Planning a Digital Portfolio

blackwixlogoassetsLast week I took a look into creating my digital portfolio in Wix, and a week later I have officially decided to go ahead using Wix as my digital portfolio provider. It offers a sleek and customizable design, with an aesthetically pleasing and easy to follow display for visitors. It is also extremely user-friendly as it affords the owner to drag and drop content into place. Wix offers everything I am looking for in a site to host my digital portfolio: a sleek look with an easy-to-follow interface.

Over the past week I also had the chance to review the constructive feedback on the site map created for my digital portfolio. After reading through the feedback, I made significant changes to my site map. I made these changes with the goal in mind that I wanted my digital portfolio to serve as a resource for teachers, as well as a final product to curate my experience in the program and possibly use in future job opportunities.

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My Site Map

My initial site map was quite cumbersome and clustered; the revised version now has an organized format for the Artifacts to offer a particular topic for each. For example, in Artifacts I have created a sub-category named Educational Technology Theory that consists of several sub-groups of major theories discussed in the program (if I am missing any please let me know). I thought this would offer an organized way of showcasing the work I have completed in the program, and an easy way for educators to find information and ideas for professional development.

Creating this digital portfolio will be an interesting and challenging process, as I have never used Wix in the past. However, I am looking forward to this new challenge in curating all the work created in the IT&DML program and making something that I will be proud of. Stay tuned!
-John V


Digital Portfolio Site Map

As I brainstorm and outline the content to include in my digital portfolio, I realize how much I have learned from the IT&DML program at the University of New Haven. I have created so much work, that it is difficult to pick and choose which work will make the final digital portfolio and which will not. Below are some of the notes I took of major work completed for each class in the program.

Digital Portfolio Outline

As I was creating my site map for the digital portfolio, I realized that some work might not make it into the final product. I included a section called “Artifacts,” but feel there is too much in there and need to break it down some. I am considering creating another section on IT&DML theories (I am open to suggestions for a better name for this) where I can include work on concepts such as SAMR, Formative Assessment, TPACK, and others. Any constructive feedback is more than welcome!

Below you can find my site map for the digital portfolio. I made this site map using MindMeister, which I found much easier to use than other sites previously used.

Digital Portfolio Site Map


-John V


Digital Portfolio Site Considerations

portfolio-628A year ago at the beginning of the IT&DML program at the University of New Haven, all participants in the program had to choose a site to host their blog for the program. The blog would serve as a place to post reflections and projects from each class in the program. Later in the program, we also had to create a digital learning hub to house specific materials created from the program as means to provide information to our audience, whether to students, parents, other teachers, or anyone. I used WordPress for my blog and digital learning hub as it was very easy to use, yet still gave the viewers an interactive and aesthetically pleasing experience. The templates were very attractive and offered  very professional look.

Now, in the final semester of the program, we are asked to create a digital portfolio to publish the work created in the program and give viewers a look into who we are as educators and insights we can provide as technology specialists. Viewers will be able to engage with the content we include in our portfolio and get a glimpse of what it is like to be in our classroom.



I am going to use my digital portfolio as a display for all the work I have completed in the IT&DML program so that visitors can use the resources and reflections I provide for their own research or professional development. I am very interested in using Wix to house my digital portfolio, as it offers an easy to create and follow design for both the creator and visitor. My goal for this digital portfolio is to offer an easy to follow and professional look to represent myself as an educator, and my philosophy of instructional technology and best practice in the 21st century classroom. If Wix proves to be too cumbersome, I will strongly consider Google Sites for my digital portfolio, as most of my work has been created using Google Apps, and will play nice with the Google Sites templates. I see a little learning curve involved using Wix, but my goal for this process is to reflect on all that has been accomplished in this program, using a new site to display my learning and reflections.

-John V

Technology Integration and the Digital Portfolio

edtech-featuredAs I sit here and reflect on all that the IT&DML program at the University of New Haven has taught me about technology integration, I just can’t help to think about how fast time has gone. A year later and I am now in the process of curating the content I have created throughout this program to present in in my digital portfolio.

This program has taught me so much about best practice in technology integration and how to promote digital literacy in my classroom. In Where Edtech Can Help: 10 Most Powerful Uses of Technology for Learning, Saga Briggs highlights ten best practice in technology integration for teachers to use in their classroom.

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Mobile Learning
  3. Access to Education
  4. Deeper Learning
  5. Continuous Feedback
  6. Unlimited and Immediate Learning
  7. Creation and Contribution
  8. Social Connectedness
  9. Global Awareness
  10. Understanding Learning

While reading her article, I was able to reflect on my own personal experiences with several of the most powerful uses Briggs highlights, and which technology uses I should do more of in my future classes. Two powerful uses of technology I use in my classroom that Briggs explains are Mobile Learning and Unlimited and Immediate Learning. A year into the IT&DML program has taught me the importance of student-centered learning and how this blended learning approach to education positively impacts student achievement. An area that continues to reach new heights and capabilities is the practice of Continuous Feedback. This can be done using the Learning Management System of choice, or some of the many formative assessment tools such as Google Forms, Padlet, or Kahoot!

