Wednesday, April 22, 2009

From a student perspective

On April 1 this year, I provided the keynote address at the Sakai Conference in Rhode Island where they have implemented Sakai and the Open Source Portfolio for all high school students in that state. My presentation focused on my Balance article, and the importance of student-centered strategies that included the students' own stories, with personalization, multimedia, and creativity. There were students in the audience, and I was told that they loved what I had to say. One of them told their teachers, "Our portfolios look like our textbooks, they don't look like us!"

So, as we consider tools, I think it is important to value the capability for students to personalize their ePortfolios as much as the capability to collect assessment data. There is a trade-off in most of the ePortfolio tools, between the type of creativity and personalization that students have in their social networking websites, and the data collection for institutions to track student achievement. I also think an online workspace in an ePortfolio system should include a reflective journal (a blog) for students to immediately reflect on their learning and the work that they are collecting. The blogging process facilitates feedback for improvement (assessment for learning--Black & Wiliam, 1998). Then, when students put together a hyperlinked presentation portfolio at the end of a course or a school year, they will have the collection/reflection of work to draw upon to build a more summative portfolio.

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