E-PORTFOLIOS IN STUDENTS’ PLEs: AN INTEGRATING TOOL VERY SHORT PAPER ON THE MIND MAP POSTER

Gemma Tur Ferrer, Universitat de les Illes Balears (Eivissa’s Headquarters), Spain gemma.tur@uib.es Abstract This is a very short paper to explain and extend the mind map also submitted to talk about a project that tries to join together the strength of an e-portfolio integrated into the Personal Learning Environment of pre and in service teachers. 1. Background Here we present an on-going experience planned to be developed over a fouryear period and that initiated this school year 2009-10. It started out as an e-portfolio project but from the very beginning it was detected that its success would only be completely fulfilled if students feel the necessity to develop their work from the initial e-portfolio to a whole PLE of themselves. The project is based on one basic idea: students need to live, as students themselves, ICT based activities to help them build up their own knowledge and to have examples which could be applied when they become teachers. This idea is based on the research Integrating ICT in teacher training: a chanllenging balance by T. Karsenty and others (2002). But there are also two theoretical frameworks to highlight: all 20th century theories which form the constructivist framework; and, especially, George Siemen’s connectivism theory. Apart from these two theoretical bodies, Mishra and Koehler’s TPCK model is an interesting point of view from which to analyze the best teaching practices regarding technological pedagogical content knowledge as the best form of basic teaching practices. 2. Description of approach used The platform for their e-portfolio blogs is Blogger. There is also an streaming website supported by Netvibes and which address is: http://www.netvibes.com/eportafoliodestudis#General Other platforms already used in some of the student’s personal enviroments are Flickr, Slideshare, Slideboom, Goear, Youtbe… There is a plan to exchange opinions on their own work as well as peer evaluation but this is the next step. It has been considered that students need time to work on their own personal environment before they get the first opinions of their work from their classmates. So, the platform has still to be chosen for task.

3. Results of work done The e-portfolio project has already started and we can say with pride that most students have joined the project and have fully developed the main skeleton of their own e-portfolio. Most of them have started publishing their works on their blogs, checking their colleagues’ works, browsing the web for related material to comment on and probably, learning simply by trying to write down their thoughts on concrete educational matters. But some others have even gone further and have taken their first steps into what could end up as a true PLE. They have started taking and uploading photos, preparing powerpoint presentations to share online, signing in for their own accounts on Youtube to upload their own videos… Their relationship with the net is not only to get input but to produce output to share too. Their learning environment has gone beyond that of traditional student and the net is a part of their learning environment, empowering their ability to learn and certainly, promoting the networked teaching profile and ultimately lifelong learning. 4. Conclusion The conclusion of this first year experience is reasonably positive as it can be shown from the description of the situation so far. But the success of this first school year has some limitations to bear in mind for the next school year. First of all, students have felt overwhelmed by the workload to be handed in during the course. The Bologna process may not be the best companion for the project at least during the first steps when lacking the whole institutional support. The project should be an integrated work in all subjects of the teaching degree but this is not the case at the present time. Another important limitation is that they have not started enjoying the learning through knowing other teachers committed to their teaching practice and they have not joined social networks related to education. They simply feel so stressed by the formal syllabus that they cannot enjoy informal learning or their own interests in education. And all these limitations are probably caused mainly because they haven’t internalized the power of autonomous learning thanks to the evolution of the web 2.0 But we can still be hopeful as they are students in their first year at University and we all know the concern of all students about exams, assignments and the official syllabus. As regards the project itself, there are some changes to be considered, before we start the new school year, which are basically about organization. The project suggested that the students should start seven blogs linked together to form a composite e-portfolio which would be the introduction website of their e-portfolio. Each blog was going to be focused on different topics and aimed at different ways of conceptualization of an e-portfolio. For

