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Friday, 2 January 2009

Style, Substance or Process?

Over this Christmas holiday I have been catching up with my reading and updating my own e-Portfolio.

Generally, searching the Internet for fresh gems of insight into e-Portfolios is a dispiriting activity. Most of the reports are several years old, refer to narrow introspective research or wishful project planning with no further outcomes published.

However, one fresh gem did come to my notice just now and I felt that I must comment on it. The report. 'A Review Of The Literature On Portfolios And Electronic Portfolios' by Philippa Butler, of the eCDF ePortfolio Project, Massey University College of Education, New Zealand raised many issues. Chief of these, my usual complaint, is that desk-based research inevitably quotes from older sources, many of these no longer standing up to the latest criteria based on the latest tools available or shifts in educational psychology. Secondly was the premise of the brief that, somehow, the e-Portfolio should be of concern only to those in Higher Education. However, a slow and careful reading of the following extract was joy to my soul!

'Very simply put, a portfolio is a collection of evidence that is gathered together to show a person’s learning journey over time and to demonstrate their abilities. Portfolios can be specific to a particular discipline, or very broadly encompass a person’s lifelong learning. Many different kinds of evidence can be used in a portfolio: samples of writing, both finished and unfinished; photographs; videos; research projects; observations and evaluations of supervisors, mentors and peers; and reflective thinking about all of these. In fact, it is the reflections on the pieces of evidence, the reasons they were chosen and what the portfolio creator learned from them, that are the key aspect to a portfolio (Abrami & Barrett, 2005; Klenowski, Askew, & Carnell, 2006; Loughran & Corrigan, 1995; Smith & Tillema, 2003; Wade & Yarbrough, 1996). In that way, those compiling portfolios are active participants in their own learning (Wade, Abrami, & Sclater, 2005). Kimball (2005, p. 451) goes further, arguing that “neither collection nor selection [of pieces to be incorporated into a portfolio] are worthwhile learning tasks without a basis in reflection. Reflection undergirds the entire pedagogy of portfolios”. Two other key elements to portfolios are that they measure learning and development over time (Barrett, 2000; Challis, 2005), and that it is the process of constructing a portfolio, rather than the end product, that is where the learning takes place (Smith & Tillema, 2003).'

The whole article can be found at:

1 comment:

MrWoody said...

Lovely paragraphing ;-)
In order to get the best our of your readers, it has been my experience that people won't read lengthy blog posts.
Thanks for your contact and advice :-)