Feedback

I’ve been told there is a discussion on a Facebook group for Forest School trainers regarding my online portfolio and the pros and cons of a website based portfolio. I’m not a member of the group so can’t see or contribute to the discussion so wanted to address the points I was aware had been raised.

I’d genuinely welcome any feedback on either the format or the content of the portfolio. If anyone has questions, comments or suggestions they’d like to make I’d encourage them to leave a comment on this post or drop me an email at info@thissiteurl.

Website format

Why a portfolio website? Primarily because it’s a familiar and comfortable medium for me to work with. I spent some time setting up the page structure and am now free to just add bits and pieces in no particular order as and when I have time and it all remains logically ordered. With all my photos and notes synced with a Dropbox account it means I can also work from home, work or anywhere else without needing to carry anything around with me.

I’ve found the bits and pieces of other peoples portfolios and the experiences shared in online groups have been invaluable in my learning and development. Whilst I’m enjoying creating the portfolio purely for it’s intrinsic value it’s also nice to be able to give something back. I’m hoping that my portfolio and experiences might be useful to others in their journey.

Group photo permissions

This is an interesting one and relates specifically to the group photo I have on the home page. On the first development week of our course everyone agreed that they were happy for photos of themselves to be taken, shared and used in portfolios. The exact same photo appears publicly, amongst other places, on our trainers Facebook group. I know most, if not all, of the trainees on the course are aware of their photo on this site. To be fair though I can’t remember at the time if I said explicitly that my portfolio would be online or not. I’ve modified the photo though just to avoid any issue or upset (smiley’s for the win!). It may be worth forest school trainers considering use of group photo’s online and how this fits in with their current photo policy for trainees.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is and always will be a risk. There are a number of forest school portfolio support groups on Facebook. People use these to request help with their portfolio and it’s common for a reply to extend to “I’ll email you mine to use”. There’s more chance of plagiarism occurring undetected in those circumstances. This site being public makes it easy to check against if anyone does suspect plagiarism. A couple of completed portfolios in PDF format are already floating around the Internet. I don’t think mine being in this medium presents any higher chance of it being plagiarised. Much of my portfolio is relevant to my unique sessions and client groups. I still haven’t submitted it so who knows if any of it is any good or if it will pass yet anyway!

The Archimedes model

I understand their are some concerns about whether the site reveals too much about the Archimedes forest school model. I’ve been careful to write everything from scratch and have also created my own formats for forms (participant observation forms and session planning forms for example) rather than use copies of the forms that are in the course materials.

The Archimedes forest school courses are accredited by the Open Awards awarding body. Their website includes details of the course structure along with unit descriptions and section titles. Details of similar course/portfolio structure is also available on the Open College Network (OCN) website. OCN are the awarding body who accredit many of the other UK forest school leadership courses. I’ve also seen electronic copies of the Archimedes practitioners handbook floating around the net a few times.

I don’t think that the content of this site gives any more information than is already freely available. I wouldn’t want to cause anyone at Archimedes to feel like I’ve shared something in a way I shouldn’t though. I’d welcome any concerns being shared directly with me and would be happy to look at addressing them if possible.

4 thoughts on “Feedback”

  1. Hi there,
    Thanks for sharing your portfolio with others.I have had a good read through and it has actually really helped with getting over the mental block of how can I possibly get through all this work load. I agree plagiarism is a problematic, but as everyone has a different setting and circumstances it would be blatant if they just copied and pasted your work , its great to see you have used a web site. I am thinking of doing some of my work on a website but not sure whether to make a hard copy of id so it can then be used by the children I have on site, thought a scrap book approach could be inspiring. However I think my photos and journal would be easier to manage on a website. Not sure yet whether to upload session plans evaluations and assessments could print them off and offer them in a folder. Anyway thank you you’ve inspired me to get moving.

  2. Just to say a HUGE thank you, I am putting together my portfolio and yours is my go to site when I have a bit of a ‘what the……’ moment and all memories of training have disappeared out of my head!
    I wanted to do an online portfolio but have gone with a scrapbook instead which I am really enjoying putting together. Massive thanks again for all your hard work, SOOOOO helpful :))

  3. Hi

    You trained with Katie Ward who is an Associate Trainer with Archimedes Earth Ltd. The materials Katie uses, the ones you have used, is Copyright to Archimedes.

    We have had several learners using your site for reference. They have cut and pasted your content and as a result, have been disqualified. This is their own fault but your intransigent approach to this issue in not making it clear that it is your work and not to be copied, bears a weight of responsibility on you.

    If you would like to give me a call to discuss this and the ‘spirit’ of your work then I’d be delighted to talk to you. A Coulthard, Group Commercial Director. Archimedes Earth Ltd.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Apologies for the late reply, I’ve only just noticed your comment on the portfolio site.

      I’ll address the points you raised below.

      Copyright
      We’ve spoken about this previously. The site features the unit titles which are publicly available in the spec on the OCN website (https://www.ocnni.org.uk/qualifications/ocn-ni-level-3-award-in-leadership-in-forest-schools-qcf-60166605/) amongst other places. Everything else is my own content. There is no copyright issue to address.

      Plagiarism
      Plagiarism is absolutely the responsibility of the learner. I bear no responsibility for the actions of others. Let’s not forget that you are a private limited company and learners pay you a fee. Part of this fee should cover guidance as to what is and isn’t acceptable to you and also fund whatever moderation process you feel is needed.

      Regarding the ‘spirit’ of the site, I learnt a lot during my course from reading other peoples experiences and wanted to pay that forward. It’s that simple. I’m not sure why you seem to think otherwise?

      I’m being intransigent because I don’t agree with you, that’s the beauty of freedom of thought. The tone of your message comes across as a little aggressive. There’s really no need. Not agreeing with me doesn’t mean we need to be discourteous or confrontational. I suspect we’d have similar opinions on a lot of things.

      If you can present a compelling case or would like to suggest any practical steps then I’d be happy to consider them.

      Kind regards,
      Matt.

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