Tuesday, May 19, 2015

HB231: 2x2 - Two Models and Two Tools for ePortfolios

ePortfolios show you growth where grades and comments
just tell you about it.
Grades and test scores are useful because they distill diverse, complex measures of student performance into a single quantifiable figure. They are also misleading because they do precisely that. Tell me that a student is an "A" student or a "B" student evokes a picture in my mind of what I think an "A" or "B" student looks like, but that grade is several steps removed from a student's actual work. Report card comments go a bit farther in telling us what a student's performance is, but if you want to really show a student's performance then they should create portfolios.

EPortfolios can be a complicated topic, but they don't have to be. Broadly speaking, you'll want to decide whether you want to focus on reflection or achievement. In the jargon of ed tech, a reflection-based eportfolio is known as a "workbench" because it's where students post their work as they do it and reflect regularly (for example, weekly). An achievement-based portfolio is known as a "showcase" because it is designed to show the student's best work rather than the process. Of course, ePortfolios may take elements from each of these models.

Once you've decided on your model, you'll need to choose a tool. Blogger is great for workbenches since it's integrated with Google Apps and is focused on the kind of chronological posts that regular reflection requires. On the other hand, Google Sites are good for showcases due to ease with which the user can control the layout and content.

The session notes below compare the functionality of Blogger and Google Sites in the context of ePortfolios, and for more detailed resources refer to Dr. Helen Barrett's extensive site on Google Apps and ePortfolios.


HB231 Session Notes
Dr. Helen Barrett's ePortfolios using Google Apps site

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