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The Need for NOW !


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'The Need for NOW! A summary of my presentation prepared for the AAEEBL ePortfolio conference, Boston (MA) July 2010

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The Need for NOW !

  1. 1. ePortfolios – The Need for NOW!<br />Enough of Research Papers and Pilots ! Is it not time to get down to the serious business of ‘ePortfolios for all’?<br />Or a plea for clarification & convergency<br />Ray Tolley<br />AAEEBL Conference - Boston - July 2010<br />1<br />
  2. 2. ePortfolios – The Need for NOW!<br />Five Sections:<br />Exploring a New World<br />ePortfolios and K12<br />Transition & Portability<br />Exploring, exploring!<br />Back to the Future!<br />2<br />
  3. 3. We bring a 19th century mindset<br />to a 21st century technology….<br />and then wonder why we can see<br />no benefit of using the technology.<br />3<br />
  4. 4. BECTA (2006):<br />‘By spring 2008 the DCSF expects your learners<br />to have access to a personal<br />online learning space.’<br />Almost five years ago Becta published a major document outlining its expectations for the adoption of VLEs in mainstream education. However, the references to the incorporation of ePortfolios into Teaching & Learning were extremely minimal:<br />4<br />
  5. 5. BECTA (2006):<br />‘….with the potential to support an ePortfolio (provided by their local authority)’<br />….to support assessment for learning, personalisation….<br />Learner engagement…. ePortfolios…. Tools and services - providing communication tools such asemail, messaging, discussion forums and blogs.<br />5<br />
  6. 6. FirstClass<br />How many different VLEs or MLEs are you aware of? In the UK we have in excess of 40 VLE suppliers, all fighting for our custom. Almost every supplier has a different ePortfolio solution embedded within their VLE – but with little facility for true ‘transition’ or portability – often promising that ‘interoperability’ is the solution that we must wait for:<br />How many differentVLEs do you recognise ?<br />
  7. 7. FirstClass<br />How many differentVLEs do you recognise ?<br />
  8. 8. Joint Information Systems Committee<br />JISC:<br />'An ePortfolio 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.'<br />Note that these JISC definitions are ‘subject neutral’ and therefore serve any age-group or subject discipline.<br /><br />8<br />
  9. 9. Joint Information Systems Committee<br />JISC:<br />Learners create ‘presentational’ ePortfolios through the use of ePortfolio tools or systems, and in the process can be inherently supported to develop one or more key skills such as collecting, selecting, reflecting, sharing, collaborating, annotating and presenting.’<br />Note that these JISC definitions are ‘subject neutral’ and therefore serve any age-group or subject discipline.<br /><br />9<br />
  10. 10. Joint Information Systems Committee<br />JISC:<br />Learners draw from both informal and formal learning activities to create their ePortfolios, which are personally managed and owned by the learner, and where items can be selectively shared with other parties such as peers, teachers, assessors or employers.<br />Note that these JISC definitions are ‘subject neutral’ and therefore serve any age-group or subject discipline.<br /><br />10<br />
  11. 11. From Helen Barrett<br />The following ‘List of Metaphors’ is just the list of headings taken from Dr Helen Barrett’s most challenging page at:<br />I am deeply indebted to Helen for this thought-provoking list. Each point should be meditated upon long and carefully:<br />11<br />
  12. 12. From Helen Barrett<br />Mirror Map Sonnet<br />A Theoretical Act Story Journey<br />Laboratory Test Showcase<br /> Celebration of Learning Across the Lifespan<br /> Comparison with Financial Portfolios<br /> Campfires around which we tell our stories<br />My digital clone My work companion My butler<br />My dashboard My planner Toothbrush<br />My IPR manager Caterpillar Confessional<br />Kaleidoscope Window(s) Tail-end-Charlie<br />Gatekeeper Constant Companion Festival<br />12<br /><br />
  13. 13. learn and pass<br />Eva de Lera identified a number of challenges facing the on-line student, particularly when looking at areas of social deprivation, poor transport etc.<br />Many such barriers are equally true if considering the design of ePortfolio activities:<br />work<br />night study<br />information overload<br />stress<br />family<br />motivation<br />community<br />context<br />rational<br />situation<br />personal preferences<br />13<br />Idea from a dissertation by Eva de Lera, University of Cataluña<br />
