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  1. 1. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention Learning Experiences with E-portfolios: A Study on Pre-service ESL Teacher Education in Malaysia Mahbub Ahsan Khan, Muhammad Kamarul Kabilan Abdullah, Puan Noorlida Ahmed Universiti Sains Malaysia Abstract Since last decade e-portfolio has become a frequent topic of discussion in teacher education context. It is seen as the single most prominent innovation in educational technology that demonstrates teachers’ tangible development and growth of competencies over time. Vast amount of literature is available that document the relative advantages and consequent advocacy for its implementation across disciplines, institutions, and applications. This article describes the findings of a mix method study examining 28 pre- service ESL teachers’ learning experiences while they created e-portfolios as a part of their course requirement at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Sequential exploratory model was used for data collection. Findings indicate that most of the participants perceived the process of reflecting on course objectives contributed to their growth and development. Participants also reported a few drawbacks of e- portfolios which are required to take into consideration for its successful implementation in teacher education of Malaysia. Introduction During the last two decades of previous millennium, the world has witnessed two significant movements in teacher education. The first is the paradigm shift toward alternatives (Campbell et al 2004; Kilbane & Millman, 2005), which bifurcated from the immense dissatisfaction of traditional paper-pencil tests, questionable utility of top-down teaching learning, absolute dependence on quantitative test scores for its inadequacy of assessing teachers’ actual competencies (Shulman, 1988; Darling-Hammond, 1991). The second trend, which is the paradigm shift from teacher-centered to student-centered teaching and learning (Pelgurm & law, 2001; Jukes & McCain, 2001), came about because of the necessities of functioning in knowledge economy, changing nature of future teachers’ role, obligation of continuous learning and, consequent integration of ICT within curriculum (Britten et al, 2003; Montgomery, 2003). Both paradigm shifts yield enormous reforms in teacher education and introduce the ‘e-portfolio’ as an admired phenomenon. Literature Review Evans (1995) defined e-portfolio as, …an evolving collection of carefully selected or composed professional thoughts, goals, and experiences that are threaded with reflection and self-assessment. It represents who you are, what you do, why you do it, where you have been, where you are, where you want to go, and how you planned to getting there (p.11). In line with the objectives of an offered face-to-face course or program, teachers are required to collect, select, reflect, and present professional materials in a pre-determined online platform (Barret, 2003) using multimedia technologies, “including but not limited to, audio recordings; hypermedia programs; and database, spreadsheet, video and word processing software” (Kilban & Millman, 2003. p.7). It is stressed in literature that creating e-portfolios are required to be goal-driven with organized collection of materials which demonstrate expansion of knowledge and skills and can be observed over time (Kilban and Millman, 2005. p.1). Advantages and benefits of creating e-portfolios in teacher education programs are noted numerously in literature. Several researchers advocated employing e-portfolios for different reasons-- flexible use (any time, any place) and inexpensive reproduction (Lorenzo & Ittleson, 2005), means to enhance ICT competency (Costantino & Lorenzo, 2002), self-directed (Avraamidou & Zembal-Saul, 2004) and deep (Tosh et al, 2006) learning tool, mentoring and collaboration activities to promote the growth of self- confidence (Zeichner & Wray 2001) and development of skills (Banfi, 2003). Strudler and Wetzel (2005) claim that e-portfolio enhances learning by assisting its creators to reconstruct personal teaching practices, reflect on it in learning context, to document and unfold learning process in a journey to become a teacher. Most importantly, e-portfolio demonstrates not only learning but also the learning
