Wednesday, April 16, 2008

E-Portfolios Year 2 What I have learned!

The second time around.

For a few years students at Sargent Park School have been doing electronic portfolios. In the past they have used power point to create portfolios that will be shared with their parents at student -led conferences.

Last year the students continued to do the portfolios using power point but I got them to use a wiki to showcase their math work. The students did a parent quiz and then did math work with their parents during the student led conference. the students enjoyed the different take on student led conferences and used bubbleshare, and slideshare to embellish their work. For my first attempt at using wiki’s it was very successful.

This year we decided to do the entire E-portfolios in a wiki and all subjects came on board.

This was an exciting change for me. Normally I was the lone teacher pushing the technology and 21C applications in the school. This year my entire team participated. Great baby steps for advancing 21st Century learning in my school.

Last year for the math e-portfolios I created one site and all students subscribed and submitted pages. This setup had many advantages.
  1. I saw in the history all changes and edits to pages.
  2. Only one site was needed for all student work.
  3. Access was quick and painless to guide parents through the maze of their math e-portfolios.
One of the disadvantages of this setup was that because there was only one wiki if a student saved a file or image that was named the same as another student the file would be rewritten as the most recent upload. (pic1 uploaded on Friday overwrites pic1 that was uploaded on Tuesday.)

This year with the whole team on board I decided a new direction was needed. I had all students create their own wiki to house their e-portfolios. Within each wiki the students would create pages for each of their subjects and embed work and do assignments that showcase their talents.

This then required a host hub to house all of the portfolios. While this sounds well and good it took longer to navigate through the pages and class then last year.

I do not know work better the previous years model of one super site or an edit of this years. I think I like this years model because it allows students to create file names of their choosing and not worry about file deletion. I would however make them use only one page per subject and creatively use a table of contents to navigate through that page. This would streamline the wiki and make it easier to navigate through.

My team members were apprehensive at first but started to warm up to the idea of these e-portfolios when they say the potential of them to show our Grade Eight students learning on the ICT continuum. The province has mandated that we must report to parents using a paper checklist and simple reporting page. These pieces of paper are not true representations of how their child has use ICT this year.

When you see all of our students work this is a representation of ICT learning. Not a piece of paper. It is a great representation of student work. those who did not complete the e-portfolios are definitely lacking ICT readiness. Then there are those who are off the charts creating works of art that demonstrate their strengths. What the portfolios do provide is a place for students to showcase their work over a period a whole year. They are constantly useing their sites as a repo sititory for their work.
Student Work
Jordan 8-16

Judy 8-17

Kate 8-41
Alexandra 8-73

This is a big change from last year. Last years e-portfolios were static and did not see growth after the student led conferences. This years portfolios are works in progress. The students are starting to use them as these new vehicles for their work.

Some of the problems this year showed up in the set up of the portfolios themselves. The portfolios had too may pages for my personal liking. Students instead of making one page for each subject with a table of contents created many pages for one subject. They were well done but took time to navigate through. One page would have been more efficient.

Now back to the team.They saw and see the potential of using wiki’s to showcase student growth and learning. They are eager to see the portfolios start in September when we begin school next year. They have expressed an interest of having portfolio days where we monthly go into the math lab and get the students to showcase their knowledge and work

So what do I recommend for you when it comes to doing e-portfolios.

  1. Use a wiki. It is the best vessel to showcase the knowledge that is students want to display.
  2. Use your network to find the best embeddable tools to showcase learning in different ways.
  3. This year my newest applications were a source of e-paper that allowed students to import their language Arts magazines online.
  4. also a place to publish on line. This site is more glossy and polished than scribed but less searchable. Scribed offers key word searches throughout all their documents.
  5. This is a really interesting site. It allows students to use a screen like a canvas and add voice to what they are describing. My students really liked the ability to add voice to an explanation of a topic.
  6. Without a doubt the best tool out there for educators. You can upload pictures and video to their site and have other members of the class add comments to what you have uploaded. Your comments can be in the form of text, audio of video.

More will be added later. All student portfolios can be found at

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