Get Hired: How to Create an Outstanding Teacher ePortfolio

Imagine this: Teacher candidate #1 walks in to an interview with a bulky folder filled with worksheets, lesson plans and printed photos; candidate #2 walks in empty handed (she sent the administrators a link to her teacher ePortfolio days before the interview, so they’ve already watched videos, browsed digital images and read her students’ amazing work before she even got in the door.

Who’s going to get the job?

In today’s digital age, a resume and cover letter don’t stand out for job applicants in nearly every profession — and that includes education. Teachers, perhaps even moreso than other professionals, need to show their technological skills in order to compete and prove they will be successful in training 21st-century learners of the tech era. Creating an outstanding teacher ePortfolio is one of the best ways to show, not tell, how great a teacher you are.

What is an ePortfolio?
Briefly stated, it’s a resume on caffeine. It’s a tool that showcases your best work as a teacher (or student teacher if you’re new). Just like artists keep sketchbooks or portfolios of their best art, teachers should keep copies of the awesome lesson plans, presentations and student work. Instead of putting those articles in a shoebox, teachers who create an ePortfolio make all assets digital by scanning, recording or saving documents on their computer. The result of putting all of these files together in one website or on a CD is what’s called a teacher’s ePortfolio.

How do I begin making a teacher ePortfolio?
Just like making a paper portfolio, the very first step is to define how your teaching ePortfolio will be organized. It makes the most sense to organize your assets according to state or local curriculum standards. That way, you’ll also demonstrate that you understand core curriculum in the first place, and it will be easy for administrators to see examples of your work in each area.

Next, you’ll have to collect examples of your work to fill your teaching ePortfolio. If you’re starting with a curriculum standard such as differentiated instruction, you might want to locate a project assignment or test for which you created different versions to accommodate all students.  Remember: If you want to use students’ work as a sample, you’ll need a media release to use it.

Once you’ve collected samples, here comes the tech part: All of the samples need to be digitized and put in one place. You can buy teacher ePortfolio software or templates, publish them online at your own website or blog, or save all of the files in easy-to-read formats (JPG, PDF, etc.) and store them in folders on a CD. You might need a scanner, a few lessons in creating videos and a student who can show you some tech tricks.

Ultimately, a teaching ePortfolio isn’t only a marketing tool for you. The process of creating one also makes you a better teacher who knows his or her own strengths and a lot more about technology.

Still confused? Check out this very simple ePortfolio.

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