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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Hi Donna
I think that you have highlighted some interesting points to think about, namely the purpose of the portfolio. what drives it - learning or teaching, and the clientele. I think that another important aspect to think about re e-portfolios is teaching metacognitive skills - thinking about thinking. I believe that when you know the "the why behind the what' in your learning, then you can determine the 'now what' stage. As a class session ends, I often ask students to write done "what I am going to do next". This is a good way for them to reflect on what they were doing when they come back to learning and it gives them direction for next steps.
I am working on my own professional practice in developing metacognitive , reflective learners. I have up until now used mainly written reflections. I want to develop my knowledge of audio options and implement these over the next month or two. I want to provide students with other options for articulating their thinking about their learning and their next learning steps as writing can be challenging for some students.
Donna, you may like to begin with students i a reflective statement before posting the completed work- Maybe ask them to include a what and why statement. You could also use De Bono's thinking hats or Art Costa's 16 Habits of Mind to guide reflections. I am also working a devising some starter sentences for different levels of reflection based on Blooms.
Management plans are also a good way for you and your students to guide, develop and show the learning process and the thinking behind the learning. I devise these myself and they are based about research steps linked with thinking skills. I am happy to share some of these with you. My email is gailtherea@gmail.com. I am happy to send these through to you. I have also created a website on Thinking Tools. The link is http://www.bbi.school.nz/Thinking/Site/Home.html
I hope that some of these suggestions are a helpful.
Thanks for the reply. I think I will put into practice the refective statements you suggested.
Hi Gail...

I finally set up my e-portfolios using edublogs.org. I knew about this blog site, but I just recently discovered that you could password protect individual pages within the blog.

I will post work and evidence on their page and they can reflect on their work via the comments. I'll be implementing this in August so we will see how it works.

Thank you so much for the inspiration to seek out the answer I need and get this done. You can see what I've set up so far at mrallen1.edublogs.org

Hi Matt
I am so impressed. I want to change mine and set them up the same way that you have. Have you used edublogs? I have been using Blogger. Can you give the students one collective password. I need help from. Are you on skype?
When you mention that students will also include some reflective writing, what are your thoughts on what you are going to expect here.
Matt....that is a great set up. If you guys ever get together on Skype. I would love to join in with you. I have been working on the reflective writing as a concluding part of the writing process.

Thanks so much for sharing your great work.

Hi John,

One quick note; edu2.0 has an option on 'freeform assignments (a.k.a. essay assignments) that allows students to comment on each other's work. In addition, you can have a 'discussion assignment' where students discussion a topic in a forum that's specifically associated with the assignment and which has special features that make it easy for a teacher to grade.


Thanks and great to hear from you. We did an extended pilot of Edu 2.0 with my very web-savvy Seniors in April and May. Their response was very favorable. I have been working constructing Lessons and learning the ins and outs. I need to get a little clearer on the Portfolio feature.

The environment is great though. Thanks for all of your work. We will be using it with five sections of Honors British Literature in the fall. http://www.fenwickfriars.com

Thanks John!

The portfolio feature is probably the vaguest feature on the site, mostly due to lack of feedback from our teachers. The quicker we can get more feedback on what our users are looking for in this feature, we quicker we can implement those ideas! So please let us know how we can improve the site and you'll be pleasantly surprised how quickly it will evolve.

Thanks. I've never done this before so I hope it's a good set up for my students and parents.
I've been using just wordpress.com for our class blogs, but only recently discovered the edublogs.org is a part of wordpress.com. I can't use Blogger because it is blocked on our school network.

As for the passwords I had planned on giving each student an individual password to access their folder. That way parents can access their child's folder at home and not be able to access any one else's.

For the reflective writing students will be looking primarily at their own work. I will make comments on their work in their portfolios and they will be expected to tell me how they can improve on the next related assignment. They will also reflect on what they enjoyed about the assignment and what they didn't like. I plan on developing a rubric for this but haven't made it to that point yet.

And yes I am on Skype .


my skype is mrmattallen

Hi Matt
Thanks for the feedback. Today I did end of term reflections and I was amazed at what 9 year olds wrote. I also focus there writing with some pertinent questions or pointers.
I will Skype you in a fortnight. I am heading over to NZ for a little while. I will keep my eye on your blog. Keep in touch.



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