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An electronic performance portfolio can lift a candidate off the resume page and on to a virtual stage. Because it is ubiquitous and electronic, a variety of media can be uploaded, organized, and presented both showing and telling the qualities of the candidate’s teaching ability, knowledge and skill. Video downloads, capturing an innovative instructional project, interaction with students, or even colleagues, can bring life to an otherwise lifeless resume page. Further, the electronic demonstrations can be opened on the computer in the office, at home, or anywhere there is an Internet connection. They are available at any hour convenient to the administrator or team conducting the search. Easy navigation within the presentation moves the administrator around the portfolio, finding relevant information immediately, saving valuable time and effort. Internet portfolio platforms both streamline and inform personnel decisions with a simple key stroke. A principal can literally watch as the teacher candidate performs on the classroom stage.

The Internet, a curiosity in the 80s, has now become the way modern commerce finds, moves, and learns. It is commercial, scholarly and social. Further, it has changed the way we experience our world. It is now becoming the way school leaders can assess applicants to teach their children, lead their reforms, and reach their communities.

How prevalent are Internet recruitment presentation portfolios? Approximately 62 percent of the students graduating from Missouri teacher preparation programs electronically maintain a performance portfolio. Such a portfolio development verifies that teacher candidates meet state-wide and national standards. The electronic portfolios, particularly those hosted by commercial vendors, have templates that help organize standardized teaching performance, host a variety of media evidence, and allow the teacher to set review dates for administrators to examine the portfolio of teaching performance. Further, phone interviews of field directors in Missouri teacher education programs indicate 87 percent now use an electronic form of evidence demonstrating teaching effectiveness and of that 87 percent, half use an Internet server to host performance portfolios produced by teacher candidates. Graduates from these programs, as a result, know well the production value of their electronic presentations.

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the value of an online electronic portfolio when searching for highly qualified and deeply committed teachers with the talent and skill that will help move a school beyond the average. While little research is available (Sullivan 2004), this research will help inform principals and other administrators regarding the use of electronic portfolio to assist their recruiting and critical hiring decisions.

Dimensions of teacher quality

School administrators continually face difficult choices that are clustered around human relations, budget, or curriculum. Selecting the best teacher candidates from stacks of resumes no longer has to be among those complex choices. Online portals now transport principals into a candidate’s professional thinking, behavior, and practice. Electronic portfolios available through these portals can show, as well as tell, the professional ability teachers will bring to the organization.

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Source:  OpenStax, Ncpea handbook of online instruction and programs in education leadership. OpenStax CNX. Mar 06, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11375/1.24
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