  14. 14. contexts<br />Eva de Lera’s solution was to address the whole range of emotions. Similarly, in the design of activities for ePortfolios we should be ensuring that we address the ‘whole person’ by considering all of these headings:<br />needs<br />expectations<br />pleasure<br />feelings<br />physical<br />desires<br />social<br />intellectual<br />fun<br />interests<br />aspirational<br />cognitive<br />rational<br />aesthetics<br />14<br />Idea from a dissertation by Eva de Lera, University of Cataluña<br />
  15. 15. Showcasing – via permissions<br />Gatekeeper – a ‘filter’ on what to present<br />Mentoring – ‘academic God-parents’<br />Collaboration – safely with peers<br />Favourites – my shortcuts/URLs<br />Personal Organisation – an electronic ‘Planner’<br />Planning –both formal and informal<br />Feedback – from ‘friends’ and teachers<br />Reflection – a place for quiet contemplation<br />Monitoring – a personal log of grades, comments<br />Assessment – what I do and how I do it<br />Following on from Dr Helen Barrett’s list of Metaphors, I then decided to list the functions that I would expect from an ePortfolio for my students. So often ePortfolios in HE are described as serving a limited set but why not all of these together and for multiple uses?<br />15<br />
  16. 16. Teaching & Learning has changed for ever. The ePortfolio is capable of bringing many Web2.0 activities together.<br />16<br />For more see:<br />
  17. 17. Subjects<br />Art<br />Careers<br />Design & Technology<br />Drama<br />English Language<br />English Literature<br />Geography<br />History<br />Mathematics<br />MFL<br />Music<br />PSHE<br />Project Work<br />RE<br />Science<br />Sports & PE<br />Pupil Processes<br />Planning<br />Reflection<br />Revisiting<br />Collaboration<br />Mentoring<br />Organising<br />Progression<br />Peer Assessment<br />Preferences<br />Revision<br />External activities<br />Parents & Pupils Day<br />Faculty Review<br />Departmental Moderation<br />Key Stage Review<br />Any time anywhere<br />and Assessment<br />If the ePortfolio is truly learner-owned, it is therefore the pupil’s choice as to what information is shared with others...<br />Who then decides by what criteria each activity is assessed?<br />17<br />
  18. 18. and Assessment<br />Ethical-Spiritual<br />Problem-Identification<br />Problem-Solving<br />Communicating Solutions<br />Gardner’s 8 Intelligences. The 9th may not be given a ‘grade’. <br />The 10th, problem solving, is assessed on three aspects.<br />18<br />
  19. 19. An important book that should be read by anyone who is thinking of using ePortfolios for assessment. A mine of wisdom that helps us to understand what we should be looking at and how we should interpret the artefacts that have been presented to us.<br />Multiple Intelligences<br />AND PORTFOLIOS<br />A WINDOW INTO THE<br />LEARNER’S MIND<br />EVANGELINE HARRIS STEFANAKIS<br />19<br />
  20. 20. One of the first documents to attempt to address the needs of youngsters, particularly in terms of ‘Self-Esteem’.<br />20<br />
  21. 21. 21<br />
  22. 22. Assessment of new forms of work continues to present a challenge to educators and peer reviewers.<br />... assessment is lagging behind creative work. Learning that takes place in interdisciplinary, context-rich environments such as games and simulations is still difficult to evaluate. <br />Capturing a portfolio of work, when much of that work takes place in new media forms like blogs, podcasts, and videos, poses a problem for learners and for professors seeking tenure. <br />It seems that leading experts had little understanding of what the ‘grass roots’ classroom teacher required of an ePortfolio. I therefore set about defining my own set of ‘Prime Directives’:<br />
  23. 23. For more on each of the above criteria see document:<br />23<br />
  24. 24. ‘Transition’ is far too easily dismissed as a one-step process from school to college but a ‘Lifelong’ portfolio must continue, lifelong!<br />24<br />
  25. 25. The one eFolio is capable of multiple transitions, maturing with the learner and reflecting the chosen style of the owner.<br />25<br />
  26. 26. The problem is that parents often do not know what goes on in school, and for that matter teachers are not always aware of how much support is available at home. The ePortfolio is the perfect medium for communi-cating quite subtle information.<br />26<br />
