Rugby World Cup: ePortfolios
Throughout this unit, students will be asked to post learning into their portfolio. At times this will be a finished piece of learning, a response to a question posed by the teacher, or a reflection on what has been learnt and the processes and skills used in activity.
For the purpose of this unit ePortfolios are defined as:
...what is produced when persons collect, select, reflectively interpret, and/or present their own evidence to support their assertions about what they have learned, know and can or should do... (Cambridge, 2003)
- be ongoing and added to throughout the unit
- be owned by the student
- act as a vehicle for student reflection and self-assessment
- enable teacher feedback and support
- compliment a strong formative approach to teaching and learning
- harness the collaborative capability of online networking
- facilitate the sharing of learning with teachers, parents and peers
- be a record of learning for the duration of the unit
ePortfolios have the potential to enhance the learning opportunities for students. They offer a range of benefits as outlined below:
- Use of multimedia: A major challenge today with electronic portfolios is to maintain learner intrinsic motivation to willingly engage in the portfolio process. The use of multimedia tools is one strategy that involves and engages learners... (Barrett, 2005).
- Student voice: The power of ‘student voice’ should not be underestimated. To hear students reflecting on their own work, in their own voice, with their own intonations and expressions, conveys meaning in a manner that is simply not possible in written form (Fox, 2008).
- Social networking: ...the social networking potential of the learning landscape and eportfolio-related tools are features that facilitate and enhance the making of connections and the linking together of people, ideas, resources and learning... (Tosh et al., 2006).
- Feedback & Reflection: ...opens wide the possibilities for reflections... in action, before action, after action, in solitude, in consultation with peers, in consultation with instructors... written, spoken, videotaped, or graphically represented... (Riedinger, 2006).
- Anywhere, anytime: e-portfolios provide students with much greater flexibility in gathering, documenting, updating and maintaining the evidence of their learning over time. Similarly, online reflective journals represent greater flexibility and may be updated by students anywhere, anytime (Harris et al., 2007).
- Lifelong learning: ...the e-portfolio recognises that learning is continuing and seeks to provide tools to support that learning (MOSEP, 2007).
ePortfolios can be implemented through a variety of different tools ranging from presentation applications such as PowerPoint to dedicated eportfolio software such as Mahara. There is no perfect solution and deciding upon the right eportfolio tool is a complex task.
To simplify the use of eportfolios for this unit, an online web based solution is described based on a blogging tool. This means that the described eportfolio activities can be transfered to most blogging platforms including Blogger, Mahara's blog capability, and WordPress.
- Blogger: Blogger is Google's blogging solution. A flexible and easy to use tool that allows individuals to create blog post and pages and control the access to both. Easily upload images and video and is able to embed most other Web 2.0 artifacts. Has a comprehensive range of templates allowing students to personalise their blog/portfolio. Free and great for all ages.
- WordPress: This tool is available in two flavours as a hosted service such as http://wordpress.com (free) or http://edublogs.org/ (free and pro versions) or can be hosted by an institution by download and installing from http://wordpress.org which can be configured to enable multiple user blogs. A hosted solution has the same benefits of services such as Blogger but a self-hosting gives the user and teacher complete control over how the site looks feels and behaves utlising the thousands of plugins and themes avaliable.
- Mahara: NZ developed ePortfolio solution. A great feature list that is suited very well to the secondary and tertiary level but possibly not so suited to younger primary aged students due to its complexity. User can create blogs, forums and engage in learning communities, upload and comment on files. The concept of creating different views for different audiences is excellent and is achieved much more simply than other solutions. Like WordPress, Mahara can be hosted by a service eg http://myportfolio.school.nz or downloaded and installed by an institution from http://mahara.org.
Other useful sites for showing learning in eportfolios:
- http://slideshare.net, http://scribd.com: Allows students to upload PowerPoint or Keynote presentation and embed them in their eportfolio as well as Word docs and PDFs.
