Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 1

Electronic Portfolios Kevin Kaiser David Johnson Sanyee Chen Michael Hoven University of British Columbia ETEC 510 Jeff Miller February 11, 2007

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 2

Key Frameworks E-portfolios are becoming an integral part of education. Learners of all ages are becoming more aware that portfolios showcase a broad area of skills and work. Portfolios have an opportunity to enhance learning, teaching, and assessment practices. (Ittelson 2005). The learner can decide what to include in their portfolios and this involves reflections upon the various items that they may want to include. We will be focusing our project on students in grades seven to nine in an enriched environment. We feel that this age group and grade conscience student will take these portfolios more seriously if the importance is placed on them rather than being forced upon them (such as recently seen in the British Columbia Education system for graduation). We will show the importance of the portfolio through critical thinking, writing skills, and multimedia, and how the various projects the students complete in their various classes can apply to showcase their learning development. There are many people of significance that believe children will work with this type of project. For example, Papert – he wanted to use the computers to develop a new way of thinking could also be read that this is a way to think critically. Vygotsky created the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and this is the area which the learner is able to work independently and overcome the lack of aid from an adult. The learner is becoming the person who is willing to learn on their own. Scardamalia and Bereiter were the creators of CSILE. By creating this

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 3 learning environment they are incorporating the learning into the database of the computers and therefore into a larger realm of learning. Not just one person is contributing to the idea, many are and this helps out in portfolio use by the learner is able to confer with others about what to add or put into the portfolio. In British Columbia, Planning 10 is a class that was created in September 2004. Before this course came to be, students were required to take Career and Personal Planning (CAPP grades 8 - 12). These were courses that gave students the opportunity to learn various topics such as work safety, employment skills – resume and cover letter writing, simplistic information technology skills – word processing, spreadsheets, oral presentation software (PowerPoint), personal health – STD’s, just to name a few. The provincial government was not convinced that the CAPP courses were providing enough for the future graduates, so CAPP was scrapped and Planning 10 was created. It was created in order to help high school students find a focus for graduation and provided the venue for a transition plan. This plan enables each learner to state what goals they will be setting for after graduation by focusing on either the course work or volunteer work they have accomplished during their last years of high school. We will be enticing students in this enriched environment by having them reflect on all their courses and to ask themselves, peers, parents, and people in the industries if the projects they have completed deserve to be in their portfolio. Intentions and Positions The implementation of e-portfolios in not a new concept, and there are many research studies that show the benefits of student organized e-portfolios.

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 4 The design put forth here is meant to target enrichment classes at the middle school level. Students taking ownership of their learning is at the foundation of the education system as is an organized student. Learning how to learn, and learning from mistakes allows the learner to grow and gain more knowledge about their own learning style and develop better insight into the content of the material. Current research in British Columbia is split on the validity of the portfolio implemented in 2004. This was a graduation requirement, but failed in too many areas for the original program to continue to be a graduation requirement. The Ministry of Education implemented the Graduation Portfolio Assessment to extend the students high school life beyond the books and into something that could be transferred into real world experience while giving the student a reflection of what has been understood in the high school years. Part of the Ministry argument for implementing the Portfolio was to allow students who traditionally do not do well on Provincial exams an opportunity for success in a non-traditional manner. Further, institutions such as UBC and UW place importance on the implementation of e-portfolios. These institutions are attempting to solidify learning by allowing the students to clearly articulate the areas of study that have been mastered, and which areas need further development. By articulating ones learning over time, a more holistic approach is embraced, and creativity is encouraged. Having students create an e-portfolio supports a holistic approach to learning, which moves students beyond simply attaining a grade in a course to

