Tag Archives: ePortfolios

ePortfolios, Assessment and Transition Issues⤴

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Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about a CPD session I attended on Building the Curriculum 5 : A Framework for Assessment while I was on secondment.

At the time, I wrote:

……We looked at how we might put this in to practice and were given a scenario so that we could assess an aspect of Literacy. After some discussion we looked at emerging approaches to assessment .

These come with a ‘warning’ message:

However, in their day-to-day practice, practitioners would not be expected to document the assessment process for all learners in this kind of detail. It will be up to local authorities and establishments to decide how evidence of learning is to be captured, evaluated and used to inform next steps in learning and teaching.”

At the time, I thought that, as it’s just not possible to provide that much detail about each student’s learning without compromising learning and teaching time, might we end up going back to paying lip-service to assessment (PLP’s, Self-assessment, Peer-assessment, etc.)?

I wondered what would happen if students were allowed (encouraged/trusted/guided?) to assess their own learning via ePortfolios?

Now that I’m back in class and have set up (emerging?) ePortfolios using Glow Wikis , I’m keeping an eye out to see how the students in my class are using them. Although the children all set out to record their achievements inside and outside of school – as demonstrated introductory statemements (Anna’s is embedded below), assessing your own learning is more complex.


Yesterday at school, however, I had an interesting conversation with Mason.

We’d been doing some work on decimals and I gave them a small slip of paper home with some examples (not something I would normally do – but the ‘homework’ issue is for another blog post!).

Mason mentioned that his was on his ePortfolio. I was confused at the time, but I was pleasantly surprised when I had a look later to see how he’d used his (boring?) homework and his ePortfolio as a vehicle to self-assess his learning in maths.

I am good at maths and I am especially good at decimals. I just started decimals a couple of days ago and I am finding it really easy to understand.Here is my maths homework from today (5.5.11).

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I took this picture with apple’s ipod touch 4th generation. I also enjoy doing adding. Out of adding,subtracting and dividing, adding would have to be my favourite. Fractions are my least favourite.My teacher,mrs.V told me and my class that decimals are easier than fractions.”

Thanks Mason – your ePortfolio post told me lots more about your understanding of decimals (and your ability/liking of photography) than your little slip of paper alone handed in on time would have done :-)

Although, like Jaye ,I’ve seen blogs and wikis peter out in the past when children move from Primary School to Secondary, I’m hoping that they won’t ‘wither on the vine in Secondary School’ this time as Jaye predicts in her recent comment on here .

My fingers are crossed that the children understand the potential of their ePortfolios and use them ‘just because’ .. just like Mason did :-)

ePortfolios and Transition Stages⤴

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My last post ended with a remark about what the future holds for for our class emerging ePortfolios. I was delighted that Jaye Richards took the time to write an indepth comment to the post shortly after reading it – it was Jaye, after all, who inadvertently led me to the concept of ePortfolios via twitter … and I’ve been sold on the idea ever since :-)

 I made an attempt to reply to her comment but after reading her follow-up blog post on the subject and her thought-provoking accounts of her own experiences, I decided that another blog post on here was the best way to reply. She got me thinking about the stumbling blocks that have been encountered when children I’ve taught in the past have moved on to High School. I also went on a trip down memory lane this evening and experienced (again) some of the frustrations that Jaye talks about in her post.  I’ll quote from Maryam’s transition blog posts to try to demonstrate what I mean.

  • Towards the end of primary 7 at Carronshore, Maryam wrote on her blog” My favourite thing ever is English. I love reading and writing. They are the only two things that are important too me. I have been writing quite alot of posts about reading and writing, well i just love writing and stuff. …. I can’t wait to get to high school  to ask my English teacher for advice for getting really good ideas. “
  • In this blog post she describes the excitement as her entry to High School looms ever closer: “I can’t believe we have finished primary school already! Its a bit quick. Well we still have a couple of weeks left of school but it doesn’t feel like it. We are finally the oldest in Primary school but now we will be back to the youngest in high school. That’ll be a bit hard. I’m looking forward too all the new lessons there and making new friends and stuff. I just cab’t wait for tommorow.”
  • Maryam is now in 1st year at high school (last term):  “I thought i would go on my blog just for old times sake. High school has been SOOO weird. It’s like i have been there all my life and not been to primary school once, but i have not forgotten primary school, I MISS IT SO MUCH. We have been doing all sorts of stuff and we have had sooo much .. drama? I think that is the word for it. It has been so BIZZARE. I have just chosen my subjects before the easter holidays. It was kind of depressing.”
  •  Her final post on her blog was when she entered 2nd year (she’s already regretting her subject choice) “So yes, it has been almost a month of school and i am in second year. It is alot harder than i thought, well kind of. I did choose the subjects i wanted , [i still regret picking some of them]!”

