Lesson 5: Who Are My Students?

In this week’s lesson we explored the different tools that we can utilize in ePortfolios for students to showcase their work. In Dr. Barrett’s webpage, “Selecting a ‘Free’ Online Tool for ePortfolio Development” the components of WordPress confirmed that this is the correct platform for me to implement in my video production classes. Since I teach high school classes, the recommend usage for age appropriate students was from 7th – 12th grade. The 3 GB of storage that WordPress provides will be efficient for my students, especially since they will be housing their video projects on Vimeo and not taking up space on WordPress. The WordPress cons that Dr. Barrett described were that the program can be difficult for students to initially set up. However, I believe with the correct instruction and guidance that students will be able to complete the ePortfolio construction process. I think that the I should focus on making sure students have strict rules to follow rather than telling them to simply “create the pages however they would like”. I do not believe that the premium feature costs will be worth the outcome when compared with how much is available for free. I also do not have the classroom budget for an ePortfolio system, which is why free is my best option.

The use of an ePortfolio system for goal setting is an important feature in the classroom because I am already posting objectives for each day, unit and project. In the supplemental reading, “Module 3: Presentation of Evidence”, the author writes, “Then by focusing on the evidence in a learner’s ePortfolio the audience can encourage the learner to think about what they have done, learnt, planned or achieved. This process helps the learner to understand more about themselves and their learning”. For students to reflect on the evidence of their learning, they first need to have clear goals and objectives for their ePortfolio. I plan on incorporating the ePortfolio goals at the beginning of each video unit and project. Throughout the unit, students can continue to refer back to those goals and track their progress. At the end of each unit, students will be able to post their finished video project on their ePortfolio and then complete a blog reflection on how they met the objectives of the unit and project.

Through this lesson, I also was able to examine who my students will be and how to make the use of ePortfolios appropriate to best meet their needs. The ages of the learners that will utilize ePortfolios in my video production classes are 13-17 year old students. Concerning academic development, most of the students come into class with general knowledge of video production from what they have learned in social culture. This elective has a diverse range of learners from freshmen to high school students. These students also understand how to work with the technology that they are familiar with like multi-function devices. As I examine who my students are, it once again confirms the use of WordPress and Vimeo in my video production classes because it will provide an organized and interactive platform for their ePortfolios.

References:

Barrett, H. 2012. “Selecting a ‘Free’ Online Tool for ePortfolio Development”. http://electronicportfolios.org/eportfolios/tools.html

MOSEP Project. “Module 3: Presentation of Evidence”. http://electronicportfolios.org/mosep/MOSEP-Mod3-1.html

Lesson 4: The Importance of Reflections

In this week’s lesson we learned about the importance of reflection in the e-Portfolio process. In our discussion we talked about the many reasons that reflection needs to be implemented when utilizing portfolios in an academic setting. This allows students to reflect on their work and their collection of artifacts. In “Level 2: Reflective Blog”, Prof Barrett states, “Since one of the main goals of a portfolio is reflection on learning, perhaps a blog is a good option, since it can be used as an online reflective journal and an environment that invites collaboration (p. 1). The collaboration piece will be an important concept in my video production classes because I want students to give encouragement and feedback to other students about their finished work. This will motivate students to be proud of their work and hopefully encourage them to put forth extra effort since their peers will see their completed video projects. The idea is that this area for reflection could be an “online film festival” where students reflect not only on their personal growth but also on the growth of others.

The role of the teacher in e-Portfolio reflections was also discussed in this lesson, and I learned that it is important for teachers to respond to student reflections. The first time that I had experience with reflections in academia was in my MAT program at Seattle Pacific University. Since we were all older students, the purpose of the blog reflections were more for us as learners to track our progress throughout the course. Professors were not actively involved in these blogs unless we needed redirection. However, I think that it would have been very helpful to receive consistent feedback from our professors. In our lesson this week we learned that the teacher’s role in student reflection is to provide formative feedback so that students can see where they can see opportunities for growth.

Since I teach high school video production classes, my focus needs to be on implementing reflection processes in secondary schools. In this lesson, Prof Barrett brought up some of the positive outcomes of reflections, which helped me better understand how this could deeply affect student learning. Since students will be able to examine their learning process through reflection, it allows them to take responsibility for their own learning. They can see areas where they need to grow, set goals for the future and then track their progress towards reaching those objectives. In Jenna Luca’s (2011) blog, “5 Reasons Why Our Students Are Writing Blogs and Creating ePortfolios”, she states the following positive outcomes from blogging and reflection: positive digital footprints, communicating with digital tools, transparency for parents and family, new ways of thinking about Web tools, and effective digital citizenship. These outcomes make me realize how effective e-Portfolios are and how important the aspects of reflections are in this system. I now see that the implementation of an online portfolio without the use of reflections is taking away a crucial tool for effective learning. I want to make sure that students have every opportunity to utilize every aspect of the online portfolio by using reflection blogs to track their progress and personal growth.