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 5 being able to clearly articulate what they have learned as well as to identify areas for improvement or further learning. This approach to learning implies that students will reflect on their own learning and by doing so will be able to better integrate their various learning experiences. Integrating e-portfolio development with what Vygotsky understood about learning as an interactive social activity allows further understanding to the discourse surrounding e-portfolios. Vygotsky´s theory, which he calls the “ zone of proximal development,” refers to the gap between what a child can complete independent of adult aid, and what they can achieve through problem solving with aid from more capable peers. The e-portfolio allows the learner to gradually achieve independence from the teacher, although there is always the inevitable guidance through new and misunderstood aspects of the e-portfolio. The top place to work in the year 2006 was Google. The company treats it’s employees better than any other company, and the reasons are many. They receive 1,300 resumes per day. To stand out among this many other people is difficult, and the implementation of e-portfolios in early in the education system is paramount. “At Google, our strategy is simple: we hire great people and encourage them to make their dreams a reality. We believe in hard work, a fun atmosphere, and the sort of creativity that only comes about when talented people from diverse backgrounds approach problems from varying perspectives.” (Google, 2007) E-portfolios can be the start of something extremely creative. It allows the learner to take ownership and responsibility of their education. They also allow the student to approach traditional schooling from a different

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 6 perspective, and view the entire world as part of their local community. Globalization can be seen from a positive and negative perspective. Essentially, e-portfolios are something that can extend the boundaries of education into the global market. Key Concepts and Contexts The use and development of an electronic learning portfolio can utilize several facets of knowledge and application. The focus of our design project from a conceptual and procedural knowledge perspective will be the use of electronic portfolios to help encourage and develop the construction of knowledge through reflection and practical application. Students will learn to reflect on their own learning, develop skills in building a portfolio through electronic mediums (webpage design, WIKI, and blogs) and be able to communicate their achievements, thoughts, and assessment of their own learning. This engagement in selfdirected learning and ownership of knowledge building has been cited as beneficial by many academic writings (Papert and Scardamalia to name a few) and has been discussed at length in this course (ETEC 510). As a model for learner-centered classrooms, e-portfolios give students ownership of, and responsibility for their own learning as well as provide opportunities for students to become active learners as they set goals for learning, engage in self reflection and review goals periodically (Hewett, 2004). The context in which our project design will be used is in the middle school age range. Electronic portfolios can be used towards a graduation portfolio for post-secondary applications, job applications or within a course based

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 7 environment (i.e. Social Studies, Art, Business, or English). It is our intention to develop this project with a focus on the practical application of a technologybased creation by students but also to enhance the process of learning through portfolio development and maintenance. As Hewett states: While students develop their e-portfolio they learn purposes of technology and the necessary technology skills. Academic literatures on electronic portfolio date back to the early 1990s and have become more prevalent in the past 5 years. E-portfolios are generally categorized by purpose: they can be used for learning, professional development, assessment, employment or a combination of the four. A common area of discussion in academic literature is the “nature and consequences of electronic portfolios over paper-based portfolios...their use for assessment and development purposes” (Butler 2006). Another topic of interest is assessment: both the use of e-portfolios as an assessment tool and the methods of assessment. Authors such as Delandshere and Arens (2003) question the validity of using e-portfolios for assessment. Furthermore, Zeichner & Wray (2001) point out that students’ goals are generally different from teachers; the former is more interested in using e-portfolios for employment while the later is more concerned about assessment. Darling (2001) argues that many teachers fail to provide students with adequate framework, which makes the portfolio a large and daunting task. Alternatively, some teachers provide guidelines in the form of a rubric yet the assessment criteria do not directly link to learning objects.

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 8 On the whole, most scholars agree that e-portfolios are pedagogically sound as it is based on the philosophy of constructivism. Students require motivation to make decisions and take ownership of their e-portfolios (Tosh et al., 2005). In order to address some of the concerns raised in e-portfolio literature, we will further explore Yancey’s (2001) list of factors necessary a successful eportfolio design. What is/are the purpose/s? How familiar is the portfolio concept? Is the familiarity a plus or a minus? Who wants to create an electronic portfolio and why? Who want to read an electronic portfolio and why? Why electronic? What about electronic is central to the model? And is sufficient infrastructure (resources, knowledge, commitment) available for the electronic portfolio? What processes are entailed: What resources are presumed? What faculty development component does the model assume or include? What skills will students need to develop? What curricula enhancement does the model assume or include? How will the portfolio be introduced? How will the portfolio be reviewed? Interactivities A major part of our design project will be the use of inter-activities on top of building and maintaining an electronic portfolio. Students will use a WIKI space and personal blog to include in their portfolio by way of linkage to the sites.

