Reflective ePortfoliosfor Teachers: A Case Study Dr Judie Cross with Jane Lock, Suzanne Norris and Kara Whittingham
Project Name: Reflective ePortfolios: Career Development in EducationYear of funding: 2010 This project assisted its learners achieve competence at an ISLPR of 4 specifically in the following:• NSWTSUS403B Apply sustainability practices;• NSWTPLG402A Initiate, plan and manage a project to build capability in an industry or community context;• NSWTPLG403A Evaluate options for career development;• NSWTTCH402A Apply emerging technology to communicate with others. These units form part of the compulsory requirement should these learners seek to complete their Certificate IV in Career Development (9040).
OTTs in NSW come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. They are predominantly female migrants/non- English speaking background learners, who have been experienced teachers of Language, Mathematics and Science, as well as other key learning areas, in their first homelands. In NSW, they have usually migrated to a life in suburbs that are geographically widely dispersed and hence, they often find blended learning an especially attractive option.
Overseas trained teachers (OTTs) in NSW need to achieve fourAs in the Professional English Assessment for Teachers(PEAT), an extremely challenging vocational English test uniqueto the registration requirements for teachers in this state, beforethey can obtain approval to work in NSW Public Schools.This project sought to address the attitudes held by OTTs tothis test and the task of developing their careers as educatorsin a new country, by empowering them through an introductionto, training and practice in : • the creation of a range of written text types; • use of emerging technologies for the purpose of creating ePortfoliosthat were reflective.
• ePortfolios seemed somewhat technologically daunting • Reflection initially appeared a little vague
OTTs embraced the opportunities that new technologies haveopened up; for example, using interactive whiteboards (IWBs)and connecting to schools remotely.Training was offered (e.g. inMoodle, Mahara, Tale, InteractiveWhiteboards, Connected Classroom, Adobe) and sharedwitheveryone in the project.“I felt speechless when I saw the new technology in Australia.”
Reflection occurs when light rays “bounce” off a surface. Regular reflection occurs at a smooth surface like metal, and forms a clear image. Diffuse reflection occurs on an uneven surface, where a clear image cannot be seen.
The law of reflection is that the angle of the incoming ray is always equal to the angle of the reflected ray. Periscopes work because the reflection of a mirror reflects down onto another mirror, letting the person looking through the periscope see the reflection above.
A securely attached infant is often given to illustrate how personality can be a positive result of the bond formed between the mother and the child during infancy. Further, this “secure” type of infant may develop personality traits that are a reflection of the intimate relationships formed throughout his or her lifetime, and especially the love the infant feels reflected in the mother‟s gaze on him or her.
A genre approach to teaching was adoptedin order to introduce culturally appropriate written text types(personal, informal and formal) as well as relevant technologies(Moodle, Mahara and Adobe Pro 9 Extended) and alsothe concept of reflection itself.
The OTTs were thereby upskilled: they incorporated in theseReflective ePortfolios a record of theirqualifications, achievements, lesson plans, methodologies andreflections.They have since been able to use this learning experience toenhance their professional personas and self-esteem as theyendeavour to embark on a teaching career in a new country.