References:

Barrett, H. 2012. “Reflection for Learning”. https://sites.google.com/site/reflection4learning/

Luca, J. 2011. “5 Reasons Why Our Students Are Writing Blogs and Creating ePortfolios”. http://plpnetwork.com/2011/08/26/5-reasons-why-our-students-are-writing-blogs-and-creating-eportfolios/

Blog 3: Choosing the Right Tools

In this week’s lesson, we learned about various resources that are available for use as portfolio storage. In Dr. Barrett’s 2008 study of Options for Online Storage of Digital Archive she explains that a Working Portfolio is “The Collection or Digital Archive, Repository of Artifacts, Personal Information and a Reflective Journal” (p. 1). I believe that this is the best approach for my implementation of electronic portfolios in the classroom. My plan for level 1 implementation (Step 5.1) is to use Vimeo and WordPress to store artifacts. After looking through the resources linked to this lesson, I chose Vimeo as a video storage tool for the student’s video projects in my Video Production classes because it keeps the quality of the videos while also allowing direct downloads. When students first begin the class, they will create a simple WordPress account and a Vimeo account. When an assignment is due, each student will upload their finished video to Vimeo and then embed the link to their WordPress account. I will simply keep a list of links to the students’ WordPress sites and go to these links to grade their finished work.

The stakeholders will be my future high school Video Production students. Since I teach electives, grades will range from freshmen to high school. Since the learning levels of each student will vary, it will be important to make sure that the programs that I utilize for the e-Portfolios are user friendly. To ensure that students are utilizing WordPress correctly, I will introduce students to e-Portfolios by giving students a step-by-step set of instructions that will guide students in the initial setup of their accounts. In these steps, I will instruct students to allow messages to only be viewed by themselves so that I can give a graded rubric and constructive feedback to them for each project through the message tool.

My rationale for using Vimeo is based on my purpose for utilizing ePortfolios, which is the need for students to store video projects in the Video Production classes that I teach. After doing some research, I realized that WordPress works well with Vimeo because all that students have to do is paste the URL and it creates a video box that can be viewed inside WordPress rather than opening a new page. Since WordPress allows for multiple pages, I would have students divide their e-Portfolio into the following sections: About Me, My Work, and Blog. Since other people will be able to view their site, students will set up the “About Me” section to give them the space to be creative and make their portfolio into an expression of themselves. This will encourage ownership and create the foundation to be something that they are proud of. The “My Work” page will be the spot for all of their video projects to be posted. This will be the initial link that students send me so that I can grade their work and provide feedback. The “Blog” page will be a space for student reflection as well as a platform to submit any other written assignments. This will give the students an opportunity to visually track their progress in class. In Dr. Barrett’s link “Selecting a “Free” Online Tool for ePortfolio Development”, she explains the goal of reflections by stating, “At the end of a course (or program), students would write a reflection that looks back over the course (or program) and provides a meta-analysis of the learning experience as represented in the reflections stored in the blog entries.” As seen in this quote, reflections can also be used as a summative assessment that will not only help me as a teacher understand each student’s progress but it also helps the students see their growth in learning. In conclusion, as I have considered various tools and resources to implement e-Portfolios, I have found that it is important to remember my purpose for using this approach and the students that this will affect.

Resources:

Barrett, H. 2008. Options for Online Storage of Digital Archive. http://electronicportfolios.org/web2/index.html.

Barrett, H. 2012. “Selecting a “Free” Online Tool for ePortfolio Development”, http://electronicportfolios.org/eportfolios/tools.html.

Blog 2: The Purpose of My ePortfolio

Throughout this week’s lesson, the uses of ePortfolios were broken down and explained. I learned that as educators, we need to choose our motive for utilizing ePortfolios. If we try to do too much with this tool, then it will not be as impactful in the classroom. In Dr. Barrett’s narrated slide show, “Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios”, I found that the main purposes of ePortfolios in Education are “Learning/Process/Planning, Marketing/Showcase, and Assessment/Accountability”. The structure of the ePortfolio can then be separated as either a “Workspace” or “Showcase”. At first, I thought that the best structure for my video production classes would be a Showcase because I want students to post their finished work online for other peers, teachers and family members to see. However, I realized that it is first and foremost meant to be a workspace and the showcase of work will be an outcome of their posts through the ePortfolio.

