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Blogfolios: The Glue that Can Hold it All Together in Learning

Blogfolios: The Glue that Can Hold it All Together in Learning

Digital Portfolios are so much more than a digital versions of a paper portfolio, a folder sent home at the end of the week, semester or year or an online version of someone’s writing journal. In addition, I am talking about Blogfolios, which are digital portfolios on a blogging platform. These blogfolios are:

  • not behind a password protected wall to encourage authentic feedback and a global audience
  • not only sharing the “best” work of someone, but the process of learning that it took to get to the “best” work in this moment in time
  • the platform to allow open discussion to have one’s work be critiqued, influenced, re-mixed and built upon by others

Pedagogy is about the techniques, methods and strategies teachers use to facilitate learning for their students. Heutagogy is centered around self-motivated and self-directed learning. Webucation is about taking advantage of the fact that anyone with access to the internet and a device is capable to access information, tutorials, mentors, coaches, materials, videos, text, images in order to literally learn anything they wish to learn. The only thing that is required to bring is the MOTIVATION to learn the skills to find, evaluate and use what is available for their own learning. There is a shift away from learning for grades, credentials and other extrinsic factors towards learning for the desire to learn and intrinsic motivation.

Reflection is not an add-on to the learning process, but a critical component. Thinking about your thinking (metacognition) reflecting on one’s own cognitive processes and stresses the awareness and flow of our thinking as well as strategies that help us learn. We can, of course, reflect and think about our thinking in paper journals, in verbal conversations, in our own heads, but there is a depth to our learning added when we reflection in public and in writing (not only in text necessarily). Jackie Gerstein says “If we don’t create a process of reflecting and framing them, then we are leaving learning up to chance,”

No matter if you are implementing project based, inquiry based or problem based learning with your students, all stress the importance of the thinking process and the cognitive awareness of the learner.

The traditional school system can be very rigid. There is a daily school schedule to follow that dictates us when to be in class and with a certain time for a specific subject area. Teachers and students are siloed within the school and from the outside world. Parents are dependent on phone calls or annual parent/teacher conferences to learn more about what is academically going on in the lives of their children. Teachers, who teach the same students, usually have no access and insight to the work and thinking of their students in other academic areas, unless they schedule specific meeting times with their colleagues. Professional Development opportunities offered at the school are scheduled for specific days and times and conferences or workshops are in different locations.

…A blogfolio removes many of the barriers to accessibility. Student blogfolios give parents and teachers a view of learning anytime and anywhere. Parents don’t have to wait until a teacher calls them or invites them to a conference meeting. They can review blogfolio entries with their child, deepening the conversation and going beyond the typical interaction of “What did you do in school?”… “Nothing”. Teachers will gain valuable insight into their current students’ thinking and learning outside of their own classrooms and times together as well as future students at the start of a new school year. When educators share their own thinking and learning, their experiences and best practices, blogfolios become a rich source of professional development for other educators around the world. No longer do we have to wait to go to a conference or workshop, but we are able to access new learning opportunities 24/7.

How do you see blogfolios as the glue that can hold all the puzzle pieces together? What are some of your puzzle pieces and how are/can blogfolios support them?

cross posted at langwitches.org/blog

Silvia Tolisano is a Curriculum21 faculty member, author of the book Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators and founder of the Around the World with 80 Schools project. Read more at http://langwitches.org/blog.