Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

E-Portfolios in Rural Communities

Photo from: ''Adrienne Carlson has contributed the item below. Its full title should read, 'How to Raise Awareness of E-Portfolios in Rural Communities'. Of course, we have the Home Access Programme in England but that is only the begining. Having the technology is one thing, getting both teachers and learners to use it is another, as Adrienne writes:

There are various reasons teachers use e-portfolios – from enhancing their profiles to developing their knowledge and skills, it helps them improve personally and professionally as members of the pedagogic society. But their counterparts in rural communities are not blessed with the same advantage, because they hardly have access to technology let alone the wherewithal to use it on a regular basis to create, develop and maintain an e-portfolio. If we are to raise awareness of e-portfolios in rural communities, we must:
  • Introduce technology as a regular teaching tool: Since e-portfolios are linked to technology, it follows that technology must be made a teaching tool in rural communities before it can be harnessed for the purpose of e-portfolios. One way to do this is through grants and other forms of funding, but more than that, efforts have to be made to introduce teachers to technology and encourage them to use it without any hesitation. And to do this, we must teach them to use the technology with the right kind of training.

  • Train teachers to use technology: Most teachers (or anyone else for that matter) who don’t have much contact with technology are usually intimated by it. They refuse to even attempt to learn it because they are scared that they will not be successful at it. Any training program should address these issues and manage the apprehensions of teachers before attempting to teach them how to use technology as a teaching aid.

  • Introduce them to e-Portfolios: When teachers realize the value and usefulness of e-portfolios, they are more eager to adopt them as development tools. Programs must be held to prove to them the potential of e-Portfolios and show all staff how it can help them grow in their profession and update their skills as well.

  • Understand the needs of learners: The work of Eva deLera underlines the value of making distance learning more acceptable to rural learners. Just think: no personal transport, poor public transport, little contact with other learners etc are all reasons for poor retention rates. The e-Portfolio can be the means to overcome these barriers to learning and make learning actually enjoyable.
E-portfolios are a relatively new tool in the pedagogic toolkit, so it will take some time before they gain any amount of popularity in rural communities. But with persistence and time, it will slowly gain acceptance and become a tool that is used regularly and to great effect.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of engineering degrees online . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

No comments: