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Adopting ePortfolios For All Cluster Members

Year level - Primary
Cluster Type - Traditional ICT PD Cluster

Context - School progress towards achieving Goal 3

National Goal

Teachers to integrate e-learning effectively into their practice creating an innovative and exciting learning environment for all students

Cluster Goals 

  • Teachers will include an element of e-learning in the planning of and delivery of teaching and learning programmes.
  • To have every teacher share a goal with a peer that includes a strategy(s) for developing an engaging learning environment.
  • To provide opportunities for teachers to be a participant in a class as an observer learner within and across schools.

Focus

Teachers to integrate e-learning effectively into their practice creating an innovative and exciting learning environment for all students

Rationale

Our main goal during the first year of the contract was to develop teacher capability. While we knew that we were making progress in this area, it was felt that there was a need for a common thread,-something for which we were all working towards. EPortfolios seemed to be the appropriate choice since many teachers were keen to start using them with their students. Rather than have students making the ePortfolios as the common thread, which would have been too big a step for some of our teachers, Teacher ePortfolios became our goal. Principals of the 7 schools agreed that all teachers in the schools would be expected to maintain an ePortfolio.

What did we do?

Towards the end of our first year in the cluster, there was interest shown by some of our teachers in students making ePortfolios.

  • Rebecca Trafford who initiated this interest was invited to present at our cluster mini conference. She brought some of her students with her.
  • Many teachers were inspired by the way the students could clearly articulate their learning goals, the steps needed to achieve them, and their reflections on their own learning.
  • Feedback was given to the students by both teacher and parents and the wider Whanau. The students valued their ePortfolios and saw them as an organic tool that could continue with
    them through their school journey.

This year the first step was to consider a range of eportfolio options. This was a major focus of the 22 members of the cluster attending the learning@school conference. Following the conference each school decided how the ePortfolios would be introduced at their schools.

A range of platforms are being used within the cluster:

  • Reignier School, Greenmeadows School and Arthur Miller School are using Spike@School.
  • Taradale Intermediate School is using KnowledgeNet
  • Porritt School is using My Portfolio
  • Eskdale School and Meeanee School are using PowerPoint.

What happened?

  • Lead teachers were given the task to introduce the idea of personal ePortfolios for all staff members. It would be fair to say that this was not a simple undertaking and required quite a lot of passion,energy and support from both lead teachers and facilitators.
  • All principals undertook to start their own ePortfolios. Their reflections can be viewed here
  • All teachers have begun their ePortfolios
  • Lead teachers agreed to do most of the reflection for sharing.
  • Some teachers started ePortfolios with their students.

e-Portfolios
Porritt  School

After attending a workshop run by Carolyn Stewart the school decided to use My School My Portfolio. Lead teacher Tony Parker comments on this decision


 Here, using Jing, Tony reflects on his own ePrtfolioand shool progress..

At Arthur Miller School

Teachers have been made aware that any content within their ePortfolio’s reflective journal is publicly available and may be shared with others. We are encouraging teachers to view their colleague’s reflective journals, looking for commonalities and sharing triumphs and frustrations by leaving comments on the journal of a fellow staff member.

What  we learn?

  • Teachers need to be given time and support to gain the necessary confidence in setting up, maintaining and  appreciating the value of ePortfolios
  • Necessary infrastructure and equipment needs to be in place.
  • Teacher ePortfolios have allowed a number of things to happen.

    • Teachers are becoming familiar with the ePortfolio tool and how it works i.e. developing teacher capability. For some teachers this is a big step in itself and important if there is the intention of using ePortfolios with students. (Some of our confident teachers have begun working on ePortfolios with their students.)
    • The ePortfolio is a reflective journal. Some schools are using the ePortfolio to reflect on another focus within their school such as written language. This has been a means of hooking reluctant teachers into the idea. Alongside that, there will be the elearning thread.

Next Steps:

In many ways we are still at the beginning of our ePortfolio journey. It has been a challenge selling the concept to some of our teachers. This quote was used our cluster conference.

In reality we are only a few weeks into this project however we can see progress at a number of levels. Experienced teachers extending their own and student capabilities as well as some of the more reticent adopters beginning to see that the idea is not as onerous as was first expected and that there is actually merit in what they are doing.

  • Continue to develop the content and extend the sharing of the reflections
  • Continue to support teachers and principals with the development of their E-portfolios through visits to schools, meetings and online feedback.
  • Begin the teacher observations.

Additional Resources:
http://electronicportfolios.org/   - Helen Barrett's blog on e-portfolios
process
http://nickrate.com/2010/12/13/dimensions-and-dashboards/ -Nick's eLearning Infusion page
http://www.core-ed.org/breakfasts/breakfast-seminar-nick-rate-eportfolios - Nick's presentation


Comments

  • Tessa Gray

    I have really enjoyed reading this summary, especially your processes for empowering teachers by taking them through the e-portfolio (reflective journey) process themselves first. Also, having a mentor to share what effective practice might look like in this area – has also been a powerful catalyst for change.

    Another powerful enabler has been your passionate leaders guiding the rest of the staff. Principals walking the talk can be a great motivation for teachers to follow and your story is an inspiration for other leaders - who might be thinking about introducing e-portfolios into their schools.

    Your findings from this reflective summary, provide some insights other schools can benefit from. No doubt your thinking and practice has changed since writing this summary, I look forward to the updates Smile