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?
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).
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/
#KathyPaterson #DeidreAlderson #teacherinquiry #JaminLietze #CarolBrieseman #teachingasinquiry #ePortfolios