According to Dr.K. Chang Barker http://www.futured.com/documents/FuturEdePortfolioforAssessmentWhitePaper_000.pdf “An ePortfolio is an electronic portfolio of acquired learning – knowledge, skills and abilities acquired through formal, non-formal, informal, accidental and incidental learning.”
Brief Summary: I thought a “brief” summary would be easy to construct since an ePortfolio is merely an electronic scrapbook, however, after doing some research I am truly blown away at the complex and extensive nature of ePortfolios. Their uses are extensive and to name just a few this would include; learning assessment, PLAR, teaching tools, developmental assessment, showcase tool, college admission tool. and even serving as an employment tool. Creators can be individuals, organizations, businesses, children and adults. There are numerous applications offering ePortfolio formats, education systems with their own designer formats, templates and a multitude of other options that offer creativity and flexibility in the creation of an ePortfolio. I explored the formats comparing an app on my iPad and the use of Google. The iPad app was limited, required a fee payment, was cumbersome and a challenge to share, in comparison Google offered customization, flexibility, easy sharing and free to use. If you are interested in looking at my basic first attempt here is my link. https://sites.google.com/site/eportfolioeduckarin/
I would like to focus briefly on the assessment benefits of an ePortfolio. Much of education has changed to an outcome based learning system. The focus is more on employability and the challenge of assessing these work ready skills led to new assessment strategies like the ePortfolio. According to Pelliccione and Dixon http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/melbourne08/procs/pelliccione.pdf “Assessment choices can have a direct impact upon how particular courses are perceived as well as student motivation and the way in which they approach their study.”
The benefits of ePortfolios is that they focus on what a person CAN do rather than what they can’t. ePortfolios are about the process of learning as well as the product and offer extensive opportunities for reflection. In online learning they serve to highlight progress and provide a wealth of information upon which learning is constructed.
Using ePortfolios in my teaching: My first question is “Why have I waited so long to incorporate ePortfolios into my teaching?” The fact that they focus on demonstrating what the student has learned will really help in instructional decisions. ePortfolios offer a tool whereby students can demonstrate their achievement of learning objectives as well as offer reflections on their learning. They can be used for formative as well as summative assessment and offer an effective tool in online learning environments. I love the idea of constructing an ePortfolio over the entire period of the certificate program. I find that after my students have completed their 20 courses over a 10 month period of full time study they are really vague about what they have learned. Compiling an ePortfolio over this 10 month period to incorporate the 20 courses will really benefit students in an overview of their learning journey and provide them with a useful resource tool as well as an employment tool. Students would be able to use an ePortfolio for their 10 week practicum placement which would allow them to demonstrate what they can do in the practical field. Another excellent resource for a potential employer. Featured below is a case study of students in a Postgraduate Certificate of Education using ePortfolios through Pebble Pad at the University of Wolverhampton. Julie Hughes the head of department offers her input as well.
Creating my own personal teaching ePortfolio: My teaching binders are full of notes, diagrams, websites, game ideas and a multitude of sticky notes. In short it is chaos. Often I am not even able to decipher the game I had written out because at the time when I used it, it made sense but now ten months later I cannot remember what creative planet I was on when I designed the game. How incredibly useful a teaching ePortfolio would be. With permission from my students I could have videoed them playing the games or attending field trips; taken podcasts of discussions and presentations or lectures, asked for picture samples of their work, listed useful websites according to category, taken photos of my sticky notes and organized my note taking according to course and the absolute miracle of it all is I could access everything from my phone, iPad or my in-class computer. I would not need to carry my 20 binders. The opportunities are absolutely endless. Storing all my teaching media in one location would already be an asset in itself. How incredible it would be to interview students at the end of a course with advice for upcoming students. I could use this at the start of a new teaching loop. Early Childhood Education is resource based and over the years I have accumulated boxes of tools for teaching my students as well as tools they would use for teaching children. This could all be converted to e-format and incorporated as media. Research on children is ever evolving and my ePortfolio could have a section designated for new research that I could share with my students. I would be able to store videos of interviews with children’s books authors, new physical education demonstrations, case studies and ‘how to” art ideas. Providing a section for student feedback will allow me to self reflect on course improvement and development. Storing information in a designated area for all the professional development workshops that I attend would ensure that I have these incredible new tools at my fingertips. I see personal, professional and mentorship values in creating a teaching ePortfolio. From a personal perspective it is important to be organized, minimizing stress and maximizing time usage. Sometimes it is a real emotional uplift to see what you and your students have accomplished together and see evidence of your hard work. Professionally ePortfolios represent your teaching philosophy and promote future goals by motivating you to be a better teacher. They offer the opportunity to showcase your accomplishments and promote any recognition you have received. Finally we are mentors and need to demonstrate to our students that we can keep up with the times and present to them the usefulness and importance of ePortfolios so that they will establish their own.