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  • The Portfolio Difference

Wheat Field with Cypresses, 1889
Vincent van Gogh

Let’s start with 10 letters: everything. bulb can be used for everything. It’s your living, breathing journal. And with the simple click of one button, it’s also one of the best presenting platforms. To narrow your possibilities, here are 10 ways to use bulb digital portfolios.

1. Personal/Professional Development 

By keeping a clear documentation of work, reflection and refining comes natural and easy with bulb. You can see which methods have been tried, which goals have been met and what exactly you need to do if they haven’t.


2. Blogging/Vlogging/Podcasting

 Simply open up a page and just start typing. Or embed and create any audio or video. bulb is a beautiful platform to start your own series of content. Documents often limit creativity. bulb encourages it by giving you a space to add multimedia, however you want.


3. Documenting travel & leisure

 Why separate your journal and photo album when you could use the platform for both? bulb is the modern scrapbook, allowing you to curate any media type to bring your experiences to life.


4. Journal

 Journaling on bulb is ideal because you can keep your work private or public. Your bulb is as personal as you want it, or it’s prepared to be shared with the world. Create daily pages, monthly collections then take a step back. And reflect on entire years’ worth of journaling on bulb.


5. A modern, multidimensional resume 

 Be as thorough as you need to demonstrate skills to future employers. Show, rather than say or write, what you’ve accomplished at your past jobs. You can create a high-level overview of all your accomplishments and link each project to have their own spotlight, whether it’s one project or 10there’s space for all of them.


6. Organization

 Manage and easily locate previous or current work. Your digital portfolio complements your website by keeping the behind the scenes content, like outlines, documents, spreadsheets and processes. 


7. General assignments

Whatever your occupation—an educator, tutor, consultant—create general assignments and have them turned into you directly on the platform.


8. Sharing expertise or a learning journey

 bulb is a limitless world of sharing, gaining and promoting knowledge. It’s where people passionate about learning or teaching meet— a place where your skills, talents and experiences are just as welcomed as you. 


9. Collaboration and group work. 

 All of us are smarter than one of us. So, we made feedback effortless. You have unlimited group creations and inline commenting, which will soon include audio, to collaborate like never before. 


10. An entire life summary. 

 bulb is powerful enough for an entire life’s worth of content. We often forget about the work that matters, the tasks we’ve worked so hard to accomplish, the education we’ve devoted so much time to. And we need to remember thiswe need to remember and keep what matters.


Check out Will Robinson’s life portfolio on bulb.

Explore the bulbLibrary for more helpful resources. Or contact us to set up a demo. 

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Oftentimes, we are poor historians of ourselves. Creating and maintaining a professional portfolio provides evidence and examples of all the things we are doing day to day and throughout the year. Building one is the perfect way to present your accomplishments for annual reviews, earning micro-credentials or badges and for applying to a new job.


In my first post about professional portfolios, I talked about why everyone needs a professional portfolio. Now, let’s talk about how to organize yours and what information to include.

Visual provided by Lisa Johnson

Your portfolios can be used to communicate with many audiences. A professional portfolio is what you’d use to showcase accomplishments with your current administrator and any future employers. Prepping for those meetings is quick and easy because all pertinent information will be in one place. 


1. Professional Development Attended/Completed: I used to keep all of this info in a binder but over the years this has become digital. You may also use a tool like Eduphoria to host this info. It is helpful to keep a running list though (especially to document your professional development and continuing education hours). 


2. Micro-credentials and Awards and Affiliations: If you earned any certifications or digital partnerships, I would include those too (e.g. Apple Teacher, Google Certified, bulbhead, Thinglink expert, PBS Educator, etc.). Work done to attain the distinction can also be created and kept in your bulb digital portfolio. I would include any additional awards and grants.


3. Leadership Positions: Leadership positions don’t just have to be department chair. Consider adding roles like mentoring a new teacher, coaching basketball, leading a book study, piloting a tool or new pedagogy like Project Based Learning. It could also be participation in an application or selection-based cohort or academy. 


4. PD presented or Publications: If you present sessions at your campus, in district or beyond (e.g. conferences, webinars, Twitter chats), I would include these. I would also include publications like a blog, any articles or books you have written. It could be an article that mentioned your classroom.

