Online 6 – Course V – Final Project submission
ePortfolios in Your Classroom by Digging Out of a Digital Hole
Sit back and enjoy, thank you for joining me on this journey.
As part of the Digital Portfolio Task Force, 2ag and a team of educators attempted to completely change the way Grade Two students engage with their ePortfolios. All initiatives were centered on improving student learning. We examined how to better utilize iPads when contributing content and also how to improve quality of our video by enriching content accessibility and connectivity of our ePortfolios by adding tags and categories. Most importantly, we examined what role our ePortfolios played in a student’s learning over the entire course of a student’s educational career. The goal was evolution of our practice.
It is clear that there are many options for ePortfolios and that schools have chosen their platform carefully to reflect their philosophy of digital assessment. An example of this is both ICS and ISZL which carefully chose their platforms after a lengthy vetting process. Most schools which feel they are successful using ePortfolios are in some kind of 1-1 iPad or laptop program. The platforms which made up the majority of my feedback came from three options: EduBlog, Google Sites and Seesaw. For a more in-depth break down you can read ePortfolios in Your Classroom: Results & Analysis which discusses the use and experience from international Educators. Personally Power schools split between edublogs use in Lower Primary and Google Sites in Upper Primary has come at the end of a three-year investigation by the school into what platforms work best with our assessment philosophy.
While introducing the Digging Out of a Digital Hole ePortfolio Task Force was introduced in a three-stage process. Firstly with the students in my classroom who are the constituents who this initiative affects the most. I have long shared my CoETaIL participation with them and they were extremely excited to take a leadership role in the project. My opening blog post included characters which were very familiar to them. Mr. Douglas Beard, who is the man behind the hypnotizing circle and our class traveled to the Tinguely Museum to shoot the video which accompanied the announcement of our plan. While rooting their attention in the familiar and by making the students the central player in this initiative; I had great buy in from my class and they responded positively throughout the process. The second tier of participation involved my professional Learning network as a whole. By utilizing multiple platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ in addition to frequent blogging, allowed me to spread the word to those that could help us, had challenges of their own or were interested in the subject matter. The third pillar was of course our schools’ staff, students and ideology. It helped enormously that I was able to tie my project into the natural ebs and flows of the school. At ICS, our wave is cresting at the perfect moment, a three-year trial culminating with the adoption of digital portfolios in all classrooms from September. Implementing the planning, research and personal experience of the practitioners brought ePortfolio dialogue to the fore in the staffroom and during faculty meetings. It was the perfect environment to launch my DODH initiative into and I benefited from much support throughout the process.
The students are quite excited and their enthusiasm made the project engaging. They now feel empowered in their learning and confidently apply skills and strategies to enhance their own portfolios.
I do feel that my project met its stated goals of transforming practice within a Grade 2 classroom. Portfolio posts now contain greater detail in student reflection and presentation. The feedback that I received from across the school about how each individual’s portfolio works was fascinating. Particularly of note was that Secondary Schools do not run portfolios and that Primary Teachers are doing an excellent job of transferring ownership and promoting accountability from the students who managed their accounts themselves. Although I feel like I could have done a better job interacting with my Professional Learning Network in sustained conversations during this process, looking back over the entire CoETaIL course there is no question that I have met my goal of catching up to current practice In this digital epoch. I now have a healthy Professional Learning Network which I access and collaborate with on several activities such as the global Book Project. Sustained interactions on Twitter are commonplace, though unfortunately not as fully developed for this project. Google Plus still is a platform which I have yet to embrace. All of that being said I really wanted to get a sense of what is happening across the world when it comes to digital assessment. Feedback I received came from across the world allowing me to get a better understanding of really how successful are own program is. We are doing a lot of things right and I feel that the small nuances I focused on in my initiative was able to explore enhance that understanding. Making sure that people had access to the policy and procedural documents is key because it allows the user to progress at their own pace. With scaffolded guidance for those that are new to the platform or timid in their belief in their own ability a successful transition is expected. To me, that is a success.
This project it’s beneficial to take a moment to reflect upon what I learned. Next time I would involve my external Professional Learning Network earlier and take more advantage of my CoETaIL support group. I know that the key to receiving interactions is to give them and that is an area is where I can show future growth in order to strengthen my connections. Surprisingly my use of Twitter has dropped off as the project took hold. Instead of Tweeting out the fact that each post had been completed, I missed opportunities for collaboration.
I’m very thankful for the help in the support of my colleagues during this process I have been excited to share the results of the survey with them through the ePortfolios in Your Classroom: Results & Analysis. The sharing of materials in the DODH Resource Repository is another way for me to share some progress from this initiative. By openly asking for contributions to share with in the ePortfolio community made the opportunity to share resources and results in return very easy. I have taken special care to make all of my manipulatives, data, strategies and learning open to anyone who could benefit.
My greatest learning in this course is that it is a process. A quality product takes investment of time and resources, though ultimately the users will drive it. Aside from the fact that there is an artificial deadline due to the conclusion of CoETaIL for our ePortfolios initiative; in all reality this is just the start of its impact within my classroom on teaching and learning. Ideas not yet implemented or even fully formed, will percolate into practice with favourable results. Connections across our educational field have been established and will strengthen in the coming decades.
When considering whether this implementation meets the definition of redefinition, in order to say yes, you must realistically find a demographic for each of the descriptors.
- Substitution: the computer substitutes for another technological tool, without a significant change in the tool’s function.
- Augmentation: the computer replaces another technological tool, with significant functionality increase.
- Modification: the computer allows for the redesign of significant portions of a task to be executed. Such as recording student thinking and understanding buy a video and easy to use manipulatives To enhance their content and saves the most precious resource In a classroom: time.
- Redefinition: the computer allows for the creation of new tasks, inconceivable without the computer. Real time assessment and easy to access examples of student work. viewable by students teachers and parents alike. Assessment can shift much closer to the speaking and listening spectrum of the curriculum which is actually a benefit as traditionally it is the least planned for element of language learning.
In conclusion, we are all at different stages of a journey which takes place on a continuum not a destination. A positive attitude and a willingness to learn and apply new understanding is all it takes to move into those two upper tiers of modification and redefinition. Embracing change is an essential element to being a lifelong learner and deft practitioner. This has been a positive process and I am very happy that it has been rooted within the classroom and centered on student learning. I will be a better educator as long as I remember that core principle. Thank you to all who helped me during this journey. I am pleased to enter into another phase of our collaborations.