Position Paper: Creating and Using Electronic Portfolios March 24, 1999 (submitted by Patty Ross)

greenspun.com : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Position Paper March 23, 1999

Creating and Using Portfolios on the Alphabet Superhighway


A Knowledge Resource for Schools of the 21st Century

The article focuses on the creation and use of electronic portfolios on the Alphabet Superhighway. Information provided in the article is what are electronic portfolios, why use electronic portfolios, creating electronic portfolios, and using electronic portfolios.

To begin with, electronic portfolios are selective and purposeful collections of student work. made available on the WWW. Portfolios focus on the students' reflections on their own work. They provide meaningful documentation of students' abilities. Electronic portfolios provide information to students, parents, teachers, and members of the community about what students have learned or are able to do. They represent a learning history. They are records of learning, growth, and change. Electronic portfolios provide activities that encourage student to review their own work, analyze their own learning strategies, and assess their collaboration with others.

Even when the transition to electronic portfolios is performed gradually and in a planned manner, the author states that it is not an easy one. However, he believes that the advantages in using electronic portfolios justify such an effort. Electronic portfolios foster active learning because they assume ownership and control of their learning, The electronic portfolios help students to set goals for learning, review their goals periodically, and assume responsibility for their own learning. Portfolios are becoming a favored method of assessment since it allows a person to exhibit what they can do.

Teachers interested in educational reform may regard using portfolios as a wonderful opportunity for alternative assessment. However, once the decision to use portfolios is made, their problem becomes on how to you create an electronic portfolio. To begin with, the decision has to be made on what areas will be assessed. Different dimensions of the curriculum may be elaborated to provide indicators of progress that can be measured. Once the area-specific categories have been decided on the next step is identifying the appropriate assessment measures for each. One of the purposes of using portfolios is to made it possible for students to examine their own work from a different perspective. For students to feel ownership of the portfolio, they need to have decision-making power about the selected materials. Material should able generally be collected collaboratively by the teacher and the student. Students should be encouraged to review and provide feedback for each other's work. Assessment can include self, peer and teacher assessment.

Electronic portfolios may be used in a variety of ways in the classroom. Activities should encourage students to view their own work, analyze their own learning strategies and assess their collaboration with others. Using Electronic portfolios are becoming required information when applying for entrance into post secondary educational institutes. Digital portfolios are also becoming essential tools to the person who is applying for jobs in the business community. By creating portfolios and learning the basic techniques, students are becoming prepared for the business world that they will eventually be exposed to. Making electronic portfolios "happen" is a matter of determination, technological sophistication, time and energy. Schools will have to develop guidelines for the use of portfolios within the school. Furthermore, they will have to plan for how parties outside the immediate school circle such as business, state and federal agencies, may use portfolios.

As a teacher and student I am excited about the possibilities of using electronic portfolios. I feel that it is important to choose the activities that fit my students and my teaching style. I plan on involving students, parents, and administrators in the use of portfolios. One of the most outstanding reasons I am an advocate for electronic portfolios is their use lead to classrooms that are student-centered rather than the teacher-centered. Students accept more responsibility and become agents in their own education. Electronic portfolios add a new dimension to the portfolio because it can include varied media such as text, graphics, video and sound, going beyond just paper and pencil work. After all, products on paper constitute only a small portion of what the student produces in a school year. Also, there is little reason for students to develop ownership of standardized test scores filed away in the office. I also feel that in assessment I will gain a better understanding of a student's abilities by examining the student's work. In addition, having electronic portfolios will be an exciting thing to have at parent conferences. I can visualize a totally new style of conferences since portfolios can provide a more detailed picture of the student's achievements rather than test and letter grades. Electronic portfolios could allow parents to examine teacher expectations, curriculum standards, and student's achievements conveniently and efficiently. Last of all, we have been experiencing a demand for portfolios from students applying for entrance into post-secondary education institutes. Our high schools have been told repeatedly by the business world that we are not preparing our students adequately for their career world. I feel that the use of electronic portfolios is a step in that direction. Using electronic as an alternative and more authentic method of portfolio development creates many interesting challenges. Those involved in the process only stand to gain as ever more sophisticated technology become available.

-- Anonymous, March 23, 1999

Moderation questions? read the FAQ