OU H818: The Networked Practitioner
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Conference Presentation Abstract
Swimming with the Tide: Introducing open digital technologies into the preparation of student-teachers’ portfolio at a selected junior college in Belize.
Karen Martinez, OU Student
Internship course assessment in Belize needs an upgrade to meet the 21st century demands for digital skills. Apart from this, there has been a gradual change in student-teacher demography; more pre-service teachers entering the profession. Though trends in teacher education are showing that e-portfolios have been adopted as replacement for paper portfolios since the mid-1990s (McCowan et. al., 2005), the Teacher Education Development Services unit of the Ministry of Education and the Teacher Education Institutions in Belize still rely on the use of paper-based artefacts, like the paper portfolio, to determine students’ level of development and readiness to receive initial certification to enter the teaching profession. The paper portfolio has been focused primarily on four areas: an introduction, planning instruction and assessment, learning environment, and weekly reflections (Internship Handbook, 2019). The portfolio’s wider potential, for example, to aid employability and promotion of life-long learning has never been investigated.
Findings from study on e-portfolio have indicated wider benefits including more portability, possibility for increased motivation, the promotion of deep learning, ongoing reflection, and increase in digital skills (Barrett, 2004; Wieseman, 2005; Meyer and Latham, 2008). The use of an open source e-portfolio will increase the potential for this innovative practice to be phased into Belizean teacher education since it decreases the financial barrier in technological uptake. The wider plan is to translate this practice into a national education and technology policy.
This presentation will demonstrate how to introduce open digital technologies into the preparation of the students’ portfolio at a selected junior college in Belize where paper portfolio creation is already a major part of course assessment. The introduction of the electronic portfolio (e-portfolio) project, being an innovative practice for teacher education, will pose as a catalyst for changing practice. Its introduction will be a single location installation in a multimedia demonstration format to education department students and faculty. Mahara, a web-based open source e-portfolio, will be integrated into the institutional Moodle platform to minimize the inconvenience of logging into different platforms. Moodle will maintain the structure and organization needed by the institution while Mahara will provide the personal workspace and flexibility students will need to share, create and collaborate across networking tools. The author will use an explainer video to demonstrate the entry of the innovation into practice, highlight expectations, provide clear directions, and model proper interactions and negotiations among key players.
Since students are coming into the profession with limited clinical experiences, an assessment type that fosters motivation and enhances digital skills can aid to boost student interest and commitment. By extension, student employability may increase due to access to information on dispositions and professional growth. Factors that have potential to limit the success of the innovation include students’ perceptions on benefits, faculty’s interests to adopt the new practice, and possible second order effects of the introduction of technology.
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Barrett, H. (2003) ‘Researching the process and outcomes of electronic portfolio development in a teacher education program’, In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, pp. 15-18.
McCowan, C., Harper, W. and Hauville, K. (2005) ‘Student e-portfolio: The successful implementation of an e-portfolio across a major Australian university’, Australian Journal of Career Development, vol 14, no 2, pp.40-51.
Meyer, B. and Latham, N. (2008) ‘Implementing electronic portfolios: Benefits, challenges, and suggestions’, Educause Quarterly, vol 31, no. 1, p. 34.Wieseman, K. (2005) ‘Preservice Teachers Creating Electronic Portfolios’, In Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, IGI Glob