Digital Portfolio Pilot Project

Dear Parents,

One of the things that I truly believe in is that grades are poor tools for promoting the kinds of reflective, self-directed, motivated learners that will succeed in tomorrow’s world. While they serve a function in schools — we have to report on progress somehow — they often crowd out any other kind of reflection on learning for kids and they send the message that motivation for learning comes from outside factors and consequences instead of from inside a learner.

That’s why I’m starting a Digital Portfolio pilot project on our team.

Students who participate will create a blog using Blogger — a Google product and a WCPSS approved tool that they already have access to through their school Google logins. They will write, photograph and record reflections about what they are learning. Posts might include videos demonstrating a skill they’ve learned or questions that they are asking inside their heads. Their reflections might be connected to subjects that they are studying in school — but they could also include reflections about their passions and interests beyond school. And best of all, because we are using Blogger, parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles can easily follow a student’s reflections.

Here’s a sample that I created of what a Digital Portfolio might look like:

http://billslearning.blogspot.com/

What I’m hoping to do is give kids a public place to begin reflecting on what they are learning — and YOU a place where you can see the reflections that your kids are writing. I figure if I can get kids hooked on the notion that reflecting is something that happens all the time — instead of something that only happens when teachers assign projects in class — they will grow up to be motivated by learning instead of motivated by grades. I’m also hoping to create a space where you can interact with your kids around their learning. Imagine how cool it would be to actually respond to the reflections that your kids are writing.

If you are interested in having your kids participate in this pilot project, please review, print, sign and return this permission slip before Friday.

And let me know if you have any questions.

Be well,

Bill Ferriter