5. Topics of Focus/Interest:I spent a few months doing this. A wise person once said, “You can do anything but not everything.” My list helps me focus on the topics, pedagogies and strands that I really want to zero in on for the academic year. I use it as a guide when choosing the best books, articles, webinars, Twitter chats, podcasts and conferences. College and Career Readiness Skills, Instructional Design, Visual Literacy, Social Emotional Learning, Productivity and Time Management, and Digital Minimalism are at the top of my list.

Visual provided by Lisa Johnson

6. Books Read + Reviews/Reflections: Journaling or jotting down notes about books read is great for reflection and useful when preparing for a new year or semester. I also like to list the professional books I’ve read and keep a running record for reference. 

7. Quotes and Endorsements: Words of gratitude typically say more about you than you could yourself, so include quotes from students and staff. Keep them in your bulb. IMPORTANT NOTE – If you plan on using student endorsements publicly, I would suggest wording the attribution as “former student” or “6th grade student” rather than including their actual name. If these are from a staff member or from a session, I don’t think there is an issue with using full names – just ask permission first. If you are taking an online course, you may ask the professor or course admin to share a few words about you as a student as well.

Visual provided by Lisa Johnson

8. Exemplars: Any time I am teaching or leading professional development, I love to take pictures. If I am working with students, then I ask permission to photograph their work. If I am taking photos of students, I typically take it from the back of their heads or blur photos using Skitch as I don’t want to worry about likeness permissions. If you have a lesson that went really well, type up a few notes about the lesson and include a student exemplar. IMPORTANT NOTE – If you plan on sharing student work publicly (rather than just with your administrator or for your own reflection), I would check with your school and your parents on how they would like their student’s work shared online, if at all. Some parents are fine with the work, but not a picture of their student. Others are okay with the work as long as their full name is not listed. I always try to err on the side of caution, and asking permission instead of forgiveness should be the way to go when sharing student work online. 


Your professional portfolio is  evidence of your lifelong learning. As educators we spend so much time creating for others and often, we forget to create, document and archive our own work. Being architects and promoters of our own lifelong learning is powerful and important to your continued growth and success.


Having one will give you better perspective. And when all your information is in one place, it’s easier to reflect and identify trends topics that interest you. 


If this process still seems overwhelming, start building  with information you have or with topics of highest interest. 


Still feeling stuck? Check out some of the resources I’ve curated:


Lisa Johnson works at a 1:1 iPad HS in Austin, Texas. To learn more about these topics and many others, follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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UX design was the number one, in-demand job in 2018. Knowing this, Belinda Medellin, from CAST Tech High School in San Antonio, TX, took action and created the first ever, high school level UX design course. 


As a master teacher of digital art, animation and professional communications, Medellin knows the importance of creativity and the right tools to feed it. Today, she’s bringing relevance and revolution to her school. 

We wanted to learn more about her work and why her students are using bulb digital portfolios.


Q. Do you feel the skills needed to curate a digital portfolio coincide to skills required for the job market today? Do digital portfolios play a prominent role in the national trends or demands you predict?  


A. Creating a digital portfolio requires choice and for students to work through different questions, obstacles and design thinking (problem solving with design).


Industry partners are interested in seeing what future hires can do, rather than what their resume says. They want soft-skills. To curate a portfolio, soft-skills are a must and (are developed) when students share their bulb. It’s more interactive and personable than a slideshow and the tendencies for communication and listening heighten. So does teamwork and empathy. Companies value that. 


In the future it’s possible companies will first look at professional social networks, like LinkedIn, for future hires and then a digital portfolio. At this point, the resume becomes obsolete.

Q. Do you feel digital portfolios accurately and uniquely measure competencies beyond a testing environment? 


A. Yes. I struggled with taking tests in high school. I always gravitated towards the arts. I loved projects and the process of getting to the final product. Digital portfolios show what my students can do, their “aha” moment and my visual data to see what each individual student needs.



Q. How often do you use bulb to support project based and personalized learning in your classroom? 


A. About 90% of the time. I spend about 2 to 3 days creating a collection with the timelines, rubrics, tutorials and resources. I personalize with station rotations and give students choice from how they work best. I always require a reflection page in bulb. It’s my favorite to assess.

Q. Will you use this year’s resources in your bulb for next year? Once implemented, does bulb ease your planning process for upcoming years? 


A. Yes. Using bulb has made my life so much easier. Once the students learned bulb, the expectations were set and met. The “bulb” entered their vocabulary, and it makes it easy when there’s a sub. 


