Throughout this program we have gone through course after course led by some extremely talented and motivational instructors who truly believe in the material they are teaching. As I complete each course I gain a new sense of motivation and inspiration to push forward as I venture out to change the world! Unfortunately, these experience are a lot like the “church camp experience”, we get fired up for a great cause, we are surrounded by other individuals who share our same point of view and similar ideas, and we learn all of these new techniques, theories, and strategies to use to try to make an extreme difference; however, when we return to our normal, everyday work routine, we are slapped in the face with reality and must conquer the resistance of negative coworkers, peers, and administration.
Lucky for us, we completed several sections in this program preparing us for how to deal with this type of scenario. I have been working on designing an innovation plan centered around implementing e-portfolios in the college classroom. I have learned a lot about e-portfolios, their benefits, various styles, options, and advantages from platform to platform. I have built my e-portfolio and plan to continue using it after completion of this program. The more research I do, the more benefits I find for e-portfolio use in the classroom. I have completed two literature reviews, which are both full of supporting information justifying the use of e-portfolios in the classroom.
One of the most important things when implementing something new is to always take into consideration other people’s experiences. We should always learn from our mistakes, but sometimes we can start leaps and bounds ahead of the game if we look at past research and lessons learned from previous implementations and roll-outs. By using this data, we can analyze what worked, what didn’t, and what we can change to do better all by learning from others.
Another key factor during the design and pre-implementation stage is planning, planning, and more planning. The more prepared and organized we are upfront, the smoother things will go for us when students are involved, and the easier it will be to deal with any unexpected obstacles.
Due to personal circumstances early this year, and a natural disaster in our area at the beginning of this fall semester, I have fallen a little behind my original timeline. I am currently experimenting with my first cohort of student e-portfolio users, and I am beyond excited to see the results and hopefully begin full implementation next semester! I will have student users from my original cohort class come speak to my classes who will start the full roll-out next semester. My plan is for students who have had positive results from the plan to inspire and motivate the students who will soon begin creating and utilizing their own personal e-portfolios. I will also introduce my innovation plan to faculty members before the semester begins, and provide professional development sessions to help teach interested personnel how to implement e-portfolios within their own classrooms.
I have learned that there will always be lose ends, there will always be room for improvement and growth, and there will always be at least one negative attitude. The important thing to remember is to never give up and do not let yourself become too frustrated or overwhelmed. Always remember, these innovation plans are a work in progress and we will be making continuous changes based on the students’ needs. Reflection will be a key asset to monitor growth and success. Once I have several e-portfolio user groups graduate from our program, I hope to track their progress as they enter the work-force and communicate the positive impacts this project has on their educational experience as well as their job placement!
When I get ready to begin my next innovation project, I will definitely keep in mind that everything is not going to be completed at one time. There is no way to sit down and start and finish an entire innovation project in one sitting. These things are continuously changing, evolving, and hopefully improving as technology and the workforce demands change.