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 9 These inter-activities can be used for personal reflection as well teacher assessment. These types of inter-activities are part of the knowledge building/forum concept and will be useful in giving students an extra method to demonstrate their knowledge of, and participation in collaborative learning. A major concern regarding technology among many in the teaching profession lies in the communication area. Teachers grapple with how they will maintain a human touch with regards to student projects and daily work. The Wiki page, with built in blog capabilities, allows students and teachers to interact with each other, and maintain a record of all conversations during said projects. Therefore, human interaction is maintained, and technology is introduced to existing curriculum. For this project an e-portfolio has been researched, and understood. The e-portfolio will take the shape of a middle school enrichment student’s work. It is understood that this portfolio, although aimed at middle school students, can be modified to meet the needs of students in all levels. Many middle school students are readying themselves for high school and want to use technology to showcase some of the work they have completed in school. The e-portfolio allows the students to include many aspects of their understandings in the form of media, text and pictures. The actual work represented by this design will allow the students to work with a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) interface to ensure the learning curve is minimal and the focus can remain on the actual work produced. An example of what some high schools in Canada are looking for can be

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 10 found at Golden High School in British Columbia. The innovation implemented within the curriculum at the high school looks towards the future of technology and what the high school is offering the current students (http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/32/19/2732912.pdf). Transferability - the benefits of the innovation are agreed upon within the school, and these benefits are considered important for schools in general. The benefits include: Professional looking presentations Stress and time reduction in terms of exam preparation Ability to modify resources quickly and use them over again Ability for students to access lessons on the Internet Boosts student self-esteem Motivating for students Provides equality of access Although the document is six years old, the transferability holds true for students in 2007. Students are looking for better ways of managing their time and work. E-portfolios allow the students to take ownership of their learning while working with technology.

References:

BC Ministry of Education. Graduation Portfolio.

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 11 http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/graduation/portfolio/portfolio_qa.htm Retrieved Feb. 1 2007 Butler, Philippa. A Review of the Literature On Portfolios and Electronic Portfolios. http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/archives/002718.html Golden High School (2001) Integrating Technology Throughout the Curriculum at Golden High School http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/32/19/2732912.pdf Retrieved Feb. 6 2007 Google. (2007) Can one conversation change the world? http://www.google.com/jobs/ Retrieved Feb. 1 2007 Hewett, S. M. Electronic Portfolios: Improving Instructional Practices. Tech Trends Vol 48; Number 5, pages 24-28. 2004 Ittelson, J., Lorebzo, G., & Oblinger, D. (2005) An Overview of E-Portfolios (pp. 1-27). Educause Learning Initiative: advancing learning through IT innovation. Retrieved Feb 02, 2007. Lev Vygotsky. http://starfsfolk.khi.is/solrunb/vygotsky.htm Retrieved January 25, 2007 Tosh, D., Light, T.P., Fleming, K., & Haywood, J. (2005). Engagement with electronic portfolios: challenges from the student perspective. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 31(3), online version. University of British Columbia. E-portfolios https://www.elearning.ubc.ca/home/index.cfm?menuClicked=4%2F&p=ma in/dsp _eport_index.cfm Retrieved January 25, 2007 University of Waterloo. What is an E-portfolio? http://e-portfolio.uwaterloo.ca/

Group 1 – Electronic Portfolios 12 Retrieved January 25, 2007 Yancey, K. B. (2001). General patterns and the future. In B. L. Cambridge, S. Kahn, D.P. Tompkins & K.B. Yancey (Eds.), Electronic portfolios: Emerging practices in student, faculty and institutional learning (pp. 8387). Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education. Zeichner, K., & Wray, S. (2001). The teaching portfolio in US teacher education programs: What we know and what we need to know. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(5), 613-621.

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