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ePortfolio Support Site 2014

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  • What is an ePortfolio?

    ePortfolio uses in Education

    According to Dr. Helen Barrett, PhD. (2006), an ePortfolio "provides an environment where students can: collect their work in a digital archive; select specific pieces of work (hyperlink to artifacts) to highlight specific achievements; reflect on the learning demonstrated in the portfolio, in either text or multimedia form; set goals for future learning (or direction) to improve; and celebrate achievement through sharing this work with an audience, whether real or virtual." (http://electronicportfolios.org/web20.html#web2).

    In education ePortfolios serve three main functions:

    ePortfolios for Learning

    Provide an environment for you to reflect deeply about your learning, telling the story of your growth over time, through samples of your work, often using a reflective journal that is structured like a blog.

    • Personal Learning Environment (PLE)

    A variation on this type of portfolio is used for personal and professional development planning, helping you envision your preferred future.

    The student is the primary audience for this type of portfolio, helping them recognize their past achievements, plan for their future development, and highlighting their strengths and talents.

    ePortfolios for Personal Branding and Self-Marketing

    Showcase skills and samples of work to potential employers, customers, or graduate schools.  This type of personal website can provide an alternative web presence to social networks, helping build a positive digital identity.

    ePortfolios for Assessment/Accountability

    Used by educational institutions to document achievement, sometimes replacing or supplementing standardized tests, or more traditional forms of evaluation. This type of showcase portfolio can be developed for individual or institutional assessment, and often requires a system for collecting quantitative evaluation data.

    Proprietary ePortfolio services versus multiplatform ePortfolios integrating common web tools

    There are a number of excellent proprietary commercial services which provide users with a set number of tools to create ePortfolios. While these have certain advantages, such as ease of use and a central management system, they can be very prescriptive and limit you to a fairly formulaic range of processes. They can also be expensive to use and often make it difficult to export your data to another system, as they want to lock you into a contract with them. At a conceptual level, an ePortfolio should be totally portable, i.e. once you leave your school or university, you should be able to take your ePortfolio with you into the workforce, without having to pay for the priviledge.

    ePortfolios are also meant to encourage critical and reflective thinking, therefore, from a philisophical perspective, your ePortfolio should be built critically. You should be independently and collaboratively analysing the pros and cons of the platforms you are using, to decide whether to continue using them, or to move your data somewhere better. As an educator in the 21st Century, you should be constantly analysing and assessing the merits of the digital tools you are using in the classroom. It makes sense that you should be looking at the tools you use to represent yourself to your community in the same way.

    This site has been designed to help you make informed decisions, it is a launching pad for you and your classmates to develop your own solutions and design an ePortfolio that best represents you, using the software you choose. Make sure to read through it and also contribute to the forums for each section, so that other students can learn from your decisions. We will also be reading the forums to learn from you as well, and will update the site accordingly.

    For further reading check out this post by Dr. Helen Barrett on Authentic assessment with electronic portfolios using common software and web 2.0 tools.

  • Some examples of ePortfolios

    ePortfolios for learning

    URL High school biology student

    Personal branding ePortfolios

    URL Nicholas Clark

    URL Dean Fisher

    URL Drew McWhorter

    Hybrids (ePortfolios for learning + personal branding)

    URL Max Coombes

     

  • Tools to build your ePortfolio

    In order to produce an effective ePortfolio you will need to be doing 3 main things with the following tools:

    1. Reflecting on learning opportunites, planning and getting feedback from peers and mentors to develop your own Personal Learning Environment (PLE).
      • For this you will need to choose a blogging tool to create a reflective journal.
    2. Creating and gathering supplementary resources for your PLE.
      • To do this you should be using a variety of software and online tools to create images, videos, graphs, quizzes, spreadsheets, etc., whatever you think will help achieve the task you have set for yourself or have been given.
    3. Presenting items from 1 & 2 for assessments and to help with job applications (ePortfolio for assessment and self-marketing).
      • This 'final product' will be your actual ePortfolio. All the resources you have been collecting, sharing and reflecting on will at some point need to be organised and selectively presented to somebody. That somebody might be your lecturer, fellow students or future employer, so you will want to choose a tool that can present different views to different audiences.

    Tools

    Here are our top five picks, and a list of recommended tools and services to create your own custum-built ePortfolio. Each recommendation will have a description of its use, a checklist rating its performance as an ePortfolio tool, as well as links to helpful tutorials and information to help you achieve your goals.

    Our top 5

    1. WordPress
    2. Blogger
    3. Tumblr
    4. Google Sites
    5. LiveBinders
    'One-stop shops'

    A couple of tools can be used independently or as an integrated suite to create an ePortfolio from scratch, all in one place. This does not necessarily mean they are the best solution for every job, but this approach may feel more cohesive for some.

    1. Google Drive (Blogger for reflective journal tasks + Google Sites for presentations + Google Docs for supplementary tasks)
    2. Wordpress (the reflective journal task and presentations can be managed from Wordpress thanks to its superior navigation and ability to categorise content thematically)
    3. Weebly (if you're willing to pay money, Weebly will deliver all the functionality you require to create blogs and present information, however you want to whoever you want, and becomes much more user-friendly)