As technology increasingly sweeps through classrooms, it is crucial that educators capitalize on digital tools that will allow them to effectively engage students and set those students up for future success. While teachers are finding more and more ways to use social media within the classroom, they still are unable to completely bridge the divide between social interaction and education, as these social channels lack the academic component necessary to be effective.

Recently, my district—the Metropolitan School District (MSD) of Decatur Township in Indianapolis, Ind.—partnered with CourseNetworking to develop a virtual platform that will eliminate that divide and merge academy learning with social networking.

The CN ePortfolio is an innovative and revolutionary technology that will serve as a digital collection of each student’s academic work and accomplishments, as well as a platform for students to connect with each other and students from all over the world. This digital tool will not only tremendously impact students, but benefit educators and employers immensely by housing a student’s credentials and characteristics in one virtual location.

Here are three reasons why you should join districts like us in adopting this technology.

1. Teachers can offer more insights into students than just their level of work.
Educational institutions and employers are demanding more and more out of students in today’s competitive environment. They no longer focus merely on grades, but also look at personality traits, behaviors, and social presence. With the CN ePortoflio, your teachers can provide students with real-time validation of their knowledge, behaviors, and skill sets by issuing one of the platform’s micro certification badges. This lets students showcase their personality and characteristics as well as their academic work in one easily accessible location for educators, classmates, and employers to review.

2. Students can exhibit their work to gain more professional opportunities.
With their credentials and characteristics housed in one virtual location, each student can grant access and visibility to whomever they choose by sharing their unique URL. They are given lifelong access and ownership of their ePortfolio, allowing them to continuously add to their profile. Any employer can review the student’s relevant projects, issued certifications, achievement badges, competency, and recommendations. Talk about streamlining the job search!

3. School districts can use social networking to improve curricula.
As virtual learning communities continue to grow, virtual tools become more essential. Technology like the CN ePortfolio will excite both your students and teachers by combining learning incentives and social interaction. Similar to social media, the digital tool has the ability to connect educators and students from all over the world, serving as an academic social network that allows students to interact and collaborate on courses and projects in real time. Implementing this tool into your district will open doors to new educational strategies, insights, and perspectives while offering your students a virtual platform to network and build professional relationships that will benefit their future.

With technology entwined in almost every part of our culture, it is important for educators to effectively use it in a way that will further the success of their students. The CN ePortfolio introduces academic networking in a new way, and this technology can serve as a major asset to your learning community with its ability to highly engage students in formal, informal, and social learning.

About the Author:

Nate Davis is the assistant superintendent of schools at MSD of Decatur Township in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has an extensive background in education and is dedicated to 21st-century learning. Davis believes in developing compassionate leadership in others, while possessing the relentless drive to close the achievement gap for Decatur Township students and helping each community member realize the potential they have for success.