Monday, November 06, 2000

Students' portfolios go high-tech

Lebanon HS to begin pilot program

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Lebanon High School freshmen will begin putting together a computerized high school portfolio next year that likely will take the place of their senior exams in 2005.

        The Senior Electronic Exit Portfolio will incorporate students' interests, academics, technology and the real world, said Technology Di rector Jenny Moormeier.

        School curriculum is being aligned this year to incorporate requirements for the portfolio, and state standards also will be built in, she said. The assessment process will be conducted by a jury of teachers, parents, business leaders and others.

        “What this is doing is meeting students' needs for success,” Ms. Moormeier said. “It will help them hone in on their individual skills and talents.”

        The finished CDs then can be displayed via computer for potential employers and prospective college admissions offices, she said.

        Such technology requirements are becoming more of a focus in education circles.

        Gov. Bob Taft addressed the need for technology standards in his 2000 State of the State address, saying:

        “Every high school should certify that each graduate is computer-proficient.... We must be certain graduating students possess basic skills such as word processing and database management and can use computers to solve problems and gather information. Technology must also be a focus for our colleges and universities.”

        Ms. Moormeier agrees. She said the electronic CD will help not only to summarize students' abilities but will prepare them to use the technology now required in many workplaces.

        As part of the new plan, students will tackle computer literacy in their freshman year. Instead of keyboard or typing classes, they will take a multimedia applications course to familiarize themselves with scanning and video equipment, desktop publishing and other computer equipment and software.

        Students then will add to the CD throughout high school, possibly incorporating individual career planning, visual art images, musi cal performances, athletics, community involvement, a parental component, as well as collections from the major content areas in high school, such as math and language/arts.

        Lebanon Schools officials hope to pay for the electronic exit portfolio initiative through a grant administered by the Ohio SchoolNet Commission. Many schools around the area are competing for the federally funded grants.

        Lebanon High School is hoping for $175,000 to launch the project. However, the school district will finance the project with or without the grant money.

        “It'll just take a little longer,” Ms. Moormeier said.

        Much of the $175,000 would pay for 15 to 20 portable technology centers, including one to two computers, a scanner, a camera, a printer and other equipment.

        No new staff would be needed, Ms. Moormeier said. The Lebanon School Board will have to vote on any curriculum changes to implement the electronic portfolio requirement, but board members have already endorsed Ms. Moormeier's grant proposal.

        Grant recipients will be notified on Nov. 17.


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