Reflections from a participant!
What did I learn at the EAC held in Melbourne last week? Who did I connect with at the EAC? How did I focus while at the EAC? What impact did the EAC workshops, presentations and networking have on my eportfolio approach?
- there are differences in the way eportfolios are being implemented by practitioners across the educational spectrum:
- ‘built in, not bolted on’ – Meaghan Botterill (RMIT, Vic)
- ‘in the cloud, not within a system’ – Sarah Stewart, (Otago NZ)
- ‘systematically and strategically’ – Nayomie Baihn (TAFE NSW)
- ‘purposefully and meaningfully for RPL’ – Liz Grigg (Coonara Community House, Vic)
- ‘as a vehicle for reflective practice’ – Bronwyn Hegarty, Otago Polytechnic, NZ)
- ‘as a state based project’ – Bret Eynon, La Guardia Community College
- ‘threshold concepts of eportfolios, bring troublesome knowledge – Gordon Joyes, JISC, UK
there are diffferences in how eportfolios are perceived by practitioners along the eportfolio continuum:
- ‘frameworks for a comprehensive assessment system to make learning visible’ – Evangeline Harris Stefanakis , Boston University
- ‘Using digital portfolios to remove the cloak of invisibility’ – Bronwyn Hegarty, Otago Polytechnic, NZ)
- ‘ main window of engagement -this is the role of ePortfolios in an adaptive learning framework’, Paul Houghton Polytechnic West
- ‘eportfolios are disruptive and require mature understanding and planned implementation’ Gordon Joyes, JISC. UK
- ‘75% of the 2010 student cohort found the ePortfolio a useful tool for reflecting on their learning and professional development’ Elizabetb Smith, University of South Australia
During the two days of keynotes and workshops I found myself connecting with those whose eportfolio language and philosophy resonated for me.
- AAEEBL is an association I am pleased to be affiliated with under the banner of the VET Eportfolio Community of Practice. The Association for Authentic, Experiential & Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) Members and affiliates help continue the work of educational transformation by focusing on new designs in learning and assessment, on increasing connections among the portfolio community, and on moving toward a more authentic assessment of actual student achievement and progress based on evidence of learning over time.
- La Guardia Community College is marching ahead of the crowd with their vision of empowerment for learners through eportfolios – I liked and understood their philosophy. Their impact is huge: each year, led by academic faculty, more than 9,000 high risk students enhance their learning with ePortfolios; their new Making Connections National Resource Center, is currently working with more than 30 US campuses, guiding them as they plan and implement advanced ePortfolio projects – now that speaks volumes about their ‘champion’ credibility in the field and dedication to making a difference.
- The following diagram also gave me a frame of reference for the process of building eportfolios – a useful visual to share with learners:
(Source: Hiebert, 2006 as cited in Hiller et al., 2007; Barrett, 2000; Crane, n.d.; Danielson & Abrutyn, 1997)
I was able to focus my attention on what I heard and saw in the presentations by tweeting out to my followers a synthesis and critical commentary on that content. I’m not sure how helpful those tweets were to others not at the conference – I would like to know – feel free to comment here.
If you want to view all the tweets from the EAC2010 search for #eac2010 in your Twitter account.
When I listened to Gordon Joyes from JISC speak about Effective Practice with Eportfolios, this is what had the most impact on my thinking about implementation of eportfolios:
These threshold concepts, expressed from a design for learning perspective, which assumes a mature understanding of ePortfolio use, are:
- The purpose needs to be aligned to context to maximise benefits;
- The learning activity needs to be designed to suit the purpose;
- Processes needs to be supported technologically and pedagogically;
- Ownership needs to be student centred;
- Transformation (disruption) needs to be planned for.
It was interesting talking to Gordon to validate my perspective of eportfolios – he said if you understand the threshold concepts then you have passed through the portal – this appealed to me as I now believe that everyone needs to move towards that level of knowledge about eportfolios – an experiential journey, or a ‘rite of passage’.