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Use of Electronic Portfolios in Elementary and Middle School Settings to Enable Multiple Means of Representation of Student Work: Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review
Camille Maydonik 36428084 ETEC 532 Technology in the Arts and Humanities Classroom Instructor: Dr. Alexander De Cossen University of British Columbia March 8, 2011
STUDENT USE OF E-PORTFOLIOS Abstract The aim of this annotated bibliography and literature review is to identify key themes in current literature on using electronic portfolios (EPs) in elementary and middle school
settings to enable multiple means of representation of student work. This review consists of an annotated bibliography as well as a synthesis of research articles that investigate the use of print and electronic portfolios in elementary and middle school settings. The conclusion of this literature review will identify areas for further research. Keywords: Electronic portfolio; assessment; Universal Design for Learning (UDL); K-12 education
STUDENT USE OF E-PORTFOLIOS Annotated Bibliography Barrett, H. C. (2007). Researching electronic portfolios and learner engagement: The REFLECT initiative. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(6), 436-449. doi:10.1598/JAAL.50.6.2
This article addresses the fact that there is limited empirical research focused on K-12 student portfolios. The article provides a thorough background on electronic portfolios and defines portfolios and electronic portfolios separately. The purpose for the portfolio is justified in detail, with the main arguments supported by research. The article also reviews some Learning Management Systems that have electronic portfolio platforms in place and discusses the pros and cons of this. The difference between assessment of and for learning is discussed. Furthermore, a two-year action research study with the goals of collecting data and drawing conclusions about the impact of electronic portfolios on secondary student learning, motivation and engagement is presented in detail with the key research questions presented. The article ends with a conclusion of the findings of the study. Benson, T. R., & Smith, L. J. (1998). Portfolios in first grade: Four teachers learn to use alternative assessment. Early Childhood Education Journal, 25(3), 173-179. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Focusing on assessment, this study carried out with four grade one teachers, shares what the research says about current assessment practices and to describe the teachers’ experiences as they implemented portfolio assessment in their classrooms. The research describes in detail the benefits to the use of portfolios; portfolios communicate to families, students learn the benefit of self-assessment and portfolios guide teachers’ instructional decision-making. The summary of the research provides anecdotes from teachers about the success of portfolios in their classrooms and the problem solving strategies they used during the implementation of this assessment strategy. Although the article is not about electronic portfolios, many of the benefits and challenges explored can be applied to grade one classrooms using electronic portfolios. The authors’ views resonate with my experience as a grade one teacher as many of their “paper-based” challenges are present in my classroom as well as I try to implement electronic portfolios in my classroom.
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Dudley, M. (2001). Portfolio assessment: When bad things happen to good ideas. English Journal, 90(6), 19-20. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. (EJ629200) This short position paper explores assessment of portfolios. Although this article is not about electronic portfolios, the arguments can be considered. The author argues that assessment is not part of the process of portfolios, as each piece of work in the portfolio has already been graded. An explanation of the difficulties that arise when we use portfolios to assess is given and the positive aspects of portfolios are explored as well. The portfolio is a collection of work that the student has chosen after careful reflection. I agree with the position of the author and view the electronic portfolio as a means to share current work, thoughts and opinions, whether or not it is the student’s “best” work. Lorenzo, G., & Ittelson, J. (2005). An overview of e-portfolios. Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3001.pdf As the title states, this article provides an in-depth overview of e-portfolios. It starts with the description of 3 types of e-portfolios: student e-portfolios, teaching e-portfolios and institutional e-portfolios. Following this, the categories of e-portfolios are explained as well as the issues and challenges of each type. There are links provided to examples of eportfolios and the discussion continues with implementation issues and e-portfolio tool sets. The conclusion of this article states that e-portfolios are not yet a mainstream higher education technology. However, I wonder if this will change once the current generation, or in my context, my grade one students get to higher education? I think this question is very significant as this generation of digital natives is using technology to create more and more content every day.
