Eportfolios: Big picture questions…

I have a few eportfolio presentations and workshops in the pipeline, one at a local ICTPD conference here in Palmerston North, a couple of CORE Breakfast Seminars and plans are already underway for a pre-conference workshop for ULearn 10 in October.

So I have been clarifying and updating some previous presentation slides and thought I would flick them up here in order to hopefully get some feedback.

Part of the purpose of the workshops from my perspective is to get the attendees to think critically about the bigger picture of eportfolios and some of the concepts and ideas that need to be discussed before diving in and also as part of the ongoing review of implementation. So I have 8 questions/discussion starters below. Have I missed anything obvious out? Or what big picture question related to eportfolios do you have that aren’t covered in these questions. Please let me know.

Eportfolio Discussion Question 1

Should an eportfolio include all aspects of a student’s life and learning? Will the eportfolio reflect what is happening beyond learning associated with school? If a student is actively involved in music lessons, sports, coaching, volunteer work, travel etc. not directly related to school, will that be part of your eportfolio vision?

ePortfolio Discussion Question 2

Are your parents and teachers ready? Do your parents understand the school’s beliefs associated with eportfolios? Do they understand the benefits to learning? Is the technology available at home? Work? Does everyone have an understanding of the process involved? The pedagogy? The importance of feedback?

Eportfolio Discussion Question 4

What happens when a student leaves school? Moves to a new class? Transfers? Covering the angle of those wanting interoperability between systems. Is that necessary? Is there one protocol that will allow flexibility of choice so that the system does not dictate the pedagogy? Should every student use the same tools? What happens if the teacher moves on?

Eportfolio Discussion Question 5

Do your current internet & computer use policies cater for eportfolios and the use of Web 2.0 tools? When a student does move on from your school, what happens to the learning contained in your school’s Web 2.0 sites? What of sites that have minimum age requirements? Concepts of digital identity, digital citizenship, digital footprint, online safety, online security, moderation… need to be clarified along with all long term implications.

Eportfolio Discussion Question 6

Will your eportfolios play a role in reporting achievement against the National Standards? Is there a middle road that can be found by including plain language reporting and judgements within a reflective learner centered eportfolio? Does an eportfolio qualify as a written report?

Eportfolio Discussion Question 7

Who retains ownership and control? Related to a number of questions already asked such as transferability and inclusion of learning beyond school. Is the portfolio institution controlled and directed or student centered, open and flexible? Learning selected by learner or prescribed by teacher? Assessed or reflective?

Eportfolio Discussion Question 8

Do you need a packaged solution or is a mash-up of Web 2.0 tools OK? Does appropriately tagging artifacts, rss feeds, and the use of aggregators negate the need to have an eportfolio product or container? Web tools are chosen as required, flexible, for specific purposes, tagged and subscribed to or with an alert through another service such as Twitter to the social learning network… is that still an eportfolio?

7 thoughts on “Eportfolios: Big picture questions…”

  1. Hi Nick

    Good questions mate. One more for the school: what measures is the school going to put in place so that there are consistencies between classroom ePortfolios? Parents will compare and complain if one teacher is not percieved as doing much.

  2. Hey Jamin,
    Thanks for the suggestion. It is a valid question… Will just work out how to phrase it in a question. e.g.

    • Is a school wide cohesive approach required?
    • Is it important for eportfolios in your school to have a consistent look and feel?
    • Will your vision for eportfolios allow for teacher and student individuality?

    Suggestions? Will certainly add it to the list as a discussion point.

  3. HI Nick
    I attended your workshop at L@S and my focus has been on the use of eportfolios for staff to document their professional learning journey (and any other things staff may want to use). All the questions above focus on the student – perhaps there could be a question directed at the use and management of eportfolios for staff journeys?

  4. Hi Kathy, thanks for your thoughts. I have certainly seen eportfolios also being used by teachers as a means of recording and reflecting on their professional learning, especially as a way of showing the ongoing self review of a teaching as inquiry model.

    So you are right, perhaps a questions such as:

    • “Should your teachers be walking the talk first?” or
    • “Are your teachers leading the way with their own professional learning?” Maybe even,
    • “Does your school expect teachers to record and reflect on their learning as you are expecting the students?”

    Thanks again, you have certainly pointed out an area that I had not considered.

  5. Hi Nick,
    I agree with Kathy. Staff documenting their own portfolios as an e-portfolio would help build confidence that may not be there at present. We came up with a terrific definition as a staff for e-portfolios and are now looking at what content we want in them before trailing various platforms.
    I think Jan Coleman has booked you in to come and share with our ICT group (Tawa)
    Love your questions- it’s important to look at the big picture.

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