Rambling On About ePortfolios Again

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.