Theory (2)
Second, as we advanced from Marx, we should explain how Martin Heidegger's theories of technology impact our use as well. For our sakes, eportfolios are technologies which are found in a “standing reserve” state, as well as being an integral part of the skeletal structure of something much larger, such as a network (computerized, social, or pedagogical). According to Heidegger, in “The Question Concerning Technology,” a pivotal essay in technology studies, technology is something which is first separated from its “essence.” He uses several examples to explain how we seek to question “essence,” claiming technology to be instrumental (again, like a tool), having an aim and stemming from "human" causality. Our needs essentially create a cause or purpose for the tool. Thus, he discusses that human responsibility is essential to his/her material. And, in moving from both the creation and acceptance of this causality/responsibility, the essence of technology "shows itself" or rather "reveals" itself. These “revealings” are challenges to our knowledge, stemming from the tradition of techne, which brings forth the nature of objects/technologies as being in a "standing reserve" state, where things wait to be used. In this “standing reserve” state, objects are ordered. And, once ordered, they belong to a larger structure, a skeleton (enframed), where the essence (or the causality) of technology becomes "A realm such as art," or a reflection ... A confrontation of the truth.... Heidegger calls this concept a "revealing."


Like all tools (in reference to Heidegger), I believe that electronic portfolios are situated in a “standing reserve” state, waiting to be used, where they are then placed into a larger structure (enframed), the computerized network or the network of the pedagogical, referring to the teacher/teachers who place the works together into a collection of class work. To be more specific, the eportfolio exists in a "reserve" state, waiting to be used (e.g. by the instructor, by some other audience, etc.), and/or become part of a larger order or process, whether that order is the computerized network at our institution. Additionally, we see that these technologies in both senses are part of a “revealing” of both causality and truth, when we seek to ask or observe in the assessment or use of these technologies. We ask the student to reveal to us their labor, and the portfolio itself works to reveal this labor. We assess based on labor or aesthetic, yet we do not rely on the student as much as we rely on the object, which waits for our use in the network or on our desks as a removable form of media.