Tag Archives: Jamin Lietze

More ePortfolio Big Picture Questions…

Further to a previous post I have added three new discussion questions to use when thinking about some of big underlying themes surrounding eportfolios.

I can’t take credit for the thinking behind these questions as they have stemmed from comments left on this blog or through face to face discussions when visiting schools.

So here is the first one:

Thanks to Jamin Lietze, who left this comment:

…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 perceived as doing much.

I don’t know if my question reflects exactly the point Jamin is making, mine is more related to surface features but will recraft it at some stage. Jamin refers to the content and makes a valid point. Often in schools we ask for consistency and commonalities in ‘school-wide’ approaches to teaching and learning. There are core values and beliefs that guide what we do. At a different level schools may develop guidelines that describe expectations for such areas as planning and assessment. Is it therefore necessary to develop guidelines for eportfolios, what goes in them and how often? Or would this defeat the purpose of a student directed, student owned eportfolio that supports the learner and instead become a prescriptive teacher directed product?

Question 2:

A conversation with Deidre Alderson, principal of Willowbank School prompted this question. We were discussing eportfolios and getting parents online and involved in leaving comments and giving feedback to their children in these online spaces. I outlined how in my research parents of year 3 and 4 students showed a much higher involvement than those at year 5 and 6. We discussed a number of reasons why this may be which I also discussed in my research. Deidre had a new perspective on this. She suggests that how students want to get feedback and the form that feedback takes changes over time. For example, a younger student may really respond to and deliberately seek out feedback yet an older student may only want feedback when they specifically ask for it and perhaps not from you as a teacher or parent at all. While the eportfolio is only one of many ways to give feedback to students, is the feedback we are giving online inline with what they want, regardless of whether it is technically correct (purposeful, specific, related to criteria, includes next steps etc).

Question 3:

Thanks to Kathy Paterson and Carol Brieseman who both felt this question was worthy to be mentioned.Kathy asks:

perhaps there could be a question directed at the use and management of eportfolios for staff journeys?

Supported by Carol:

Staff documenting their own learning as an e-portfolio would help build confidence that may not be there at present.

I agree. As simple as the saying ‘walk the talk’ is, no more could it be truer here. And what a rich authentic alternative to an appraisal checklist type approach to teaching competency. Not to mention the reflective practice involved in an eportfolio that sits hand in hand with the teaching as inquiry approach to knowledge building. Why wouldn’t you want staff to have their own?

So there we go. Three more questions to discuss if you intend heading down the eportfolio route or if you are in the process of review how you are implementing them currently.

Once again, would love to hear of any questions or areas that I have not considered!

Special thanks to:

Photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cobalt/
Photo 2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/raigverd/
Photo 3: http://www.flickr.com/photos/torres21/

ePortfolios for 2009: Part 2

As we decide on our eportfolio solution for ’09, it makes sense to revisit our criteria to remind ourselves exactly what we are looking for. WordPress MU allowed us to nail most of our criteria, but it was not the perfect eportfolio solution, and to be honest I don’t believe there is one out there, despite the claims that there are products suitable for 5-95 year olds. Our criteria has not really changed since this time last year, the only addition to it is the ability of the product to support the use of mobile/portable devices, especially as I have just ordered some iPod Touches…

eportfolio criteria

With WordPress MU we dropped the social networking aspect, and while it would have been great, you can manufacture a social/learning network yourself with your class and school community which has the same outcomes on learning.

Last week I was fortunate enough to visit Jamin Lietze at Bethlehem College. We bashed around the topic of eportfolios in the hope of finding the perfect solution for his school that will cater for 5-18 year olds. Jamin has developed his own criteria (see below) for eportfolios. It is always useful to look beyond your situation and see how others attack the same problem.

So what does all this mean for Russell Street? Well it hasn’t made our decisions any easier but it does reinforce that the search for the perfect eportfolio solution is neverending. It also reinforces, if you are self-hosting it yourself, how you have to make your solution work and comply to all of those listed criteria. As mentioned in other posts this is not sustainable over the long term.

So if not self-hosting a WordPress MU install, the questions is not what is the best other option but perhaps the one that is going to make the easiest transition from what we had last year. If we look at the two options that seem to be top of the list at the moment, Edublogs or 21Classes, Edublogs, a customised souped up version of WordPress MU, would have the smallest transition from current practice. The backend is the same so creating and editing posts requires no new learning for students and teachers.

So… a decision? Hmm… will run some of these thoughts passed the other stakeholders.

Jamin’s ePortfolio Criteria Feb 09