I conduct professional development with bulb. I easily share info with interactive sessions, rather than boring slide presentations.

Belinda Medellin defines wanting the best for your students. And she isn’t stopping soon, as some of her goals include: 

  • Teaming up with corporations and UX designers for impactful project based learning
  • Pursuing grants to take as many students to a UX design conference for training 
  • Personally reaching out to as many districts and teachers to let them know what UX is, why they should offer it and help with training

Belinda’s main goal is to give her students the opportunity to be top contenders in this exciting career field. She’s making it happen and transforming CAST Tech High as a pipeline for the tech industry today. 

Hear from one of Belinda’s students about how they are using their bulb portfolio to secure CTE career opportunities.

Is your school ready to do the same? 

Check out Belinda Medellin’s bulb portfolio

Don’t have a bulb account? You can sign up for free here today.

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Defining student success can be slippery, particularly when near-constant innovation keeps standards a moving target. Using the tried-and-true seven ISTE Standards for Students, define and communicate what successful learning looks like for students today—and discover how bulb can help.

Empowered Learner

“We have an opportunity to restore the dignity and integrity of a work ethic by redefining the role of the learner as a contributor to the learning culture.” —Alan November


Digital portfolios go beyond simply digitizing a student’s body of work. A digital portfolio empowers students to own their education. With a digital portfolio, empowered learners:

  • Visually assess their process, thinking and growth to assemble a larger picture of their learning
  • Reflect on where they’ve come from and determine where they want to go
  • Take their work with them for a lifetime of learning


Digital portfolios give purpose to student learning from kindergarten through their college and career. On bulb, your students aren’t just vying for a grade or test score—they’re actively contributing to a larger community of meaningful knowledge, for life.

Digital Citizen

“The internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom.” Jon Stewart


Today’s students are growing up as much in a digital world as a physical one. The social-emotional, cognitive and technical demands of the internet can be challenging to navigate for young brains still “under construction.” Imbuing wisdom, purposefulness and resilience when it comes to students’ online activity is imperative.


On bulb, digital citizens:

  • Craft a positive, authentic and unique online presence.
  • Showcase their work to a real audience.
  • Engage in healthy online discussion with peers, practicing the offering of constructive feedback and receiving it.
  • Navigate the hairy world of copyright guidelines, terms of use laws and attribution.


In a safe and carefully crafted environment like bulb, students can feel free to be themselves, experiment a little and start breaking trail on their journey to becoming responsible, original, ethical and essential members of the online community.

Knowledge Constructor

“What makes us unique is the diversity and breadth of our influences, the unique ways in which we mix up the parts of culture others have deemed ‘high’ and ‘low.’”—Austin Kleon


Knowledge isn’t very useful until it becomes meaningful. Knowledge constructors interact with information on a deeper level than mere knowing. They gather info from trusted online sources, get their hands on it, play around with it and finally reconstruct it with their own flair of personal experience, reflection and style.


Knowledge Constructors on bulb

Elements, Principles & Composition

This 8th grader user her bulb portfolio to practice critical curation and demonstrate meaningful connections.

Innovative Designer

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Albert Einstein


Today, students are being trained for jobs that probably don’t exist yet. Answers to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” have exploded into a multiplicity of new directions. With an unprecedentedly-paced tech industry, students are creating their own jobs, ones their education hadn’t even planned for.

“A better question to ask students — and one that reflects the economy we face — is, ‘What problem do you want to solve?’ You can follow up with, ‘What skills and knowledge do you need to address that problem?’ And, ‘What do you need to learn to solve that problem?’” Jaime Casap, chief education evangelist at Google

A single-track education to an end-goal job is no longer sufficient—today’s students require something more. Our world needs innovative designers who press into ambiguity, embrace risk and, with grit, work towards new solutions to real world problems–not just careers.


Innovative Designers on bulb

CAPSTONE | Senior Project

For her senior capstone project, this student created a free library in her community and documented the design process and progress on her bulb portfolio.

PROJECT | New Product Design: SPLOOSH

This large design project shows off innovation and design skills, as well as process and progress.

Computational Thinker

“If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution.” —Steve Jobs

Some questions seem too complex for students to tackle. But computational thinkers on bulb can break a problem down into digestible components to get their arms around it.


bulb was built to prove that you can simplify any problem enough to solve it. We believe all of life’s big questions are made up of tiny, manageable parts that students can work to understand better and better. We really do believe there is a sweet simplicity on the other side of complexity.


