Week Four – ePortfolios

Portfolios have been used over time to highlight the work that a student has completed and also show that they have made progress from the start of a subject to the end of it. Schools nowadays have been more aware of the effectiveness of portfolios for students to reflect, however, drawing from personal experiences I never got the chance to receive a portfolio until nearing the end of my primary school years. This gave me an implication on what to improve on because I was going to be critiqued by parents and teachers at parent-teacher interviews. I personally think that portfolios would be a great thing to implement in my own classroom one day as it allows me to track a student’s improvements (or lack thereof).

After reading this week’s reading about “Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios” by Helen C. Barrett, I learned that ePortfolios were flexible because they were available to be accessed anywhere in the world as technology advances. I was also inspired to know that there were two purposes for a portfolio – showcase and workspace (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Diagram used in the reading to show the branching of two faces of ePortfolios.
Image originally from: http://electronicportfolios.com/balance/Balancing.jpg

I learnt that workspace is the process where the student is continually learning, whereas showcase was where students were held accountable for their work and allowed the students to create an evaluation on what they learnt over a time frame. Overall, the entirety of the portfolio highlighted progress and works were placed for display.

In the reading, the author mentions about three stages of ePortfolio development. Although it is a building process, there are some advantages and disadvantages I could pick out from the stages. For example, I thought that the amount of teacher input in the first stage wasn’t giving the students the independence they would require to grow, but without the teacher’s direction, there would be no structure to a student’s portfolio. Another is that student’s only get one curriculum area to focus on (again, this could be argued to be good that they learn to focus on one at a time, but bad that they don’t get a variety of sources). There were many more mentioned in the classroom discussion but I haven’t posted it here.

All in all, this reading has enlightened me to the idea of implementing a portfolio to keep track of student’s work in the future (after being a pre-service teacher of course). ePortfolios are definitely something to consider in the classroom as it can be easily accessed (away from the classroom). However, I would love to see this in action during practicum visits – it would give me more of a taste as to how I could manage this. This reading has given me a lot of food for thought.

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