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an eportfolio application is NOT a tool

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013

November 9th, 2011

A "tool" to me is a hammer: something that lets you do one thing very well. A shovel is a tool. But, for example, would we call our car a "tool." That would seem absurd: "well, my car is just a tool after all." The word diminishes what a car means to people: auto-mobility, meaning physical and social mobility; it is a private space; it often is part of your identity. It's a prestige item. You can live in a car. We have built much of our country based on the abilities and limitations of cars.

Likewise with eportfolios: calling them a tool severely diminishes what they are. Using the word mis-leads those who know little about eportfolios into believing that it's all about the technology. Eportfolios, instead, could be perceived as the "car" of this century: similarly providing your mobility, your private space, a place to keep important items, a way to create your identity, to connect to society, to build a career.

When seen through the lens of its capabilities, as I just touched on, an eportfolio could never be thought of as a mere tool, a one-dimensional technology that has a single purpose. We do not help ourselves by so diminishing the importance of our work through using an unfortunate misnomer.

And that's all I have to say about that .... :-)

--trent


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