Wk 2-Why eportfolios?


The growth of eportfolios has been influenced by a number of factors including the changing nature of learning, the changing needs of learners and the dynamics of functioning in a knowledge based economy.

Eportfolios offer a range of benefits as learners move through the process of reflecting on their learning experiences and documenting their skills and knowledge. 

Sometimes, portfolios can have very different purposes, e.g. documenting personal growth vs. showcasing work for external audiences.


Discuss how the changing nature of learning, learners or a knowledge economy has influenced the adoption of eportfolios as a professional development tool.

What do you see as being the benefits of using an eportfolio as  PD tool? Do you see any limitations? What strategies could you use to work through the limitations, if needed?

Does your own portfolio have more than one purpose? If so, how do you plan to reconcile this?

Task Discussion


  • Beca   July 21, 2012, 2:25 p.m.

     

    Discuss how the changing nature of learning, learners or a knowledge economy has influenced the adoption of eportfolios as a professional development tool.
     
    I think eportfolios offer a more individualized way to assess growth in learning as compared to traditional testing methods. It also puts the learner in the driver's seat, so to speak.  At least this is my goal with my high school students.  If they can be given some choice about what and how they will learn I believe they will be more engaged and more atuned to the learning process.  
     
    What do you see as being the benefits of using an eportfolio as  PD tool? Do you see any limitations? What strategies could you use to work through the limitations, if needed?
     
    From a personal standpoint, the eportfolio gives me that big pictures look at where I am now and allows me more easily think about where I want to be and how I will get there.  As as been mentioned before, the mechanics of maintaining the portfolio cannot be allowed to the eclipse the reflective process that the portfolio is meant to nurture, or the greatest benefits of the eportfolio are lost.
     
    Does your own portfolio have more than one purpose? If so, how do you plan to reconcile this?
     
    My portfolio definetely has more than one purpose.  I think I will probably end up keeping a working portfolio that is updated regularly and that I use for reflection and development.  I will probably need to create a "showcase" or "evaluation" portfolio for those purposes as they arise.  
  • Sue K   July 19, 2012, 10:31 p.m.

    Discuss how the changing nature of learning, learners or a knowledge economy has influenced the adoption of eportfolios as a professional development tool.

    I think the realizations that learning and learners are complex have influenced the adoption of eportfolios. I also think there is a desire to counter accountabiity based on students' achievement on standardized tests and eportfolios are one way to show the many aspects of student learning and teachers' practice. However, I think the true potential for eportfolios for both teachers and children are as a means to capture, share, and reflect upon significant elements of learning & practice - and then to set goals for personal growth. 

    What do you see as being the benefits of using an eportfolio as  PD tool? Do you see any limitations? What strategies could you use to work through the limitations, if needed?

    I think one of the greatest benefits is that eportfolios can lead to more individualized PD. Also, eportfolios would allow for more authentic aspects of learning to be saved. I think the time factor is a major limitation -  and, related to that -  ensuring that the contents of the eportfolio are meaningful and well-structured. I worry that the process will take over and the content and purpose will become lost. Strategies for working through the limitations - provide teachers the time and guidance needed to do the work of gathering, recording, getting feedback, setting goals, etc. 

    Does your own portfolio have more than one purpose? If so, how do you plan to reconcile this?

    At this point I do not have a portfolio - of any kind! 

  • Liz Renshaw   July 20, 2012, 3:26 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Sue K   July 19, 2012, 10:31 p.m.

    I'm interested in your observation about time being a big factor in maintaining a meaningful eport and it certainly is a concern I share. We dont want to see a potentially incredible useful tool and process become just another bureaucratic exercise in ticking boxes. Do you think there would need to be a whole school approach to implement eports.?

  • Sue K   July 20, 2012, 8:26 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Liz Renshaw   July 20, 2012, 3:26 a.m.

    I think there would need to be a strucure that allows for students and teachers to work on their eport - so regulary scheduled time and people to support the work (the people especially for students; people to guide them in collecting and creating content and help them stay on track). For the teachers I think it is more of an issue of allowing them at least some time within their "work day/year" to do work tht is important and meaningful. I think there is too much of a feeling that "professionals do this on their own time." Yes, I have known some teachers who will do nothing outside the school day/school year, but very, very few. However, I also think it is a problem with expecting people (and this applies to not just teachers) to work constantly - in and outside the work setting. I guess I feel there has to be more balance in that (as someone mentioned in another comment I think; we all need to time for 'play,' and family, and other obligations). 

    I like your phrase "another bureaucratic exercise in ticking boxes" - exactly what we do not want! I guess an artist's or photographer's portfolio is a good way to think of what I envision for eportfolios - using digital tools to capture what cannot be captured in text and pictures; something portable and able to show change and growth.  And if we believe they are beneficial and necessary, make creating and maintaining them a priority - what we value we should make time for in our settings!

  • fotologic   July 20, 2012, 8:38 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Sue K   July 20, 2012, 8:26 a.m.