Maryam’s posts dried up soon after this, but her experience of her transition to High School echo the thoughts in Jaye’s post  when she wrote:

 ”my old school is now making children choose their examinable subjects two thirds of the way through S1 !!

If I had my way, they wouldn’t even get ‘distinct’ subjects until S3…”

Hmmm!!

Anyway – back to my post title! –  ePortfolios and Transition Stages.

 

I’m hoping that the ePortfolios might succeed where the blogs alone failed. Maybe if the children know that the purpose of them is to demonstrate progress in their learning journey, then the responsibility for the upkeep and the freedom to choose what is included would enhance the feeling of ownership. The wikis seem to accommodate the ‘growth’ aspect more than a blog (even with tagging, etc).

I love the way Kian has already set his pages up for Primary 7 and his transition to High School.  All the children choose their own layout and this one obviously made more sense to him.

I also really like his ‘Life Achievement’ section – others have used this phrase when referring to their ePortfolios. Check out Alyson’s ‘sticky’ post on her Glow Blog :-)

Click on the loveheart to see my ePortfolio.I have all my achievements  inside and outside school!!!

(All my achievement through out my life) Fingers cross it works!!!

I also really like Andrew’s ePortfolio layout. He felt it was important to include a page with links to his favourite Glow Blog posts:

I have a blog as well as this ePortfolio. Click here to visit it. I am going to put some of my favourite blog posts in this section of my ePortfolio. So use the links in the banners below to view my best blog posts.

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The children are already asking questions about what will happen to their Glow Blogs and Wikis when they move on to Primary 7 and then on to High School.

Ideally, I’d like to support them for one more year to continue to provide feedback …… but that’s not for me to decide 🙂 

Feedback is a very important ingredient if an ePortfolio is to succeed. It’s mostly oral in Primary, but the wikis have a comment facility that could be used by Secondary staff in S1 and beyond?

Too many questions still unanswered – time to publish :-)

Glow Wikis, ePortfolios and Longevity⤴

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At time of writing my case study, I decided not to dictate how the children should use their individual blogs. During the research period, I contacted Jackie Marsh  – and she agreed (I gained permission at the time to quote her):

“I have had a look at the blogs and they are great! I like the way you are
letting the children drive the use of the blogs, that is so important if they
are going to be successful. “

She also mentioned how we were using them on a post on her own blog at the time :

“I am speaking at the BFI ‘Reading on Screen’ conference for teachers tomorrow and although my main aim is to report on the evaluation of the very successful BFI ‘Lead Practioners Project’, I do want to highlight the potential that blogs have for disseminating children’s film productions and facilitating their peers’ critical comments on the films. I was contacted a few weeks ago by Margaret Vass, who is a Primary 7 class teacher at Carronshore Primary School, Falkirk. She told me about the excellent blog she has set up for the children in her class – I really like the children’s ‘WeeMees‘ and love the Voki posting developed by Bethany…blog on, Carronshore Primary 7!”

Bethany’s Voki on edublogs blog is missing now – what a shame :-(

At the time, all of the Primary 7′s interviewed their parents so that they could write about their early years (as part of an autobiography).

Luckily I can still access the Vokis. Bethany’s is here:

Issues of this sort of thing happening have been discussed on this blog previously. 