  2. 2. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention experiences (Kilbane & Millman, 2005). Emphasizing on the process rather than product provides opportunity to assess teachers’ development through an alternative method (Kilbane & Millman, 2005). Hence, in the contemporary teacher education context, creating e-portfolios has “become a widely used assessment method” to represent and develop teacher knowledge (Carney, 2004. p.1) or “to communicate accomplishments throughout their teacher preparation program” (Sherman (2006. p.3). Earlier, Kilbane & Millman (2003) asserted that encouragement from various professional groups who are concerned with teachers’ quality and research evidences of teachers’ personal and professional growth are the two major underlying justifications that led e-portfolios to become popular in teacher education programs (p.7). Nearly 90% of schools, colleges, and departments of education have been using e- portfolios to make decisions about teachers (Carney, 2004.). However, in spite of such dramatic integration of e-portfolios in developed countries, only a single study is published so far in Malaysia to document in-service ESL teachers’ development with e-portfolios. In that study, the researchers claim that “such an endeavour has never been heard of nor reported as it has never been experimented” in Malaysia (Vethamani, Kabilan & Khan, 2008. p.90). As such, pre-service ESL teachers’ learning experiences with e-portfolios is an unexplored area of study in Malaysian that holds great potentials for the enhancement of quality learning and development of pre-service teachers. The Study This study was conducted with an aim to explore the learning experiences of pre-service ESL teachers of Universiti Sains Malaysia. Two research questions framed this study – what are the perceptions of pre- service ESL teachers toward e-portfolio and how it can contribute in their development and growth. The participants of this study were 22 students who were enrolled in the course ‘Communicating in Speech and Writing in TESOL’ (PET 224) in the first semester (2008/2009 academic year) of B.Ed. program in USM. Each participant was asked to create their individuals’ e-portfolios. Based on Barrett’s (2007) suggestion and similar previous studies (see Yassin et al, 2007) Google Group was selected as the online settings for this study. Based on the discussion with course instructor the first five topics were chosen as the objectives of the e-portfolios. Duration of the study was a period of two months. Methodology Creswell (2003) suggests, exploratory studies are most advantageous when “not much has been written about the topic or the population being studied” (p. 30). Hence, this study preferred ‘Sequential Exploratory Design’ as a way of exploring the new phenomenon in Malaysia. Moreover, “Easy to implement and straightforward to describe and report” (Creswell et al, 2003. p.228) is another rationale for selecting this approach. In this study, priority and emphasis was given on qualitative approach through several sequential stages which illustrated a specific picture of participants’ learning experiences. Afterward, quantitative data was used to interpret the findings of qualitative data from a different view. It was assumed that participants may not be aware of the creation procedure since it is not a popular phenomenon in Malaysian. Hence, all participants were asked to attend a discussion class to let them oriented with the phenomena and to demonstrate the creation procedures. This whole creation procedure of e-portfolios was accomplished into three phases. In the first phase participants were asked to create individual groups and invite others to join in his/her group. As such each participant had possession of one group (as their e-portfolio) and other participants (including course-instructor and researchers) were seen as members of that group (audience of this study). Since online journals are more suitable for the English learners or any student who feels hesitate to participate in classroom discussion (Akitson, 1999. cited in Stevenson, 2006), therefore in the second phase, each participant was asked to create weekly ‘online journals’ based on the objectives of the e-portfolios. They were asked to answer three questions in each journal—what they have learnt in previous week, what is their personal opinion about that issue and how that learning can help them in their development and growth. In the third phase, participants were asked to visit others’ e-portfolios and to read, examine and reflect on journal entries. Generally, the model described in ‘E-portfolio portal’ (2004) was followed to collect materials, select relevant and important materials, reflect on that materials and connect to share with others. Two qualitative surveys were carried out at the beginning and the ending of the data collection period as a type of pre/post test engaging all the participants. After one month from the beginning, two students voluntarily participated in online interviews. Journal entries and discussions were also used as the source of qualitative data. However, at the end of the data collection period, a quantitative survey was conducted to support and frame the qualitative data as suggested in Sequential Exploratory Model (Creswell et al, 2003). Data was analyzed by using the framework proposed Onwuegbuzie and Teddlie (2003). Findings from both types of data were consolidated to determine the common answers of the dictating questions. 106