STUDENT USE OF E-PORTFOLIOS
Meyer, E., Abrami, P. C., Wade, C., Aslan, O., & Deault, L. (2010). Improving literacy and metacognition with electronic portfolios: Teaching and learning with ePEARL. Computers & Education, 55(1), 84-91. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.12.005 The question that this research study attempts to answer is, “Can an electronic portfolio that is both a multimedia container for student work and a tool to support key learning processes have a positive impact on the literacy practices and self-regulated learning skills of students?” (p. 84) The most interesting part of the article is a review of current research on electronic portfolios. This section goes into detail about the broad purposes of EPs: process, showcase and assessment. These purposes are supported by research by leading scholars in the area of electronic portfolios. The paper describes the software that was used in this study for student (K-12) electronic portfolios and goes over the research context and method. The findings are explained through statistical analysis and there is a discussion that follows that supports the thesis question. Recommendations for the use of electronic portfolios are also explored. For me, the significance of this research article is in the findings and recommendations section as I can apply these findings directly to my context. This article is probably one of the more relevant articles to my topic. Moritz, J. & Christie, A. (2005). It's elementary! Using electronic portfolios with young students. In C. Crawford et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2005 (pp. 144-151). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/18968 Focusing on student writing, this research paper attempts to answer the questions, “What happens to student’s writing behaviors when they use an electronic portfolio?” Two areas of research are considered: how the writing process is affected by the use of a digital portfolio and what are the best steps when creating digital portfolios for primary age students as they become more technologically skilled, more reflective about their learning, and more skilled in their writing abilities. An interesting aspect of this article is the discussion of traditional portfolios and digital portfolios. In my final paper, I would like to explore multiple means of representation and this raises the question of whether or not “paper-based” portfolios can meet the same objectives. Portfolio outcomes and benefits are discussed as well as a description of the project and the implementation of electronic portfolios in a grade 3 and 4 multiage program. The findings of the project are very interesting and significant to my final paper, as there is a comparison made between student electronic portfolios and student print portfolios.
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Smith, C. (n.d.) Assessing and reporting progress through student-led portfolio conferences. Retrieved from http://www.nmsa.org/Publications/WebExclusive/Portfolio/tabid/650/Default.asp x This article focuses on assessment and reporting progress through student-led portfolio conferences. Although the article is about paper based portfolios and not electronic portfolios, there are several important points explored that can be equally applied to electronic portfolios. The author describes the benefits of student-centered portfolios and explores the different ways that portfolios can be presented. Towards the end of the article, the roles of the student, teacher and parent are defined within the context of preparing and presenting the portfolio and there are some anecdotes listed that support the use of portfolios in student-led conferences. I agree with the viewpoint of the author and this short article presents practical tips for the implementation of portfolios and the partnership portfolios afford.
