Technology, learning and identity: rethinking ePortfolios for Arts students’ knowledge management


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This faciliated conversation explores Arts students’ responses to using ePortfolio for enhancing their learning acorss a range of degree programs at four universities in Australia. This multi modal approach to data collection is the result of the recent outcomes of on an OLT funded project that aimed to introduce ePortfolios to students undertaking degree programs in the creative and performing arts. The project to date has identified that knowledge management is a key factor for students as they progress through the process of ePortfolio development. The project’s outcomes are to provide tertiary students from the Performing and Creative Arts with skills to create an ePortfolio to document their academic and artistic outcomes for future employment and enhanced employability in the arts sector. What has appeared is that the artisitc identity of the students is forming through the process of reflection “on” and “in” their various degree programs’ discreet subjects.

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Technology, learning and identity: rethinking ePortfolios for Arts students’ knowledge management

  1. 1. Harry stared at the stone basin. The contents had returned to their original, silvery white state, swirling and rippling beneath his gaze. “ What is it?” Harry asked shakily. “This? It is called a Pensieve,” said Dumbledore. “ I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.” “Err,” said Harry who couldn’t truthfully say that he had ever felt anything of the sort. “At these times” said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, “ I use the Penseive. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into a basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.’ ( Rowling, 2000)
  2. 2. Reflective practice workshop for ePortfolio creation Jennifer Rowley & Wendy Brooks Sydney Conservatorium of Music The University of Sydney
  3. 3. Why reflective practice? „It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively.‟ Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by Doing. A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods. FEU
  4. 4. Current university students have grown up surrounded by technology. They are often labeled digital natives, the Net generation or millennials. (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005; Prensky, 2011; Tapscott, 2009)
  5. 5. This workshop will focus on the use of reflective practice to assist teachers in helping their students become reflective learners. WRITE ON YOUR POST IT NOTE WHAT YOU WANT TO „WALK AWAY‟ WTH AFTER TODAY‟S WORKSHOP
  6. 6. In the workshop we will discuss how to connect the theory or new knowledge you teach to students to the practical application of that theory or new piece of knowledge for enhancement of students' learning.
  7. 7. Reflective practice The basic concept of knowledge production can be interpreted around Schön‟s (1995) theory of reflective practice where students reflect on their practice and knowledge at the same time as reflecting on the knowledge and actions experienced.
  8. 8. Donald Schon's "Reflective Practitioner" The focus will be Donald Schon's "Reflective Practitioner" and we will be hands on in the application of Schon‟s work on reflective practice.
  9. 9. What is a "Reflective Practitioner" Professionals who receive real-time coaching and encouragement to think carefully (about what they do while they do it) learn in a more profound way.
  10. 10. Knowledge management Students‟ work can involve new media productions that express understanding, rather than the traditional writing of papers synthesizing expert opinion (Dede, 2010). This attempt by students to „manage‟ knowledge through technology-assisted learning can lead to them operating a higher level of thinking (Bebensee, Helms & Spruit, 2010).
  11. 11. Reflective writing is: • Your response to experiences, opinions, events or new information • Your response to thoughts and feelings • A way of thinking to explore your learning • An opportunity to gain selfknowledge • A way to achieve clarity and better understanding of what you are learning • A chance to develop/ reinforce writing skills Reflective writing is not: • For conveying information, instruction or argument • Just description • Just a judgement about whether something is good or bad • Simple problem-solving • A summary of course notes • A standard essay
  12. 12. Reflective exercise- THINK ABOUT THESE QUESTIONS • What are some ways technology has been used for you creating or doing assignments and in-class activities? • How effective has this use of technology been? Could the activity/experience/learning have been as effective without technology? •
  13. 13. Thinking specifically about assignments … • How confident are you creating assignments using technology? How important do you think it is to incorporate technology into assignment work? • Were there any surprises? (e.g. did it take a lot of time/different skills/etc) • Did any external factors come into play?
