Teacher education e-portfolio pilot project

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paigeblog.jpgPart of what I hope to be able to do this summer as a Faculty Fellow is to capture what we learned from the pilot work with blogs as portfolio in teacher education. I was able to introduce 59 senior undergraduate students in the Elementary Professional Development School Partnership to the professional website and teacher education framework template in Fall 2008. These students were required to make at least 4-5 posts and 2-3 comments in their science education course. This served as an introduction to the blogging platform and associated tools. Students were then offered the opportunity to continue the development of their professional portfolios via their blogs throughout their internship year. By choice 40 students voluntarily agreed to participate.

As part of the pilot project, students posted written reflections on their learning experiences (coursework and field experiences) regularly and connected their posts to the teacher education program framework using a tagging system developed by the ETS team. In this way, students were able to monitor their own learning and development over time associated with particular performances, such as fostering an engaging learning environment and attending to children's thinking. In addition, students were able to select particular entries, include them in a "show portfolio" and write a "meta-reflection" across entries in each key area of teacher learning (4 domains of the teacher education framework).

Thumbnail image for internbanner.jpgAt the time of the pilot project, 50% of our students had not activated their Penn State web space, 85% reported not having an electronic portfolio, and 66% had never read a blog.

We surveyed students about their use of the blogs as a professional portfolio at the end of the fall semester. Part of the survey required students to rate the importance of various aspects and affordances of blogs as portfolio on a Likert scale with 5 being "extremely important." What follows is a brief summary of their responses.

The 2 most highly rated items (92.5% of students selecting 5) were the ability to easily organize their work in relations to the teacher education performance framework and the ability to take their portfolios with them when they leave Penn State.

Other highly rated items are provided below. For these results categories 4 and 5 were collapsed to generate the percentage response.

  • Using tags to organize work (97.5%).
  • Linking multimedia artifacts to entries (97.5%).
  • Personalizing portfolio to reflect individual development as a teacher (97.5%).
  • Ease of use of blogging tools (92.5%).
  • Saving to personal PSU web space (80%).

Items that students thought were of least importance were related to the public nature of the portfolio and commenting. However, most students participated well beyond the minimum number of required comments. In addition, the comments were generally serious and substantive. More to come on this interesting contradiction.

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