STUDENT USE OF E-PORTFOLIOS Use of Electronic Portfolios in Elementary and Middle School Settings to Enable Multiple Means of Representation of Student Work A typical K-12 classroom is comprised of a group of students with diverse learning needs. Educators are charged with the task of providing each student with the appropriate instructional support and challenge. As stated in one of my assignments for ETEC 532, “Young people (students, learners) have a new way of looking at the world, and presently, there is a fundamental mismatch, in some cases, between teachers, their
pedagogy, and their students. Learning is changing. We are relying more on technology and the networks that learners create to access knowledge that exists outside of the individual. By involving students in the process, “they are learning how to participate in a learning and thinking culture, one that encourages them to make things with their hands and heads” (Jacobsen & Goldman, 2001, p.95). The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework proposes that educators strive for three kinds of flexibility: (a) representation, to represent information in multiple formats and media, (b) expression, to provide multiple pathways for students action and expression, and (c) engagement, to provide multiple ways to engage students’ interest and motivation. Educators work towards flexibility by identifying and removing barriers from their teaching methods and curriculum materials. The three UDL principles, implemented with new media, can help educators improve how they set goals, personalize instruction, and assess student progress. (Rose & Meyer, 2002) UDL is one of the projects at the forefront of the Calgary Board of Education (CBE). Teaching within the framework of UDL has been identified as one strategy to work towards achieving the CBE’s (2010) Ends 1: Mega End policy which encapsulates
STUDENT USE OF E-PORTFOLIOS the desired outcome for all of our students – completing high school with the foundation of learning to function effectively in life, work and future learning. The outcomes of the Mega End are reasonable progress towards Ends 2: Academic Success, Ends 3: Citizenship, Ends 4: Personal Development and Ends 5: Character. The purpose of this literature review is to develop an understanding of the use of electronic portfolios in order to understand if this technology can assist educators in designing learning experiences to enable multiple means of representation of student work; one of the principles of UDL. By enabling students to represent their work in multiple formats and media, expression and engagement, the two other principles of UDL, are sure to be present as well. This literature review will summarize, analyze and critique pertinent articles on the subject of student portfolios, electronic and print. A synthesis of common themes across the chosen research articles will follow and the conclusion of this literature review will identify areas for further research. Literature Review Purpose for the electronic portfolio (EP) Barrett (2007) points out that there is very little research about electronic portfolios in the K-12 student context. Nonetheless, there are many teachers who advocate the use of portfolios, print and electronic, as a tool that can “support reflection that can help students understand their own learning and provide a richer picture of student work to document growth over time” (Barrett, 2007, p. 436). Furthermore, “EPs
can offer valuable opportunities for integrating technology into the K-12 classrooms. Not only because they are multimedia containers, but in ways that deepen students’ learning experiences by placing the student at the centre of his/her learning and scaffolding
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essential metacognitive skills such as goal setting, identifying strategies, and reflecting on one’s learning” (Meyer, Abrami, Wade, Aslan, Deault, 2010, p.84). I would also argue that an electronic portfolio, or process portfolio might provide students with multiple means of representing their learning. According to Meyer et al. (2010), “EPs have three broad purposes: process, showcase, and assessment” (p. 84). Paper-based portfolios have been around for a substantial number of years and much of what we have learned can be applied to EPs and how we can give the student ownership of their portfolio. Hebert (as cited in Barrett, 2007, p. 442) demonstrates how, over time, the student gains and maintains ownership. Portfolios have changed from a folder of student work, to a collection of student work, to a teacher-organized portfolio, to a showcase portfolio, to a progress portfolio, to a teacher-and-child organized portfolio and finally to a student-organized portfolio whose purpose is to “encourage individual improvement, personal growth and development and a commitment to life-long learning” (Meyer et al., 2010, p. 85). An EP is a studentorganized portfolio, as the student creates it. Furthermore, Barrett (as cited in Meyer et al., 2010) proposes that EPs “can also provide remote access encouraging anywhere, anytime learning and easier input from peers, parents and teachers.” Assessment There are many benefits to EPs. Barrett (as cited in Meyer et al., 2010) states that “they provide multimedia display and assessment possibilities for school and work contexts allowing the use of a variety of tools to demonstrate and develop understanding – especially advantageous for at-risk children whose competencies may be better reflected through these authentic tasks. Benson and Smith (1998) state that one benefit of
STUDENT USE OF E-PORTFOLIOS student portfolios is that students learn the skills of self-assessment. Many teachers express concern that students are not as actively involved in the selection of work for
