Wednesday, December 27, 2006

E-portfolios and an online presence

Graham has an interesting post over at Teaching Generation Z talking about helping some colleagues develop e-portfolios. He talks about the purpose of e-portfolios and wonders if many teachers would see a need for an e-portfolio. Then he says
Rather than worrying about whether teachers will get into e-portfolios or not, the question should be more along the lines of “How do we get teachers developing an online presence?” To me, that seems to be the genuine starting point for some many classroom teachers who need to make the mental shift from using the internet as a read-only resource to the benefits of the Read/Write web.

I have an e-portfolio of sorts that I started almost 2 years ago. I have tried to keep it up -- at least in terms of conference presentations and such. I was actually working on it yesterday. I am not really looking for another job, but I wanted to have a portfolio as a repository of documents and information for whatever purpose might come along. I am using Blogger for this because that is what I knew about at the time. But now I am thinking that there would be many better places to house this portfolio. Guess I have to start looking at some of them.

But Graham's question is what really intrigues me. How do we get teachers to develop an online presence? Obviously, there has to be a perceived need. In my institution, there are not many people who embrace technology and even fewer who embrace the Read-Write Web. Why would they want an online presence? What would they gain from it?

I really don't know that we can get teachers to develop an online presence. I have seen websites of teachers who were required to have them, and it was obvious that the teachers didn't embrace the idea at all. It was just another hoop they jumped through. What we can do, I think, is make our own online presences so much a part of our lives that people become curious. Then, when they have some level of interest, we can show them why we have an online presence, what we et out of it. Then, I guess, they either get it or they don't. If they do, we can offer to help them. If they don't, we just move on.

And I guess another question is whether or not all teachers should have an online presence. My answer to that question would be, "YES!!!" But why? I am not sure. What I get from my online presence is intangible. I can't really explain it. Would everyone get the same things I do from it? Probably not. But what would they get out of it? What do you get out of your online presence?

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