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Increasing opportunities to learn using MyPortfolio

Tags: Assessment | The Arts | e-Portfolios | Lower secondary | Secondary |

Music students at St Peter’s College in Palmerston North used e-portfolios to record their reflections, compositions, and understandings.

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

Integrating e-learning at St Peter’s College

Traditionally, students at St Peter’s College studied music in a step by step programme with different themes or aspects of learning timetabled throughout the year. Students presented their compositions during scheduled performance times and received teacher feedback. This approach had limitations.

Teachers at St Peter's believed that practical musical development is enhanced when students have increased opportunities to learn through performing, and receive focused and timely feedback. They introduced MyPortfolio  to NCEA level 1–3 music classes to overcome the barriers of time and place that had previously limited the learning process.

About MyPortfolio

MyPortfolio provides a personal learning environment to record and showcase evidence of achievement, manage development plans, set goals, and create online learning communities. 

Developing competent and reflective learners

Music students at St Peter’s College used MyPortfolio to keep a digital journal based on the school’s 4Rs model:

  • Record: What is the learning intention? (identified in collaboration with teachers)
  • Recount: What did you actually do?
  • Reflect: What did you discover, observe, learn, share, or collaborate on during this stage? Respond to feedback. What might you need to do differently next time?
  • Research: What do you need to know for the next steps in your learning?

Although reflective journals are not an NCEA requirement until Level 3 Performance Music the teachers encouraged the students to use this approach to grow as competent learners.  

A major benefit of digital journals is that students can upload and share their ideas about a composition or performance as it is taking shape. 

Students used Google Workspace for Education  to draft compositions, create presentations and collaborate with peers. These documents were then embedded into MyPortfolio.

Educational outcomes

Increased opportunities for feedback

  • Using MyPortfolio enabled teachers to respond to students as their learning progressed rather than at the end of an assignment or project. Teachers were able to give feedback at any time of day, according to the needs and interests of their learners.

Increased opportunities to learn

  • Feedback was no longer an essential part of class time so more time was available during lessons to focus on creative outworking, an essential component of creative performance and composition. The online environment enabled students to access and act on feedback outside of class time, adjusting their compositions when it suited them best.

Development of key competencies

  • Digital portfolios also helped students develop capabilities for lifelong learning. Students used critical and metacognitive processes to improve their work, became confident users of digital technologies, and better self-managers.

Online discussions

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 .