Students should feel like they own their ePortfolio.

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

I love the idea of domain names for all students. It can give students a voice in the world. "Today, UNW (University of Mary Washington) and a growing number of other schools believe that students need a proprietary online space in order to be intellectually productive." (Watter

, 2015) Domains can be a great opportunity to mold young minds, and much like teaching a student to write a thesis, professors can teach students the rules to posting online and how to create a space for your voice in this technological world. As a graduate student, I struggle with some online platforms because I came up in an age where computer class consisted of using word processors on the computer and email. Campbell (2009) states, "convenience of one-stop, single-sign-on activities, from registering for classes to participating in an online discussion to seeing grades mere seconds after they were posted" is the extent of my knowledge." is many student's experiences with technology. Twenty years later, our students have not benefited from the technological age academically. If I had known that those huge hot computers in the computer labs in 1996 were the future, I would have stayed a computer science major. Today all students need this opportunity just like we needed an email address in the 90s.

The domains that the students receive at some colleges are similar to the emails we received in my undergraduate school. Domain names are a great tool to teach students how to navigate different digital mediums. In this process, the students will complete assignments much like we are to post on the domain. This process stifles the creative process in some way because of the assignment's parameters. In the article by Dwayne Harapnuik, Who Owns the ePortfolio, this quote needs to happen when students have domains in schools and universities. He states that "Therefore, we have to not only give students a choice, ownership, voice, and authentic learning (COVA) over their digital domain, we have to give them COVA (Thibodeaux, 2015) over their ideas. The best way to do this is through a learning environment and pedagogy that provides authentic assignments and gives the student the opportunity to solve real-world problems in their own institutions or organizations." In education, students learn best when they take ownership of the assignments." We know from research that students can have more robust learning experiences when what happens in school is relevant to their lives, helps them connect to a larger purpose, and is grounded in the sense of belonging. This means that the system must be responsive to their goals, interests, and sense of self and community. If young people are not at the center of conversations about what constitutes success, we will not get school right." (Beecham 2020) We can connect with students on every level while creating a digital platform that they can be proud of and continue past their educational experiences. Changes will take time for instructors to learn the best practices for ePortfolios, blogs, social media, web pages, apps, and other digital media to teach students the genre they teach. I can not think of a subject that could not have a more engaging curriculum with a student's digital participation.

In this day and time, digital and online resources are a necessity at every educational level. My two children, ages seven and eleven, learn to navigate online resources, digital notebooks, and interactive educational apps that all children should know at their ages. Dr. Reed (2020) stated in her lecture that she gifted her grandchildren domain names. Domain names and the digital presence of our students are part of their future; if we do not prepare them, how will they have success. Technology leadership is my goal not because I am the best at technology, but because our students need to know technology, and it is my job to do what is best for them in my profession. In this process, I will learn so I can teach others in the future.

References

Beechum, N. W. (2020, September 9). What happens when students have ownership over their success. Education Week. Retrieved December 3, 2020, from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/09/09/what-happens-when-students-have-ownership-over.html

Campbell, G. (2018). A personal cyberinfrastructure. In Hacking the academy (pp. 100–103). University of Michigan Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv65swj3.23

Harapnuik, D. (2019). It's about learning. harapnuik.org. Retrieved December 2, 2020, from http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=6050

Watters, A. (2015, July 15). The web we need to give students. “Giving students their own digital domain is a radical act. It gives them the ability to work on the Web and with the Web.". Bright. Retrieved December 2, 2020, from https://medium.com/bright/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713

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