Monday, March 29, 2010
WORDLE on ePortfolios
My first impression: Why is the word assessment larger than the word reflection?
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Discovering your "something"
Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide.He also told students, "stay focused, find something you're passionate about... set goals and work hard to achieve them." I would add: How will you know what that "something" is? We all need a space where we discover, explore, and document what we are good at... what we have to offer. What better place for than exploration than a reflective portfolio, to highlight our strengths and passions? In an online journal/portfolio, we can share our goals and dreams with ourselves and our teachers, friends and family. That's an opportunity an ePortfolio can provide.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
ePortfolios and new Accountability Systems
Mandating portfolios on a system wide or statewide basis may destroy one of their greatest assets: allowing students to reflect on their learning and feel a sense of hope and control. Once standards are defined by an outside authority, teacher-student collaboration is minimized and the importance of students' own goals and learning assessment diminishes.This quote underlines the challenge we have with mandating portfolios: how do we maintain student engagement and ownership? Then, again, if there is no extrinsic motivator or mandate, where is the intrinsic motivation to reflect on learning, especially when there are so many competing priorities in our students' lives? If only we could capture the motivation behind social networks to facilitate reflection on learning! That is the place where students reflect on life, albeit most often with a more social, less academic focus.
-- Case, Susan H. (1994) Will Mandating Portfolios Undermine Their Value? Educational Leadership, v52 n2 p46-47 Oct 1994
From my brief longitudinal review of the literature, it is obvious that the research on portfolios focused on K-12 schools in the 90s, and switched over to higher education since 2000. Perhaps the reason focuses on two factors: No Child Left Behind (2001) federal legislation changed the focus of assessment from the K-12 classroom to statewide standardized testing for high stakes accountability; and NCATE 2000 accreditation requirements for Teacher Education programs required establishment of Assessment Management Systems to document teacher candidate achievement and program improvement. In 2002, the Chronicle of Higher Education also declared that ePortfolios were the "next big thing" in IT... and college students provide an easily-researched population for faculty with research and publishing requirements.
While the direction for the renewal of NCLB has not been finalized, there are indications that a broader definition of assessment will allow multiple measures of achievement, supporting more formative, classroom-based assessment, which will make portfolios more popular in K-12 schools. Maybe the portfolio pendulum will move back toward K-12. President Obama made the following statement in his March 10, 2009 speech on Education:
And I'm calling on our nation's governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don't simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.Wouldn't an electronic portfolio help a student showcase these 21st century skills... especially creativity? The Obama Education Plan contained the following statement:
Develop better student assessments that allow teachers and parents to identify and focus on individual needs and talents throughout the school year. Technology can help get information about student performance to teachers and parents in real time, and support ongoing efforts to improve student performance in an area of weakness and support student success in areas where the student shows particular interest or aptitude.Shouldn't an electronic portfolio be one of those formative assessment tools, allowing a student to showcase their successes... and empower them to assess their own work? I advocate an ePortfolio that is student-centered, emphasizing student ownership and "voice" (as highlighted in the NZ report in my last blog entry). There are other tools that can be used as institution-centered data-collection systems. I hope these two approaches won't get confused... or combined. Otherwise, K-12 ePortfolios will look like many of the ePortfolios produced in Teacher Education programs today, which are, to quote Hartnell-Young and Morriss, "heavy with documentation but light on passion."
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Google Sites on Reflection and Assessment
The two new sites that I am developing are:
- Reflection for Learing (in collaboration with Jonathon Richter of the Center for Advanced Technology in Education, University of Oregon)
- Assessment for Learning
Friday, May 08, 2009
VoiceThread for ePortfolios
I recently wrote to the teacher who wrote that blog entry, requesting a copy of the booklet that she used to scaffold the students' reflections. This is the response that I got this morning:
I'd just like to share with you this little thought too. Do you remember speaking in New Zealand a number of years ago, at the ULearn Conference in Auckland? You were one of the keynote speakers and you spoke about the power of telling stories - you shared with us one story that combined photos, pictures, music and voice. Your keynote really struck a chord with me, as you emphasised the beauty and power of simplicity and choice. I base most of my digital storytelling and digital portfolio work with students on the things I took away from your keynote.Wow! It is thrilling to get this type of feedback from a keynote presentation that I gave in 2005.
You can imagine how "tickled" I am now to be giving back something to you. Thank you for the inspiration back then and for the continued inspiration into ePortfolios.
Early childhood technology expert Gail Lovely, quoted in an article in T.H.E. Journal, says "The power of this [tool]...is in the commenting." Here are some resources from the VoiceThread website:
- VoiceThread Manuals (in PDF) Getting Started in the Classroom and Sharing VoiceThreads
- A series of tutorials, created with VoiceThread
Friday, May 01, 2009
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Feedback on Diagram
As I said in one of my posts in that discussion, "This is an example of how a social network can provoke critical thinking! I have modified the diagram, because I recognize that the process is not always linear. However, when a novice begins the process of building toward some type of presentation portfolio (the "product" or showcase in this diagram), it helps to have a sequence of tasks to complete. So I took the comments into consideration as I revised the diagram..."