  3. 3. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention For convenience and to maintain confidentiality, participants were coded (for example, S1 represent the first student, similarly, I2 stands for second interviewee and so on). Findings from Qualitative Data Surveys: In the first qualitative survey, participants revealed their initial opinions relating to the e- portfolios and other relevant issues. Regarding current assessment system 50% expressed their satisfaction. Some reasons behind these feelings are—various methods are used for assessment, such as, quiz, presentation, assignments (S28; S03), encourage public speaking (S16), easy to conduct (S25) etc. Conversely, there were few negative comments as well, for example, ‘not powerful enough’ (S29) or ‘convenient’ (S06) to demonstrate students’ ability, does not really guide students to improve their skills ((S19), inadequate to assess affective issues (S07) etc. However, 25 students (89%) agree that they had never experienced alternative assessment methods like e-portfolio. Although three students responded positively, but in a consequent cross-question, their answers seemed ambiguous. Hence, it can be assumed that participants were generally not aware or little prior experience with e-portfolios and, not surprisingly, they were not aware about the supports the might need to create e-portfolios. Only two of them felt the necessity of having a good internet connection since it is an ICT-based tool and already they were suffering with the existing connection. As a pre-service teacher, only 40% participants were confident about their ability to perform effectively in their future job. However, all the participants were not sure about the usefulness of e-portfolios for their future job due to lack of familiarity with it. In the second qualitative survey, the discontent rate with the current assessment had increased (59%). It can be assumed that e-portfolios have developed awareness among participants about the limitations of current assessment method since it is mostly student-centered and not depended on examinations. Completely ‘examination-oriented’ with too many ‘tests and quizzes’ and, moreover, dependency on teachers in giving marks were mostly reported criticisms. However, other students expressed their satisfaction since they became used to this method. As a learning tool, most of the participants perceived e-portfolios positively. Creating e-portfolios, accordance to their learning experiences, is a process of ‘gaining’ (S15) and ‘enhancing’ (S01) knowledge and information, stating ‘personal opinions’ (S05) or to establish ‘own point of view” (S25) through reflection on what had been discussed in the classroom (S06, S13). It gave them enough space for expressing personal judgments about the topics discussed in classroom with more independence (S26, S27). In such process, learning from e-portfolios exceeds the limitations of classroom discussions (S14). It provided them the opportunities to send and transfer their view and arguments (S05) in a flexible way (S13), interact with classmates (S13) and teachers (S29), involve in a forum to post comments (S01) and consequent discussion with others (S26), upload texts (S14) and multimedia layouts (S12, S26) to create a personal home page (S04) creatively (S01). Moreover, participants were able to customize and manage that page (S09) for publishing their ideas and thoughts into that web (S13) via ICT (S13). As such participants had increased thinking and writing skills (S12, S26) and developed collaborative practices (S09) which might be helpful to become prepared for the future job as ESL teachers (S12). Findings indicate that, creating e-portfolios increased participants’ confidence as a future teacher, though the proportion (52%) is yet to be reasonable. It enhanced their several competencies; such as writing skills (S12, S15, S26), ICT (S09, S06, S26), communication (S09, S15, S25), pedagogy (S27, S06) and ability to reflect (S04, S13, S06). Hence, while responding the question e-portfolios can contribute in their future teaching job, participants’ answers were affirmative. Some example is presented below: 1. Yes, e-portfolios will be useful for teaching in future. Because, ICT will have a very important role in future. Everybody should know how to use it. (S30) 2. Yes, e-portfolios are something that can enhance our ability in terms of exchange the ideas, writing skills and interaction with other members (S12) 3. Yes, by preparing to be good at my writing and be an active person. Always feedback and what others comment (might be helpful) (S27). 4. Yes, I can discuss with my friend who may be teaching in other school to know how to handle certain situation in my school (S26). 5. Of course, it will help in teaching. You may share some information with friends who are teaching in different places (S29). 6. Yes, because I can exchange my knowledge and information with others. Besides that, be more update and may be will help me to give right information to my students (S03) 107
