Thursday, January 13, 2005


Concrete Ideas:Electronic Portfolios

This is a repost of a comment that I posted.

Sandy, you are absolutely right. We need to get down to the concrete. Here is the first concrete benefit that I see.

Electronic Portfolios. One of the great benefits of a computer is its ability to remember everything. When every student has a laptop we can begin to create records of all of the work that they do here at St. Mary's. Every note they take, every homework they hand in, every test they take, every paper they write, every PowerPoint presentation they prepare, every email they exchange with a teacher, every instant message conversation that they have, every math problem that they work, every exam they are handed back, can be stored and accessed on the laptop for immediate access, anywhere, anytime. No more I can't find it; no more the dog ate it, no more divisions between classes and disciplines. The student's computer becomes an interdisciplinary storehouse of information for them to use and share.

At recommendation time, a student can present the teacher with a record of the work they did together in class. Guidance no longer will need to rely solely on grades to present a student's accomplishments. Each student will be able to put together, if that student chooses to, a picture of their best intellectual work while here at St. Mary's. They will not only have electronic records of their sports accomplishments (videos, DVDs) but also of their intellectual accomplishments. Students could present videos instead of essays to colleges they wish to attend. Electronic portfolios would set us apart.

Everyone having a laptop, 24/7 makes this possible. You can't do it with carts. You can't do it as well with carts, because the student isn’t working on a computer all the time with the cart paradigm.

Having all of your work and explorations available to you also opens the possibility of having the raw material necessary to write a significant senior thesis as a capstone to your STM experience. That would also set our students apart.

Imagine the storage capacity that we have to share with 600 laptops with 80G hard drives..... That is 48000 Gigs of community storage....and the processing power of all of those computers.......all joined in a single learning network here at STM.

That is the emerging business paradigm in the world. Laptops will give our students real time experience in that paradigm. That is why we need them.

Electronic portfolios. Great concept Norm. I like the benefits you identify and the fact that you can't do it with a cart program. Lots of good ideas to explore here. Thanks for the inspiration.
Information management skills (as distinct from the skills necessary to access information and the ability to use information in a productive manner) seems to be an (learning)outcome of building an electronic portfolio.
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