Monday, February 26, 2007

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for e-portfolios?

I attended the annual conference of the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) last weekend in New York City. I went to many presentations on the program that focused on e-portfolios. What I heard continues to distress me: teacher educators are most often talking about using portfolios for collecting data for reporting and accreditation. I was the discussant in a wonderful presentation by the faculty of the University of Wisconsin Madison, where that was not the case. Their presentations focused on a scaffolded model that helped teacher candidates reflect on their growth and change as they progressed through the program. However, at 7:45 on a Sunday morning, there weren't a lot of people attending. In one of the "portfolio as data" sessions, I asked about the role of reflection. In another, I commented about the importance of students telling the story of their own growth in their own voice. It made the data-happy folks very defensive ("the stories come through the data"). WRONG! The stories come from the students own voices! I am more and more convinced that the full balanced story of portfolios is not being told in Teacher Education. There is so much attention being given to the data collection, that there is not a lot of energy left to tell the stories.

At the same conference, I attended several sessions that focused on Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK), which:
...attempts to capture some of the essential qualities of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge. At the heart of the TPCK framework, is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (C), Pedagogy (P), and Technology (T). See Figure above. As must be clear, the TPCK framework builds on Shulman's idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge.
I think a lot of the problem with the implementation of electronic portfolios is that they are being implemented without TPCK. There isn't a lot of knowledge about the pedagogical content of using portfolios for learning; the administrators and data managers are implementing electronic portfolios (that are really used as assessment management systems) with full knowledge of data and statistics but without full knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings and value of using portfolios to support student and teacher learning.

We have many faculty who understand these issues, but see the implementation of portfolios in conflict with their prior understandings of how portfolios help students learn. I am also concerned that we are not implementing portfolios in teacher education that models how teacher candidates will use them when they get their own students in their own classrooms. Many students see portfolios as a hoop they need to jump through, to give the institution data needed for accreditation, and not something that will help them as professional educators. That was NOT what I saw in the UWM presentation; their model was supported by both the faculty who spoke and the few students that were there. I wish that model could be shared more widely. They need to tell their story!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Online ePortfolio Strategies

I received an email recently from a teacher who participated in the online class that I just finished teaching. She asked:
I am now very excited about the direction I hope to take the e-portfolio at our school. One of the things I have decided to do is to use this opportunity to mentor rather than teach my students. I am hoping that I will be able to work alongside them as we all create our own portfolios (me too). I have significant technological challenges and if you have time would appreciate your input. I am not as technologically savvy as perhaps I should be given that I teach online.

I have lots of cool ideas but my biggest stumbling block is technology. I want a space for students to create their portfolios that is:

1. interactive
2. will be able to support multimedia
3. allow students to individualize their portfolios
4. is secure
5. allows assessment
6. is portable (i.e. students can take it with them when they leave)

I figured that a student webpage (assuming they could make one) would cover 1, 2, 3 and 6, but not 4 or 5.

Moodle covers 1, 4, and 5 but not 2 (very well), 3 and 6

A CDROM covers 2, 3, 4, & 6 but not 1, & 5.

I know I'm asking for the world, but please help.

I know the parents at the school would balk at the idea of student pages accessible to anyone & to be honest I don't want my personal information out there either. This may not be where the Internet is right now, but I'm not comfortable sharing with the world! However I think that as a group of Grade 11 and 12 students and a mentor (me), we could really achieve something meaningful. Now that The Graduation Portfolio is no longer mandatory in BC, I want to make this an optional course for students interested in creating their own e-portfolios as a start to a lifelong journey.
I responded: I decided to take your document and put together a GoogleDoc page to look at different strategies. I added five more options to look at. After you review the table, you can get back to me. I think there are other options that you could consider.

I don't understand what you mean by assessment. Do you want to score student portfolio work, based on a rubric? Or do you want to provide students feedback on their work (which I think your first section, Interactive, covers).

Monday, February 05, 2007


I added a few "how-to's" on a couple of my online portfolios, which are Web 2.0 tools, but not necessarily portfolio tools: (my favorite wiki) and (my favorite blogging tool) for ePortfolio development. These pages briefly cover the process:
These pages provide some suggestions for a sequence of activities using that specific tool to construct an interactive ePortfolio.