Interest Portfolios: Share your Passion(s)

Each semester in my undergraduate and graduate courses we spend some time talking about digital tattoos and our online presence.  I show students personal information that can be found online about me for free. Information such as usernames, addresses, relatives and more.  We then data mine 'strangers' (aka my friends that have consented to a mine). After the evening many of the students are not only concerned about the Internet but more aware of the need to manage their online presence and teach the importance of this to students.  Those that were already weary of being online and social media usually throw out a "this-is-why-I-don't-use-these-sites" argument.  While it is important to be cautious about the Web it is also important to use it to our advantage as well.

For Good, Not Just for Evil

In my courses students also create professional portfolios.  This not only helps to build their web design skills but allows them a place to showcase their work prior to stepping into a classroom.  Last fall a graduate student came in talking about how she was in an interview with the principal she would be student teaching for.  He asked what type of work or data she had brought to the interview.  Being a student and not in the profession yet she didn't have artifacts to show him.  She said she felt unprepared and could see the principal wasn't too thrilled either.  Then she presented him with the digital portfolio she was creating in my class.  This portfolio had contained her educational philosophy, the beginning stages of a curriculum vitae and examples of technology-infused curriculum projects.  She reported that the principal was suddenly impressed by what she could do involving technology.  She left feeling better about the conversation and felt the digital portfolio had set her apart from other student teachers.

For the Love of the Game

This summer I visited two new ballparks.  I love baseball.  As I travel to new parks I take an insane amount of pictures.  It dawned on me recently that these pictures are usually not revisited until I pick up the camera again, usually months later.  I thought this was a shame- after all I do take pretty good pictures.  I decided to create an Interest Portfolio about my love of the game.  This website had multiple purposes.  With it I could:
  • sharpen my web design skills
  • neatly categorize and house my pictures in one central location
  • create a living example to teach students about Interest Portfolios
  • show students how the Internet can be used for a positive web presence
My baseball Interest Portfolio can be found here:

There is no specific format- it is dependent on the subject matter and the designer.  In my case I created a separate page for each ballpark I have visited.  Each page contains a small introduction to the park, all of my photos, a map and if available my ticket(s) from the stadium.  Here's an example of one of the pages:

My favorite team, the White Sox required several subpages because I had so many cool pictures:


I even included an "extras" page that listed baseball themed stuff unrelated to specific ballparks:

Set Yourself Apart

I loved revisiting one of my passions by creating this website.  By encouraging students to create their own Interest Portfolios we begin to allow them to "stand out".  When applying for colleges (or even as adults applying for jobs) each application begins to look the same (much like my graduate student looked the same as all the other student teachers).  Imagine if you have a portfolio of something that speaks to who you are outside the world of academia.  Imagine if a potential employer has interviewed 5 candidates with pretty much all the same qualifications as you.  Having an Interest Portfolio on something you are passionate about can set you apart from everyone else. Not to mention, it's something cool to show your friends.  Next up for me?  Another website.  This time on running.

My daughter who is in 8th grade has created her own interest portfolio.  Please visit it!


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