their portfolio as they should be. This is often the case in lower elementary as the teacher frequently chooses the work the student will showcase. However, through their qualitative study of portfolios in grade one, Benson and Smith (1998) identified three major strategies to help young students self assess: (1) teacher modeling of appropriate assessment techniques, (2) student practice in selecting work samples for the portfolio at the “Portfolio Center”, and (3) students sharing their portfolios with peers and teachers using the videotaping process. All three of these strategies “seemed to have a positive impact on the students’ ability to make decisions about their individual growth and development” (p. 178). In contrast, Dudley (2001) argues against the use of portfolios as a form of assessment. “Assessment calls for the application of a set of standards embodied in a rubric and compares the achievement of students to these standards. This comparison, this assessment, should be accurate, timely, and practical in terms of time and energy required. The use of portfolios for assessment lacks these qualities” (Dudley, 2001, p. 19). One could argue then that the goal of the student portfolio is not for assessment and that work included in a student portfolio should have already been assessed. The assessment piece of the portfolio transitions to self-assessment, an opportunity for reflection that might otherwise not be provided. Synthesis of Emergent Themes Based on the articles analyzed in this literature review, a central theme that emerges is that portfolios, print or electronic, focus on student-centered learning. A
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portfolio can provide teachers with “multiple assessment strategies needed to validate the multiple ways students make sense of their learning” (Smith, n.d.). This is consistent with the views on metacognition of Meyer et al. (2010). Students hold important information about what they know and how they know it. The portfolio affords students a space where they can “connect both the pieces of work and experience into the larger context of their learning, and to see how each piece and experience impacts the others” (Smith, n.d.). The research studies reviewed indicate that a student portfolio should be created for the purpose of student self-assessment. As we move from paper-based portfolios to electronic portfolios, students are provided with a more flexible environment for representation and expression of their learning, which has been shown to improve student learning. Conclusion This literature review has attempted to develop an understanding of the use of electronic portfolios to enable multiples means of representation of student work in order to understand if this technology can assist educators in designing lessons and activities within the framework of UDL. From the literature reviewed, we can conclude that the use of an electronic portfolio can encourage students to think about their learning, to represent and reflect on what they know. However, we have also heard arguments for and against the assessment of student portfolios. Further educational research to investigate the possibilities of the use of electronic portfolios in elementary and middle schools is required to better understand how this technology can be used to meet the needs of the student and teacher.
STUDENT USE OF E-PORTFOLIOS References Barrett, H. C. (2007). Researching electronic portfolios and learner engagement: The REFLECT initiative. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(6), 436-449. doi:10.1598/JAAL.50.6.2
Barrett, H.C. (2008). The REFLECT initiative: A research project to assess the impact of electronic portfolios on student learning, motivation and engagement in secondary schools. Final report presented to the national educational computing conference. Retrieved from http://electronicportfolios.com/reflect/NECC08.pdf Benson, T. R., & Smith, L. J. (1998). Portfolios in first grade: Four teachers learn to use alternative assessment. Early Childhood Education Journal, 25(3), 173-179. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Calgary Board of Education. (2010). Student Results End 1: Mega End Symposium. Retrieved from http://www.cbe.ab.ca/results/megaend.asp Dudley, M. (2001). Portfolio assessment: When bad things happen to good ideas. English Journal, 90(6), 19-20. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. (EJ629200) Hebert, E. (2001). The power of portfolios: What children can teach us about learning and assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Jacobsen, D. M., & Goldman, R. (2001). The hand-made's tail: A novel approach to educational technology. In Barrell, B. (Ed.). Technology, teaching and learning: Issues in the integration of technology. Calgary, AB: Detselig Enterprises. Maydonik, C. (2011). How does a whole school move towards integrating technology? Vignette Analysis submitted as part of the course requirements for ETEC 532. University of British Columbia. Retrieved from http://camilleteaches.com/etec-
STUDENT USE OF E-PORTFOLIOS 532/vignette-analysis/ Meyer, E., Abrami, P. C., Wade, C., Aslan, O., & Deault, L. (2010). Improving literacy and metacognition with electronic portfolios: Teaching and learning with ePEARL. Computers & Education, 55(1), 84-91. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.12.005 Rose, D. H., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the Digital Age: Universal
design for learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/ Smith, C. (n.d.) Assessing and reporting progress through student-led portfolio conferences. Retrieved from http://www.nmsa.org/Publications/WebExclusive/Portfolio/tabid/650/Default.asp x
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