At the bite size page level of bulb, students can visualize data up real close; at the zoomed out level of robust collections, students can visualize data from up real high. They discover patterns and break up long processes into component parts.

Creative Communicator

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” —Scott Adams


There are a lot of ways to say 1,000 words these days and creative communicators know just which ones to use.


On bulb, students simply, intuitively and creatively communicate their learning by weaving together images, videos, text, audio and an array of other embedded content. It’s as easy as clicking a big blue button.


With our simple, beautiful and powerful design, bulb takes care of the how so students can focus on the what, the 360-degrees of their learning story.


Creative Communicators on bulb

PROJECT| Inferno

This student communicates her knowledge of Dante’s Inferno using audio embeds, “black out” poetry, video and more.

Global Collaborator

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” Ken Blanchard


Learning should be a communal endeavor. bulb users come from every grade level (K-12, collegiate, professionals) and more than 120 countries around the world. Search in bulb and you’ll find original work in just about every subject you can think of—like entrepreneurial pursuits in energy, vaccinations in South Africa, the many faces of “disability,” student resumes and even neuroprediction.


When a student publishes on bulb, they aren’t creating in a vacuum, they’re joining a world-wide collaborative knowledge party.  


Global Collaborators on bulb

PROJECT | Startup Pitch

This student brainstormed and organized a new business idea with a remote group on bulb.


A cartography assignment on bulb for students.

Explore more ISTE standards documented on bulb here.

These seven standards were created and implemented by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), a global community of educators dedicated to leveraging the power of technology for student learning. They are a reliable guide to using technology effectively in the classroom. Implementing these standards with bulb will ensure you don’t detract from your primary goal: student learning.


If you’re spending a lot of time sharpening your skills as an educator this summer, make sure you document your growth and learning on bulb Digital Portfolios. You can use this Professional Development guide to help you capture your summer growth.


  • Ready to find your focus with the ISTE Standards for Educators? Read how here.
  • Want to receive weekly resources like these directly in your inbox? Subscribe here!


Brianna Hodges Breaks Down Her ISTE Game Plan

Guest Post by Brianna Hodges


Summer is one of the more dichotomous elements in education.


On one hand, we’re completely spent, desperate to drink a cup of temperature-appropriate coffee and for freedom to have an unscheduled bathroom break. On the other, we’re filled with the promise and possibilities of next year, eager to explore new strategies and resources.


Enter, summer professional learning.


Even amid summer break, conferences can be exhilarating. Abuzz with like-minded and inspirational educators, we connect, create and collaborate. We gain access and insight to a variety of ideas, practices, theories, lenses and models.


Moreover, conferences meet our need for agency as we choose the content, presenter and style/format to best meet our interests and preferences. Pouring through the session listings, we enthusiastically schedule our days.


And, simply put, we get pumped.


Insatiable for information, voraciously burning through #hashtags and blog posts, we bookmark sites and load up our Amazon carts. We fire off texts to all our friends and colleagues, activate trial accounts and boldly profess ourselves changed.


We become insta-experts.


The next day, we’re at it again, repeating the cycle.


Only there’s a slight difference: the tiniest tinge of confusion.


Was that AR or VR?


Flexible learning or sensory seating?


Brain fog slowly rolls in.


By the end of day three, we barely remember our school mascot and cannot recall which in the fleet of white SUVs parked at the conference center is our chariot home.  


Brain fatigue is real, y’all.


Exhilarating as they may be, conferences can be downright exhausting.


So here’s the kicker: how much of the “life-changing” information do we remember post-conference? Research says: not much, folks.


Without purposeful reflection, our brains can’t retrieve the information we’ve just taken in.




The Forgetting Curve – Ebbinghaus’ Epiphany.

First, let’s look at the history of the Forgetting Curve. In the late 19th century, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus tested his memory over various periods of time. Once he’d gathered all the data from his spaced learning studies, he plotted it on a graph that looked a little something like this:

The graph illustrates the exponential rate at which we forget things from the point at which we learned them. You lose most of it in the first couple of days, after which the rate of loss tapers off.


All is not lost, though. Ebbinghaus climbed up the slide to identify the factors that contribute to memory loss. He found our levels of retention depend on a couple of things.

Strength of memory.

