Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Using PebblePad to support and evidence productivity

Further to my recent PebblePad work, during preparation for my end of year appraisal I have been thinking of ways that I can clearly demonstrate how I have met my objectives and things done above and beyond that.  Because let's be honest, as much as our managers/line managers might know/have an idea of what we have done, they don't see all the activity that led up to that outcome and what other developments came out of it.  Obviously they don't have the time to see every little detail, i.e. communications that were exchanged, meeting outcomes etc.  But there is a way to tell the story of achieving our appraisal objectives and we have been doing in our work time, as well as showing off our problem-solving, initiatives, successes and achievements.

It's highly important in the current workplace to collect, organise and evidence productivity, performance and project work throughout the year, all in support and to showcase during appraisals.  I'm sure we all have experienced those moments when you come out of one of those meetings and remember all the things you should have said and showed etc.  It's also a useful exercise to demonstrate capabilities for progression opportunities and other potential employment.

Adapting to today's workplace and inspired by my colleague Rachel Evans' use of PebblePad to support her appraisal objectives.  I have created my own Portfolio Asset type to purposefully experiment with this academic year, to effectively and efficiently evidence my appraisal objectives.  I aim for it to demonstrate and articulate me and my role along with achieving my objectives, professional development and external activities I engage in.  ePortfolios in general are now about how a person can express themselves and what educators can learn from that, not just a tick box exercise.  Another personal reason for creating a Portfolio Asset is that I like to make it clear what I do and what I have done specifically in projects.  This is a result of a negative period I once experienced years ago, where my work and enthusiasm were claimed by others without giving credit where it was due.  Since then I explicitly make my contributions and efforts visibly clear - it inspired my blog post 'This is proACTivity'.  Plus, it  provides me with a sense of achievement when I look back on my blog posts.

Structure and extract

Drawing on my pointers from 'This is proACTivity', below is the structure I am using with my PebblePad Portfolio Asset, tentatively titled 'My work portfolio - a continuum of professional impact'.  Each heading is an individual Page Asset that has been inserted into the Portfolio.  If anything, it's an example where digital technology has enhanced a process.

  • Introduction/background - a brief introduction to who you are, your role and who manages you.  Could include some external links to your digital identity
  • Appraisal objectives - set during appraisal.  List them and provide a space where you can add updates on what you have done towards them and include dates.  Including areas that you were challenged with and how you overcome them.  Insert hyperlinks to pieces of work
  • Personal objectives - anything you want to develop alongside of your role, e.g. participating in a LinkedIn Learning or FutureLearn course, shadowing, thought/influence pieces etc
  • Other achievements - anything outside of your role that you contribute to, e.g. external committee meetings, speaking/presenting, social activities etc
  • Previous year - after your first year with this, hyperlink or create a new Page Asset for reference, or to hyperlink back to specific related projects from it

My 10 ways to be proactive and to extract work evidence - how to make the most of PebblePad Assets:

  1. Save and collect work evidence related to the appraisal objective: work products; communications (emails/messages); reports; meeting minute contributions, thought/influential pieces.  Try using the PebblePocket app (on or offline) to capture things on the fly - images and videos, which can be later worked into a more substantial Asset
  2. Refine your evidence - only use significant pieces that will tell your story.  What work evidence is most important?  Store everything else in a separate location which it can be retrieved later if needed
  3. Tag your Assets using appropriate naming conventions that make it meaningful.  Perhaps key words from your projects to form themes
  4. Organise your evidence using Collection Assets to bundle up pieces into projects or themes - this will help keep your Asset Store tidy and concise
  5. Set a specified amount of time per week or month to write updates and maintain this Portfolio Asset
  6. Review your Asset Store and update, move or remove Assets that no longer serve a purpose.  Only keep what you need in an Asset Store, not to be treated like a conventional repository
  7. Write about what, how and why you have done it (Page or Blog Asset).  This will help demonstrate purpose and impact of your work and how you are changing your thinking and practices as it develops
  8. Be savvy - assess what you are working on and think of where this material can be used in other projects or add benefits to them
  9. Think - when doing work tasks, identify how the outputs can be applied to CPD or a qualification.  Shape your work activity around professional development goals
  10. Share your Portfolio with your manager/line manager in advance of a progress meeting.  It will allow them time to see what you have been doing and think of questions on the content

A further ideas to point 8 and 9 - we all deal with a lot of information in our jobs, most of which we might not use or ever see again.  Equally, you might be asked to produce work which might end up not being used.  Whatever the outcome of what you are producing, as I always have done, keep it as you never know when you might be able to re-purpose or recycle it.  If you have done a vocational course or an apprenticeship, you can achieve many qualification criteria (holistic) by just submitting one piece of evidence, depending on the depth and quality of it.  Take that concept - you have a work product, i.e. a document or multimedia object - how can you use that in other ways?  Not only for employability purposes, but where in your role can that be used again or re-purposed for different audiences, or even towards a qualification?