I still remember the unfortunate incident that led to the decision to transfer the children’s blogs from learnerblogs to edublogs. Edublogs chose to have all new blogs, including pupil blogs, hosted at edublogs. It was made clear that all existing learnerblogs could, if chosen, remain where they were. Around the time of this announcement, however, spam comments began to appear on a few of the children’s blogs. Email alerts usually ensured that these were deleted promptly. On one particular occasion, though, one was noticed by a pupil in her comment moderation queue when she logged in to her blog. Unfortunately, it contained very inappropriate content.

It was a lot of work moving the children’s blogs from learnerblogs to edublogs …. and then edublogs let us down.

Recently I’ve  spent some time reflecting on the journey to give children a more stable online environment and I revisited this post and a thought-provoking comment from David Gilmour

“This is a good topic to debate, thanks for spending your Saturday night doing such a detailed post!

I’m really pleased that Marc got such a good audience for his writing.

Another aspect to this, which cropped up this week for us with the demise of Bubbleshare.com, is the longevity of Web 2.0 services. Inevitably there’s an element of risk in using these free services, and we’ve accepted that. For the schools involved, we’ve had a lot of useful learning – and fun – from it. The slideshows will vanish from the sites, but they’ve probably served their purpose and copies of the original images will still be on disk in the schools.

With portfolios that are needed long-term, though, we’ll need to be careful to take such risks into account.”

 Now that I’ve finally set up some ePortfolios with the class I have now, I’m hoping that  Glow will provide the stability we’re after.

And if it doesn’t – at least we’ll be sure to back up all the files as using the new Glow Wikis means that there’s no need to host content elsewhere.

Check out Anna’s ePortfolio – hopefully it’s just the beginning :-)

Glow Wiki and ePortfolio Update⤴

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Well, it’s taken a while to create something that looks like an ePortfolio for an upper Primary aged class – but I think I’m getting there. When I first heard of the concept, I wrote a blog post on here and I like to revisit it now and then to make sure that I’m not cheating and calling something an ePortfolio when it clearly isn’t. The original post is here.

I wrote that post while on secondment, and it helps that I now have my own Primary 6 class to experiment with :-) Much of what we’ve been up to can be seen on the pages of our class blog – but I thought it might be a good idea to record the recent ePortfolio journey on here.

My previous post explained my thinking behind using Glow wikis as ePortfolios and here’s the story about how things are going so far:

When I first introduced Glow wikis as ePortfolios, Andrew wrote:

“Hi everyone! Welcome to my ePortfolio. Well, this is actually a GlowWiki but I am using it as an ePortfolio. Incase you were wondering, an ePortfolio is something online where you record your achievements throughout the years. You can use it to get a job when you grow up as well. So if you want to view all my achievements throughout the years, click on the pages to the left, or use the links on the banners below.”

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Others have also begun recording their achievements. For example, Anna was keen to record her class talk about her cat called Pepper and she made a reconstruction of her original talk so that she could add it to her ePortfolio. Have a look/listen here

And, as part of our Victorian’s project, the class were asked to interview an older member of their family so that they could get a sense of the past. Brooke uploaded her interview with her Gran to her ePortfolio. Have a listen:  Brooke interviews her Gran about schooldays in the past

Ryan, on the other hand, was less taken with the idea:

“Hi my name is ryan r and I am new to the eportfoio and I do not know what to do on it. Hopefully my friend Jack D the expert can help me.”

His attitude changed, though, when he saw that others had been recording outside school achievements.  Some have started bringing in trophies and medals so that we can have photographic evidence to upload. Check out Lucy’s TaeKwonDo narrated slideshow

After seeing these, Ryan was keen to show off  his own achievements outside of school and brought in some of his football trophies. With help from others,  he managed to update his own ePortfolio and record his football achievements on photostory 3

There are more Glow wiki examples I could link to, but what I’m hoping is that the children will see the connection between their Glow wikis and they great posts they’ve been adding to their Glog blogs. There are lots and lots of examples of great blog posts, but I’ll link to Mason’s one about finding a reading book about his favourite film ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. I didn’t know that Mason liked the film … or the book :-) Mason’s blog post is here.

Their story writing, started on their wikispaces during their ‘pre Glow wiki era’, should also be included. The Terrible Time Machine is a great example. Read it here.   

We’ve also recently set up a class Glow wiki so that the children can demonstrate their ability to work with others.

