An excellent comment response from Aaron at Teacher In Development to my post An E-Portfolio - Who Is It For? My point about the potential audience for any portfolio has really got him thinking. But he backs up his original position well by stating that a portfolio can be put together for more than one audience as long as the portfolio starts with the individual.
I think an ePortfolio’s primary audience should be the one developing it. If it is being developed as a tool of reflection and a way for students to show what they know, or show how they are developing, then I think first of all, it’s all for them.
I can appreciate that point of view - it would work for me. I think it would work for Aaron's students too. But how will it work for the students I teach in my school aged between 5 and 13? I'm a bit apprehensive about kids of that age being able to construct a portfolio of their own choice without a lot of guidance. Not saying it can't work and work well at that but I think portfolios at that age range need a fair bit of structure and teacher guidance. And for teachers to do that well, they need to be familiar with the whole process. Educators need to develop and maintain their own professional e-portfolio. What that could look like is a whole new ballgame. Educators' portfolios should be as individual as they are while a standardised format might be really helpful for younger students in the primary years. I found this decription of what a professional portfolio should look like from D'Arcy Norman to be particularly succinct.
That’s not really what a portfolio should be - it’s best used as a showcase for an individual. I picture the portfolio as being closer to the job interview than the resume. It’s a creative proxy for an individual, not a standardized data transmission vector.
I really need to re-visit my notes from Dr.Helen Barrett and start putting something together. This would qualify as my reflective component - what about the rest of you out there reading this? (6 subscribers in Bloglines at last count) Do you have an e-portfolio and how's it travelling?
Ironically, I don’t have a canned piece of content that I can say “here is my ePortfolio” – I end up thinking of my blog as my ePortfolio, pulling in bits from Flickr, del.icio.us, and my outboard brain. I’ve got some ideas on how to create a more packaged presentational ePortfolio out of those tools, though…
Thanks for your input, D’Arcy. I’m listening to your podcast on this very topic as I type and I think personally, the small-pieces-loosely-joined approach is what’ll work for me. As for primary school aged kids, I’m still not sure.
I am a graduate student in New Jersey about to start my student teaching semester. Like most other places, the schools with which I am associated are moving in fits and starts with actual use of technology for not-just-technology’s sake. There is also rampant fear of predators preventing the use of blogs and other ‘open’ communication tools. Making the use of technology an assignment will ruin it for everyone. My plan is to model the use of technologies I like (blogs, RSS, Podcasts, flikr etc.) and make them available to my students (and their parents!) to try out on their own. Last semester my practicum class (one day a week in a school) required a journal (one entry per visit). I decided to blog it instead. The response from the supervisors and my cooperating teacher was fabulous and very encouraging.
I keep a “blogfolio” at http://danielsblogfolio.blogs.ie
The jury is still mostly out about its general utility. To me the most useful aspect of it is the comments that come from colleagues regarding my reflections. However as one blogger/teacher pointed out, most folks are just readers of blogs and not really commenters, so how useful is this aspect really?
Employers (present and potential) don’t seem to be interested in whether I have a portfolio of any kind. An informal survey I conducted among 50+ EFL teachers demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of them have never been asked to present a portfolio of any kind for an interview for a teaching position. I also have never been asked for one. Folks simply don’t have the time to look at them, even if they’re online.