  27. 27. Six year-olds (well the two in red) adding comments to their VLE-based ePortfolios in their classroom.<br />27<br />Screenshot from a Becta case-study of Newhaven school (UK)<br />
  28. 28. The same eFolio can continue throughout life – it is truly Lifelong. As I often say, “If my mother-in-law can do it....”<br />28<br />
  29. 29. A unique example, using eFolio to establish ePortfolio communication between the islands and the mainland!<br />29<br />
  30. 30. Westminster Researches ePortfolios as Assessment Tool<br />SALT LAKE CITY – Take a quick quiz:<br />Which is the best way to evaluate student learning:<br />a.) a multiple choice test,<br />b.) an essay,<br />c.) a group project, or<br />d.) a student-developed electronic portfolio? <br />30<br />
  31. 31. Westminster Researches ePortfolios as Assessment Tool<br />Additionally, employers want more and better evidence than can be provided by grades alone. <br />They want to know the degree to which college graduates have the skills needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world. <br />Through the use of ePortfolios, students collect and display artifacts of their best work relative to particular learning goals.<br />These artifacts are then examined and evaluated by faculty.<br />31<br />
  32. 32. Sarah Stewart, Midwife consultant, blogger, author and ePortfolio enthusiast<br />Communities of practice are beginning, out of necessity, to establish their own ePortfolio systems despite the fact that they are not portable.<br />32<br />
  33. 33. At a time when researchers are asking this very question of "How can we ensure 'buy-in' of our ePortfolio system?" the fundamental issue is that of the vision of the teacher to realise that the ePortfolio will support the teaching and learning strategies of the modern classroom<br /> - and to realise that ePortfolio learning must embrace social learning but can also deliver it in an e-safe and documented way.<br />33<br />
  34. 34. “If you want young people to use an ePortfolio, then work out what it needs to do for them that goes beyond Facebook.<br />But don't try to impose an ePortfolio system that pupils will only interact with under duress.”<br />Roger Broadie<br />34<br />
  35. 35. If participants do not quickly see the utility of their involvement, or if they can’t recognize a return on their engagement, they will quickly drop out.<br />A clear articulation of purpose, easy access for all participants, a meaningful incentive system, and allowance for casual interaction among participants are key factors to a social learning network’s success.<br />There are many sources of good advice related to distance learning which equally relate to ePortfolio practice.<br />35<br />
  36. 36. What is Reflection?<br />Far too often we hear of ePortfolios as being good for reflection but, in reading on, I usually get the feeling that authors see reflection as purely introspection. Not that introspection is a bad thing, but reflection can be so much more, particularly when supported by a good ePortfolio.<br />“Reflection is connected deeply with portfolios, as a portfolio can act as the record of the experience or event, and can act both as a prompt for reflection and as a factor towards the accuracy of later recollection."<br />Similarly, many books on ePortfolios have individual gems of real insight, as in this book by Simon Grant.<br />36<br />
  37. 37. Perhaps the first thing I learnt from his book is that if I was not to totally overdo this assessment thing and make myself a nervous wreck I first needed to plan when to assess in terms of my ongoing delivery, teaching and learning styles. <br />Formative assessment is about planning to meet students at their point of need.<br />However, the ePortfolio can provide a scaffold for students to follow their personal plan for formative assessments with places for feedback as and when planned by the individual. <br />37<br />
  38. 38. “It is an immutable law of business that words are words, promises are promises, but only performance is reality.”<br />Harold Geneen<br />“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”<br />Albert Einstein <br />Again, many books on broader educational topics often turn up gems of wisdom that can be applied to ePortfolio thinking.<br />38<br />
  39. 39. <ul><li>Authoritative contributions by 104 of the world’s leading experts,
  40. 40. Compendium of over 370 terms with detailed definitions,
  41. 41. More than 800 comprehensive references on existing literature and research on ePortfolios,
  42. 42. An impressive ‘who’s who’ of the ePortfolio world,
