Thursday, March 27, 2008

 

AERA 2008 Conference

Holding a conference of this size in midtown Manhattan has some substantial challenges, especially since the sessions were spread between four hotels from the Marriott on 46th Street & Broadway in Times Square to the Hilton at 6th Avenue and 53rd Street. There were sessions that I wanted to attend, but the time it took to get between hotels limited my choice of sessions. I attended two SIG meetings: Portfolios and Reflection in Teaching and Teacher Education and the new Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning. The Portfolio SIG had a fascinating discussion on reflection, which gave me a lot of new ideas. This afternoon, I did a short (12 minute) presentation on my REFLECT research and I posted my slides and the paper online.

Several of the other participants in the same session also had very interesting research to present. Lina Pelliccione from Curtin University in Australia presented a paper that:
focused on the goal of enhancing student reflection and learning with the key objective being to determine whether a structured reflective tool can enhance students’ ability to engage in the reflective cycle at a deeper level.
I was also impressed with a paper given by two teacher educators from the University of Calgary entitled, "The Value of eJournals to Support ePortfolio Development for Assessment in Teacher Education" by Susan Crichton and Gail Kopp.
The originality of this work rests in the importance of establishing an eJournal to accompany the ePortfolio. Based on our findings in this action research study, we challenge and add to the existing ePortfolio literature around such issues as ePortfolio project design, process vs. product, the use of templates, social software, and documentation.
They call it eDOL: Electronic Documentation of Learning. There it is: research that supports the importance of including a blog in an ePortfolio! These educators have validated my current opinion and practice of including a reflective journal (a.k.a., blog) in a comprehensive ePortfolio system.

After the presentation today, I had a very stimulating conversation with an educator from New Zealand. He had been reading this blog and most of my web site, and it was almost spooky to have someone seemingly inside my head, observing the changes in my own thinking over the last eight years. It was also exhilarating to talk about the leading (bleeding?) edge of ePortfolio implementation. It also confirms for me the power of the Internet to facilitate collaboration.

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