People recall “stronger” memories for a longer period than weaker ones. When an impactful emotion—good or bad—is associated with learning, it generates a certain stickiness. We remember things better. Furthermore, adding our own cognitive experiences and associations through reflection enhances the “stick factor.” Beyond that, visuals (photo, video or sketchnotes) and audio (recording thoughts, even songs) can solidify and stimulate associated memory.


Time from learning.

Learners forget an average of 90% percent of the information taken in within the first month. The longer we delay application, the less learning we’ll have to apply. Simply put: if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it.

If we plan to learn, we must create a plan to remember.

When I’m learning something, I often wish I had a magic remote to capture the experience. I’d like to grab every element so that I can revisit the information, rewind and replay the scenarios, record and repeat the conversations. Try as I might, relying solely on typed documents or handwritten notes, I can never replicate the experience.


Enter, digital portfolios.


Leveraging the workflow and robust multimedia features of a digital portfolio, I can capture information with a multi-modal mindset and more fully engage with my learning experiences.


It’s important to not limit ourselves to viewing digital portfolios as an online notebook; an online location to house static snippets can easily stagnate. To ensure growth and longevity, we’ve got to reflect, actively goal-set and share.


Reflection is one of the most effective ways to consolidate learning as we revisit, practice and experience the concepts and information we’ve been presented.


Circulation is also a necessary element in two equally valuable ways:

  1. Continually churning the information to keep it fresh by adding, considering and stirring yet again.
  2. Openly contributing to professional learning networks (PLNs) to extend the circle of learning and to glean reactions, advice, perspective and support.


So, how can we tackle all the aspects of effective learning to maximize professional growth at conferences? I think this game plan will help.


Using this digital portfolio template I created in bulb, you can be certain you are faithfully serving your larger vision while attending to all the details, combating the forgetting curve and maximizing your learning.


Using this template, my go-to game plan is pretty straightforward:

  • Create my schedule of must-see sessions
    • Use the conference app, of course, to star sessions. I include any that I find interesting just in case a session is full and I need a back up.

LEVEL UP TIP: I map to my phone calendar to force reminders; be sure to account for any time zone differential.

  • Create a digital portfolio of learning
    • Start with a collection for the conference.
    • Add holding pages for the sessions identified.
      • I find adding the session description to be helpful.
      • Often handouts are added within the conference app; if available, I like to download them ahead of time and add to the session page.
    • Be ready— presenters waste no time in getting to the good stuff. Preparation is key.
  • Add new connections via social media
    • Keep the learning going #PLN.
    • Post key takeaways from sessions to social media, tagging presenters and using the conference hashtag.
  • Revisit notes daily to reflect on major takeaways, key contacts.
    • This is critically important for multi-day conferences.
  • Draft a next-steps plan to implement/experience learning.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

  • Lather, rinse, repeat each day.


So, grab your water bottle and set your eyes on the Big Show; it’s time to elevate professional learning. #ISTE19 tips off June 23. Catch you on the court.

Here’s my must-see bracket of sessions— have any others to add to the dream team draft? Tag me @bHodgesedu and @bulbapp  on Twitter to let us know.


If you’re spending a lot of time sharpening your skills as an educator this summer, make sure you document your growth and learning on bulb Digital Portfolios. You can use this Professional Development guide to help you capture your summer growth.


  • Looking for more ways to strengthen your skills? See our blogs and portfolio templates on reflection and goal setting.
  • Want to receive weekly resources like these directly in your inbox? Subscribe here!

by Brianna Hodges


Be it in the classroom, conference room or boardroom, my why has been and always will remain the same: connection. I believe that we learn best when we fell a connection, either to the content or the person involved.


Too often, we introduce rather than connect. We tee up information, offering generic matter-of-fact statements. We issue directives. We announce initiatives. We state objectives. Simply put, we point to dots.


And when we point, we exclude.


By nature we’re hardwired for connection. In fact, this need is found across species and is a key principle to the biological concept of imprinting: the strong attraction to the which we associate with belonging. When we see ourselves within situations, we quickly become invested and purpose filled.


I can remember the first time a student asked me “WHY do we need to know this?” like it was yesterday. I was teaching 8th grade English — you can likely imagine the student’s body language and tone of voice. I quickly explained the importance of pathos through his lens, noting his rationale of “necessity” as he campaigned his parents for the *then* iPhone 3.  Chandler immediately smiled, gave a quick not, finding relevance.


