Thursday, February 24, 2005

50 Words for Portfolios?

I find it interesting (and frustrating) that many educators are using the word "portfolio" to represent what I would be more apt to call an online repository or collection (or an assessment management system). There is a huge misunderstanding about what portfolios are and part of the problem is the widespread use of the term to mean many different things. Alan Levine refers to the classic story of the blind men touching the elephant (and each describing something different, based on their sense of touch). My friend John Ittelson says it is like Eskimos having 49 different words for "snow" but those who don't live in that environment tend to see it all as the same cold white stuff. That's why I try to always use an adjective with the word portfolio that describes its purpose (learning portfolio, assessment portfolio, employment portfolio, working portfolio, presentation portfolio).

1 comment:

Sean said...

Do you find some of the systems in your matrix to be slanted towards one of the portfolio purposes or do you believe it is a matter of implementation and use?