example, there was a blog aimed at showing the best competence achieved by the student in every subject; another one, that would be the diary, especially based on the emotional part of their own learning; another one to link all the findings and comments on them that students make when browsing the web on their own, looking for newspaper articles, educational magazines, videos, presentations or whatever which is relevant and useful for them. There was another one intended to be the assessment blog on the e-porfolio project itself, which has been the one that has failed, because students did not know enough at first to start valuing it or being able to assess it. Anyway, at the end of the year, as it has been too much for them to cope with everything. In fact, my role as tutor of this group of students and as project coordinator, has been to foster the worthwhile the worth value aspects of the current e-portfolio project and avoid the negative ones in order to reorganize and start afresh with them again the following year. The first steps have been taken and the next year seems to be the key for the success of the whole experience. So, let’s hope, that we can improve this year’s failures and keep on working on its successful aspects so that students enjoy expanding their own PLE and therefore, the e-porfolio is improved by the richness of the sources that feed students’ self-reflection. 5. The mind map This mind map tries to summarize the conceptualization of an ongoing project that is currently being developed at the University of the Balearic Islands, in its headquarters on Eivissa (Balearic Islands, Spain). The target group is the first promotion of the new degree in Infant Education on the new Bologna syllabus. The theoretical framework has already been introduced in the first part of this very short paper. But what are the aims of the project? Why should we start this e-portfolio project that has already developed into a more complex project which relates the quality of the student’s e-portfolio to the expansion of their PLE? There are some basic reasons that, in fact, at the end, could be summarized briefly: empowering the future networked teacher so that when they start their future professional career they do not simply start repeating the same traditional teaching methodologies that they experienced as students. It seems that students start their education at University with a limited PLE only made up of their family, friends and classmates, the media, their teachers and the official syllabus of the subjects. But although the syllabus is a fully online documented subject and students could follow it in institutional VLEs, the relationship with the net is still limited and restricted with no real student centred approach to the online resources. Therefore, at this stage there is no academic use of the Internet: simply for fun and social relationship with peers or at most, a guided relationship.

Therefore, it seems that gradually developing a PLE will improve reflexions and writings on their e-portfolio. It seems logical to assume that the richer the PLE, the richer the personal e-portfolio. A complete PLE will allow both the pre-service and the in-service teacher to create, innovate, learn, share, connect, collaborate, show evidence of learning and be updated with new educational framework. But, a PLE and the related e-portfolio will also allow them to start building the framework of teaching ethos principles. The contention here is that most novice teachers start their professional career as traditional teachers; they simply repeat the traditional methodology that have lived as traditional students. But, will it be the same if they have started expanding their own PLE and have written all their thoughts on a public e-portfolio? Will a rich PLE with social networks on education empower the future novice teacher? Will the novice teacher, who has lived enough rich educational experiences as a student, apply to them when starting teaching? Will they try to be coherent and consistent with their own writings? Will they fight for their own beliefs that have constructed on teaching methodology? Will they fight to do as teachers what they defended as students? Will they be committed to their own learning and writing and their teaching practices? I have no evidence so far but everything seems to indicate that a networked student will start building a strong framework based on relevant educational theory personally debated on their e-portfolio. Does not it seem that all these together can foster the innovator and networked teacher? Finally, following the TPCK model, it seems that the technological pedagogical content knowledge that the student with a powerful and wide PLE who has also written their own thoughts on their e-portfolio will be the key for the future innovative novice in-service teacher. Will these teachers greatly improve their teaching and their students’ learning? 6. Bibliography Karsenty, T; Brodeur, M; Deaudelin, C; Lorese, F; Tardif, M (2002): Integrating ICT in teacher training: a chanllenging balance. http://www.cesc.ca/pceradocs/2002/papers/TKarsenti_TEN.pdf (last view: 8th May 2010) Punya Mishra and Matthiew J. Koehler (2006): Technological Pegagogical Content Knowledge: a Framework for Teacher Knowledge. Michigan State University. http://punya.educ.msu.edu/publications/journal_articles/mishra-koehlertcr2006.pdf (last view: 8th May 2010) Siemens, George (2006): Knowing knowledge. http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf (last view: 8 May 2010