  4. 4. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention 7. In some way, yes. Because this will upgrade assessment system and in a way, it will bring development in education system (S06). However, 82% participants assumed that this type of tool can contribute in enhancing the quality of Malaysian pre-service teacher education. But, before implementing, few issues need to take into consideration seriously; such as a good internet connection (100%) and necessary training (30%). However, lack of time may also obstruct its implementation, they supposed. Interviews: Interviewee students showed tangible development within one month as they were increasingly becoming familiar with the e-portfolio. For example, I1 perceived her experience of developing e-portfolio as a matter of ‘fun’ or ‘interesting’ initiative. She commented: Actually I am interested to work on things like blogs and groups because I like to be attached with technology’ compared to the manual way. Sometimes we do not have time in class to discuss everything. So, through blogs and groups we can share better. They believe “everyone has different ideas and views” (I1). But in a classroom they do not always get enough time and scope to share those (I2). They may also experience difficulties to understand some topics. Such online discussion gives them scope to share individual opinions with others (I1), to understand difficult parts (I2) and, more importantly, to continue it ever long after the class (I2). This process helps them to get a better insight on a topic and later, after few posting it can show the process of their learning (I1, I2). Therefore, they assert, comparing to one final examination e-portfolio might be a better alternative to assess their learning. Consequently, there suggestions are introducing e-portfolios not only into one course, rather for the whole B.Ed. program (I1) or at least to allocate more marks (I2) since it does not cost money (I1, I2). This will give them opportunity to demonstrate what and how have learned after certification, they believe. They also emphasized on other advantages of creating e-portfolios, “Even it is a fact that we feel shy to express our views in class but, through portfolio, I do not feel shy at all (I1)” which “really turns me into a confident and informative person” (I2). It enhanced their writing and ICT skills whilst they learned how to post blogs. I1 assumes that these skills would be very helpful for her future teaching. However, besides the advantageous parts, they also reported few constrain issues-- inconvenience with Internet access (I1, I2), difficulty to upload multimedia files (I1), problems with adding/inviting friends (I1), lack of time to participate more actively and lack of prior experiences (I1, I2). They feel the necessity of technological support and mentor’s guidance to create e-portfolios successfully. Journal entries Accordance to the methodology, the procedure of how to post journals and participate in discussion was demonstrated and a handout was distributed in the first meeting. However, students were still facing few problems from the beginning and expressed their apprehension to the researcher personally and in the e- portfolios as well. For example I’m facing a problem with e-portfolio... I’ve invited all of my friends, but they still didn't join my group... I really don't know what I should do if there is no member in my group. How am I going to discuss things with them...? Please help... (S25) Main reasons behind these problems were unfamiliarity with the selected online settings, doubt about the creation procedure, uncertainty about what to post, initial slow response from peers and unavailability of internet connection. The researcher discussed about this issues with course instructor. As per her advice the demonstration of creation procedure was arranged for the second time. Afterward, the researcher closely observed their activity by monitoring the frequency of posting or asking them on a regular basis if they were facing those problems anymore. Gradually they became used to with the procedure and started to post journals or participating in discussion. An example of the created groups and collaborative activities is presented in Fig 1. 108
  5. 5. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention Figure 1: Participant’s Collaborative Activities in Discussion Although each participant was required to post at least one journal entry per week, however, due to the noted constrains along with the semester break they were able to post four journal entries during the data collection period. Even at the end of data collection period, many students were still posting on the journals of first topic. It gives the notion that asking to post journals on too many topics in a short period might not be useful for meaningful discussion as they require sufficient time for that. In addition to the posting of journals, they have visited others’ e-portfolios to reflect on the journals. It allowed