  43. 43. Organised in every which-way imaginable. </li></ul>An impressive and expensive collection of reports but unfortunately does not appear to give many hints for the future.<br />39<br />
  44. 44. An ePortfolio is frequently seen as a space for electronically compiling and storing student work. After completing assignments, students generally submit their ePortfolio to an instructor, prospective employer, or other assessor. <br />This chapter questions if the typical use of ePortfolios could be modified to create opportunities to encourage students (elementary school through graduate school) to engage in critical thinking, and provide feedback to their peers. <br />40<br />
  45. 45. This chapter considers how ePortfolios can support four aspects of lifelong learning in the knowledge economy: (1) engagement with technology, (2) representations of identity, (3) developing critical multiliteracies, and (4) global and local mobility.<br />It argues that the focus should be on lifelong learners’ capacity to create and communicate with digital technologies, rather than on rigid frameworks that reduce ePortfolio development to a series of pre-packaged choices.<br />41<br />
  46. 46. Some excellent activity on the careers front but a very narrow focus which a true ePortfolio could overcome.<br />42<br />
  47. 47. European and National Lifelong Learning Policy has emphasised the importance of the Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning since European Union [EU] Member States agreed the Common European Principles for Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning in 2004. <br />The Recognition of Prior Learning Outcomes [RPLO] is a common issue in the national systems of the UK as well as in EU partner countries, with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority Recognition of Prior Learning Guidance for the Qualifications and Curriculum Framework. <br />See document, ‘The Learning Revolution’ for more on Adult Learning<br />43<br />
  48. 48. The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) aims to encourage all adults to engage in learning of all kinds.<br /><ul><li>running high-profile campaigns such as Adult Learners' Week and Quick Reads
  49. 49. delivering high quality development and research work
  50. 50. supplying expert consultancy, advice and support services
  51. 51. supporting networking with practitioners, policy-makers and researchers
  52. 52. publishing leading books and journals
  53. 53. disseminating specialist information
  54. 54. providing flexible and personalised training courses</li></ul>I desperately want to see ePortfolios used throughout the whole spectrum of learners. But little progress is evident.<br />44<br />
  55. 55. Final Report now available - Click Here <br />45<br />
  56. 56. ePortfolios work best when embedded into the curriculum from the outset.<br />Discussions with awarding bodies directed towards achieving synergy between assessment and ePortfolio-based learning could deliver major benefits for work-based and vocational learners.<br />46<br />
  57. 57. In the development of practice with ePortfolios, the enrichment of learning opportunities and experiences should lead technological innovation, not follow it. <br />At the same time, ePortfolio tools need to be placed within the wider e-learning toolbox. <br />47<br />
  58. 58. Support should be sought to extend pilots of ePortfolio-based learning into further areas of vocational learning, especially where they would enhance employability; <br />e.g. self-employment courses, Guideline Careers and schools, Recognition/ Accreditation of Prior [Experiential] Learning.<br />48<br />
  59. 59. The government's vision is to ensure that all pupils in state maintained education in England have the opportunity to have access to computers and internet connectivity for education at home.<br /><ul><li>Improving learning and achievement
  60. 60. Motivating and engaging children
  61. 61. Encouraging independence and creativity
  62. 62. Connecting learning at school and at home
  63. 63. Helping parents and carers get more involved. </li></ul>What with every school having a proper VLE and all families with Home Access ePortfolios now become a realistic national possibility.<br />49<br />
  64. 64. ePortfolios – The Need for NOW!<br />The previous pages are an attempt to show that ‘convergence’ is possible, that my ‘Prime Directives’ are realistic and that the joint wisdom from many sources should be rationalised into a realistic Mission Statement capable of adoption by all schools.<br />See<br />50<br />