In all of my years as an educator, I’ve been deeply committed to my own professional learning and have always found so much joy in sharing, connecting and supporting others in their own learning journey.
Whether it be tech-integration or leveraging media literacy as an enabler of culturally relevant teaching and learning, I’m a firm believer in the power of professional development in that it allows educators to to rumble with their own vulnerabilities all while unlearning and relearning in service to students and their school communities. Although, professional learning can come with cynicism induced armour, it’s urgent to embrace change with time and patience in order to respond to the every changing K-12 landscape.
As someone who came to teaching with a film and digital media background at the onset of Web 2.0, I’ve strived to create learning that speaks to the power of storytelling and empowering students to engage in learning beyond the walls of the classroom. Whether in class nurturing students to create film and digital content to supporting teachers in harnessing transferable multi-modal digital skills, I’ve worked to shape conversations that explore what teaching and learning really means while recognizing the importance of global competencies, digital citizenship and global connectivity. This is all to say that learning must go beyond the textbook in order to provide students with the resiliency to adapt and respond to change.
This brings me to my own work pertaining to storytelling and digital portfolio design as a mode for students to create, curate and connect with meaning and purpose. Looking to this past year of COVID impacted learning has reaffirmed that schooling is less about “content”. and more about skills and process.
Deep learning occurs when students are empowered to reflect on what they have learnt, their next steps, who they are as people all while “showing what they know” in ways that extends beyond their classroom or school. All of this becomes further enriched when students are empowered to set goals, self-regulate and are given authentic opportunities to engage with goal setting and descriptive feedback in order to master learning rather than content.
The Ontario Ministry of Education Executive Summary titled What We Heard – Well Being in our Schools, Strengths in Our Society notes “promoting well-being, achieving excellence, ensuring equity, and enhancing public confidence” are the goals for renewed vision for Ontario education.” For this to truly happen, students must be mobilized as responsible citizens who understand their peers, have the ability to share their story and who have the transferable skills needed to be be responsive and active citizens. Ultimately, this doesn’t occur through obtaining marks but rather process. As such, the learning journey is more critical now than ever.
Looking ahead, I’ll be sharing these ideas with OAPCE Ontario as part of a webinar which will be launched on their website mid-May. This webinar will provide parents and caring adults with an authentic overview as to why digital portfolios matter and how to support their children at home engage with Creating Pathways to Success – The All About Me Portfolio (K-6) and the Individual Pathway Plan (7-12). Whether it be creating a student Instagram account or a comprehensive digital portfolio, this webinar will provide authentic perspective and practice.
Excitingly, as part of the webinar I will be sharing recent conversations I’ve had with my former students Vincent Pham currently entering his third year at the University of Toronto and Ryan Dizon, currently entering his fourth year at Schulich School of Business at York University. These two learners, share reflections on how their portfolios have helped shaped deep learning and unique opportunities in school in beyond.
Here’s a sneak preview featuring Vincent Pham who chat with me about his experience with portfolio curation.
Create, Curate, Connect: Why Digital Portfolios Matter will land on OAPCE’s website mid-May.