them to examine other members’ views of judging a topic which, in turn, added further understanding of the course objectives. Example of an e-portfolio is shown in Figure 2. Journal entries can be divided into two categorizes—firstly, the ‘weekly journals’ where each participant articulated their own opinions on the topic instructed in the previous class and secondly, ‘discussion’ where they argued on others’ opinion. These discussions were included how those issues could be addressed by creating e-portfolios and what could be the pros and cons in this regard. Several participants found e-portfolios as a mediating tool for their development in different ways; however, others were skeptical about its feasibility as they experienced few problems. These issues affirm the voices of interviewees. 109
  6. 6. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention Figure 2: Example of an e-portfolio In journal entries, participants showed their awareness by assessing the current ‘frustrating’ condition of the pre-service teachers’ language skill: Students (are) struggling to construct a proper sentence, not knowing how to complete their assignments which requires a high understanding of English and so on… final year education students are unable to pronounce almost each and every word in the text book correctly and the teacher has to guide them till the end. Isn't it a frustrating thing? And mind you, these students are the ones who are going to teach in schools in another 1 or 2 years time. How are they going to communicate with their students? (s13) Another participant explained the reasons behind this situation: Students of this generation are taught mainly in the Malay language. It is one of the reasons why student nowadays lack English proficiency... For example, all my subjects in school were taught in Malay except for the English paper. We were not given much exposure to the language as the time allocated for English period was just 3-4 hours a week. (S14). Participants supposed that “lecture notes are only not enough” (S03) and pre-service teachers “need experience and more communication” in ‘ordinary’ ESL classes to overcome such situation. Online discussion is useful in this regard as they could have sufficient time to discuss on a topic and share their ideas. They perceived that e-portfolios have the potential to create such online discussion group. In the process of creating e-portfolios they enjoyed discussing with peers to extend their ideas beyond a limited syllabus and to think critically. One participant assert I feel that I should post blog on the topic of discussion. It is extremely beneficial. In ordinary class we do not have sufficient time to discuss and share all our knowledge. Through creating blogs or group, we may continue to discuss. There is no space for shyness in Internet where everyone can share their views and opinions. English language is a language that is beyond a limited syllabus. There are a lot of issues that can be discussed and shared. So, a teacher can 110
  7. 7. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention post different kind of topics on the blog or group and students reply to it. Besides that, students are also learning to criticize. (S6) Other participant voiced similarly: I think e-portfolio do give students more chances to voice out about topics that has been discussed. Plus students are freer to give opinion based on what they have learned and how to improve it as they can argue for some strong reason. Students will have no barriers in posting and receiving comments as they have the power to write (S20) Specifically writing skills can be benefitted by creating e-portfolios: …when someone is involves in the e portfolio, he can gives his opinion, critics from his writing. At the same time, he is able to see others writing, opinion and so on which he can use to compare with his idea or writing. So, from this, he can improve his writing skill and get better grade in his writing. (S18) Communication skill is another competency that might be benefitted from creating e-portfolios: The benefit from this e-portfolio is the development in communication skill. These days, technology and internet become important elements in daily life. As we are now in globalization era where it is a borderless world, internet can allow us to travel to other countries and meet other people from different culture and country. Through e-portfolio, we are not just interacting with Malaysian students but can lead us to various students of other countries. This may give us great opportunity to meet up other people from various backgrounds. We can share our thoughts, opinions, interest and so on. Thus, by interacting with various people of other background; we will automatically improve our communication skill (S12). Participants perceived that e-portfolio can contribute in the development of their ICT skill as well. Creating e-portfolios gave them chance “to use advanced technology” and to be