eportfolio 'cuse I need more to figure out

Just finished the webinar on Electronic Portfolios and found it interesting. My quandary is that when I did the paper portfolio years ago, it appeared that the amount of time spent working on them always felt disproportionate to the product. I like exhibit A the student preferred exhibit K. We would discuss it, compare it to the rubric, and debate it over again before moving on to the next item.

I really like the idea of a Web 2.0 eportfolio where it is a truly (virtual) living document. Add and subtract as seen fit. Compare and explain each item. Use video, voice, graphics and rich text to share the learning experience. Over my career I have valued the concept of reflection. Learning only means something and becomes tangible, when it is deeply integrated into the individual.

Next step in the process for me, the 2.0 beginner in the old guy suit, is to figure out a way to explore and incorporate this into my teaching,
or their learning,
or our assessment.

Views: 28

Comment by Tammy Moore on September 19, 2009 at 3:33pm
One thing that I am coming to chose in our portfolios is to have a base layer and a major project layer and get rid of the stuff in between that keeps them busy but only brings yawns in a portfolio. Toss out worksheets. Instead, have a base layer of them displaying their study notes (improves study skills) with major creative projects sprinkled in so that there is adequate time for the student to develop a great finished work. The study notes often serve as a base to turn to in the design of the project and indeed that probably helps to prove that the assignment is a well designed one because they are having to use the content that they spent time learning.

Some curriculum is better suited than others I have found. There have been years when the portfolios grew by leaps and bounds and the level of 'Wow!" in their projects were very high. There have also been years when we were using curriculum that sapped at their time to do anything truly meaningful either because it covered content topics so fast that there wasn't adequate time to develop projects and the notes were all shallow with no deep interlinking to other maps and resources.

Unfortunately, I feel we are stuck in one of those this year. Too fast to do anything with an otherwise very fascinating topic. This curriculum actually has a lot of potential for deep study and wonderful projects but we are having to fly through it at light speed and only do a fraction of what is there. We are locked in to a schedule because we are doing it with a group, but I can see that we will be losing all the depth and projects that we would normally have for this type of study when doing in on our own, setting our own pace, merely because there is way too much content in way too little time. Lesson learned - speed is just as much an issue as content.

Good luck with your e-portfolio endeavors. :0)
Comment by Artie O'Connor on September 20, 2009 at 5:00am
Thanks Tammy! I am going to give it my best.
Comment by Norman G on September 20, 2009 at 7:54am
Artie, not sure what age group you are working with, but I have used e-portfolios for high school and middle school. For me the key was having the students take ownership of their portfolios. Students' portfolios were stored on a network drive.

We set time aside for them to add artifacts to the folios. There was required content and student selected content. Projects were a major part of our curriculum and all (2x a year) major projects were video taped and archived. So seniors graduating would have between 24 or so taped projects to include in the portfolios. This was a requirement. If students chose they could include an art or music gallery of their work.

These were, in my opinion powerful pieces and worth the time to assemble. One of the keys I think is documentation and storage of digital artifacts. Once that culture is part of the school, assembling portfolios is not as big a deal.

The portfolios were posted on the web and the link sent along with college applications. Not all schools took the time to look at them, but several sent back letters commenting how amazing the students were and how they would love to have them as part of their university.

I have followed Dr. Barrett's work for quite sometime. Going to check out her archived webinar.

Norm
Comment by Artie O'Connor on September 20, 2009 at 10:09am
Thanks Norman,

It sounds more plausible to me now than before. I teach environment studies to 9th graders. Though I have the support from the district and school to move forward in using technology to improve instruction, and as we are looking into the International Baccalaureate program, this type of record/archive keeping, reflective activity fits perfectly. It also allows for data analysis, for which we are also accountable.

I enjoyed Dr. Barrett's webinar yesterday and will be visiting her websites later today. Our district issue is, and has been secrecy of student identity and doing it all on the cheap. As I learn more about using Google Docs I see that this as a viable solution. Hey, how do you bet free? After reading you post I now better understand a direction to take in moving forward as I progress through the term. I like the link for colleges to look at a student’s portfolio.

Artie

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