Friday, June 18, 2010

The Two Faces of ePortfolios

These are my live blogged notes from this week’s Instructional Design Live show on EdTech Taclk with Helen Barrett, Ph.D.

An article by Helen Barrett:  Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios

The conceptual model of an online portfolio - multiple purposes:

1) learning & reflection – main activity around learning and collaboration

2) showcase achievement/accountability


These two activities need to work together.

Portfolio as workspace vs. showcase.

Collect evidence of learning in a variety of ways – a “collection of artifacts”.  But a portfolio is more than this collection – it needs to include the artifacts, but also some reflection on those artifacts.

Can hyperlink artifacts (assume all electronic) to a reflective journal (e.g., a blog) – many students are using their social networks as a way to document their life experiences (e.g., facebook and twitter). Some research showing that schools are starting to pay to attention to social networks in terms of learning.

The role of teachers and peers in this process?  Providing feedback.  Social networks provide a great place for this feedback – provide a conversation on and for learning.

The role of the teacher and the student is evaluation and assessment (self-assessment).

Most teach education programs are focused more on the showcase and not the workspace or the process.

ePortfolio as a process – rather than a product.

TEDTalk with Helen Barret on YouTube in Mumbai in February – the focus was on intrinsic motivation. 

How do you turn ePortfolios into intrinsically motivating process for the student?  The student needs to own the portfolio – it’s a lifelong process and not an assignment.  Don’t kill portfolios by making them a graded assignment!  (She references Daniel Pink’s Drive).

Ownership and intrinsic motivation:

  • Autonomy (how much control does student have over their own portfolio.  If it’s totally prescribed than it’s not theirs).
  • Mastery
  • Purpose (use portfolio to find purpose and explore passions)

If the portfolio is owned by the institution, then students won’t see it as a place to document their journey.

One school in Maine gives students a website with their own domain name as a graduation present!  This is the direction in which we should be going.

Need to focus (in teacher education programs) more on reflection – and helping students become reflective practitioners. 

Reflection should be personal and not prescriptive.

Regarding tools: what do you want to achieve and then pick the right tools (e.g., Google Apps for Education)


The recording of this session will be available at Instructional Design Commons.

About Instructional Design Live:

A weekly online talk show, Instructional Design Live is based around Instructional Design related topics and is opportunity for Instructional Designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices.

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