more ‘creative’ (S01). Most importantly, they agreed that learning by creating e-portfolios was very enjoyable process (S10) and can help them to become better-quality teacher. S18 asserted, It (creating e-portfolio) can help me to become a good teacher who is able to provide my future students with interesting learning methods by using various kinds of teaching methods that are able to attract their attentions. In spite of positive aspects, e-portfolio made some constrains as well. S18 described, I do agree it (e-portfolio) helps me somewhat but then in another hand, it also burden me. Internet connectivity is the main problem that I faced, it’s hard to online unless I have to walk outside my hostel or bring my laptop to the lecture hall area. It’s difficult for me to carry this routine every single day. They assumed lack of Internet access is the issue which needs to be considered seriously for the successful implementation of e-portfolios. Since “it is really impossible to get access of internet for 24 hours” in USM (S18), S06 assumed consequently “if one day we as future teacher have to teach in rural area, can we use this method to teach them? I do not think that rural area has a good internet connection”. Time constrain is another issue that impeded them to use e-portfolios more frequently. S01 noted, “We don't have sufficient time everyday to surf Gmail or our group everyday as we do have many other tasks to be done as a university student”. As a result “many students were not able to post comments and views every day” (S20). S12 added, “A lot of time is needed to be spent for updating the page. As a student, I don’t have much spare time to online and concentrate on updating my page. I need to study for my upcoming test, finishing tons of assignment that is given by lecturers and other things as well. Thus, it is burdening for me if we has been asked to upload new topic in 1 or 2 days time” (S12). Findings from Quantitative Data Quantitative survey shows that participants generally perceive e-portfolios positively (Table. 1). The mean scores for the responses indicate pre-service ESL teachers felt interested in developing e-portfolios (mean 4.21) and enjoyed the process as well (mean 3.63). Data indicates that e-portfolios helped them to reflect on learning experiences (mean 4.10) and share it with other participants (mean 4.05). It also confirms that developing the e-portfolios supported their growth toward becoming as reflective thinkers (mean 4.05), enhanced their ICT (mean 3.73), language skills (3.78) and made them aware of their 111
  8. 8. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention condition as a future teacher (mean 3.78). As a result, they felt proud of their work (mean 3.68) after it was finished and felt ownership (mean 3.68) of their e-portfolios. Table 1 Participants’ general perspective toward e-portfolios Std. Items Sum Mean Dev. I felt interested in developing my e-portfolio in the beginning. 80.00 4.21 .63 I have enjoyed the process of developing my e-portfolio 69.00 3.63 .89 I am proud of my work of e-portfolio. 70.00 3.68 .67 I feel ownership of my e-portfolio. 72.00 3.78 .53 E-portfolio helps me ho reflect on my learning experiences 75.00 3.94 .70 E-portfolio helps me to be aware of whom I am as a future 72.00 3.78 .71 teacher. Should be a part of my regular class work 69.00 3.63 .89 E-portfolio presents my best capabilities as a future teacher. 66.00 3.47 .69 E-portfolio helps me open-minded to share my learning 77.00 4.05 .40 experience E-portfolio helps me to become a reflective thinker 77.00 4.05 .70 E-portfolio documents my learning experience 78.00 4.10 .31 E-portfolio helps me to enhance ICT skills 71.00 3.73 .73 E-portfolio helps me to enhance language skills 72.00 3.78 .78 In addition to the general perspective, participants answered to questions of advantages and difficult parts of their learning experiences with e-portfolios (Table 2). In responding to the advantages, participants significantly chose the item ‘completing the course requirements’ (mean 4.31) as the most important purpose which was followed by ‘sharing learning with others’ (mean 4.21) and ‘presenting learning through multiple paths’ (mean 4.05). However, not surprisingly, the mean score of the item ‘portable and easy to update’ is comparatively low (mean 2.73) since the participants were facing the problems with Internet connection. They have given lowest priority on the item ‘important for job interviews’ (mean 2.63). On the other hand, data indicates that participants did not experienced lack of technological skill (mean 2.42). But lack of access and time were considered as the two most difficult parts of creating e-portfolios. 112
