ePortfolios and Helen Barrett

BarrettBuzz.jpgI’ve just come from a most enlighttening morning of workshops with Helen Barrett (pictured here with “Buzz”!). Helen’s speciality is in the areas of Electronic Portfolios and Digitial Storytelling .

Something that I found really useful was Helen’s empahsis on the role of reflection, and her comment that “portfolios without reflection are simply a digital scrapbook.” Further, Helen distinguishes between the creation of a digital archive, and drawing from that archive to create portfolios for different purposes (eg. to document a learning journey, to provide evidence for assessment, or to support a job application.)

The other thing Helen does so capably is weave the practice of digital storytelling into the preparation of electronic portfolios – linking this in both practical and theoretical ways. The power of some of her digital stories had the group at our workshop really engrossed.

A key issue that arose in our workshop was the observation that there is an increased interest in portfolios for assessment, and that they are being used in ways that are not consistent with the ‘learner-owned’ models of self-review and self-reflection being promoted in Helen’s workshop. We discussed the tension between those who are wanting to use portfolios in a “positivist” way, where they have really been developed from within a “constructivist” paradigm.

I’ve added more of my reflections/notes from her presentation in my extended entry.

Electronic Portfolios

1 Definitions

“a purposeful collection of student’s work that illustrates progress and achievement over time”

“the portfolio is a laboratory where students can construct meaning from their accumulated experience.” (Paulson and Paulson, 1991)

– use electronic technologies as the container
– allow students/teachers to collect and organise information/artefacts in many media types
– us hyperlinks to organise the material
– connect evience to appropriate standards of achievement

2 Process

Three components identified in building ePortfolios:
– CONTENT – the evidence. Artifacts and reflections and validation
– PURPOSE – what is the portfolio for, who is its audience (eg learning, assessment, employment)
– PROCESS – what tools, activities, rubrics etc are involved in the development and creation of the portfolio.

The more choice the learner has about its development, the greater the motivation to maintain this.

3 Tools

Emerging use of the following as tools for ePortfolio development..
a – online portfolios (web environment)
b – blogs and wikis
c – digital storytelling
d – games
(reference to work in Wales – http://www.careerswales.com

4 Assessment
“report cards give us a snapshot – portfolios give us the moving picture”

5 Metaphors
(ref Dr mary diez – Alveno College)
– MIRROR – reflection
– MAP – providing direction, creaing plan, setting goals
– SONNET – providing a framework, but contents showcase diversity and creativity

6 Five Stages in EP development
– define purpose, context and goals
– create the working portfolio
– the reflective process
– the connected portfolio
– the presentation (published) portfolio

7 Good advice in selecting what to use or where to start…

“When using new tools use familiar tasks…
…. when using new tasks use familiar tools!”

Leave a Reply