This past week of evomlit (week 3), we looked at the “pedagogical lens” as proposed by M. Pegrum in From Blogs to Bombs.  I’ve been looking at a lot of the tools mentioned, and trying to figure out how to best coordinate my online experiences in an ePortfolio.  While I understand the concept, I’m having trouble finding a tool that I really like and that doesn’t require me to basically start from scratch again.

When I moved back to the US in July and had to really begin my job search, one of the “new” requirements was “proof of teaching excellence.” This was something new to me.  I knew I should be keeping a portfolio, but I had no clue what should actually go there.  My master’s program never discussed this at all, and my undergrad in business wasn’t helping much.  So, I scrambled.  And am still scrambling.  I’ve been active in EVOs for a while now, and have spent countless hours developing activities and workshops with online components.  But I haven’t been good at pulling it all together.  I’ve tried with wikis, and for now have a portfolio on Google Sites at http://sites.google.com/site/erinlowry2/. I’m not happy with how it looks (liked it much better when it was still hosted through Google Pages), and even less with its capabilities to display feeds from the different things I’m working on or teaching.  I still don’t have any “real” videos of me teaching, which I need to fix and soon.  I also have a LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/erinlowry, but haven’t found it that useful. After looking at the portfolios for some of the other evomlit participants (http://jenniferverschoor.pbworks.com/, ), I think I might go back and try pbworks.  I’ve used it for course materials, and find it easier to use than wikidot, which I had used for one of my earlier portfolio attempts.

In this week’s reading, we looked at 4 “literacy groups”:

  1. Language literacies
  2. Information literacies
  3. Connection literacies
  4. Remix literacies

I especially enjoyed the section that mentioned how students at a particular college were allowed to use the internet, iPods, and “phone a friend” while taking an exam, and how these activities were not cheating, but “using our tools and including the world in our knowledge base.”  This reminded me of several recent happenings at my school.

  1. I was sitting in a department meeting discussing the possible adoption of new textbooks for next year.  I had previously looked online to see what I could find that I thought we should request samples of, and mentioned this to the group.  I was told that the state has a list of books we are allowed to use, and that the list would be forwarded to me later.  I had my laptop out, immediately googled and found the list, and was all ready to decide then, but no one else wanted to see it or seemed to believe that I had found it.  What should have been a decision made in 5 minutes (short list to choose from!) has stretched into 2 weeks.
  2. My students commenting before finals time how good they are at cheating (they’re actually quite obvious).  They had time beforehand to create drafts of the writing they had to do for their final, where they could use their books, dictionaries, the internet, each other, and so on.  I had one student who brought his draft on his iPhone, which I let him use, and then wondered what admin would think if they came into my classroom and saw him using it!

I agree that in their working lives, my current students will never had to carry large amounts of information around in their heads (besides my hope for them to be able to communicate in another language).  All my doctor friends that are now in the middle of their residencies have Blackberries or PDAs or other tools to use. They will need to be able to access information and do so quickly.

I’m feeling a little guilty about still not being so caught up after three days off school for snow, but I’ll get there!