A question that some of my students ask me very often is, why should they start creating an ePortfolio? Grade 9th students are introduced in my School to collect evidences of their achievements and competencies and grab them in a personal account in the School ePortfolio.
After filling up the usual profile fields they are required to look for some particular achievements, skills, goals and successes they got so that they can be added to complete their profiles. At the beginning they usually think that they don’t have anything worthwhile enough to be profiled in an ePortfolio. That’s the moment when I, as a teacher, have to focus their attention to things like:
- Foreign language courses and certifications
- Arts studies (Music, drama,..)
- Schools Awards in writing, painting, musical performances and STEM competitions
- Articles posted in the School Magazine
- Sports and rankings
- Leisure activities (Holidays activities, summer-camps, family trips,..)
- Clubs or organisation memberships
As soon as they start to dig into their past they realize that despite their youth, they have more collectable evidences than they had though.
Next step is usually to invite them to thing about some of their best School works. Some text documents about different topics, some presentations done with tools like Powerpoint or Prezi, Videos they had uploaded to YouTube, badges earned throughout the Moodle platform or any kind of physical artefact that they had taken a picture of it, would them all be valuable evidences to populate their ePortfolios. After the collection phase we start the reflection phase. The goal is to make them aware of their achievements and help them to design their own path to get more competencies and skills. In short, we try to use the ePortfolio in essence.
The ePortfolio of our School is based on Mahara and one of its sections is for creating a Resume/CV. Speaking to young students about CV or Resume is a hard task because they are still very far from starting to search for a job. One of my parallel goals as their advice counsellor is to make them aware of the importance of creating and maintaining good digital profiles. One never knows what personal skill could be determinant to get a job. This year I told them about an offer I had received by email at the end of November. An Amazon recruiter had read this blog and invited me to send him a copy of my CV.
Amazon recruiters were searching, at that moment, for people with certain skills to join to their AWS Data Services Teams in Dublin. I hadn’t sent any applications to Amazon but it looks like they were searching profiles in internet and they should have landed in this blog. My profile shows clearly that I’m a Biologist and not a programmer but they told me that they wanted multidisciplinary profiles in their teams.
As you can see I sometimes post about what I do, I have a public profile in about.me and I maintain a digital updated version of my CV. Fortunately I’m not looking for a job as many other people around us in Spain, but for those who are unemployed should take out a lesson from this.
In a decade (if not nowadays) it’s expected that digital profiles and portfolios will be the first reference for recruiters to pre-select candidates for a job. We all need to care about our digital profiles because it matters. Our Secondary students are not concerned at all about it and some of them still go on posting messages, pictures and videos which can become a boomerang hitting them in the near future. I’m afraid that many families (and some Schools) are not fully aware of this yet. Some parents and school staff still think that digital profiles and privacy issues when exchanging messages and pictures throughout social networks are simply ‘Kid stuff’. 🙁