  14. 14. • What worked well? What needed improvement? • How will your experiences influence future decisions/activities? NOW WRITE ABOUT YOUR RESPONSE TO READING AND THINKING ABOUT THESE QUESTIONS
  15. 15. WORKSHOP • create a web folio, journal and /or blog to demonstrate understanding of reflective practice AND facilitating with technology. • Initially write a reflective journal in an eportfolio platform (your choice), which you can use to create the blog or web folio.
  16. 16. ePortfolios?? •
  17. 17. Themes emerging from the reflective writing study • the time-consuming nature of assignments using technology; • the unreliability of technology as a means of presenting content in classes (both by lecturers at university, and in schools for professional experience placements); • that technology should be used only when it can add something not otherwise available; • and assignments involving the creation of interactive educational resources are a useful course component, since future music teachers will need to engage their students with such tools.
  18. 18. fear • “I find it difficult to work out how to use technology, and if I‟m not comfortable using it, it‟s hard to be creative” (Participant #37); • “I still feel completely uneducated and uninformed of how to exactly use the technology and how to effectively implement it in a . . . teaching setting” (Participant #4); • “Technology is one of my weakest points” (Participant #49).
  19. 19. Expectation that older lecturers should more proficient “I believe that most lecturers are not proficient in new technologies themselves and this makes it very difficult for us to learn from them” (Participant #28).
  20. 20. View of younger children as more competent “It is vital to be setting students assignments that require them to engage heavily with technology . . . as teachers, we must appeal to what the students enjoy doing, and their generation is most adept and enthusiastic at . . . technology”.
  21. 21. Technology should be complementary to, rather than a replacement for, traditional practices • “Technology should only be used when it has something to add, not for sake of it” (Participant #18); • “Technology is extremely important, however, it is still not necessary” (Participant #7); • “The most important aspect of the use of technology is the motive behind it… Technology should be used as a way of making things easier, not just because it‟s there” (Participant #31).
  22. 22. These comments all oppose Prensky’s claim: “our students are clamouring for these technologies to be used as part of their education, in part because they are things the students have already mastered and use in their daily lives, and in part because they realise just how useful they can be”. (2007, p. 41)
  23. 23. Exercise contributing to reflective practice “I feel like I have a little more confidence in my ability to use technology in assignments and also feel that I am more easily engaged in work such as this than if I were to present an essay or even a normal PowerPoint” (Participant #34); • “Personally I am not adept at technology but getting ideas from the teacher about activities inspires me to have a fiddle around in my own time” (Participant #33); • “At first I was hesitant, as I did not know anything about these computer programs, but was surprised to find that it was quite simple” (Participant #19). •
  24. 24. How does this relate to teaching and learning with ePortfolio? Think about your purpose for wanting to incorporate ePortfolio work for yourself or your students?
  25. 25. Practising reflective writing • Be aware of the purpose of your reflective writing and state if it is appropriate • Reflective writing requires practice and constant standing back from oneself. • Practice reflecting writing on the same event /incident through different people‟s viewpoints and disciplines • Deepen your reflection / reflective writing with the help of others through discussing issues with individuals and groups, getting the points of others. • Reflect on what you have learnt from an incident, and how you would do something differently another time. • Try to develop your reflective writing to include the ethical, moral, historical and socio-political contexts where these are relevant.
  26. 26. The benefit of reflection: • Students drawing connections between technology use, the reflective writing exercise and their own learning experiences might potentially develop more effective skills and practices. “This reflective practice has allowed me to constantly devise a “better approach” to completing an aspect of the task (Participant #48).
  27. 27. Conclusion: Our study: • • • • • • identified areas for technology use in their current learning and future use as music teachers. identified when it was engaging and contributing to their understandings Were hesitant to practice the technology unnecessarily used technology as a key component in their knowledge management, and therefore engaged in the higher levels of thinking required for meaningful reflection. developed empathy with the technological processes and heightened awareness of the learning products through written reflection . were understanding of why and how technology interacts with their learning.