When those connections are made, we find ourselves deeply motivated — to learn, to create to transform, to be.


My why was, and is, and forever will be to find, build and inspire connections. So, how about you — what’s your why? Let’s see how many dots we can connect.


Make sure to follow bulb on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to hear more whys and share yours. Follow us and please tag @bulbapp in your posts.



Brianna Hodges is a practitioner of purposeful pedagogy, learning enthusiast and passionate change agent. She finds ways for learners of all ages and stages to connect curiosity with wonder. Recognized as Education Dive’s 2018 K12 Administrator to Watch and 2017 Texas EdTech of the Year, Bri also serves as National Advisor and Spokesperson for Future Ready Instructional Coaches.  Catch up with Bri online at and on social media @bhodgesEDU.

In our last blog, we determined that to reflect is to learn and to learn is to succeed in the future.


Cue: goal-setting!


[Template Below]


In her keynote address at SXSWedu this year, Jennifer Gonzalez—a thought-leader who inspires tens of thousands of teachers across the globe via her blog Cult of Pedagogy— examined the “aerodynamics” (habits and practices) of exceptional schools. She investigates the forces at play in any school district and how exceptional schools manage these forces, like an airplane navigating turbulence.

One of the chief elements of increasing the thrust and decreasing the drag of your “airplane,” she says, is setting precise goals. She explains this may sound like a “no duh” to many educators, but she claims teachers tend to list their dreams when asked for their goals. Dreams might sound noble and exciting, but they often don’t come to fruition. They’re too abstract. Instead, Gonzalez encourages paying more attention to their somewhat less fun, but more effective twin: goals.


Gonzalez recommends using SMART goals to help you anchor your dreams in practical, tangible and mediated steps and tasks. The approach was created as a guide in setting objectives in the areas of project management and personal development. The model first appeared in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.


This is what a SMART goal is:

  • Specific: distinct, unequivocal, particular—vs. general, ambiguous, vague
  • Measurable: quantifiable, obvious, definite—vs. incalculable, unbounded
  • Attainable: obtainable, achievable—vs. undoable, unrealistic
  • Relevant: applicable, pertinent—vs. unconnected, peripheral, inconsequential
  • Timely: opportune, seasonable—vs. inexpedient, ill-chosen, unfavorable


Although it feels really good, there is more to setting and achieving goals than the satisfaction of checking it off your list. Goals set your trajectory, determine your direction and move you toward a destination.


Remember the airplane Jennifer Gonazalez had you imagine? It is already airborne and flying. Even small adjustments to flying patterns can result in major shifts of direction, for better or worse. Goals are the small corrections you make in your airplane’s trajectory after getting off track. They aren’t destinations in and of themselves, but they help you chart a course to where you want to go. Goals help you define your direction and stay the course. That’s why they matter so much.   


With a thorough reflection practice and a solid goal setting plan, you can arrive at your dreams. Because you, educator, are unstoppable.


As you go about charting your own path for a summer of personal learning or vision setting for your school or district, we encourage you to pause, reflect and spend concentrated time establishing some goals. To support you and your unstoppableness, we’ve developed the following goal-setting template for you to use as the school year winds down and summer comes into focus.


Use this template:

We hope this template will support you in walking more confidently in the direction of your dreams. Now, bring on the summer.


Haven’t checked out our reflection template? Read about the benefits of reflection and use bulb’s customizable reflection template here!

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

– Anne Frank

Rally your students to serve their communities as well as their own future with this guide to volunteering. Feel free to add to it as your class needs.


What does improving the world mean to you?

Volunteering is always cool, but April is National Volunteer Month—this means we can take some intentional time to lift our communities and give back to the world we have the privilege of inhabiting.


We asked some folks at bulb about their favorite volunteer opportunities and experiences.


Here’s what they said:

1. Animal Rescue Shelters


Local animal shelters almost always need volunteers to help out with their furry friends. Check out ASPCA for more resources.

2. National Parks


If you love history or just like to take every opportunity to spend some time outdoors, you can find boundless opportunities at amazing historical sites and parks maintained by the National Park Service. Or try

3. Food Pantries.


Food pantries and soup kitchens are a great way to directly help someone in need. They typically could use an extra hand organizing a local food drive, raising money or simply handing out hot meals. Check out to search for one near you.