- http://youtube.com, http://teachertube.com, http://vimeo.com: Allows videos and exported slideshow movies and podcasts to be uploaded and embedded in eportfolios.
- http://flickr.com, http://photobucket.com: Photo sharing site allowing students to embed photos and slideshows from uploaded images.
- http://bubbl.us, http://mindmeister.com: Online collaborative brainstorms and mind maps that can be embedded.
- http://vocaroo.com: Record student voice and embed in eportfolio
- http://sliderocket.com, http://280slides.com: Create presentations (similar to PowerPoint or Keynote) online and embed in eportfolio.
Role of the Teacher
The use of eportfolios requires teachers to rethink the way they engage students in learning, reflection and showing evidence of achievement. This approach has been outlined by Attwell (1997) as he lists the role of the teacher in supporting eportfolio development:
- providing technical support and assistance;
- organising the contexts and communities of learning;
- formulating organisational objectives;
- facilitating the structuring of portfolio contents;
- facilitating reﬂection;
- guiding and monitoring the student’s advancement through the integral cycle of investigative learning;
- helping in the evidencing of competences;
- supporting planning;
- interacting and conducting conversation with the students;
- planning and assessing the overall process.
Adaptations for paper or book portfolios
This unit describes how students will use an eportfolio or electronic portfolio to provide evidence of learning, activity outcomes, reflections and self-assessments.
All portfolio activities can easily be adapted for use in a traditional portfolio or learning journal. This type of portfolio can take many forms such as a standard exercise book or a clear file folder with inserted examples of learning.
The pedagogy and purpose remain the same it is only the tools that change. For example, if a portfolio activity describes making a new post in a student's eportfolio, to adapt it for a traditional portfolio, simply create a new page. If another eportfolio activity ask students to embed a slideshow such as a PowerPoint presentation into the student's eportfolio, instead print the slides as a handout and file in the paper portfolio.
However if the students are creating digital artifacts for the activities such as movies or slideshows, we encourage you to strongly consider the use of an eportfolio so the learning can be shared and evidenced as it was designed. Reducing a movie or presentation to a static paper version is not an authentic means of sharing achievement.
Further reading & references
Attwell, G. (2007). e-Portfolios - the DNA of the Personal Learning Environment? http://www.knownet.com/writing/weblogs/Graham_Attwell/entries/7709663746/7896831716/attach/eportjournal.rtf
Barrett, H. (2005). White Paper: Researching Electronic Portfolios and Learner Engagement. http://www.electronicportfolios.org/reflect/whitepaper.pdf
Barrett, H. (2006). Using Electronic Portfolios for Classroom Assessment. Connected Newsletter: Octover 2006, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp 4-6. http://electronicportfolios.com/portfolios/ConnectedNewsletter-final.pdf
Becta. (2007) Impact of e-Portfolios on Learning. http://partners.becta.org.uk/upload-dir/downloads/page_documents/research/impact_study_eportfolios.pdf
Fox, I. (2008). ePortfolios – A Personal Space for Learning. http://www.ian.fox.co.nz/documents/Ian_Fox--ePortfolios--A_Personal_Space_for_Learning--Feb2008.pdf
Harris, K-L., Krause, K., Gleeson, D., Peat, M., Taylor, C. & Garnett, R. (2007). Enhancing Assessment in the Biological Sciences: Ideas and resources for university educators. http://bioassess.edu.au/bioassess/webdav/site/bioassesssite/users/siteadmin/public/Portfolios_reflective_journals.pdf
More Self-Esteem with My e-Portfolio. (2007). Grab your future with an e-Portfolio! Summary Report. http://mosep.org/research/gfx/mosep_study.pdf
Riedinger, B. (2006). Mining for Meaning. In A. Jafari & C. Kaufman (Eds.), Handbook of research on ePortfolios, Hershey PA: Idea Group Reference, pp. 90-101.