Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Setting up an E - Portfolio

I found that setting up my E- Portfolio in Mahara wasn’t to difficult as I have signed up and registered to so many things in the last few weeks. I did have trouble working my way around the site but as I explored the website more I began to understand how to create and add information to the portfolio. To feel more comfortable and able to use Mahara more effectively I feel that I have a lot more exploring to do.

What is an E – Portfolio?

Regis University (2003) states that a portfolio is a collection of work developed across varied contexts over time. The portfolio can advance learning by providing students and/or faculty with a way to organize, archive and display pieces of work. The electronic format allows faculty and other professionals to evaluate student portfolios using technology, which may include the Internet, CD-ROM, video, animation or audio (Regis University, 2003).

Regis University (2003) states that not only are electronic portfolios easy to access but they also physically don’t take up much space. They also create the opportunity for teachers to interconnect through hyperlinks which reduces the possibility of losing documents or information.

Electronic portfolios also allow for sound, pictures, videos and other graphics to be added to them.

Theory – Engagement Theory

I think E – portfolios can fit into many of the categories in the Engagement Theory process. However I am going to focus on Project Orientated Learning. Using E – portfolios in the classroom will take a lot of scaffolding and time but once the foundation is set up students will find it fun and engaging as they are monitoring their own learning.

Having students create their own E – portfolios in the classroom will allow students to perform activities involving active cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and evaluation (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999). This doesn’t mean the students are the only ones contributing to their portfolios. Teachers should be adding to these designs from their own perspective as well.

Kearsley and Schneiderman (1999) argue that students should be provided with a description of the criteria that will be used to evaluate their projects to help them determine the appropriateness of their project ideas. I agree with the assertions of Kearsley and Schneiderman (1999) and in order to achieve this I believe teachers should present students with an example of a portfolio that is of a predetermined standard. This will provide students with the opportunity to create their own criteria for their portfolio project.

Using E- Portfolio in the Classroom

Allowing students to participate in creating and editing their E – Portfolio’s allows them to gain valuable computer skills (Regis University, 2003). I love what the E –Portfolios offer students and teachers in the classroom. I feel as I read some research on these folios that the best way to use them in the classroom is to allow students to participate in the creating. Teachers should provide students with example portfolios; this will also give the students opportunity to create their own criteria and standards. Having students do these will give the students responsibility for their own learning (Urquhart & McIver, 2005).

Using E- portfolios in the classroom will differ for different year levels as students in lower primary may have difficulty compiling information or data for their portfolios. As a result having students involved in what goes into their portfolios is a more appropriate strategy for lower primary. Upper primary students should be able to do most of their creating and editing but teachers must also scaffold students in the right direction.

Teachers can use these portfolios in a number of ways. Regis University (2003) states that there are 3 main types of portfolios:

1. Developmental – This demonstrates the advancement and development of student skills over a period of time.
2. Assessment Portfolios – This demonstrates student competence and skill for well-defined areas.
3. Showcase Portfolios - This demonstrates exemplary work and student skills.
(Regis University, 2003)

Regis University (2003) also asserts that you will rarely find a portfolio that is strictly used for assessment, development or showcase purposes. Consequently many portfolios that are created in schools are a hybrid of all three.


Kearsley, G & Schneiderman, B (1999) Engagement Theory - A framework for technology-based teaching and learning: Accessed August 4th 2009 http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

Regis University (2003) E – Portfolio Basics: Accessed on the 9th August 2009; http://academic.regis.edu/LAAP/eportfolio/basics_what.htm

Urquhart, V & McIver, M (2005) Teaching Writing in the Content Areas: ASCD, United States of America.

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