e-Portfolios : supporting reflective, self-directed learning, for life

Hi all
I am presently completing a Master degree and the aim of my final research is to evaluate my practice as I implement the use of e- portfolios in my classroom, using blogs and other Web 2.0 tools, to develop and demonstrate student reflective practice. I am hoping to build on and develop my existing knowledge of practice in the use of web 2.0 tools to support, develop and demonstrate reflective, self directed learning.
This is a little tricky because e-portfolios are a means of supporting and demonstrating the learning process, and not an end in themselves. I want to developed my own professional practice in using tools that help students to be reflective, self directed learners and I am going to show this in the form of a reflective diary(establishing my own e-Portfolio. I want to develop my own knowledge of audio tools that can be used to support reflection in and of learning. I was thinking of things like Voicethread and podcasts- which I am not confident in using as yet.
If anyone has other ideas regarding e-tools that they think support reflective practice, I would really appreciate any advice or guidance. I would also like to chat to anyone who has been using open source software to develop e-Portfolios for this purpose.
I think that personal professional development in the area of IT and digital literacies, for all teachers, is critical. In my reading, the viewpoint was expressed that teachers would not be replaced by computers, but that those teacher who were not skilled in the area of IT , would be replaced by those that were. An interesting thought.

Tags: e-Portfolios, e-tools, life-longlearning, reflectivepractice, self-directedlearning

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A good point Ian. It will be interesting to see I get any feedback on how others are using e-Portfolios and what their aspirations are for them.
Hi John
It sounds like the bike ride would be a good option. I can see that you have bigger challenges to face other than which platform to use for an e-Portfolio. I have often found that the suggestion of a small "trial"group is a positive way to bring about change slowly.
I always say that as long as we are moving forward, no matter how slow, at least we are moving forward. I would imagine that your teaching audience are Y-gens who live in a technology rich world. I have a small "geek" club and we meet on a Thursday at lunchtime once a fortnight. I introduce them to a new Web tool that they can use to support their learning. We then have an "I -Play session" I don't tell them too much and I let them experiment and see what they can come up with. This is very interesting to observe. I also have had two "Twilight" sessions this past term, where I have invited a small group of parents( my geek club parents) into school in the early evening. I provide some nibbles and drinks and the children and their parents work together on their e-portfolios. I keep this very low key. So my "geek" club students have started working on their portfolios with their parents at school. The parents can support this process at home because they know what their children are doing, they feel involved and they are part of the learning process. This has been very valuable in initiating change.
By the way. Were the 70's portfolios paper or electronic? Have you asked why they were not successful?
Hi John,

I encourage you to post to the edu2.0 community forums and ask for the features you're looking for. We often add new features within a few days when a teacher asks for them.

My district is really pushing portfolios for students. Right now the main purpose for them is to just keep artifacts of students work for assessment.

However, I agree with you. Portfolios should be used to encourage learning. I teach first grade (6-7 year olds) and I wanted to do e-porfolios next year but wasn't sure what to. I thought about using Google Docs but that doesn't allow for videos or audio files. The best thing I could come up with so far is a blog sight, but I wanted something parents could view. Because the blog would be open to everyone I didn't want to do this, I only wanted the parents to be able to see their child's portfolio. My last resort is a pay sight but funds are short right now.

Currently I'm on my knees praying for Google Wave to be made public really soon and hoping that would be the answer.

Thank you for this discussion, it has really reshaped my approach to using portfolios.
Hi Mathew
I think that when we work with younger children there are many points to consider.
I have a friend in NZ, Rachel Boyd, and she works with little people. She does amazing things and I think that her Year 1 class won the website of the year in NZ a year or two ago- I may stand corrected. This is her site with all her blogs. It may give you some ideas.
Rachel Boyd
Thank you for that link. It has given me many wonderful ideas!!
Matthew, what level of literacy do your first-grade students have? In every system I can think of, the interface assumes that students will be comfortable reading and following instructions. Our system, Yacapaca, ticks all the boxes you have listed above, but I still would not recommend it for first- and second-graders.

Creating a system for such young kids would be a fascinating challenge - sadly not one I will have the time or resources to attempt any time soon.

Gail - I took a look at Rachel's class blogs. It's a lovely approach, very simple, but I'm left wondering if we can't do more with the technology.
The literacy level is low, especially at the beginning of the year.

Thank you for the link, but you are right about Yacapaca. There are many pay sites that would work, but money is an issue right now.
Hi Gail,

Maybe you are interested in this publication: e-Portfolio in education. Practices and reflections.
It is available in PDF here:

best wishes

I am so happy to have stumbled upon this discussion about e-portfolios at this time. Once again, the web2.0 community has helped open my eyes but I still need some guidance.
I teach web design and digital design at a public high school on the treasure coast of Florida. I have completed two years at the high school level with a total of 15 years altogether, always in a vocational area.
This year I “dove in” to e-portfolios, but solely as a means for my students to have a record of their creative works and as a means to preserve their works to have ready for potential college interviews or better yet, job interviews. I was so focused on having them save their work for their future that I forgot to emphasize that their electronic portfolio was a tool to use to show their growth of their skills and understanding of a particular software used in the industry.
To that end, if I am to include a reflection of their work, what do you suggest, keeping a journal? Scanning the project reflections completed after each project?
Plus I wish to develop some sort of education based social networking. So much of that is blocked by my school district. Many of my teenage students already have a Face book or MySpace accounts, yet I don’t want to use them because of the temptation to get off task. Any suggestions?
Donna, it is a common feature of most ePortfolio software that students can upload files and/or import screenshots, then comment on them. This comments field would be the obvious place to enter their reflections.

Do you want the social networking to be focused around students' work, or are you after a general social network that is limited to just your students?



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