Friday, January 30, 2009
Balancing 2 Faces of ePortfolios
Monday, December 22, 2008
EQ and ePortfolios
the capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions effectively in others and ourselves.I found this diagram online:
While the source of this diagram is focused on success in organizations, these abilities are essential for success in education at all levels. While most of this model focuses on empathy and interpersonal skills, the Personal competencies (Who I am... self awareness and What I do... self-motivation) is well documented in reflections that are the "heart and soul" of a reflective journal/portfolio.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Blogging and Reflection in ePortfolios
Huffington said that blogging is successful because it is an intimate, conversational form of writing (first thoughts, best thoughts) and "the key is really to find your voice and to find your passion. That's what makes a good blog." These ideas support my opinion that a form of blogging should be included in any ePortfolio process: it provides a conversational form of writing that is essential for reflection and deep learning, which I believe is part of the "heart and soul" of a portfolio. I am promoting the concept of two portfolios: the Working Portfolio, which WSU calls the "workspace" or some schools have called the [digital] shoebox; and any number of Presentation Portfolios (depending on purpose and audience) which WSU calls the "showcase" and schools call "showtime!" In order to build more formal presentations, we need the digital archive or the storage of work samples (collection) to draw upon (selection) for inclusion in these presentations. Reflection takes place at two points in time: when the piece of work (an artifact) is saved in the digital archive (a contemporaneous reflection while the work is fresh on our minds)... thus the role of the blog; and when (and if) this piece is included in the more formal presentation/showcase or assessment portfolio. The reflection written at this point of time is more summative or cumulative, providing a much broader perspective on a body of work that represents the author's goals for the showcase portfolio. Technologically, selection would involve creating a hyperlink to specific blog entries (reflection) which may have documents (artifacts) as attachments.
These two types of reflection involve two levels of support for reflection: the reflection in a blog would focus on a specific piece of work or learning experience (such as in service learning), and what has been learned while the experience is very fresh or immediate. The reflection in a presentation portfolio is more of a retrospective as well as an argument, providing a rationale that a collection of work meets specific outcomes or goals (related to the goal of the portfolio).
Most ePortfolio systems tend to emphasize the showcase (portfolio as product) rather than the workspace (portfolio as process). There are also two different types of organization: Blogs are organized in reverse chronological order; most showcase portfolios are organized thematically, around a set of learning goals, outcomes or standards. Both levels of reflection and organization are important, and require different strategies for supporting different levels of reflection.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Learning about ePortfolios
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday Live featuring WSU
WSU's ePortfolio contest brought in outside experts to judge student projects, which were documented in these ePortfolios, and there were several comments about the importance of documenting the process as much as the outcomes, normally shown in a poster. Here is another example where keeping a reflective journal is perhaps the most powerful part of the ePortfolio journey, revealing to the learners and their audiences, their construction of knowledge.
WSU uses Microsoft's SharePoint platform to support their students' ePortfolio development, based on a philosophy that they should be learning to use tools that they would use in their professional lives after they leave the university. They also believe that the students should structure their own electronic portfolios. I agree with both of those viewpoints.
The TLT Group has posted a web page on Electronic Portfolios: Formative Evaluation, Planning that provides some valuable insights on planning for planning to implement ePortfolios in a higher education institution.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
In addition to the usual speakers (and an excellent keynote address by Kathleen Blake Yancey), there were also a lot of presenters sharing their practice at LGCC. The Center for Teaching and Learning at LGCC is establishing a National Resource Center on Inquiry, Reflection & Integrative Education to support innovation on campuses nationwide. I especially liked the focus on their students' unique stories, using the power of personal narrative in their ePortfolios.
I also took advantage of my trip to the East Coast, and attended the Rhode Island Sakai Conference, on April 9, where I learned more about the efforts in that state to establish a Proficiency Based Graduation Requirement (PBGR). I was most impressed by a small group of students who talked about their beginning efforts using Sakai. I especially liked their comments on what they would like to change (i.e., allow more personal expression in the OSP, like they can do in Facebook).
At the LaGuardia conference, I did see some student portfolios from the University of Michigan that looked very creative, using the Sakai tool. I have asked them to give me an account on their system, so that I could try to re-create my portfolio, since I have not been able to do so in the existing demonstration templates.
I am hoping that these conferences will begin a national dialogue on the role of ePortfolios in transforming learning, not only in higher education, but also in secondary schools. I met with a small group of educators that would like to begin a national research project, looking at the various statewide high school portfolio initiatives in Washington state, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio. It is time to bring secondary schools into this dynamic conversation.
