My Portfolio - Dr. Helen Barrett
Electronic Portfolios & Digital Storytelling for Lifelong & Lifewide Learning

My Future Learning Goals

I believe that all portfolios need to include three forms of reflection, focusing on the past, present, and future. These questions are:
  • What? (the artifacts that I have collected from the past)
  • So What? (what these artifacts show about my learning at the present time)
  • Now What? (my future learning goals)
So, here are my future goals. This version of my portfolio was created after I retired from the University of Alaska Anchorage. I am using this portfolio to help me reflect on my strengths and how that will contribute to my future professional direction.

Researching Electronic Portfolios

I am interested in continuing my research on electronic portfolios in education with an emphasis on exploring and changing the predominant paradigm:
  • from an institutional focus to a more family and/or individual focus
  • from a metaphor of “portfolio as test of skills” to “portfolio as story of deep learning”
  • from institution-centered data management systems to more individual-centered Web 2.0-based, lifelong/life wide interactive personal learning environments
I spent the 2005-2007 school years conducting the REFLECT Initiative, a two-year research project on electronic portfolios in secondary schools, sponsored by TaskStream. I am really excited about what we are finding in this research, and would like to do much more of this work in the future. In the second year of REFLECT, I conducted focus groups with the high school students who have been using TaskStream for the last two years. I have also begun an informal study of high school electronic portfolio implementation in my new home state of Washington.

I am interested in writing grants and conducting funded research that will extend the knowledge about electronic portfolios and Web 2.0-based tools that would allow learners of all ages to:

  • Create digital archives of personal and professional development (collection)
  • Maintain purposeful journals/blogs that document the learning journey (reflection)
  • Present selected works for a particular purpose and audience (selection/presentation)
  • Receive feedback on portfolios to support lifelong learning (collaboration/assessment)

Digital Storytelling

After I finally retire, I want to encourage "baby boomers" and senior citizens to use digital storytelling to preserve their memories and life stories for future generations. Here is the mission: using today’s technology to tell yesterday’s stories to tomorrow’s generations. The current popularity of scrapbooking and genealogy all indicate that there is an interest to preserve these memories. But those who study genealogy know that we can find the dates and facts about a life, but stories that are not preserved are lost forever. Everyone has a story to tell. Digital storytelling is one way to preserve and share our family legacies.

Perhaps I can also work into the process a "retirement transition" focus, using digital stories as a way of finding a new purpose in retirement after a very busy working life. Learning to share digital stories could become a powerful transition activity. And in the process, new retirees could learn technology skills that they might have missed in their professional careers.Here is also an opportunity for schools, as well, to bring this digital storytelling process to their communities, to match young people who have the technology skills with older people who have the stories to be preserved. Then, we can truly become a community of lifelong learners who share our knowledge and wisdom with each other.