Despite the Troubled Economy, Michigan’s High School Students are Successfully Landing Jobs with the Help of Electronic Portfolios Using Weebly.com

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In effort to prepare Michigan’s Lake Shore High School students for job opportunities, business teacher Tasha Candela created, modeled, and executed an electronic portfolio lesson that not only moved her young audience to action, but also caught the attention of the work world, too. Despite living in a troubled economy and the state with the forty-seventh highest unemployment rate in the nation, her students are successfully landing jobs with the help of their e-portfolios.

Although technology is just a tool, it can truly ignite ingenuity and make work much more enjoyable.

Using Weebly.com as the website creator and host, students had access to dozens of tools, adding a personalized touch to every portfolio. Without hesitation, these teenagers poured their heads and hearts into career materials that would promptly be shared online. Classmates, parents, teachers, administrators, and employers found the eclectic group of finished products to be masterpieces in inquiry, research, collaboration, and presentation. These websites pushed the boundaries of traditional binder portfolios and allow new 2.0 tools to showcase the pages of their authentic work.

While there is no foolproof solution to our lackluster job market, these teenagers have learned how to market their own skill sets, problem-solve, and share their dreams with professionals. Students Carly Vargo and Paige Plotzke stated, “Our Weebly portfolios have prepared us for the future by making us marketable! We have already landed our first job [as freshmen] at Kyte Monroe, a community sports park. We are thankful for all of the work preparation experiences that [this lesson] has offered.”

Although technology is just a tool, it can truly ignite ingenuity and make work much more enjoyable. “When students buzz into the classroom on Monday morning to share how they have updated the portfolio over the weekend, it sends a clear message that I have selected the right profession. I am truly proud to be their teacher,” said Candela.

Candela’s electronic portfolio project is so encouraging that Microsoft Partners in Learning has chosen as a finalist for the 2011 Innovative Education Forum held on July 28-29. Candela’s lesson titled Electronic Portfolios: The Weebly Wonders of the Web was a first-round selection with only 78 projects across the United States invited to compete.

The Worldwide Innovative Education Forum is the signature program of Microsoft Partners in Learning to honor innovative teachers and schools, and to showcase how technology can further education transformation by being appropriately incorporated into curricula, pedagogy and classrooms.

Tasha Candela is a member of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology, the 2011 Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning’s Technology Teacher of the Year, and a Weebly enthusiast. For more information about this lesson, you may contact Mrs. Candela at teachertasha(at)gmail(dot)com, visit her project webpage at http://tashacandela.weebly.com/2011-ief.html, or tweet her @bethetigger.

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Tasha Candela

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