    I like this idea of an artist's portfolio. I think a key skill now is the ability to select and curate learning resources and re-present them online. The ability to aggregate content, connect with others and find an audience add new dimensions to the purposes of an ePortfolio as simply a private document.

  • karen   July 17, 2012, 12:55 p.m.

    Discuss how the changing nature of learning, learners or a knowledge economy has influenced the adoption of eportfolios as a professional development tool.

    It strikes me that much learning today is focused around higher order thinking, synthesis, and collaboration, not just knowing facts. As such, more flexible tools, like eportfolios, are needed to demonstrate skills mastery.

    I hope that more groups start using tools like portfolios for professional (re-)certification. Requiring "seat time" in courses or passing of multiple choice tests doesn't seem to cut it for me.

    What do you see as being the benefits of using an eportfolio as  PD tool? Do you see any limitations? What strategies could you use to work through the limitations, if needed?

    benefits - authenticity and depth; reflection on practice; ongoing nature

    limitations - lack of acceptance by official bodies, like school districts, states, national groups,and even universities. Anyone have ideas of how to overcome this?

    Does your own portfolio have more than one purpose? If so, how do you plan to reconcile this?

    This is my major takeaway from week 1 of this group -- many purposes. I am still thinking about how to reconcile this, but it seems likely that I will develop different versions ("views") of my portfolio for different purposes.

  • Liz Renshaw   July 14, 2012, 3:46 a.m.

    Have just come across Helen Barnett.org great site on e portfolios. Thanks to another network I connected with. I see Helen has presented at the ISTE conference.. so Im sure many of you might be more familiar with her work than I am. But several things for me to follow up after P2Pu Summer School are

    1. mobile apps for eports.

    2. different 'levels' of eports.

    3. sample eports ( coming)

    More food for thought ......

  • Sue K   July 20, 2012, 8:40 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Liz Renshaw   July 14, 2012, 3:46 a.m.

    I spent some time loooking at Helen Barnett's materials last night - wow! Wonderful resources to examine!!

  • Anonym   July 11, 2012, 2:30 p.m.

    A thought about text resumes or digital video driven resume E-P...

    I am a person who comes across in a one to one meet much better than in digitized form. If I was to develop hours upon hours of digital media for EP Resume I still would not do as well as in a one to one meet! By allowing EP fully digitized the viewer can make a determination whether to meet me or not and while for the employer that would be a time-life saver but for me it could be a dead end! Unless I pay the BIG BUCKS for a PRO EP Resume with PRO video too boot!

    I would be scared of this type of job hunting....as it is it costs to build a text resume!

  • Sue K   July 20, 2012, 8:38 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Anonym   July 11, 2012, 2:30 p.m.

    I never thought about that aspect. I just think paper resumes - especially when potential employers get large numbers of them - are difficult to use to get a real sense fo a person. Perhaps having a link on a resume (since many are requested to be sent electronically) where employers can see at least a sample of your practice and your digital presence would be effective? I also think in our education system here in PA, the way each school district handles the process of finding, interviewing, and selecting employees is so different that it makes it difficult to know what would be most effective. But that is also lookig at eportfolios with a very narrow lense, I guess - just for job hunting. That has been my life for the past several months, so I tend to think of that quite a bit!

  • Leah MacVie   July 11, 2012, 1:52 p.m.

     

    Discuss how the changing nature of learning, learners or a knowledge economy has influenced the adoption of eportfolios as a professional development tool.

    I don't think we get enough info from resumes. People by nature are more than the black text that represents them. Being a teacher requires many different skills that must be demonstrated, not just stated. Being able to show a video, present a body of work, or showcase student examples gives much more value to the words that come out during an interview. An e-portfolio can tell your story, a stand-alone resume doesn't even begin to do it justice.

    What do you see as being the benefits of using an eportfolio as  PD tool? Do you see any limitations? What strategies could you use to work through the limitations, if needed?

    There are plenty of benefits: they can showcase and organize your work, give the viewer the opportunity to choose what they want to do, make the work more accessible to multiple viewers at any time, and can be updated and maintained at anytime from anywhere. Limitations? I haven't come across any yet, but I can see how limited internet access would be a problem. You can always create a DVD version of the e-portfolio to overcome this. 

    Does your own portfolio have more than one purpose? If so, how do you plan to reconcile this?

    Yes, but I don't think I want to reconcile this. For me, it's a reflection piece. For people I meet or who happen to come across me in a virtual space, it's a way to get to know me better. If I'm applying for a job, it serves as a visual resume. I think it's OK to have different audiences as long as you provide them the options they are looking for when gaining access to your content. 

  • Anonym   July 11, 2012, 2:43 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Leah MacVie   July 11, 2012, 1:52 p.m.

