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Evaluating if ePortfolios foster creativity


Can ePortfolios foster creativity? An evaluative study in a professional development context

Can ePortfolios foster creativity? An evaluative study in a professional development context

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  • Context of programmeMSc in Applied eLearning , Dublin Institute of Technology Postgraduate students, Mature learners, involved for their own academic development within DIT
  • EPortfolio aimsto demonstrate learning journey over a two-year part-time programmeWe wanted the ePortfolios to show connections of learning Articulate their competencies , show to the world An e-portfolio is a purposeful aggregation of digital items – ideas, evidence, reflections, feedback etc., which 'presents' a selected audience with evidence of a person's learning and/or ability. Sutherland and Powell (2007)
  • Philosophy of eportfolio: Time-intensive processConceptual framework for ePortfolio of MSc in applied elearning EPortfolio as a space where learning, acquired skills/competencies are linked to practice
  • How did this study come about?An evaluation of students ePortfolios transformed into an examination of creativity with students ePortfolio
  • Initially Evaluation started as an evaluation of ePortfoliosWe wanted to examine if: The technology (Mahara) was appropriate for the students ePortfolios Did the ePortfolio support students in evidencing their learning journey
  • Student presentations of ePortfolios EPortfolio analysis
  • Examples of ePortfolio
  • Examples of ePortfolio
  • It became apparent that differences ePortfolios arose in content and types of artefact in ePortfolios Concerns arising: Some ePortfolios lacked Personalisation/individualityMultimedia/Digital artefacts Deep Reflection
  • This began our investigation of creativity is and how to nurture creativity in the MSC applied elearning students
  • We began to look into creativity
  • Creativity is important to nurture in learners to support a holistic education and not just a race to pass the assessment We need to see creativity not as a stand alone competency but in the context of other abilities and capacities that are developed through a tertiary educationSir Sir Ken Robinson. Out of Our Minds Ken RobinsonNurturing of creativity in students is currentWhy: to develop entrepreneurial skills, critical thinkers, thinking outside the book, lateral thinking?
  • Reflective practice was a inherent part of the ePortfolio but we wanted to nurture this more and enhance creativity
  • Anna Crafts text book describes 4 characteristics of creativity We used Crafts 4 P characteristics as a model to investigate if students recognised the development of the ePortfolio as a creative process Creativity can be viewed as a social process, dependent on participation in particular kinds of communities; Creative education involves engaging with pluralities, playfulness, possibilities and participation. (Craft 2011) We asked the students to think about each theme in terms of development of your ePortfolio Pluralities PlayfulnessPossibilitiesParticipation
  • Kane (2004) :Do we give students freedom enough to playEncourage students to explore who they are by identifying their particular passions, interests and gifts: Show tinkeringGeverTulley tinkering video
  • Diehm’s (2004) research has focused on the use of electronic portfolio projects to highlight the creative nature of student learningTechnology has a potentially important role in supporting creativity Tosh et al, ePortfolio enable learner control and deep learning -Used for professional development
  • Transformation of study to examinecreativity
  • Were their barriers i.e. technical to creativity
  • Data gatheredSeries of reflection sheetsFocus groups /interviewsWe needed to talk to the students, Did this in various meansReflection sheetsFocus groups and interviews
  • Some students moved ot other tools iewordpressNot digital natives
  • Limited participation and comments in ePortfolio, even though the tool enables commentaryHowever 2 students created video clips and help sheets to support other students in using the tool Some students did participate and share with peers Connecting with and learning from others emboldens us – PLNs To equip our students for the future, learning to connect and share well is as essential as learning to read and write well
  • EPortfolios have provided opportunity for both, tagging linking with other knowledge, diverse types of media
  • Overall outcome relating to creativity
  • Changes to assessment criteriaMore emphasis on learning journeyEmphasis on reflectionEmphasis on diversity of media – encourage them to play with tools
  • Separate the conceptual notion of ePortfolio and training of ePortfolio system Redesign of ePortfolio integrationsConceptual followed by the placing together of items Conceptual idea of journey, reflection to be introduced first- tasks for reflection, using multimedia for reflection, create a video, audio file on a phone, create an image that captures a thoughtSeparate training to Secondly introduce Using the software, separate training
  • Introduce the 4 PsGet them to play with different mediaGet student to learn about themselves encourage students to explore who they are by identifying their particular passions, interests and gifts
  • Try this site out
  • Creativity: by Robinson (2001, p. 211) 4 main elements that provoke questions to think about the nature of creativity:the importance of the medium
  • Ewan McIntosh's keynote edtech 2011 GeverTulley - EncouragingPlay Tinkering school: confronts learners with tools, and time to play and develop , how to make things , figure things out by fooling around Success in in the doing, failures are learning situation video: Failures are celebrated and analysed Confronted with lots of stuff and tools, immersive , time, figure things out by fooling aroundEvery step in a project is a step closerDifficult set backs – decoration happens