  9. 9. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention Table 2 Advantages and difficult parts of creating e-portfolios Advantages Items Sum Mean Std. Dev. Complete the course requirements 82 4.31 .67 Presenting my learning through multiple paths 77 4.05 .62 Sharing my learning with others 80 4.21 .53 Portable and easy to update 52 2.73 .65 Important for job interviews 50 2.63 .76 Difficult part Lack of technology skills 46 2.42 .69 Lack of access 84 4.42 .60 Lack of training 72 3.78 .63 Time demand 81 4.26 .65 However, in the aspects of development and growth, Table 3 clearly indicate that e-portfolios played an important role in the participants’ learning during the data collection period. Finding indicates that participants demonstrated tangible progress in language learning, self assessment and collaborative practices after creating e-portfolios. It helped them to demonstrate what they can do in language learning, understand learning objectives, foster critical thinking, facilitate self-assessment to understand the shortcomings, and enhance language and ICT skills. These made the participants to become more responsible and accountable as a language learner. Data also indicates that the participants also used e- portfolios as a tool of collaborative practices. It could be noted here that this result reaffirms the findings of the qualitative data. In summary, collected exploratory data from qualitative surveys, interviews, journal entries and confirmatory data from quantitative survey reveals similar findings. Participants described several pros and cons of creating e-portfolios in journal entries. For the point of pros, they mentioned that e-portfolios had contributed to understand the course objectives beyond syllabus, helped them to extend the horizon of their knowledge, provided opportunity to discuss with peers, gave enjoyment in learning, developed writing and ICT skills, assisted them to prepare for future job as an ESL teacher etc. On the other hand, lack of Internet access and time constrains were most frequently expressed factors as the cons of creating e-portfolios. However, it can be noted here that such finding from the posted journals reaffirm the voices of interviewees. However, quantitative source similarly denote that participants perceived e- portfolios assertively. Although, they have considered the creation of e-portfolios as a part of their course requirement and faced few difficulties in the process, however, at the end the participants revealed that it facilitated their learning beyond the classroom discussion and contributed in enhancing several competencies which they might require in their future job as ESL teachers. Thus, correlation and comparison of data assisted in establishing the ‘legitimation’ (Onwuegbuzie & Johnson 2006) of the findings and the instruments used and helped in arriving at possible responses to the proposed research questions upon which this study is based. 113
  10. 10. 2nd International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention Table 3 Development and Growth of the participants Items Sum Mean Std. Dev. Assessment Language Learning allowed me to show what I can do in language learning 79 4.15 .76 helped me understand the learning objectives 78 4.10 .56 helped me to assess my language skills 74 3.89 .87 learned ICT skills for future job as ESL teacher 77 4.05 .77 puts more responsibility on me as a language learner 79 4.15 .60 learned how to use ICT to enhance my language learning 76 4.00 .74 measure various learning objectives 76 4.00 .57 more powerful than single measures 69 3.63 .76 increase self-assessment 76 4.00 .66 develop accountability and responsibility 77 4.05 .70 foster critical thinking 79 4.15 .60 Collaborative practice browsed the journals of most of my classmates 67 3.52 1.02 classmates' posting helped to see my learning outcomes 76 4.0 .47 classmates' feedback helped me to reflect on my merits in learning 77 4.05 .70 helped to understand the shortcomings of my learning 77 4.05 .70 enjoyed participating in the discussions 73 3.84 .76 classmates' posting enhanced my understanding 73 3.84 .89 Conclusion This study indicates that the learning experiences of pre-service ESL teachers with e-portfolios were satisfying and fulfilling in spite of few difficulties. They have considered e-portfolios as a meaningful learning tool for enhancement of several competencies and demonstrated tangible development within a short period of time. It gives the notion that it might be a useful way to enhance not only ICT skills but also other prerequisites as future ESL teachers and later to showcase for job market. However, several issues are required to consider for its successful implementation. Theoretically, e-portfolios should be a lifelong learning tool (Vethamani, Kabilan & Khan, 2008), but due to “lack of stickiness” it sometimes ends with “limited success" (Jafari & Kaufman, 2006. p.XXXiii). Regular updating is imperative to reap the actual benefits of e-portfolios. Course instructors’ role can is vital in this regard. They are required to provide “quality and quantity support” (. p.1139) by interacting with students frequently and to recognize the 114
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