ePorts in a Greenwood Classroom
I’m a new teacher at Greenwood High School in Indiana. At my last job, there were very few directives issued about my teaching, but one of them was that each student was to have an ePort. I think I had to look the term up. Turns out, it’s short for electronic portfolio and over the eleven years I worked with students on their ePorts, I came to believe in them as an important feature of my teaching pedagogy.
My belief in ePorts is partly derived from what I see as the amount of time many of us spend reading, writing, and thinking in conjunction with the screens of our devices. If I’m going to claim to be a teacher of writing–claim that I empower students to think critically about the texts that bombard them everyday–then at least some of the work in in my classroom should happen in digital spaces.
- Trying to teach digital literacy skills while also working with students who had procrastinated and were cramming papers and journal entries right up to and after deadlines. Two of these digital skills? creating hyperlinks and managing the privacy of a Google Doc.
- Paper based projects have to be re-imagined in digital spaces. Paragraph and works cited indentations aren’t used.Photos probably work better within a text. The seven required forms were a nightmare.
- The existing technology: the ideal teaching space would have student access to technology while also being able to use a projector. Students lack of a school email was a challenge. There were quite a few steps needed to get images and forms into the Google space.
- My belief that teaching writing and critical literacy in 2018 means teaching in digital spaces.
- It’s convenient for both myself and the student to always have access to their work.
- Access to students’ ePorts–even years after they’ve left my class–has made work such as writing letters of recommendation much easier.
- Student work on an ePort can be an artifact of my teaching that works well for assessment and presentations such as this one.