Digital Leading and Learning · Digital Tools in the Classroom · ePortfolio

What’s Our Learning ePortfolio Why?

As an English teacher, I have studied and taught persuasion. It is a technique that everyone faces daily, whether as the audience or the one looking to sway others. The three main types of persuasion that I teach are Ethos, Pathos and Logos. In regard to our learning ePorfolio course proposal, Ethos doesn’t really have a role. This term refers to credibility which is not something I would specifically highlight when trying to persuade others because I have never implemented a course like this before. That leaves logos, or logic, and pathos, or emotion.

EPL

(Uribe, 2013)

Throughout this past week, after watching Dr. John Kotter’s videos Heart of Change and Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency, my colleagues and I now realize it is essential to appeal to the hearts of our stakeholders before supporting our learning ePortfolio ideas with numbers and facts. To do this, it is important that we first identify the purpose of the course (why), the process throughout it (how), and the ultimate result (what) (Briginshaw, 2013).

  • Why (purpose): We believe in the importance of developing reflective learners who display habits of and the desire for lifelong learning.
  • How (process): We mentor students through every stage of their learning as they reflect and collaborate with peers on who they are as learners, learning itself, and how to find and develop their passions.
  • What (result): The students create and develop their own learning ePortfolios where they can explore their personal interests and create content that is as unique as they are.

In any school district there are many moving parts and influences including students, parents, board members, employees, and tax payers. Our Why statement can be used to speak to the hearts of stakeholders because it addresses each student’s individuality and asks them to become lifelong learners. At the core of each parent is the concern for his or her child(ren). Our Why statement addresses the importance of developing each child’s personal learning style, which is no easy task. As the world changes and the information age dwindles, many students struggle to see the purpose in what they learn in school. There are even many teachers who have difficulty explaining this because the reasons that previously made sense no longer do. The learning ePortfolio is meant to guide students toward understanding why they are learning to begin with and help them understand the value in reflection and curiosity.

The most important and often most overlooked stakeholders are the students. The learning ePortfolio course focuses on them and asks them to take control of their own learning. If they are able to learn to reflect, collaborate, and take chances prior to graduation, they will be much more successful in whatever their futures hold academically, professionally, and personally. Also, at the heart of each parent, teacher, and administrator is a desire for their students to be lifelong learners. If we can develop their personal learning styles and habits, then the student is more likely to become a lifelong learner, and as a lifelong learner they will be intrinsically motivated. This intrinsic motivation leads to less resistance from students, at home and in the classroom, and it will help them face challenges and difficulties that they will undoubtedly face.

Our Why statement keeps the focus on individual learning instead of grades and test scores. This is important because as the stakes on testing have gone higher and higher in Pennsylvania with the Keystone Exams being a graduation requirement, there has been more pushback from parents, administrators, and school districts to lower the stakes. Many stakeholders believe that overemphasis on testing leads to teaching to the test which kills learning and any chance for students to develop a love of learning. Therefore, our Why statement should create a sense of urgency from stakeholders to move away from a focus on testing and scores to a focus on developing personal learning styles and habits so students become lifelong learners. Throughout the course students will be asked to continuously question why they are studying certain content and how their own personal efforts determine certain outcomes. There are countless teachable moments present every day with every student, and the learning ePortfolio perfectly highlights them and forces the students to fully appreciate the learning process. This focus on lifelong learning means that students can continue learning at colleges, universities, technical schools, the military, or directly in the workforce. The emphasis is less on fitting learners into a box and more about making sure that, whatever strengths and interests they have, they know how they learn and have a desire to continue to learn throughout the rest of their lives.

Created with Ryan King and Erin Sanchez

References:

Briginshaw, S. (2013, September 29). Start with why – Simon Sinek TED talk [Video file].

            Retrieved from https://youtu.be/sioZd3AxmnE

Kotter, J. (2011, March 23). John Kotter – the heart of change [Video file]. Retrieved ‘

            from https://youtu.be/1NKti9MyAAw

Kotter, J. (2013, August 15). Leading change: establish a sense of urgency [Video file].

            Retrieved from https://youtu.be/2Yfrj2Y9IlI

Uribe, I. (2013, September 5). Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and teary eyes [Blog post]. Retrieved from

            http://isabelauribe.blogspot.com/2013/09/ethos-pathos-logos-and-my-teary-          

            eyes.html

 

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