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Liberate learning with digital portfolios

Portfolios, once only for art, advertising and architecture, are quickly being adopted by educators of every discipline across the globe as a means of providing insights into measuring what matters – a student’s whole learning story.

Besides meeting many of the current needs of students and teachers, digital portfolios also provide answers to several pressing issues facing modern education.

The creativity gap.

Sir Ken Robinson’s meteoric rise as the most watched TED Talk speaker fixates on the subject of creativity and education. A common question in his talks is, “How can education provide an environment where creativity thrives and talent is discovered?”

Robinson surgically calls out traditional learning environments as the killers of creativity. He identifies them as a great tragedy in education. An initial, but fundamental, step toward cultivating creativity is the need to connect with the wider expressions of learning styles.

One way educators can begin to redesign learning and foster an environment where creativity flourishes is to incorporate the use of digital portfolios.

 

Digital portfolios break down decades of learning barriers and elevate creative expression in ways unprecedented. Students can discover and develop their voice and personalize learning by using a multifaceted, easy-to-use digital portfolio like bulb. Teachers have visibility into student process, giving them the opportunity to provide clear and purposed feedback.

 

How to develop lifelong learners.

 

Angela Duckworth, educator and researcher on the subject of childhood learning acquisition, believes “grit” is the missing quality in today’s classroom.

 

Duckworth’s research reveals that students who lack grit are incapable of building the skills necessary to become lifelong learners. Many students, when faced with a difficult problem, often give up when they fail to get the answer right the first time. When this pattern is repeated during early childhood education, the learning path often leads to chronic underachievement.

“Sticking with it” is something Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor, says is missing in today’s education. She claims the “now” learning environment has conditioned students to think that problems must be answered precisely and immediately.

 

Dweck also says the prevailing expectation has been that there is one path and one right answer – and if you don’t get it right, you’re wrong. The result is unmotivated students and confidence-crushing experiences.  

 

Dweck says the shift education must make is to create a “not yet” mindset. Such a mindset encourages students to understand that finding a solution involves a process and isn’t an immediate or inevitable result.

 

A fundamental shift in pedagogy from the “get it right the first time” approach to the “haven’t yet discovered it” mindset is essential in building confidence, motivating curiosity and nurturing grit.

 

This whole process is fundamental for effective education and provides teachers and students a place to reflect and interact while discoveries are made. Documenting the ongoing learning that happens cannot be captured through a standardized test or assessment.

 

Digital portfolios emphasize process, feedback and reflection, which in turn develops confidence, self-awareness and the motivation to learn for a lifetime. They are a place where students can uniquely express themselves, establish a unique approach to their work via manageable steps. A bulb digital portfolio helps make the often hard-to-capture elements of learning visible to the teacher.

 

Learning should not be limited to a single expression. Digital portfolios liberate traditional learning processes and empower students to create knowledge and demonstrate understanding to better express themselves.

19 March 2019