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Increasing ownership of learning through e-portfolios

Tags: Assessment | Cross-curricular | Effective pedagogy | e-Portfolios | GAFE | Primary | Upper primary |

The processes and progress of learning were effectively documented in e-portfolios at Bucklands Beach Intermediate School.

"In our school, e-learning is part of effective cycles of reflection and assessment, involving the wider community."
eLPF 2014

A portal for learning processes

After 20 years of using student portfolios, Bucklands Beach Intermediate has a strong philosophy and purpose for their use.

They believe portfolios:

  • support the processes of learning and provide evidence of progress
  • recognise and respond to student voice
  • encourage reflective thinking and goal setting
  • support collaboration between teachers, students and communities
  • provide online space to store student work
  • provide a tool to facilitate lifelong learning.

A move to e-portfolios

The school moved from paper portfolios to e-portfolios, a change prompted by teachers who felt that with an increased focus on e-learning, digital artefacts were more representative of learning than paper based work. These teachers had already begun informal digital portfolios in their classrooms using Wikispaces .

The school set up e-portfolios for all students using Google Apps for Education and Teacher Dashboard . Google Apps for Education is a free suite of hosted email and collaboration applications exclusively for school and universities. Teacher Dashboard is a commercial application that gives teachers / kaiako a snapshot view of student activity across Google Apps.

This combination of software allowed for easy export of the e-portfolio after Year 8, and created a more manageable digital learning environment for teachers and students. Cloud storage enabled teachers and students to access the work anytime, anywhere. This created increased opportunities for teachers and students to undertake formative assessment and use the information and feedback to inform next steps.

Student owned mobile devices

Bucklands Beach Intermediate introduced a student owned mobile device programme in 2009. This initiative was introduced to:

  • improve student achievement in inquiry‐based learning, reading and writing skills, digital literacy, inventive thinking, problem solving, and communication and presentation skills

  • build a culture of use based on the concept of digital citizenship

  • engage students in self‐directed learning through the use of differentiated instruction
  • meet the needs of diverse learners, through engagement with digital content and resources
  • promote communication and the use of online collaboration tools.

Professional development for teachers

The increased use of ICTs and online environments required teachers to improve their skills and knowledge in e-learning and pedagogy. Staff meetings were held each term for PLD focused on e-portfolios and e-learning pedagogy. Weekly ICTPD drop-in sessions were also available. Staff could request specific support or participate voluntarily. Leaders in e-learning, which include teachers, staff members, and students, were also available for classroom support or "just in time" learning.

Student ownership of learning

Student ownership of learning increased with the introduction of ePortfolios. Students kept reflective journals and incorporated their personal learning blogs into the e-portfolio. They used a range of online tools to create digital artefacts that demonstrated their learning. These digital artefacts were stored in their portfolios for self and peer assessment. Teachers and family accessed the work and provided comments.

“Students value the ownership and increased responsibility for their learning. Also the opportunities to to express themselves and contribute in a global community.”

Lenva Shearing (teacher)

View this Ed talk – The ePortfolio: A personal space for learning

Find out more

Find out how Bucklands Beach students created and presented engaging picture books for younger students using the dual-screen player in Viddix .

Online discussions

Join the Virtual Learning Network (VLN)  and participate in these discussions.

Tools for e-portfolios
e-Portfolios in the classroom  webinar (14 June, 2012). Teachers from Russell St School discuss: 
 - the pedagogy and purpose for e-portfolios
 - how they are encouraging students to reflect on their work more deeply and the benefits to students' learning
 - how they setup e-portfolios – software, documentation, staff expectations, and professional development. View the PowerPoint and download PDFs used with their e-portfolios.

Discuss, share, and celebrate the use of e-portfolios in teaching and learning.

Software types

Find out more about the software types used in this snapshot.

e-Portfolios
Google Apps


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