With the introduction of CDA 2.0, candidates will be creating a Professional Portfolio. This replaces the Professional Resource File that was part of the old CDA process. Besides the name change, there are some notable differences. Instead of 17 resource items, there are now ten. Some of them have multiple parts, however. The entire new process is integrated, with each part interwoven with the other in some way, requiring a good deal of reflection... about what has been included in the Professional Portfolio and the candidate's own philosophy of teaching young children.
Some of the Resource Collection is the same, but it is appearing in different contexts. For example, the candidate will still describe 9 learning activities, but is now given specific developmental/learning areas on which to focus. Also, candidates will still be locating helpful community resources, such as a translation service for ESL families and agencies that work with children having special needs. However, these resources will be grouped together in the Portfolio in a section designated as the "Family Resource Guide." The candidate can also locate additional resources on her own to add to this collection.
The new Resource Collection will allow the candidate to visit more websites for information, which is a logical change, since the Internet is usually the first place most of us look for what we need. Many CDA candidates are comfortable using a computer and related peripherals and for them, the Council's recent announcement that candidates can create an electronic Professional Portfolio is good news.
Electronic Portfolios (e-portfolios) are becoming more popular for many different uses. Many 4-year and 2-year colleges are requiring their students to create online portfolios to showcase their coursework, representing their entire college tenure. In addition, some early childhood programs are creating e-portfolios for each of the children enrolled, recoding progress and development, with documentation such as photos and work samples.
For the CDA Professional e-portfolio, the candidate can locate or create the required resources and then upload them into designated folders online. When the statements of Competence and Professional Philosophy are written, they are similarly uploaded. This process eliminates printing. Each section of the portfolio template is set up in sequence, and will indicate to the user when it is completed.
E-portfolios are a good choice for those who have some computer proficiency, know how to save and upload files, photos, and attachments, and to use a scanner. Companies providing e-portfolios offer tech support to help out. Of course, collecting and creating the contents of the Portfolio is still the candidate's responsibility. Access to an e-portfolio program is through a yearly, paid subscription. The candidate can continue to access her online Portfolio as long as the subscription is active. If the candidate chooses to stop the subscription, the files can then be downloaded, printed off, and placed into a binder.
Even though a candidate can choose to create an e-portfolio, she can still opt to create a traditional binder. The Council realizes that not everyone feels comfortable enough with technology and may prefer to put together a traditional binder. Also, some people like the hands-on process of creating their own binder with personal touches.
Both options serve the same purpose... a well organized Professional Portfolio. Which one the candidate chooses to use is up to the candidate's personal preference, since the Council for Professional Recognition supports both formats. Both options are available on my website.