  • 1. Can ePortfolios foster creativity? An evaluative study in a professional development context
    Muireann O'Keeffe
    Kevin C. O'Rourke
    Roisin Donnelly
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4. ePortfolio 10 ECTs
    Evidence of
    Work on each module
    Reflection and review
    Learning journey that occurs beyond the classroom.
  • 5. Evaluation of ePortfolios
  • 6. Initial Evaluation
    Did we provide appropriate support for students in evidencing their learning journey?
  • 7. Initial Study
    ePortfolio analysis
    Student presentations of ePortfolios
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11. Concerns arising
  • 12. Investigation of creativity
  • 13. Importance of creativity
    Higher education needs to see creativity within the important role it plays in preparing people for an uncertain and ever more complex world of work; a world that requires people to utilise their creative as well as their analytical capacities.
    (Jackson 2006)
  • 14. 3 Abilities for creative success
    analytical abilities–to analyse, evaluate, judge, compare and contrast
    practical abilities– to apply, utilise, implement and activate
    creative abilities– to imagine, explore, synthesise, connect, discover, invent and adapt.
    (Sternberg & Lubart , 1995)
  • 15. Reflective practice
    Creativity is the
    ability to reflect to learn from and make sense of experience
    Jackson (2006)
  • 16. (Craft, 2011)
  • 17.
  • 18. Can ePortfolio foster creativity?
    literature establishes that technology can support creativity
    (Donnelly & Barrett, Tosh et al)
  • 19. Next stage of evaluation........
  • 20. We needed to examine:
    Was creativity encouraged?
    How did we support creativity?
    Were there barriers to creativity?
    Was the ePortfolio tool suitable for supporting creativity?
    Did assessment criteria support creativity?
  • 21. What did the students think?
  • 22. Findings
  • 23. The ePortfolio tool
    ePortfolio tool - issues with usability of the software, technical skills of students
    “Conquering the interface was a challenge”
    But ...............
    “To be creative is to find ways around barriers, and it [Mahara] is flexible enough to find ways around it”
  • 24. Participation
    Developing Learning Networks
  • 25. Play, Pluralities, Possibilities
    Technical barriers Mahara
    “You need a playground with good toys to play effectively, [Mahara is not] not a well funded playground “
    Other tools used (WordPress, Yola, Blogger)
    Use of diverse types of media
    Tagging: linking to other knowledge
  • 26. When asked if ePortfolio was a creative process...............
    Creativity did not seem to be the word associated with the ePortfolio
  • 27. Not really :(
    Was creativity encouraged?
    How did we support creativity?
    Was the ePortfolio tool suitable for supporting creativity?
    Did assessment criteria support creativity?
    Not very well
    Could be improved!
    Changes needed!
  • 28. Implications
  • 29. ePortfolio module redesign
    Changes to assessment criteria
    Criteria to emphasise
    Continuing learning journey
    Deep reflection
    Use of diverse types of media
  • 30. Introduction of ePortfolio
  • 31. Strategies to induce creativity
    Student to learn about themselves
    If young people become involved in what they enjoy, the foundations for creativity will be in place
    (Csikszentmihalyi, 2006)
  • 32.
  • 33. Gibbs cycle of reflection
  • 34. Introduce the 4 Ps
    Play with different media development tools
    Participate with peers , viewing of previous students ePortfolios
    Support reflection
  • 35. Software support
    “The need to be in control of the medium”
    (Robinson, 2001)
    Students gaining ‘threshold’ skills using the ePortfolio tool
    Peer support & tutor support
  • 36.
  • 37.
  • 38. Muireann.okeeffe@dit.ie