Students from Mount Roskill Grammar School engaged in shared learning with their peers and subject teachers for NCEA Level 3 English using MyPortfolio.
"In our school, e-learning is part of effective cycles of reflection and assessment, involving the wider community. "
Teachers at Mt Roskill Grammar School wanted to create and facilitate opportunities for students to collaborate in different contexts to support their achievement in NCEA Level 3 English – which required "the use of discourse that demonstrates the ability to critically analyse and support ideas and points of view."
The focus of the teacher inquiry was to identify whether student engagement and achievement could be enhanced through the integration of an online learning environment where students could:
The teacher inquiry explored what was needed to increase the probability of those interactions occurring through identifying opportunities to facilitate shared learning, The New Zealand Curriculum, p34 .
MyPortfolio was selected as an online learning environment because it:
Teachers and students at Mount Roskill Grammar School utilised a range of functions and tools to support learning activities and teacher modelling. These included teacher and/or students:
MyPortfolio provided an effective platform for supporting both learning and teaching. The learning was designed to accentuate “the form of thinking that happens when groups think together online”, Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age, 2011 . The use of online tools to increase collaboration, and learning together, has been recognised and appreciated by all participants.
The students valued their ownership of the learning process, including the opportunity to build a portfolio of essays within a relevant learning context. They appreciated the ability to access and revisit their writing, feedback, and reflections, especially in the lead up to exams.
View the video – Year 13s talk about MyPortfolio
The e-portfolio approach, when integrated into a current programme of learning, can provide valued outcomes for students especially in relation to achievement and ownership of learning. This is a key consideration in relation to teaching as inquiry and “what is important and worth spending time on” The New Zealand Curriculum, p35 . Opportunities for students to benefit from teacher modelling and assistance from their peers are an important part of the learning process.
The purpose of using an e-portfolio approach was to identify and design learning that facilitated opportunities for collaboration. Forums that were focused on clearly identified learning outcomes to guide discussion resulted in valued outcomes.
While the students contributed a range of responses they all demonstrated engagement with the text and evidence of thinking. This was extended when students responded to, or even challenged, what others had written. This often resulted in a noticeable increase in students justifying their position, a key skill for critical analysis.
Some of the students also made good use of the learning journal functions in MyPortfolio, including feedback and thinking to inform their next steps.
Implications for future teaching include providing opportunities for further student feedback in response to essays and writing from peers. Consequently, the teaching as inquiry cycle will continue to focus on co-constructing success criteria with students and utilising the online tools to support teacher actions that promote student learning.
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.
Find out more about the software types used in this snapshot.