Inspiration From a Teacher…in Illinois?

So I was browsing Twitter the other day, and as always, Twitter had some suggestions to make, trying to widen my social (media) circle. I was particularly intrigued by that of a teacher, and as I browsed his feed, I got really excited because he’s got a blog with a TON of resources about using technology in the classroom, and not necessarily in a 1-to-1 program (of course this makes it easier and more accessible), but really the powerful way the internet can change how students learn and how students show us what they have learned–in the classroom. It seems like schools still have this idea that the internet is relegated to the world outside of school, that sure, it’s a useful tool, but not much more beyond that. In my own experience, this is what I see in our schools today. It’s exciting to see that the kind of innovative education we talk about in our program is being done, and that the teacher is talking about it!

I particularly like the idea of ePortfolios as a way of assessing student learning, because it puts the power in the hands of the students. It’s not a test, where I hold all the knowledge and now you show me what I’ve taught you. Instead, it’s an authentic way for a student to show me, and her friends, and her family, and her community, and the rest of the world, what she is now knowledgable about. But don’t just read my opinion on why ePortfolios are great and actually work; read my new favorite blogging teacher’s, replete with examples of students’ ePortfolios, and a video describing how students make them.

As I learn more and more about the work real teachers are doing in their classrooms, and as I become inspired by the ways they use technology to improve the learning of their students, I can’t help but keep myself from dreaming too big, because I think we all know that sometimes, the things we want to do as teachers can be very restricted by the school we are in and the resources available to us.

Oh what the hell. I’ll keep dreaming. And then I’m going to do it.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I know that often, I’ve had the thought that the tech stuff we’re learning about is mainly generated in environments where every student has a device. A big issue that I haven’t heard a lot of direct comment about is, what happens in a school where, like you said, the internet is something outside of school. Outside of learning, really – I think a lot of teachers at my placement see the Internet as “cheating”. I don’t understand this, in a world and time where the internet is a common tool for people of all ages.

    I love the idea of ePortfolios, and intend to use them myself someday. I agree that they’re more useful than tests. The thing a lot of people seem quick to forget is that, by and large, all a test can measure is a student’s memory of facts. There are some tests which attempt to go beyond this, but if that’s what you want to do, it seems much more natural to do it with portfolios and project-based learning.

  2. Thanks for the lead on this blogging teacher! Was completely sucked into the Hands-on-Algebra post.

    I wonder what kind of success he has with using this e-format for home-school communication…as in does he capture most of his parents’ attention?

  3. I love the idea of the e-portfolios as well! I remember our discussion from Alison’s class last fall when we began discussing legitimate forms of assessment. In general people seemed to be in agreement that portfolios are a really great way of displaying authentic student learning without the pressure of testing. It seems like e-portfolios are a really easy step int that direction!

  4. The idea of ePortfolios is something that I have been thinking about recently as well. It is such a wonderful idea to have students creating (SAMR model, yay) a space to store all of their work and to own it. If you plan on doing this in the future and your school isn’t entirely on board with it, how would you plan to push them towards considering such a valuable tool?

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