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Unpacking Learning with Starr Sackstein and George Couros: The Power of Portfolios (podcast)

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, two thought leaders, Starr Sackstein and George Couros, have taken to the airwaves to discuss the transformative power of portfolios in their engaging podcast series, "3 Questions on Educators that Inspire". In the latest episode, they delve into student-led assessment through portfolios, offering valuable insights that could reshape how we view the educational journey.

Portfolios, as Sackstein and Couros discuss, are more than just a collection of student work. They are a narrative, a story of learning and growth that spans a student's academic career. Through portfolios, students are empowered to take charge of their educational narrative, showcasing their accomplishments and challenges and how they've overcome them.

One of the most compelling aspects of this podcast episode is the emphasis on reflection. Sackstein, an advocate for student agency and author of "Hacking Assessment," emphasizes that portfolios encourage students to think critically about their work. They are not merely submitting assignments for a grade but engaging in self-evaluation and goal-setting. This reflective practice is central to fostering a growth mindset and helping students understand that learning is a continuous journey, not a destination.

George Couros, author of "The Innovator's Mindset", brings a unique perspective to the conversation, highlighting how portfolios can serve as a bridge between the educational experience and the professional world. In an era where the job market values skills like critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, portfolios provide tangible evidence of a student's capabilities beyond standardized test scores. They are a personal brand, a showcase that students can carry to their future endeavors.

The podcast also touches on the practicalities of implementing portfolios in the classroom. We discuss various platforms and tools that can facilitate portfolio creation and strategies for teachers to guide students in curating their work. They stress the importance of making portfolios an integral part of the learning process rather than an add-on or afterthought.

One of the most inspiring takeaways from Sackstein and Couros's conversation is the democratization of assessment. Portfolios level the playing field, allowing every student to shine uniquely. They shift the focus from what students can't do to what they can, from deficits to strengths. This approach enhances student motivation and leads to more authentic and meaningful learning experiences.

We'd love to know what you think...Did you listen? Tell me if you have questions or comments.

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