Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Quest: Step # 1

The Quest

The mission to gain an understanding of e-portfolios has been in progress for a while. I just didn't know it at the time :). My first experience evolved through participation in a pilot program where a wiki was used as a reporting tool.

I saw potential in this tool as a way to engage and to collect evidence to achieve outcomes for the VCAL students I worked with to develop language and literacy skills. As always, the learner group was diverse and all but one student engaged in working on-line.

I encouraged the students to use the home page to introduce themselves and subsequent pages were used for assessment work. The classes were facilitated through discussions and brainstorming activities and then students would then work in their wikis recording their tasks.

This blended method of facilitation allowed flexibility and students chose their own activities to develop learning outcomes. The different literacies needed to use this medium meant that written skills were not a priority in telling a story and everyone achieved thus increasing self-esteem.

There were a few hiccups with forgotten passwords and the flashing of the dropping windows as I walked by had my head spinning on occasions but overall, this method of facilitation offered a lot.

Since that time, I have learned a lot about e-portfolios. My readings of Dr Helen Barrett, Sarah Stewart and other’s thoughts on e-portfolios have given me a much greater understanding of what can be achieved and the processes involved.

From reading and listening, I have learned that e-portfolios are referred to as 'digital respositories' for the collection of artefacts,the sharing of these atrefacts, reflection and story telling.

I realise the different purposes for which e-portfolios can be used and believe they have a myriad of foci. I work in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector of education. Competency is determined over a period of time so consistency in performance is determined. This makes an E-portfolio the perfect tool for this sector.

Vocational Education and Training is education and training which develops skills and knowledge for work. This development of skills and knowledge lead to employment, career development and changes in career. Vocational Training and Assessment relates to both formal and informal training in work related skills and knowledge.

Formal training leads to nationally recognised qualifications. Informal training can lead to qualifications through the Recognition process. VET is flexible and transferable and the aim is for national consistency in skilling the work force.

An e-portfolio is the perfect repository to record the development of work skills and allows for variety of digital mediums to display these. Sharing your portfolio can easily be achieved through the simple process of providing a link.

If you are inclined to reflect on your learning or your skills, this is easily achieved by reviewing your portfolio through mouse clicks. No rummaging through draws, boxes in sheds, roof storage or plotting your way through other spider-filled excavation sites.

So what else have I learned of e-portfolios? I’ve learned that you need some skill to put together an interesting,creative,reflective portfolio, that sharing the e-portfolio is an important step in the reflective process and e-portfolios can be used as a repository for many different artefacts with many different purposes.

Whatever the focus of the e-portfolio, they are a truly wonderful tool that offers much!

Level 1

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