It is also important to think about how I will use ePortfolios to better communicate with students. The main need that I hope to meet by implementing the use of ePortfolios in my video production classes is a place for students to turn in their projects for assessment. In Prof Barrett’s article, “Electronic Portfolios – A chapter in Educational Technology” she states the following three reasons for utilizing ePortfolios, “Learning (Formative) Portfolios, which usually occurs on an ongoing basis supporting professional development; Assessment (Summative) Portfolios, which usually occurs within the context of a formal evaluation process; and Employment (Marketing) Portfolios, which are used for seeking employment” (p. 1). With this information in mind, I think that the main reason for using an ePortfolio in my video production classes is as an Assessment Portfolio. My reasoning could be altered in future lessons, but I think this best fits my goal of having an online platform for students to upload their projects and then receive feedback and assessment.

To conclude my thoughts, were asked to make the first draft of our vision statement for implementing ePortfolios. I drafted the following statement: “e-Portfolios are implemented in my junior high and high school video production classes so that students can have a platform to showcase their work, track their learning process and receive feedback from myself and other peers. This provides an avenue for students to apply what they are learning through a visual process, reflect on their growth, and engage in collaboration as students encourage each other to reach their individual goals and classroom objectives.” I think that my focus is on using the ePortfolio as a tool to receive feedback and through this resource, students can follow their growth towards reaching the learning objectives. I wanted to also include that this can be a place to not only receive input from myself but also from other peers. I think that the building blocks are starting to come together for me and this week’s lesson was especially helpful because I learned how to start the process of utilizing ePortfolios in future classrooms.

References:

Barrett, H.C., 2001. “Electronic Portfolios – A chapter in Educational Technology”. AnEncyclopedia to be published by ABC-CLIO.

Barrett, H.C., 2010. Narrated slide show, “Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios”.

Blog 1: Why Use an ePortfolio?

Some teachers could ask, “why use an ePortfolio?” Is it really going to trump other classroom materials? I don’t think the answer is that you have to choose one way or the other, but to instead allow these resources to work harmoniously with each other to further student learning. In this week’s lesson we were given an overview of what these electronic portfolios are and how they can be utilized.

In the article, “3 ways to increase student motivation in schools”, Dan Pink wrote, “Today’s management is designed for compliance, and schools and teachers should be more focused on engagement through self-direction” (p. 1). I agree that students learn better when they are able to take learning into their own hands and ePortfolios create a great space for this type of education to occur in. After studying this week’s materials, I see some of the main challenges in this approach to be tracking student progress and making sure that they are communicating well with other peers. Some students are not self-motivated and need an extra encouraging push to keep going. This is why ePortfolios would be helpful in my junior high and high school classes because the online work would be paired with in class communication.

During this week’s lesson, I learned that ePortfolios exist in a much broader category than I anticipated. In the article, Digital Portfolios: Guidelines for Beginners, the authors state,  “Definitions abound – most of them describe an ePortfolio as a type of online working environment, or learning journey that can house or provide access to many digital artifacts and resources in various media formats (p. 5). I think that this structure of flexibility is a huge asset for educators because it can better fit the diverse needs of a classroom.

As I think about implementing ePorfolios in my classes, I first consider the needs in my media driven classes. In the past I have taught graphic design and video production and there was a great need for students to have an avenue to easily share what they created not only with me for grading purposes, but also with other students. I have used “Moodle” which was a good program but did have some flaws (for more information go to https://moodle.org/). Since this did not check all of my boxes, my hope is to create a system that fits the specific needs of each class. For example, in my Video Production classes, I would love to use an ePortfolio as a way to have an “online film festival” and have students give each other peer feedback. As I continue learning more about ePortfolios, I think that my first attempt to use this as a classroom tool will be focused on the following needs: a place to post student work (videos and graphics) and a place for students to communicate with one another about what they are learning.

References:

Pink, D. (2011). 3 ways to increase student motivation in schools. Retrieved from:http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2011/07/28/dan-pink-on-3-ways-to-increase-motivation-in-schools/

SMS Services Team, Ministry of Education (2011). “Digital Portfolios: Guideline forBeginners”, Wellington, New Zealand.