lots of written work with very few pictures or videos, leading me to discover that I will utilize the saying “less is more” as I move forward in the development of my portfolio. I also discovered that I really hate scrolling. This made me adjust several of my own pages to circumvent this issue, as well was make notes for further adjustments I’d like to make.

As I reviewed past DLL student ePortfolios, I was happy to spend some time reviewing the ePortfolio of Chad Flexon. He is the current STEM Coordinator of a neighboring district in my area, as well as the person who lead me to this program. Earlier in the year, I had a chance to shadow him for a day in preparation for the creation of our school’s STEAM program next year. Not only does his ePortfolio showcase exactly who he is as a teacher, but it also captures his desire to help and inspire others around him. I found it really interesting that his “About” page was divided into different sections: A Learner, An Educator, and A Coach, among others. When I was writing my own “About Me” section, I was having difficulty pairing it down to fit my layout. I think this is a terrific way to show all sides of your personality and allow all people to make a personal connection to your life. I was also impressed by the extensive resources that he shared and the organization of said resources. I’m looking forward to picking his brain about his video collection, as well. I can tell he’s mastered resizing embedded video via WordPress,  making him a highly valuable resource in my current endeavor.

Overall, I found this week to be extremely beneficial! Not only do I have a much clearer understanding of what ePortfolios are, but I have a much clearer vision as to how I would like to present myself. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to review more peer examples next week.

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