Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's all just talk until you DO It

Theory. Or practice?
It is one of those sticking points I bump up against over and over again in education circles. The talkers are often not the teachers; the teachers who are working hard every day in classrooms with students often don't have time to theorize, write, tweet all night, present at or even attend many conferences.
I am personally aware of many exceptions to this, and, frankly, I have no idea how they do it.
But I don't want to argue, blame or criticize nor do I want to praise or name names. Everyone has a role to play, and anyone who cares enough about education to devote themselves to it at any level, in any way, has my appreciation and respect.

Something really stood out, though, to me tonight during the weekly edchat on twitter. The topic for discussion was about assessment, and many tweeters were glorifying eportfolios as a form of assessment. I jumped into the chat, as I am working this year on piloting eportfolios with students. Yes, I said working and with students. I tweeted-

(and then re-tweeted it again since no one responded).
I did get a few "try so and so, I think they are doing portfolios..." and one tweeter who responded that he is planning to try them next year. And I did get one person to join the new digital portfolios group I created at the Curriculum 21 ning.

This eportfolios experiment is proving to be one of the most challenging things I have undertaken with K-8 students. Most of the high-quality samples I have found are from adults and college/grad school students (education and graphic design).
I'm certainly not advocating that we don't talk about anything unless we've tried it. Everything has to begin in the ideas-talking-thinking stage...
It is just making me wonder how much of the "teachers should be doing this" talk is based in real-teacher, real-classroom, real-school reality.

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