Sunday, May 17, 2009

e-Portfolios Reflection Term 1

Term 1 has been a very long and interesting term. Not only have I undertaken a new role this year (50% classroom teacher and 50% e-Learning specialist) but our whole school has undertaken a change from paper portfolios to e-portfolios which I have been helping to get underway. Alot of work (5 days a week, 2 hours a day + of e-Portfolios!!) - but the rewards are starting to show.
Last year we had 14 teachers trial e-Portfolios which has led to a schoolwide implementation in 2009.

It's been a hard term but also a term full of really awesome changes and movements in myself and other staff. I have seen many staff take on the challenge and continuously stun me with amazing ideas and their enthusiasm. Here are a few of my reflections and thoughts as I get back into swing with blogging.

How Do I Do This "The ICT Way?"
Often staff have the ideas but just need them transformed into an ICT way of doing it.
I guess it's the "you don't know, what you don't know" type philosophy.
1 example of this are hard copies of reading data graphs... One teacher came and asked about a way of updating this - as she is taking screenshots of the image and then uploading them into KNet. We then talked about the possibility of using google docs and it's automatic update/publish function so that the process would be easier to manage. We will play around with this some more this term - will share that once we have it up and running.

There have been some big tasks and tacklings that people have had to undertake and change with this shift.

Management of e-Portfolios:
"I have 18 - 27+ students in my class - how do I keep tabs on everything that is going on?"
We have run lots of workshops and meetings where we have shared ideas and tips for managing e-Portfolios. I also think that once a clear system is up and running it becomes alot easier to manage each students where-abouts. But there really is a shift in thinking for teachers that this is not a once a term thing - it's about making it manageable through daily/weekly working through e-Portfolios. Which is one of the hardest things with the ever-increasing workload of Teaching. I will post about some of the ways we have been managing e-Portfolios in the classrooms later on also. I also have some ideas which I will be trialling in Term 2 and 3 to more fully embed the whole process into the classroom and everyday workings.

Student Reflections
Our students really lack/lacked the ability and language to be able to reflect consistently and confidently. So this has meant that there has had to be alot of scaffolding and guiding of how to create a reflection. Already in my class I have started to see a more definite shift in some students from reflections such as "I am good at this." to reflections such which involve more critique and personal thought about the processes they are undertaking. In small steps this will continue.

The Conversations - Who's Involved?
The idea that the biggest aspect of the e-portfolios isn't the parents, but the students, has been an understanding that some are still working through. The whole conversation of learning is about all 3 areas being involved to make a difference to the learning of the student. But the most important aspect is that the students understand what is being said and where they are heading. A part of this is understanding that it's not about the quantity but rather the quality of the conversation that is important.

Image used under CC: Kris Hoet


Manaiakalani said...

This is really interesting stuff you are posting here Amanda. I would love to know more about your ePortfolios, like - what content is going into them, who sees them, what are you using to create them in (KN?), how much of the upload can be done by the students.... ok, lots of questions :)

Miss Signal said...

Good questions... Our e-Portfolios are being created in Knowledge Net. We have started quite simply with 2 goals (numeracy and literacy) set up as forums. The students and teachers (at the moment) can post comments, images etc into the forum thread.

The students are also writing to a My Achievements page (certificates, groups in and out of school etc)

Then also a More About Me (pieces of work chosen purely by the students to show their favourite pieces of work - that they are proud of etc).

At the moment the students and teachers have the main parts in this - parents access the e-portfolios through the students logging in. We are hoping to move to parent log ins sometime also.

I guess the main content being posted to forums/pages are comments, reflections, photos of work, test results, teacher assessment information etc Some teachers are creating more digital based content with students to go into them also. Most to all of the upload is being done by students depending on a number of aspects - mainly confidence of teachers and time at the moment. I think that answers most of your questions? Let me know if you would like to know anymore!

Mr Lietze said...

Hi Amanda

Great to see you are on the ePortfolio journey also and further down the track than I am. Maybe I can learn some stuff from what you guys do that will make our journey easier :+)
I will be interested in hearing about how you manage the ePs. In my class we are currently uploading a lot of work we did in Term 1. The kids are loving their own eP and enjoying viewing and commenting on others work.
We will have to chat sometime, maybe a skype call?

johnfaig said...

I am curious if students comment on other students e-portfolios. This would raise the stake and (hopefully) push students to do a better job. I like peer review as a way for students to own some of their own educational process as the teacher is not the all-knowing oracle.

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