Final Analysis

Conclusions

Based on my review of individual objectives I feel I’ve achieved what I set out to do: create a dynamic, open, social, reflective, life-long and life wide e-portfolio. Only time will tell if the life-long and life wide aspects are a success but certainly the three main purposes have been fulfilled.

  • Learning/process/planning (reflection).

Evidence: blogs, development plan, e-portfolio

  • Marketing/showcasing (presentation)

Evidence: response rate of 100% when sharing my e-portfolio with prospective employers

  • Assessment/accountability (assessment)

Evidence: submitted for assessment

Future plans:  I intend to use digital storytelling to support future learning in addition to the framework already implemented.  I fully expect to integrate my professional development once I’ve started my new job, and I also intend to continue to be involved in the e-portfolio community.

Based on the feedback I received from my network I made some changes as I went along (outlined in the feedback section). As a direct result of feedback the following changes/additions were made:

Future plans:  I intend to make an introduction page with an overview of the e-portfolio to aid navigation.  I also intend to continue to ask for feedback to allow my e-portfolio to improve as it evolves.

Reflection

The most difficult part of this project has been in trying to focus and narrow the field enough to write about it. There are so many theories, approaches and angles I could go into in great detail, all of which support the adoption of e-portfolios.  I hope in all of this (madness) I’ve managed to convey what’s important to me and what I hope to achieve on a personal level. You may know I’m passionate about using new technology in education and a huge part of that is what’s referred to as Web 2.0, but the concept of Web 2.0 has evolved to encompass a whole culture rather than simply the technology. Web 2.0 to me is about being part of something: what John Seely Brown (2008) describes as ‘learning to be’ instead of ‘learning about’; and what Henry Jenkins (2006) describes as ‘convergence culture’. To be part of something one has to participate so collaboration, social interaction and community are central to this theme and to my e-portfolio.  In order to foster this I have connected with a number of new people through Twitter and blogs, and I’ve entered into discussions and asked for feedback. This has been a great success in terms of my current learning and also in terms of future learning. I’ve set up a specific network which will be invaluable to me as a user and proponent of e-portfolios.

An e-portfolio documenting an e-portfolio learning journey is a great example of contextualized learning and as such is an ongoing example of ‘authentic, experiential, passion-based learning’ which I referred to when outlining the context for the project.  There’s a strong link between this theme and ‘social, collaborative, community-based learning’ and both are important aspects of ‘being part of something’ and also ‘learning by doing’ (e.g. Piaget, 1967; Vygotsky, 1978; Papert, 1980). Learning about e-portfolios whilst constructing my own e-portfolio situates the learning in a unique and most effective way.

In relation to Bloom’s revised taxonomy (below) in order to complete this assignment we are in the realms of ‘higher order thinking’. For those of us who continue on our ‘e-portfolio journey’ the next stage will be applying what we’ve learned to future contexts (‘Creating’: the highest order). This will also be the highest level of autonomy as I continue to learn independently (‘lifelong, autodidactic, self-directed learning’ referred to in the Context section), utilising the tools, skills, and networks acquired during this assignment.

Alcorn (2009)

In addition to facilitating and documenting authentic learning e-portfolios ‘help respond to the new era of accountability’ (Reese & Levy, 2009) by providing documented (concrete) evidence for assessment and accreditation; progress can be checked by employers, trainers, teachers, departments and institutions; and curricular changes can be made as required. I hope that my e-portfolio will be able to absorb any of these requirements. One concern (from feedback) is with regard to accreditation as some e-portfolio incarnations may have to be structured to comply with requirements. If my e-portfolio cannot support such requirements then I will create another but the two will be linked. Many documents stored in Google Docs can be shared and I will feed the new e-portfolio into my (lif)e-portfolio.

Chat log Tuesday, 1 December 2009

  • 20:44: (Ins):…we have the challenge that if there are different styles and formats, then a teacher in a school for example with 5 beginning teachers may have 5 different e-portfolio structures and may not be inclined to learn 5 different ways of looking at professional development
  • 20:46: Lee: well I would say to that that you would set up a specific structured blog for teacher training and feed it in to your life portfolio as relevant

So, e-portfolios

  • facilitate learning in a most effective way
  • they allow us to be assessed
  • they are a showcase for our work and as such replace or support the traditional job application process by communicating our personality as well as skills and experience

On a different level though they integrate us with the digital world allowing us to connect with students and peers and become part of a bigger picture. An e-portfolio is a non-commercial, professional-biased, homepage; a digital representation of our professional selves: intensely personal and valuable in more ways than I know at this point, I’m sure.

I read a great analogy recently:

“The same could be said for a car–used as a taxicab, as a way to transport children to soccer practice, as a way to go faster than anyone else on a track, as a means to commute to work, as a place to live if you are homeless, as a status symbol, as a way to conquer mountain dirt roads, and so on. But, essentially, the car is a means to increase human mobility. At this conceptual level, we all understand what a car is. The same is true for a portfolio–if you start with all the uses, you are stymied in trying to find a definition, an essence. But at the conceptual level, portfolios are, in essence, a method to improve learning that is appropriate in this digital age.”

(Batson, 2010)

Alcorn, M (2009). Teachers for Excellence, [Online]. Available: http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/cpdscotland/what/lead/tfe/skillsfortfe.asp [17/1/10]

Batson, T. (2010). ePortfolios: Let Me Count the Ways [Online]. Available: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2010/01/06/eportfolios-let-me-count-the-ways.aspx [17/1/10]

Bloom, B.S. (1956).Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. Susan Fauer Company, Inc.

Brown, J.S. (2008). How to Connect Technology and Passion in the Service of Learning, [Online]. Available: http://www.johnseelybrown.com/howtoconnecttech.pdf [7/1/10]

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York University Press, p 243.

Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. Basic Books,

Paulson, F.L. and Paulson, P. (1991) What makes a portfolio a portfolio, p5. Cited in Barrett, H. (2004) Electronic Portfolios as Digital Stories of Deep Learning, [Online].  Available: http://electronicportfolios.com/digistory/epstory.html [7/1/10]

Piaget, J.(1967). Logique et Connaissance scientifique. Encyclopédie de la Pléiade.

Reese, M. & Levy, R. (2009). Assessing the Future: E-Portfolio Trends, Uses, and Options in Higher Education. ECAR Research Bulletin, Volume 2009, Issue 4, p3. Also available online: http://portfolio.project.mnscu.edu/vertical/Sites/{0D936A3C-B3B2-48B8-838C-F5A3B3E0AF6C}/uploads/{2231316D-EFA9-4A6D-B382-734A350E4510}.pdf

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