Thursday, July 11, 2013

Reflections on Lesson One

In lesson one, I reviewed what can be considered an ePortfolio.  I suppose what is most interesting is that there is significant control over what can be considered an ePortfolio and what tools to use to create the portfolio.  With a paper portfolio, work is shared through one medium (paper) but with an ePortfolio, the tools vary significantly and can consist of video, photos, writing samples, graphics and other creative outlets.  I also think that ePortfolios allow for more collaboration than paper and it is easier to create a shared portfolio with a class or a group of people.  With paper portfolios, this is more challenging. 

In my classes this past year, we created a wiki that documented our larger projects that we worked on throughout the quarter.  Under the definitions of an ePortfolio that we explored in the readings and videos, this wiki would suffice as an ePortfolio, although it was not created by just one individual.  However, it was a tool used for documenting and sharing our work.  We did not have the comments section enabled but had we done this, it would have also been a way for our larger audience to provide feedback on our work.

The assessment activities caused me to reflect on how realistic of an approach we can take to implementing ePortfolios and more specifically, on what scale do we want to create these on.  In some ways, the assessments raise more questions, such as, at what age do we begin an ePortfolio, are they maintained from year to year using the same tools, what type of teacher/student training is involved, and does the technology support the long term implementation of an ePortfolio?  I enjoyed reviewing some of the example ePortfolios that students had created in 2009 and continued to maintain throughout the years.  I noticed that these were very small schools in which students had some of the teachers for more than one year.  I also wondered what happens when the original creation tools become obsolete or better tools are invented and become more appealing.  How does one manage the work that this can generate?

In summary, I think that the creation of ePortfolios can be limited so as not to overwhelm or they can be a daunting project if not carefully considered from all angles. I also believe that they can be a rewarding way to engage both students and teachers in an academic setting.  EPortfolios reinforce the notion of continuous learning and growth while tracking that process in a multi-dimensional format.