67100560In EDUC 7730, we are tasked with the opportunity to curate what we have created in the IT&DML program at UNH into a digital portfolio to exemplify what we have learned throughout our time in the program. Vicki Davis provides excellent information and tips on creating digital portfolios in her Edutopia article 11 Essentials for Excellent ePortfolios. According to Vicki Davis, there are eleven essential decisions I will have to make when creating my digital portfolio for this class, and they are as follows:

  1. Know Your Purpose
  2. Select Tools to Empower Students
  3. Select a Variety of Content
  4. Empower Portfolio Review and Publish to an Audience
  5. Know Your Timeline
  6. Empower Metacognition
  7. Relate Portfolios to the Entire Coursework
  8. Don’t overwhelm Students
  9. Link Paper and Electronic Portfolios
  10. Consider the Portfolio’s Longevity
  11. Engage Teachers in Effective Portfolio Use

When creating my digital portfolio and curating the content from this program, I will take strong consideration of this list when synthesizing the materials I will include in my portfolio. As I create my portfolio, I will note the steps needed along the way and document my progress. I feel this would be a good final project to have my Computer Applications students produce at the end of the semester. This will allow them to curate their work and take ownership of what they have created, using this as evidence of their learning and capabilities for future job opportunities.

-John V

This Week in Formative Assessment

2034235c837a9ea3c9c6ce31cb924455This week touched on a very “trendy” topic in education, formative assessment. Formative assessment is discussed at almost every professional development training, observation, and employment interviews. There are so many ways to do this using a number of tools available online, and most are free.

Formative assessment has always been a rather straightforward way to assess and provide feedback to students, but with the wave of technology streaming into classrooms it has revolutionized the way we assess students using this technology. No longer is the method of walking around with a checklist and clipboard and scanning the room the most efficient way to use formative assessment. Today, the best teachers are able to integrate technology into formative assessment to modify instruction and enhance the learning experience for students.

In the video below, I discuss three formative assessment tools that I use in the classroom.

  1. Kahoot!
  2. Padlet
  3. Google Forms


The best formative assessment tools enable instant feedback and data to modify instruction to benefit students. Teachers new to using technology this way should not try to use every tool in Kathy Dyer’s 50 Digital Education Tools and Apps for Formative Assessment Success. Teacher focus should be on how the technology will help students reach the learning target, not just using technology just to use it. I personally like to add a technology tool to my toolbox every year, and am already looking into new ways to use technology in formative assessments in the high school business classroom for next school year.

-John V

Week 3: Creating an Infographic


This week we had the chance to create our first infographic in the IT&DML program. At first this appeared to be a daunting task, as I have never created an infographic before and had no idea how to start one. An infographic is a visual image that represents data and information in a creative way.

The task we were assigned was to create an infographic of a topic we feel would be of importance to educators. I decided to choose Benefits and Best Practices in Blended Learning as my topic. With the widespread use of technology among young adults, more districts are moving toward this model of instruction, which combining traditional teaching and learning with the use of online and digital tools to enhance the learning experience for students.

The infographic maker I chose was Piktochart, and boy did I have a big learning curve using this site. I must have spent two hours just trying to fix the sizing of each block so that they were all proportionate to one block per page. This would be my biggest criticism of this site as it was pretty easy to insert text and media, but when it came to formatting the height and width of each block each time you added a new one, it became one difficult process as it kept bringing the previous block onto a preexisting page. If I create an infographic in the future, it is safe to say I will be choosing a different site.

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Click on the following link Infographic: Benefits and Best Practices in Blended Learning to view the full infographic and its links and video.

Reflecting on the infographic as a whole, I would say that this is an extremely authentic tool to utilize in class, utilizing the Redefinition level in the SAMR model. Having students create an infographic allows them to take their knowledge of a subject to a new level, beyond the traditional essay or research paper. Students can creatively show their knowledge on a topic by including several forms of multimedia to display their understanding of a topic, and teach it to their peers.

As I was completing this project so many ideas were going through my mind about how I will utilize this in my classes next year as a means to evaluate my students in a more creative yet authentic way. I thought the rubric that our Professor, Laura Greenstein, provided made it very clear as to the expectations of the assignment. I hope she doesn’t mind, but I will be remixing this rubric with my high school classes next year. This type of assessment is a great way to assess student understanding of curriculum standards as they are covered throughout a course. I am glad I was able to create my own infographic and experience the creative possibilities making an infographic brings.

-John V


SAMR: Teaching Above the Line

In t58055481oday’s Digital Age we are not short on new education initiatives and teaching models to improve instruction. New and improved methods of instruction are frequently being developed to provide students with meaningful learning experiences to achieve success in (and out) of the classroom.


SAMR is a model that I was not familiar with before this week. After reading and viewing the resources from this week, I am excited at the opportunity to redesign my current lessons and activities to transform the learning experience for my students.


Angry Whopper sandwich, Burger King

The SAMR model can be defined in the simplest of analogies, such as ordering fast food. The customer (student) can order a Whopper from Burger King, rather than making the burger at home (substitution). This order can also be improved by adding cheese to the burger (augmentation). If the customer desires, they can order a Whopper meal that includes fries and a drink (modification). Finally, the customer can order a Whopper meal that they never could have dreamed of, the Angry Whopper meal (redefinition).

Visit my Storify at the link below for a detailed description on the SAMR model and how to best use it for technology integration in the 21st century classroom.

SAMR Storify

-John V