My last post ended with a remark about what the future holds for for our class emerging ePortfolios. I was delighted that Jaye Richards took the time to write an indepth comment to the post shortly after reading it – it was Jaye, after all, who inadvertently led me to the concept of ePortfolios via twitter … and I’ve been sold on the idea ever since 🙂
I made an attempt to reply to her comment but after reading her follow-up blog post on the subject and her thought-provoking accounts of her own experiences, I decided that another blog post on here was the best way to reply. She got me thinking about the stumbling blocks that have been encountered when children I’ve taught in the past have moved on to High School. I also went on a trip down memory lane this evening and experienced (again) some of the frustrations that Jaye talks about in her post. I’ll quote from Maryam’s transition blog posts to try to demonstrate what I mean.
- Towards the end of primary 7 at Carronshore, Maryam wrote on her blog: ” My favourite thing ever is English. I love reading and writing. They are the only two things that are important too me. I have been writing quite alot of posts about reading and writing, well i just love writing and stuff. …. I can’t wait to get to high school to ask my English teacher for advice for getting really good ideas. “
- In this blog post she describes the excitement as her entry to High School looms ever closer: “I can’t believe we have finished primary school already! Its a bit quick. Well we still have a couple of weeks left of school but it doesn’t feel like it. We are finally the oldest in Primary school but now we will be back to the youngest in high school. That’ll be a bit hard. I’m looking forward too all the new lessons there and making new friends and stuff. I just cab’t wait for tommorow.”
- Maryam is now in 1st year at high school (last term): “I thought i would go on my blog just for old times sake. High school has been SOOO weird. It’s like i have been there all my life and not been to primary school once, but i have not forgotten primary school, I MISS IT SO MUCH. We have been doing all sorts of stuff and we have had sooo much .. drama? I think that is the word for it. It has been so BIZZARE. I have just chosen my subjects before the easter holidays. It was kind of depressing.”
- Her final post on her blog was when she entered 2nd year (she’s already regretting her subject choice) “So yes, it has been almost a month of school and i am in second year. It is alot harder than i thought, well kind of. I did choose the subjects i wanted , [i still regret picking some of them]!”
Maryam’s posts dried up soon after this, but her experience of her transition to High School echo the thoughts in Jaye’s post when she wrote:
“my old school is now making children choose their examinable subjects two thirds of the way through S1 !!
If I had my way, they wouldn’t even get ‘distinct’ subjects until S3…”
Anyway – back to my post title! – ePortfolios and Transition Stages.
I’m hoping that the ePortfolios might succeed where the blogs alone failed. Maybe if the children know that the purpose of them is to demonstrate progress in their learning journey, then the responsibility for the upkeep and the freedom to choose what is included would enhance the feeling of ownership. The wikis seem to accommodate the ‘growth’ aspect more than a blog (even with tagging, etc).
I love the way Kian has already set his pages up for Primary 7 and his transition to High School. All the children choose their own layout and this one obviously made more sense to him.
I also really like his ‘Life Achievement’ section – others have used this phrase when referring to their ePortfolios. Check out Alyson’s ‘sticky’ post on her Glow Blog 🙂
Click on the loveheart to see my ePortfolio.I have all my achievements inside and outside school!!!
(All my achievement through out my life) Fingers cross it works!!!
I also really like Andrew’s ePortfolio layout. He felt it was important to include a page with links to his favourite Glow Blog posts:
I have a blog as well as this ePortfolio. Click here to visit it. I am going to put some of my favourite blog posts in this section of my ePortfolio. So use the links in the banners below to view my best blog posts.
The children are already asking questions about what will happen to their Glow Blogs and Wikis when they move on to Primary 7 and then on to High School.
Ideally, I’d like to support them for one more year to continue to provide feedback …… but that’s not for me to decide 🙂
Feedback is a very important ingredient if an ePortfolio is to succeed. It’s mostly oral in Primary, but the wikis have a comment facility that could be used by Secondary staff in S1 and beyond?
Too many questions still unanswered – time to publish 🙂
Thanks for your kind words. Some great work here on ePortfolio’s, and it would be such a shame if this was allowed to wither on the vine in secondary school, but I fear this is exactly what will happen… secondary staff just don’t, by enlarge, engage with GLOW for all sorts of reasons. Most of these have been around since the inception of the project but remain to date unaddressed. I won’t bore you with an anti-Glow diatribe but in my mind he only way we’re going to address this fractured learning journey which is P7 to S1, is to adopt a middle stage approach with less emphasis on distinct subjects and more multi-location work by primary and secondary staff. This would allow the good work started in primary to be continued into secondary. It would also go a long way towards allieviating the anxiety felt by many children going through the school change process of transition.
Why stress kids with having to worry about subject choices, or even subjects during P7, S1 and even S2. ‘Themes’ such as Literacy, numracy, health and well being, etc could cover all the curricular work. Plenty of time to worry about exams and tests and results and subject choices later in S3 if you want to…
lets bring the fun and engagement back into education, remove the stress from our children, and stimulate a lifelong joy for learning…
Pingback: Learning, Teaching and ICT » ePortfolios, Assessment and Transition Issues
I love this site margaret. I am an eLearning teacher in Malta and am studying eportfolios and their implementation in the primary classrooms. Thanks lots of examples and info.