I have recently written about the idea of my blog as representing me and my ideas to an outside observer or even future employer. (see http://malbell.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/my-blog-as-evidence/ ).
The idea of a blog as representing a person is only worthwhile if a future employer or even friend/ observer was able to “hear” the the voice of the person who is writing the blog. By this I mean they need to understand just what makes them tick, what they passionately believe in and are against and what they would fight for (if they had to).
I hope that I have been able to represent my beliefs in this blog. I have had feedback in which people have said to me that they can see just how much I believe in the exciting potential of technology to transform the way we educate ourselves as well as our children.
What I hope that they also “hear” as they read this blog is my “voice”. It is what makes me distinctively me and how I can make myself stand out in the crowd. When I read the work of other influential bloggers I feel that I know them really well even though I have never physically met them. In the same way I have always thought that I come to know the “voice” of great writers in their style and their stories.
My “voice” has been developed by this blog giving me a platform to write and express myself. I feel that educators who are trying to use the idea of an e-portfolio or a blog as an e-portfolio need to take this into account. We do not want a blog to be a scrapbook which has collections of other people’s voices and ideas. There is nothing wrong with quoting others or even using sections of their work but we must beware of the “scrapbook” idea which sees an electronic pasting of writing, images and videos produced by others. We must encourage commentary… why did you like this piece of writing? How did this influence you? What does this picture show? What is the relevance of this video? How does it help you to present your case or idea?
All of the above questions relate to a pedagogy that encourages these things. If we teach children to swallow a body of facts they will regurgitate the facts (sorry for the mental image!) as a rehash which has none of themselves in it. If we encourage them to reflect, question and state their opinions from the earliest times in school, then we will help them to develop their own distinctive voice.
A future employer does not want someone who can reorder someone else’s ideas they want originality, reflection and the ability to work cooperatively but challengingly with others. We must “hear” their “voice”.