4. Habitat for Humanity.


If you have an interest in home repair and building, Habitat for Humanity offers a ton of opportunities to get involved. Check out their A Brush With Kindness campaign or the Women Build program, designed specifically to help women learn construction skills.

5. Some other volunteer suggestions worth looking into:

  • Art Museums  
  • Political Campaigns
  • Retirement Homes
“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.”

– Albert Schweitzer

Not sure where to start? Here are two websites that help you find volunteer opportunities based on your specific interests, age and location:

1. Great Value Colleges Community Service Scholarship

Great Value Colleges awards $1,500 to students who have enhanced their education through community service.


2. Yes, I Can Council for Exceptional Children Award

Students between the ages 3 and 21 with a disability can be nominated by a teacher, parent, other nominee, or even themselves! The student must be involved in various activities including volunteer work.


3. LULAC National Scholarship Fund General Awards

This award is for entering freshmen who display motivation, sincerity and community involvement. Multiple awards between $250 and $1,000 are given.


4. Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

These awards are for students in grades 5–12 who have participated in community service in the past 12 months. National Honorees receive a $5,000 award, a medallion, a trophy and a $5,000 grant to a charity of choice. State Honorees receive an award of $1,000, a medallion and a paid trip to Washington D.C. Local Honorees receive a certificate of achievement.


5. LEAGUE Foundation Scholarship

LGBTQ high school seniors with a GPA of 3.0 and above who are involved in community service can apply for this scholarship.

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in”

– Author Unknown

How do you plan to volunteer your time? Build a bulb to document your experience and share it to inspire yourself and others during National Volunteer Month this April!



For more information on visiting and getting involved at national parks, click here.

Reflection is not simply a part of the learning process—it is the learning process.

[Template Below]

Reflection facilitates growth, refinement of ideas, deep thinking and the evaluation of experiences. This essential metacognitive practice is used to apply meaningful knowledge to shape future decisions, thoughts and actions.

“Metacognition is really about leveraging what we know about our person and our strengths and weaknesses, understanding the task and how it relates to our person (how long will it takes us to read or comprehend), and the strategies we have to process and make sense of information, tasks, and experiences to be successful in school and beyond.”

—Lisa Johnson, Cultivating Communication in the Classroom

Studies prove the monumental benefits of learning by thinking.

The jury is out and it’s a unanimous decision: direct experience + intentional reflection = true learning.

“Reflection is the instrument by which experiences are translated into dynamic knowledge.”

Fred Korthagen, professor emeritus of the pedagogy of teacher

education at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

All sorts of industries like to talk about reflection—it’s a popular topic today. But let’s take what could be pie in the sky and get down to brass tacks: how do we reflect?


There are many methods and models you can find to help you develop a fruitful reflection practice. We find the Gibbs Reflective Cycle to be really effective. This method was developed by Professor Graham Gibbs in his 1988 book “Learning by Doing” and focuses on experiential learning.

The six-step process can easily be applied to any activity, lesson or daily practice.

  1. Description: recreate the situation, event or activity in detail, without drawing any conclusions right away.
  2. Feelings: become aware of the emotions and thoughts you experienced at the time of the event or activity.
  3. Evaluation: ask yourself what went well and what did not.
  4. Analysis: determine your attitude toward the evaluation and develop critical opinions of the experience.
  5. Conclusion: take a step back to ask yourself what else you could have done in this situation.
  6. Action Plan: develop specific actions to take in the future and commit yourself to growth in the relevant areas.
“We do not learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience.”

-John Dewey

It might be the end of the school year for students, but it’s just the beginning of your personal and professional growth. This transition provides a delightfully tangible milestone to pause and reflect. We’ve developed a template for you to use as you shift your focus from serving others to investing in yourself.

End of Year Reflection

We hope this template will support you in walking more confidently in the direction of your dreams. Now, bring on the summer!


Done reflecting and ready for goal-setting? Stay tuned for a followup template on goal-setting!

Mini PD sessions to create modern learning experiences


As the school year winds down and we get ready to head into summer break, learning will soon shift to educators. We know teachers are always looking for just-in-time opportunities to hone their practice, not just over the summer.


The bulbHeads, a league of innovative educators, started the year with a plan and every week, they meet virtually to think deeply about a topic. They share insights and swap perspectives. They debate and discuss best practices. Then, they create resources anyone can use to take learning into the future.


