ePortfolios … or maybe not? April 23, 2013Posted by IaninSheffield in Resources, Teaching Idea, Tools.
Yesterday I posted a speculative tweet:
Wondering if anyone is using a good eportfolio system they could recommend?
— Ian Guest (@IaninSheffield) April 22, 2013
Several people were kind enough to respond, but it quickly became clear how open I’d left the question. Since some responses revealed avenues I might not have otherwise considered, that actually proved to be rather serendipitous. (More about the responses in a post to follow). So perhaps it would be more sensible to outline what we’re actually looking for and see whether anyone can suggest other alternatives I’d not even considered.
Where we are
For some while now, we’ve been concerned that we don’t have a formal system:
- through which students can record participation in co-curricular, school- and non-school-based activities, other than a brief section in their planner.
- by which staff (curriculum, pastoral and leadership) can monitor and/or comment on student activity and participation, other than by checking individuals’ planners.
- which feeds the aforementioned data into our reporting system. This process is currently a summative event undertaken by form tutors in negotiation with the students and for various reasons significant facts sometimes get missed.
- which will provide an overview of all activity being undertaken and/or filtered down by for example Year group, interest category etc.
Where we want to go
So in summary we’re looking for a solution which:
- allows students to record participation in co-curricular activities (long-term and fine-grained):
- in different ways: online, by email, text(?)
- in different forms: text, photos, scans, links
- allows students to search, filter, organise, edit and append their records
- is longitudinal, following students through school, year on year
- can be monitored, searched and filtered by staff
- allows staff to see summaries:
- for different groups of students
- under different categories
- over time
- feeds information into our reporting system
- potentially at least, allows the students to leave school and take their record with them.
The above constitute our “Essentials” whilst the following might be considered “Desirables.” We need a mechanism which will:
- showcase academic/mainstream curriculum work
- allow staff to comment/provide feedback
- allow peers to view/comment/contribute
- allow ‘outsiders’ to view: parents, potential employers, admissions tutors
- allow outsiders to contribute, comment etc e.g. work experience feedback.
Now the more astute amongst you will recognise that the essential criteria don’t precisely constitute an eportfolio. JISC1 summarises things quite succinctly:
…an e-portfolio is a product created by learners, a collection of digital artefacts articulating learning (both formal and informal), experiences and achievements.
the operation of which can be represented diagrammatically as:So if we go looking for an off-the-shelf eportfolio system, will it be over-specified for what we need? Or maybe there are no eportfolio (or other) systems which do offer the specific functionalities we need? As Frasier would say “I’m listening.”