 Check out our first task here: Our Writing Task

Eight groups are involved. The Billionaires have completed some of the tasks. Have a look.

More to come :-)

Our Glow Wikis – So Far⤴

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The class now have their own Glow Wikis. I’d been waiting patiently for their launch to assess their suitability for use as an ePortfolio. I’d played around with the idea of using wikis as an ePortfolio last year while I was on secondment and wrote a couple of blog posts about the ‘experiment’. One of these can be seen here.

While I was waiting for the Glow Wikis to make an appearance, I toyed with the idea of using the Glow Blogs as ePortfolios. The children seemed a bit bamboozled by the prospect, however, and I suspect that it was because they had been using these online spaces as a traditional weblog and found it difficult to make the connection.

I created a ‘sticky’ post and linked to pages on the sidebar. The ‘Sticky’ said:

Welcome To My ePortfolio

This is my Learning Space where I blog about things I’m interested in.

I also record my achievements inside and outside of school. Click HERE to read about them

I knew from the reaction that there was confusion and when Andrew changed his Sticky wording, I realised that they didn’t see the blogs as an ePortfolio:

Hi everyone! Mrs V gave us all ePortfolios!

An ePortfolio is a page on your blog where you record your achievements in and out of school. Click HERE to read about them.

                                                                                                    

 Even with that subtle change of emphasis, though, no-one added anything to the ‘ePortfolio section’ of their blog.

But now that they’ve been given a Glow Wiki as an ePortfolio, everyone in the class seems taken with the idea.

There have been some frustrating glitches … but so far these have been overshadowed by the positives.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where this leads :-)

In case anyone is interested, here’s how I set up our Glow Wiki eportfolios:

In the  ’My Glow’ area, I added the Glow Wiki webpart.

I asked our school secretary (our ASM) to turn on the rights for me to set up a wiki.

I’ve since learned that @claganach, our ICT Curriculum Development Officer had turned them on for the whole school – thanks Malcolm :-)

I decided to set my trial Wiki to public immediately because I wanted to be sure that when it was live it would ‘behave’ the way I expected it to .. if that makes sense??

I soon discovered that it differed from the class blogs and from the wikispaces I’d experimented with previously. I still can’t embed videos etc. hosted elsewhere into the Glow Wiki and any links using the link icon require viewers to be logged in to Glow to view them.

I’ve been finding ways around these hiccups, though.

For example:

  • Uploading pictures is quite straightforward
  • Although I haven’t discovered how to embed media in Glow blogs, the children can easily upload videos, podcasts, etc without the need to host elsewhere
  • It’s possible to create links to other areas of the wiki if tinyurl is used to create the links. I’ve no idea why this is the case – but if any Glow experts can help me find the answer to this, the children in my class will be forever in your debt 🙂 
  • The wiki URLs are very long so I’ve created a link to them on a page on our class blog. I think this also tends to create a sense of class community as everything we have is more connected.
  • It was also very easy to copy and paste these links into a text editor webpart in my ‘My Glow’ area.

The children set up their Glow wikis in the same way as their Glow blogs were set up

I’m glad that I set up our Glow blogs in the way that I did as it meant that I was already a member of the children’s ‘My Glow’ area so I was automatically an administrator of their Wikis as well.

I’ll keep posting about how our Glow ePortfolios progress, and meanwhile I’d love to hear back from any ‘Glow in the Know’ folk who have solutions to the linking and embedding issues :-)

Rambling On About ePortfolios Again⤴

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I’ve been pondering what needs to be done to create long-lasting ePortfolios for my class. They are in Primary 6 at the moment, and I need to be realistic and assume that the chances are that their Primary 7 teacher won’t  be as involved as I am with their individual blogs – or any ePortfolio set-up.

Last session, while on secondment, I spent a few afternoons with some Primary 6 stage children and set up wikispaces for them. I wanted to gauge how appropriate they would be if used as an ePortfolio.  

Jaimey was very keen to keep hers going, and continued to add bits and pieces to it in Primary 7, but with no teacher input, her interest is waning. The ideal scenario (for me, anyway!) would be that there was an Authority-wide strategy in place to promote the advantages of  creating ePortfolios and that appropriate CPD opportunities were made available … ‘blue sky’ thinking :-)

The image on here links to Jaimey’s wiki.