As you prepare your summertime professional development plans, explore these bulbHead conversation reels. Download the resources. Sign-up for a bulb digital portfolio and start creating. 


Whatever action you choose, be inspired to create beautiful work. Tweet your thoughts to us @bulbapp with the hashtag #MeasureWhatMatters.


As Ken Blachard said, “none of us is as smart as all of us.” A few sessions with the bulbHeads and we know you’ll agree.


Explore these rich dialogues and resources created by the bulbHead team.

Creating a portfolio is a lot like writing a story. But this time, the protagonist is you or your students. A compelling story and stellar portfolio have a lot in common. 

There is a beginning, middle and an end. There are clear delineations of events, times and places. There are pages and chapters and sections. In short, information has been capsuled, compartmentalized and packaged into comprehensible, digestible chunks to move the story forward, one step at a time.

What’s the best way to organize a digital portfolio?

There are many, and no way is necessarily wrong. It is your story and how you tell is completely up to you. Here are some ideas to get started.

By subject.

Organizing your portfolio by subject area. This may be a great option for showing inter-disciplinary in the work. Students can create a collection for each subject and within that collection, they can organize the projects, reflect and refine and present their work to peers for feedback.

Here are some stellar examples of a subject-focused portfolio.

Nahar Luftar, Student

Chris Taylor, Teacher

By concept or standard.

Many tech coaches or educators with a specialized role tend to organize their portfolio by idea or concept. If you have resources for achieving certain standards, teaching certain subjects, etc., organizing your work into collections might be easy. Plus, the sharing options on bulb allow you to select unique audiences for each collection within your portfolio. This is also a good option for students who wish to demonstrate their competency of a particular skill or for educators to document their professional development and credentials.

Shona Rose, Coach

Sally Hayman, Teacher

Angela Olsen, Student

By assignment.

If you or your student users are already singularly focused on a discipline, simply organizing your portfolio by assignment is a good option. 

Daniel Ibanez, Teacher

Mr. Brandon Coon, Teacher

Pravallica A, Student

Preston M, Student

By grade.

This is an excellent organization option for younger students who use their portfolios to document their growth and show their progress over time. For educators who teach multiple grades and need to keep their curriculum clearly delineated, organizing collections by grade is the good option. 

Kaden J, Student

Gabe W, Student

Whatever approach you decide to take, one of the simplest ways to start is to organize all your content and keep it in bulb. This will make sure your work stays with you throughout your life. 

Technology has disrupted how we do just about everything, from the way we connect with one another to how we plan vacations to shopping.

How you get into college, find a job, secure an internship or apply for a scholarship is no exception. Paper resumes, business cards and binder portfolios are fast becoming out of date and digital portfolios are the new normal. 

We’ve come up with 3 ways to transform your traditional body of work into a dynamic, multimedia story that will tell your whole story better than any piece of paper ever could.


1) Create a resume collection.

This is an especially good option to consider for a student’s college application or other opportunities where they have more time and space to talk about themselves and their work. Creating an entire resume collection allows you to break up your learning journey or professional story into digestible chunks. From here, you can pick and choose what to make public or which collections to share with select individuals. Examples of pages inside a resume collection could be:

Each page should have images, text, video and other elements of evidence demonstrating what you have done. This as a thorough and complete resume and will provide the most accurate depiction of who you are and what you can do.

2) Build out your resume visually.

This is also called a resume infographic or the visual resume. In short, it’s a traditional-medium resume (single page PDF), but with a fun graphic twist. If you’ve seen an infographic, you know the basic concept is to illustrate data and information in a visual way for quick understanding and comparison. It provides a snapshot picture (literally) of who you are and what you do. There are lots of great tools out there to help you create a good infographic resume, like Canva and PiktoChart, just to name a couple.

3) Embed your resume on a page.

This is the simplest way to get with the times is to digitize your resume on bulb. Using our “attach file” feature, you can upload a PDF of your traditional resume and embed it directly onto a bulb page. Because we integrate with Google Drive, you can also link any supporting files. You’ll want to take a few minutes to write a short introduction on the page, but this quick approach will make your resume accessible to anyone, anytime and anywhere using a URL.

Once you’ve digitized your resume, you can include links to your bulb page anywhere. Because any type of content can be loaded to your bulb digital portfolio, you can keep adding to your work to create a more complete representation of who you are, what you know and your accomplishments. The best thing is to get started so you can show and share your accomplishments in one place for life.