    As you well aware the State New York did require  a classroom video of a teaching session to get certification. For many this was very hard. Many I know hired pros to help with scripting their videos for proper outcomes! Who needs it! The point about Internet access! That hits home for me I refuse to have access in my home! I go to the public library for access...a royal pain! Taking Pd online is difficult for me and i attemp to do it only because it is better in terms of hearing fresh ideas from VE participants (usually).

    my I ask you -honestly how many hours over the course of a week do you spend updating , creating, hashing  over  points in your  E-Portfolio? I am a person who loves free time to read walk talk and just be! Does E-P take over you waking hours when your not working to eat?

    i hope am not be insulting no bad notions just curious -  is this where PEOPLE as humans want to be!

  • Leah MacVie   July 11, 2012, 3:30 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Anonym   July 11, 2012, 2:43 p.m.

    Dmitte,

    To record a classroom video, you don't need a script or a professional camera crew. I didn't hear of any teachers doing this around my area in NYS. I'm pretty sure all NYS was looking for was a Web cam or Flip cam video uploaded to YouTube (with appropriate privacy measure taken, of course). Chances are you have access to $30 for a Web cam and borrowed laptop connected to the Internet. If you don't have access to the Internet, chances are you have access to a smartphone to get you Internet access. If you don't, chances are you know of a college with a media program in your area willing to help out for free. To me, the excuses are unacceptable.

    If you refuse to have Internet access at home, well, I'm not sure what your personal reasons are for that, but that's your choice. It's one thing to not be able to afford it, and it's another to refuse it. If you are here on P2PU, you are spending your library time trying to find out more about eportfolios- great choice! Do you have any questions about their limitations? Do you have any quesitons about how to set one up? These were the questions presented in this task.

    As for your comments about the time I spend on my portfolio, you chose your hostile words specifically, but I'll tread gently here nonetheless. I realized early on that portfolios were a better representation of my skills and talents. I've sat on 5 search committees over the past year and I know that a portfolio of any kind would have made a difference for any one of the other 200 applicants who applied. Everyone looks the same in black and white. In order to stand out, you have to try a little harder. If you don't care enough to give the very best introduction to an employer, why should they care about you? So yes, I spent time years ago developing my portfolio. I've been offered a lot of opportunities because of it. I don't spend time everyday on it, but I do blog every now and then to keep it current, document my research, and keep my writing muscles flexed. Everytime I have a small achievement, I simply log in and add it to the list. Plus, I would never do anything half-assed. And if you are trying to show me up on scholarship and activity, well, let's just say I'm pretty fit for a 9-5 job and I read a LOT because I'm not sure you can be a Ph.D. candidate without doing so.

    Lastly, let's bring this conversation back to the benefits and best practices of eportfolios, because that is what this course is really about. Let's all choose words that contribute to the community, not attack it.

  • Anonym   July 12, 2012, 6:52 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Leah MacVie   July 11, 2012, 3:30 p.m.

    My apologies,

    my intent was to emphasize that time is a factor in developing "solid" material no matter what the form. 

    Again my choice of words was poor and I am most sincerely apologize.

    i never ment to be confrontational! Rather, we all make life and work decisions and I wanted to get a much better picture of EPortfolios as learning tool but yet understand what are some time constraints. Do I have to spend a lot of upfront time setting it up but minimal time updating or is it a constant time consuming task. In which case, there may be a down side for me, and what best practices can alleviate it. If none - In which case My personal choice would not to pursue it.

    That is really what I was trying to find out since you obviously use it work it and seemingly succeed with it.

    Again, I apologize....

  • Liz Renshaw   July 12, 2012, 8:50 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Leah MacVie   July 11, 2012, 1:52 p.m.

     thanks for your reflections Leah, I agree that E portfolios offer the potential to tell your personal story.  As discussed elsewhere they can serve many purposes.... and take many shapes,being customised to specific contexts as needed.

    Personally speaking I would love the chance to view/share someones eportfolio as a part of an interview/recruitment process but it would just be ONE aspect... As I believe there is nothing like actually meeting and speaking to people face to face ...

    Im interested to find out if employers in US are looking at eportfolios as part of their recruitment processes..? particuarly for teachers ? ....

     

  • Sue K   July 20, 2012, 8:54 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Leah MacVie   July 11, 2012, 3:30 p.m.

    Leah,

    I think what you said about candidates looking the same in black and white is very true - and some people know how to make the content on a resume look appealing and fit a given job. In my most recent interview I had to do a presentation for the interviewing committee. It was the presentation - the content and the manner in which it was presented - that made the greatest impact and set me apart from the other finalist. 

    I have become more concerned, however, about the expectations for people working almost 24/7 in our country. I see this in and out of education. I worry about that. I think people are more productive (and I think there is research to back that up) when we "work" fewer hours in good environments. I think it is more an issue of how our time working is allocated. 

    I absolutely agree with you about keeping current, documenting research, and keeping "writing muscles flexed' - that is where I see some educators (and less so with teachers; more among administrators, actually) falling short. I keep up with research & write some, but need a way to document all of it in an organized manner.  

    One of the reasons I joined this course was to learn how to create and maintain an eportfolio. This is another area I think educators may need to look at (though I know I am making broad generalizations) - sometimes we are not good about seeing/admitting what we do not know and taking steps to reach out to learn! We get 'stuck'  and stop being learners!