Rob Clarke principal of Burnham School describes the benefits of using e-portfolios in the school community to connect with parents. This is particularly important within their community with many parents deployed overseas.
Burnham ako is our name for our e-portfolio setup in this school and so children are able to publish their learning in a public way but there’s also private parts to it as well and that is a way to leverage feedback and to ensure that formative teaching and learning practices can be grown in the school. I’d like to see in the future that when five year olds come to this school that they may be given their Burnham ako login to their parents as part of the enrolment process and that parents are then able to engage from anywhere and one of the unique aspects of our community is that we serve a number of New Zealand defence force personnel who sometimes can be away on military work and that means that they’re not always here and so ensuring that they can still be involved in their child’s learning at anytime from anywhere is really important. One example of how that’s started to grow is the new enrolments are now starting to Skype with their family who maybe in another country overseas serving the military or the army. One of the things that is important as a next step is looking at the rigour and the quality of the feedback that children receive about their learning and that feedback can come from a whole range of places if the system will support that and so having our Burnham ako system that allows their parents to give them feedback anytime they like and it also allows their parents to be notified when they do post something to their ako blog and that’s starting to really take-off.