Friday, April 04, 2008
eDOL: Electronic Documentation of Learning
eDOL has evolved into two interrelated components – an eJournal and a series of ePortfolios... eJournals provide students with a rich, personalized learning object repository from which to draw content for the development of their ePortfolios.The University of Calgary has added an important dimension to the ePortfolio literature, by emphasizing the importance of process (the eJournals or blogs) as much as the product (the ePortfolios).
It is the tie between the journals and the portfolios, which distinguishes our work, and we have been drawn to four key observations:
- the journals, together with the portfolios, honor both the process and the product, providing evidence of what it means to become a teacher,
- there is value in learning to digitally document evidence learning. Pedagogical documentation is more than collecting photographs from schools; it is the thoughtful collecting, editing, and selecting of images to support reflection,
- our students have found value in eDOL as a unifying project to build coherence as they move through the various components of our program, and
- eDOL has given the students a sense that they are finishing their university experience “with a place to start.”
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Correspondence on Digital Archives & ePortfolios
Recently there’s been a rather vigorous discussion in my part of the blogosphere about what we’ve been calling the “Inverted LMS”First, there is nothing wrong with assessment, as long as it is student-centered, or benefiting student learning. But too often, the term is mis-understood, and used to mean "evaluation" or "accountability" or another purpose that is more institution-centered. A student doing self-assessment is engaged in a powerful process. Rather than calling your idea an inverted LMS, why not call it a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) or personal learning space. I discussed this briefly after the New Zealand ePortfolio Conference. As I look at how (mostly young) people use MySpace or FaceBook or most blogs, they are often using these online spaces not only for social networking, but also for identity production. I also received another message today from Nathan Garrett of Woodbury University a Claremont graduate student, who was commenting on my blog entry and Digital Archive for Life paper:
The idea is pretty simple – let students blog in wordpress or another blog (as in your portfolio examples) and let them tag specific entries with a “portfolio” tag. Then use an RSS aggregator to pull those entries into the institutional blog, where they can be categorized organized and saved for institutional assessment.
A friend at Univ. Mary Washington has been looking into this arrangement for making multiple classes out of single student blogs (although not for eportfolio, yet)[Tech details here]
The LMS is “inverted” because rather than creating spaces for classes and filling them with students, he starts with the student as the atomic unit, and through category tagging and aggregators build the class piece – class or course is an attribute of something a student says, rather than the box in which they say it…
The neat thing about this is that the students can truly own their own reflective space, and only cede a portion of it as a portfolio. This encourages the student to see the portfolio piece as just a part of a larger ongoing process of reflection and story-telling. And it allows them to do it in a space they own – one that stands outside arbitrary divisions of class, subject and school vs. work vs. personal interests.
Anyway, I’d be glad to hear your thoughts on it. As you can see, one of my main concerns intersects with yours – that we make this process student-centered, not assessment centered, and that we develop this as a habit in them, not as an assignment.
On a theory level, I have been heavily influenced by Donald Schon’s view of the reflective practitioner, and have been making my way through Dewey’s work. I am particularly interested in the “learning to be” part of education, helping new students to understand the way a practitioner thinks in their discipline.The challenge I see is raising the awareness of the potential for using these more open systems, and to provide models that show how they work in practice. I can see this working well in higher education, but my current interest is in K12 schools and in families, where the concern for security is paramount. We need more research at all levels of human development, to validate some of these theories.
At heart, I am interested in the development of systems to connect people and allow them to express themselves. I am particularly interested in distributed systems loosely coupled together that, as you put it, “allow a thousand flowers to bloom.” I see a lot of potential for technologies like RSS and open ID to aggregate and distribute people's identities. I think that one of the largest issues surrounding distributed systems is control and safety; how do we let users control their own identity in a truly distributed system? My own research at Claremont has shown that students deeply care about having the ability to limit access, but also have an imperative to establish themselves by making their work better known. Experience with my own families’ blogs and early attempts at photo sharing have really highlighted this issue for me.
Ultimately, I'm trending towards the view that the system we will end up with will use RSS to expose content, tags to organize it, and open ID to selectively share content with certain people. The organizing systems would be crucial, and probably needs to be open source for broader adoption (and easily copied or imitated by commercial companies, whose competition and adoption would be crucial).
Yesterday, I purchased the Freedom Writers DVD. I had seen Erin Gruwell last February at a conference, so I knew the story and had watched the video many times on my cruise and on some flights this spring. But I was able to focus more on the commentary and the underlying meaning of this movie. Erin Gruwell's students used writing as a tool for liberation and self-identity, first in their hand-written journals and later in the computer lab. They didn't call these journals "blogs" because they weren't online (at least not in the movie) and there was an emphasis on anonymity. However, that same process is experienced by many young learners, as they use many different types of Web 2.0 technology for self expression. This movie provides an example of a talented teacher who challenged and channeled these writing efforts to a positive outcome in these young lives; it shows the power of reflection and storytelling to change lives.
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