e-Portfolios : supporting reflective, self-directed learning, for life

Hi all
I am presently completing a Master degree and the aim of my final research is to evaluate my practice as I implement the use of e- portfolios in my classroom, using blogs and other Web 2.0 tools, to develop and demonstrate student reflective practice. I am hoping to build on and develop my existing knowledge of practice in the use of web 2.0 tools to support, develop and demonstrate reflective, self directed learning.
This is a little tricky because e-portfolios are a means of supporting and demonstrating the learning process, and not an end in themselves. I want to developed my own professional practice in using tools that help students to be reflective, self directed learners and I am going to show this in the form of a reflective diary(establishing my own e-Portfolio. I want to develop my own knowledge of audio tools that can be used to support reflection in and of learning. I was thinking of things like Voicethread and podcasts- which I am not confident in using as yet.
If anyone has other ideas regarding e-tools that they think support reflective practice, I would really appreciate any advice or guidance. I would also like to chat to anyone who has been using open source software to develop e-Portfolios for this purpose.
I think that personal professional development in the area of IT and digital literacies, for all teachers, is critical. In my reading, the viewpoint was expressed that teachers would not be replaced by computers, but that those teacher who were not skilled in the area of IT , would be replaced by those that were. An interesting thought.

Tags: e-Portfolios, e-tools, life-longlearning, reflectivepractice, self-directedlearning

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So glad to learn you are promoting e-portfolios. 5 years ago, I used video clips as evidence for the NYS Alternate Assessment to great success. Glad to share clips and info if you like.
Hi Michael,
I would love to see what you have done in the past and am glad to receive any information or/and ideas. I have been researching this little device for video recording. It is a movie camera with a USB attachment. I have attached a link. It looks really handy and may be a good piece of equipment to invest in to make capturing those special learning moments. What do you think?

Flip Ultra Video Camera - Orange
[FlipUO]
Flip Ultra Video Camera - Orange Flip Ultra Video Camera - Orange
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Simplicity is Key with the Flip Ultra, it's incredibly simple and user friendly interface makes it:

• Simple to Record
• Simple to Edit
• Simple to Share

The Flip comes with everything you need built in for simple use:

• 60 Min recording on 2Gb Flash Memory
• Microphone
• Tripod mount
• USB connector
• Runs on standard AA batteries
• Lanyard for safe/secure use

This is a video recording device that does not require a hours of training to use - point, press and shoot. Nothing is as easy. The world’s simplest camcorder. It lets you capture the everyday moments that happen anywhere and share them with friends and family everywhere. That’s the idea behind Flip Video Ultra.
Can be bought from itmadesimple - Melbourne
I have a link to the catalogue if you are interested.
Regards
Gail
I think you need to just jump in.... You will learn as you go... The kids will probably teach you what you don't know about the technology. I think it is such a great idea that I want to try it too!

Kay
Hi Kay
Thanks for the encouragement. I agree, students are fearless. The world of technology is second nature to them. If you used e-Portfolios , what portal or Learning Management system would you use? I am going to use blogs for my students. They are only 9 years old.
Regards
Gail
The key challenge I see of implementing ePortfolios in the classroom is our current climate of obsessive testing and examinations biases the system towards conformance to procedures, and away from reflective practice. My company develops ePortfolios for use in schools. Current feature requests from teachers are
  • Enable more instruction from the teacher within the ePortfolio
  • Enforce the date on which work must be turned in
  • Comment banks so teachers can leave long, but standardized, comments on students' work

If you have ideas about how we can square this particular circle; meet customers' needs and at the same time encourage reflective learning, I'd be most grateful. I'm tearing my hair out over this!
Hi Ian
I have many thoughts on this subject. I think that learning should direct the purpose and nature of the e-Portfolio. However, I think that in many schools at present the e-Portfolio is created to direct or fit learning. I think that this is what you might be having a problem with. The e-Portfolio is not a vehicle for directing instruction, testing and messages. I think that a Learning Management system can be used for this.
I think it is a way of thinking. I think that reflective learning is looking at what you have done, identifying areas for improvement or gaps and planning next steps. It is also about metacognition and accurate articulation of your thinking about your learning.
A blog format would allow a teacher to see metacognitive process and would enable teacher feedback and further instruction.A blog would also support the standardized comment aspect. A blog is transferable from one learning institution to another. It is also a learning journey or story for a learner.
I think although we have all these external pressure of standardized assessments ( we have them here to in Australia) it is always important to keep our eye on the learner, the student.
I need to think about your question a little more and get will get back to you.
Regards
Gail
This discussion is so timely for me. There is a portfolio function in Edu 2.0 but I have not figured out how to make it work easily. My inclination is to have the kids form wikis outside of Edu...I have been using wikispaces so I might stay with that. I have evaluated several commercial portfolio sites but have not found the combination of ease, affordability and function I want. There is not much leadership in my school for this so I am on my own.

I am rambling here to tell you that I very much appreciate the leads from all of you. This will motivate me to get to work on it.

Gail, I looked at the Flip and ended up with the Kodak Vi6 (I think that is the number instead.) It is a little bigger but I thought the quality of the image was better and I liked the battery solution. I don't think you can go wrong with the Flip though. Most reviews pointed to that. There is a big difference in price between HD and the regular Ultra and between the Mino and larger. I found the Kodak on Ebay for about $110. A tripod is a good idea. It is hard to hold a small camera steady.

Thanks again to everyone

JP
Hi John
Thanks for that. With a wiki, do you allow open editing? This is a problem for me because of the age of my students. I have to work behind a password. I think that I can transfer learning from one blog to another - I want the e-Portfolio to be a learning story, and transferable.
When I was teaching in New Zealand I worked with Knowledge Net - a learning management system - but this had its problems.
As I said to Ian, in a previous discussion, it is my opinion that the problem with e-Portfolio formats or commercially designed programmes at the moment is that they are designed to fit learning, where I think that the learning should drive the design of the e-Portfolio. I think that a combination of wiki and blog may be the answer at the moment. Maybe we could get some web designers together and try to create what we need. I have two people here in Townsville that I am going to talk to. I think it would also be valuable if we could talk to others who may be interested about how they are using e-Portfolios. I think that we would find the responses interesting.
You have crystallized my thinking, Gail. Right now, ePortfolios are designed for teaching. Pedagogs want them designed for learning.

If we ever can get the two to meet, it will probably be by building community tools that follow the ideas of Konrad Glogowski.
Why don't we design something for learners? I have a few people here in Townsville and a colleague in NZ that I am busy talking to.
Imagine?
Gail
Gail, I love people like you who, when the railroad is going in the right direction, get out and build new tracks. I spent a few hours this morning looking at alternatives. I teach Senior Honors English at a selective and academically rigorous school. Unfortunately, there is no help to be had from the Technology Director and very little general interest or understanding of portfolios. At a recent meeting, I was reminded that we tried portfolios in the late 1970's. I am not kidding you.

I think my struggle right now is not the application--it is getting my mind around the changes I need to make in my pedagogy. I think I will spend the weekend reading some research and theory about portfolios. Either that or I will ride my bike.

Hope all of you have a great weekend!

JP
Did they tell you what happened in the late '70s? I would be particularly interested in why they were tried - what were peoples' aspirations for the system?

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