But other issues need to be taken into consideration when planning to build ePortfolios. I initially chose wikispaces because the service is free and I liked the way that they looked (I’m referring to the sidebar menus).

However, when I first investigeted ePortfolio Portability and Longevity Issues  on here, David Gilmour  commented:

“Another aspect to this, which cropped up this week for us with the demise of Bubbleshare.com, is the longevity of Web 2.0 services. Inevitably there’s an element of risk in using these free services, and we’ve accepted that. For the schools involved, we’ve had a lot of useful learning – and fun – from it. The slideshows will vanish from the sites, but they’ve probably served their purpose and copies of the original images will still be on disk in the schools.

With portfolios that are needed long-term, though, we’ll need to be careful to take such risks into account.”

I understand what David means and I envy the eduBuzz blogs set up. But, as we don’t have something like this in place in my own Local Authority, I thought that wikispaces , a great ‘web 2.0 service’ (can I still use that phrase?) seemed like a good alternative.

This session, however, I’ve set up Glow Blogs for all the children in my class, and I have been pleasantly surprised at their enthusiasm so far. Until recently, I thought that the best idea to build ePortfolios was to create a link from their blog to a wikispace with a set-up similar to the one above. But I’ve since thought about creating a ‘Sticky’ post with links to other areas in their blogs where they can record achievements, etc. New blog posts can then continue to be published as normal below the ‘Sticky’. The idea is that their Glow Blog becomes a ‘one-stop-shop’ where they can update with reflective posts, but have an area to formally record successes (although there will still be links to a wiki, where some children have enjoyed updating stories over a period of time. Have a look at the joint effort by Brooke, Natasha and Eilidh ).

I created a Trial Blog and set it up with the relevant sections. The Sticky post shown in the image links to  HERE where I’ve set up areas for them to record achievements until they leave Primary School. The idea is that they create links to High School stages (and beyond?)

I exported the information from the Trial Blog as an extended RSS file and imported into the children’s blogs. I had a bit of a dilemma as to whether or not to open up the links from the ‘Sticky’ post in a new window. I worried that if I didn’t do that then visitors to the blogs who were not used to such online spaces (parents?) might get lost and not be able to find their way back to the homepage. After seeking advice on twitter, though, I decided that the best solution was to open the links in the same window and add a  ’Back to my Home Page’ link on the sidebar.

The class can choose from 3 link designs –  all they have to do is copy the html code into a text widget. I’ve saved the code into a word document, but they need to change the link from the trial blog to their own.

I’m sure they’ll manage 🙂 

In this example the link will go to Declan’s homepage, even though the original image is stored in the Trial Blog. 

<a href=”https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/cpsdeclanw/2010/11/16/welcome-to-my-eportfolio/”><img src=”https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/carronshoretrial/files/2010/11/home-button-1-150×150.jpg” title=”blog home” /></a>

Here’s the three choices.

 
Thanks again to David Gilmour  for his patience when explaining how to do this!

The sidebar pages widget transfers with all the correct information and the links go directly to pages on the children’s blogs, but the actual posts links still transfer back to the Trial Blog. I’ve remedied this by creating a couple of class ‘experts’, who then teach others how to fix the problem. This is still on-going ….. but if anyone knows of an easier solution, please get in touch.

 

 

This post has been a bit of a ramble, but I’ll finish with a reminder to myself of what I believe an ePortfolio to be. I don’t think something like this could be built in a hurry anyway 🙂

Back to Basics

1. What is an ePortfolio?:

  • It’s a collection of student work that tells the story of the student’s efforts, progress, or achievements 

2. What should they look like?

  • There should be evidence of self-reflection

3. What’s the teacher’s role?

  • They need to plan carefully to provide clearly defined criteria 
  • Effective feedback should be given to students, to encourage them to observe their own learning journey

4. What about the pupils?

  • Comments should go beyond “I think I did OK” or ” I think I have more to learn.”
  • Pupils should be monitoring their own learning so that they can adjust what they do when they perceive they are not understanding.