Heather Hiles is one of those people who are so awesome and have done so many cool (and genuinely good) things that they make you wonder what the heck you've been doing with your life. I'm not sucking up here. I don't need to. I get 50 requests a week for interviews and face time with various startups, CEOs, directors, product managers, and whomever else I could use to fill up blog space. Heather, though, really stood out from the crowd, as does her company, Pathbrite.
I'm not the only one who walked away from a conversation with her more than a little impressed. Check out this writeup on Women 2.0. But enough human interest for one day. This is a tech blog, and, more importantly, an education blog, so where does the ed tech come in? Pathbrite is a digital portfolio site and is probably the slickest and easiest of its kind.
For many educators, especially in public schools, portfolios are just those things you create for special education students to demonstrate proficiency when the nature of their disability is such that they can't pass NCLB standardized tests. However, as we ask our students to create more and more content and we shift from an educational culture of rote to creativity, we need a better means of showcasing their genius (to take a turn of phrase from Angela Maiers) than report cards.
The same, in fact, is true when our students leave school, whether high school or college, and are looking to differentiate themselves in a very hostile job market. The single sheet resume is a sad relic of a time when a first job could become a 30-year career. It's not hard to fit an address, a phone number, the university you attended, and a couple positions with a single company on one sheet of paper.
Now, though, a true digital portfolio is a far better way to tell an employer, next year's teachers, or anyone else who might have a stake in your future just how special you are.
I originally posted my interview with Heather over on WizIQ as part of an interview series we were running. I'm reposting it below, as well as links to two of the portfolios I created: