Part IV: Concluding Thoughts, Chapters 13-14.
In the book by George Couros, "The Innovator's Mindset", we are asked to reflect on the question, are we there yet? Couros is referring to how schools, educators specifically, know when a level of innovation and excellence has been attained. As educators we look for indications of student success in large part given by test data. Yes, we need to use test data because sometimes we have to "operate inside the box", however, we are not limited to only using test data to measure student growth and success. Couros suggests we use digital portfolios as well.
I was excited to read his recommendation because I am a proponent of digital portfolios for students and teachers. I have written about it in the past and have found that there is innovative and transformative power in the creation and successful organization of digital portfolios. Couros wrote that effective digital portfolios take on two goals:
1) Learning Portfolio which shows a person's growth over time.
2) Showcase Portfolio that highlights a person's best work.
If we were to create a digital portfolio system and use them to accomplish these two goals then the way schools: provide feedback, measure and encourage growth, communicate with parents, increase mindfulness and metacognition, increase engagement and quality of work, provide an authentic purpose and audience, all become much more efficient and effective.
I have two recommendations for digital portfolios:
Seesaw and Google Drive.
I have personally built and used digital portfolio systems for both teachers and students using these two systems. Both are equally versatile, secure, sustainable, and one of the best parts, free.
In conclusion, one of the final thoughts of the book that inspired me was this, "If we only teach students the curriculum, we have failed them." School and education encompasses so much more than academics. The content we teach is but a mere fraction of what students have the capacity and inclination to learn. The frightening part is that all too many will never have the chance to experience the joy of learning in a classroom. They will have to wait 18 or 19 years until they leave in order to do so.