I recently spoke to a frustrated young man who at 25 years old was graduating college in May with a degree in advertising and marketing but he was having a difficult time finding a job. As we spoke a little longer, he shared the degree wasn't enough. Without experience, doors were being slammed in his face. I was shocked. He was pursuing a career in a field designed to market, advertise, showcase, yet no time or energy had been placed by the school in helping this student do the same for himself. A true example of the College Myth that leaves so many young graduates disappointed. Years and money down the toilet all in turn for a piece of paper heralded as preparation for life, but it is no longer enough!
School can not be a series of disconnected and inauthentic activities. To prepare students for real life we must provide them with real experiences as well as a "real" method for capturing, advertising, and marketing their successes. This does not mean purchasing some costly ePortfolio system. Instead it means giving every student a "real world" option for collecting the work they've done that will help them as they pursue academic, apprenticeship, and career opportunities like they do at College Unbound. By real I mean, the student, not the school, owns the portfolio. No one does this better than Helen Barrett and while I've shared and applauded her work frequently, I was excited to learn that she had done the same with mine at a recent conference. Below is a presentation that captures her recommendations for creating ePortfolios using Google Apps. You can find out more at her blog, ePortfolios for Learning.