Levels of ReflectionHatton and Smith (1995) identified four levels in reflective writing:1. DescriptiveThe writing is not considered to show evidence of reflection.2. Descriptive reflectiveThis shows some evidence of deeper consideration in fairly descriptivelanguage. However, there may be no real evidence of the notion ofalternative viewpoints.3. Dialogic reflectionThe reflection is analytical or integrative, linking factors andperspectives.4. Critical reflectionThis writing takes into account the views and motives of others and considersthem against your own . . .This writing shows evidence that you are awarethat actions and events may be „located within and explicable by multipleperspectives, and are located in and influenced by multiple and socio–political contexts‟. Source: UNISA, Introduction to Reflective Practice at unisa: http://resource.unisa.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=834
Structures for encouraging dialogic reflectionWhen it came to the ____________________________________________, I really wanted to do it well. In the event, the session was ____________________________________________ and left me feeling _____________________________________________________________________ ___________________ ____________________________________________. I need to think about why ____________________________________________could have such an effect on me. I am reading what I wrote earlier about it. Now I return to it, I do have a slightly different perspective. I think that it was ____________________________________________. I have talked to ____________________________________________. I notice that my confidence ____________________________________________. However, I am feeling ____________________________________________ and I can begin to analyse what I could do better in the ____________________________________________. It is interesting to see the change in my attitude after a week. Several of my colleagues told me afterwards that ____________________________________________ and they commented that I handled ____________________________________________. That is interesting because ___________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________. I need to do some thinking
NSWTPLG402A Initiate, plan and manage a project to build capability in an industry or community context This unit in the Certificate IV 9040 Career Development (PEAT) aims to assist learners develop the skills and knowledge required to initiate and manage a project to advance an organization‟s goals, or their own goals, thereby building capability, in a work, community or educational context.PERFORMANCE CRITERIA:3. Conduct and manage projectby allocating regular time for reflection in which to answer critical questions about lexico- grammar, register, layout, content, audience and time management3.4 Maintain effective communication with stakeholders4. Devise improvement strategies by brainstorming key success indicators and usinga ‘best’ and ‘worst’ activity and/or ‘what if’ scenario to encourage learners to reflect4.1 Evaluate project against key success indicators4.2 Evaluate own performance4.3 Document strategies to improve procedures and personal performance
“This unit explores electrical energy use and its impact on theenvironment in the context of students‟ personal consumption ofenergy in their everyday use of technological devices and otherelectricity-powered objects. From this personal perspective,the unit then expands to a global context looking at the future ofenergy use. The name iEnergy 2.0 reflects this context. The „i‟ in front ofenergy represents the personal focus of the unit: it is about howmuch energy each student uses, what volume of fossil fuelswere used to produce that energy, the waste products whichwere produced and ultimately the impact of those wasteproducts on the environment. This will be conducted as apersonal energy use monitoring project where the studentsmonitor their own usage of electrical devices and correlate thiswith their ecological footprint. ”
Summary & CommentsSupplementary funding for this project meant that valuable time could be spent developing relevant models and practice materials. The common theme of sustainability further motivated students as they have found it can be applied in a range of teaching areas and levels.
“A good education and access to top facilities and opportunities to learn is criticalto providing students with the best start in life. In Australia, this new technologyplays a significant role in education. In my previous experience, as a Maths teacher, I taught students from familieswith limited education and resources. The students in my class used thistechnology only in the school and not at home. Though I am well trained inMicrosoft PowerPoint in my teaching, which helps me to teach my syllabus moreeasily, I felt speechless when I saw the new technology in Australia.To be frank with you all, my technology skills need to be updated now. It isnecessary for me too. Overall, these powers of technology can enhance languageawareness and better understanding of subjects.”
Example of Hot Potatoes quiz created for Sustainability.http://sielearning2.tafensw.edu.au
“Sharing our reflections as teachers is a great idea and I believeit opens the gate and gives us opportunities not only to sharebut also receive some new ideas.”“I understand the benefit of writing the reflection now, becauseit is allowing me to realize what I could have done differently,so that I can teach the same or a similar lesson more effectivelyin the future.”Paraphrase: “I feel sad” . . . after we had the lesson onreflection because we never had time or guidance to do thisin Fiji . . .
“Then I had a game online on verbs which we did as a sum up of my lesson. It went well I asked Anastasia about it, she said that it was good, and maybe I could have given them something to write as I had few minutes left from my time. After talking with her, I thought of so many ways I could have made the lesson more effective; one of them could be that after playing that game I could have asked them to write five sentences with a verb in it and underline their verb. I will keep this in mind when I do something similar next time . . .”
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