Sunday, February 21, 2010

Using Electronic Portfolios for Assessment

The conversation about electronic portfolios has been heating up over the years. Yolanda Abrencia from San Diego State University argues that e-portfolios are easy to store, easy to share, and easily enhanced with sound or video. I would agree this is true. This fall I helped my husband create his online tenure portfolio. This was the first tenure portfolio for Marian University done online. We thought the same thing as Professor Abrencia, especially the use of digital content. So we spent the fall uploading documents, evaluations, videos of classroom presentations and podcasts. Most of the committee appreciated the effort – especially the enhanced digital content.

Brebeuf Jesuit has casually dabbled in e-portfolios. The English Department is the main push for the technology. They wish to create documentation portfolios to hold student work as they progress through the semester. Some teachers are using our LMS to create documentation portfolios. The teacher creates a “folder” which only the teacher and student can see. The student uploads works in progress, the teacher comments using tablet inking features, the student reflects and modifies work. What we do not like about this system is twofold: one, only the student and the teacher can see the portfolio and two, no digital content can be added (only text).

In light of the AP Comparative Government class I am working with for this Capstone, what kind of portfolio would work? Interesting question. The class is completely focused on the summative assessment of the AP exam. Sadly, this exam is still a traditional paper and pencil event. That said, students still need practice in creating essays that synthesize content learned into cohesive argument. Dr. Helen Barrett discussed two types of portfolios, formative and summative. She writes that summative portfolios contain strictly dictated elements with clear learning objective used for end of course assessment. I don’t think that’s what I am looking for with this class – we already have a summative assessment looming!

Dr. Barrett continues with a more interesting thought – the formative portfolio. She defines a formative portfolio as student driven. The student chooses what elements to incorporate to showcase what they’ve succeed in learning. The assessments are based on the reflective properties of the portfolio, not to the exclusion of specific content, but open to all learned elements. This is the type of portfolio I would like to see for an AP Comparative Government class. This also fits with the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm which calls us as Jesuit educators to look at teaching and knowing the whole person – not just the state standards. A formative portfolio would allow students to share a part of themselves and highlight their individual strengths.


Abrenica, Yolanda. Electronic Portfolios. Retrieved from

Barrett, Helen C. Using Electronic Portfolios for Classroom Assessment. Connected Newsletter, October 2006. Vol 13, No 2, pp. 4-6. Retrieved from via TeacherTap: Electronic Portfolios: Students, Teachers, and LifeLong Learners. Retrieved from

Friday, February 19, 2010

Haiti Webcast

Watching the MAGPI web conference on Haiti. Just saw students from Portugal discuss their relief efforts. Very impressive!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Global Event

Looking forward to participating in this global event, posted on the Global Education Collaborative site:

If anyone else is interested, it is taking place February 19th. Hosted by MAGPI (mid-Atlantic Gigapop in Philidelphia)

Screencasting and Multiple Intelligences

Thanks to a snow day I had time to clear my head. In thinking about how to give visually and auditorily inclined students another way to experience the wiki instructions I thought of screencasting. So this morning, again thanks to Mother Nature and a continued Winter Storm Warning, I used CamStudio to create a screencast of how to log-in, access and post to the wiki. I will upload it to our learning management system (Edline) so students can access 24/7. Later this afternoon, I will present it in person. Coupled with print instructions and I think I have caught most learning styles! Here's the screencast in case anyone is interested...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Universal Design and Multiple Intelligences

Reflecting on US AP Comparative Government Wiki Project and Universal Design/Multiple Intelligences

These are notes on the readings as they might relate to a wiki project for AP Comparative Government. Students are charged with defining terms as identified by the College Board and posting one example of the term in real world action.

• Flexible Methods of Presentation
o Project was presented to large group with use of computer cart (one laptop
per student).
o SMARTBoard set up for visual directions.
o Oral directions from me and teacher.
o Print directions on handout that was then posted to online portal for later

• Flexible Method of Expression
o Students have rigid posting requirements (enter requirements).
o Students can add any link, photo, podcast, embedded video they wish

• Flexible Methods of Engagement
o Students can access the wiki 24/7 from any computer
o Students can add any link, photo, podcast, embedded video they wish
o Students are to articulate an example of each vocabulary term. They are
struggling but accepting the challenge!

Multiple Intelligences

The wiki does allow for learners to manage the learning process and value their individual strengths. It will appeal more to Verbal-Linguistic, Mathematical- Logical and Intrapersonal intelligences. The project will appeal less to Bodily-Kinesthetic and Interpersonal intelligences.

Thoughts for the project- Increase Universal Design implementation

1. Giving visually inclined (Artistic) students the option to use inserted
pictures as evidence/example of vocabulary.
2. Giving auditory inclined (Verbal-Linguistic) students the option to use
podcasting upload for evidence/example of vocabulary.
3. Giving kinesthetic inclined (Bodily) students the option to use original
video to create evidence/example of vocabulary.

Resources Outside of PBS Teacherline materials:
National Center on Universal Design on Learning

Concept to Classroom: Tapping into Multiple Intelligences

Saturday, February 6, 2010

On a roll, second post at I guess I can do this!
Just made my first post to an online learning community, Global Education Collaborative ( Kept it safe but it's a beginning.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Social Bookmarking

I found this social bookmarking site on the TechCrunch blog. It's a beta product out of France. I am hooked.

Main URL is

My user name is 40ishoracle

This is a web-mapping style bookmark. Users create "pearls" by topic and then bookmark specific webpages. You can connect to other users pearls and even have conversations regarding the pearls. You can post to Twitter and Facebook directly out of the pearls. I receive an email when another user pearls the same thing as I have so I can check out their pearltree.


1. As a visual learner, I can not live without this product.

2. It's a global product so the community is really interesting.

3. Receiving emails when someone pearls the same thing as me has really helped me connect with other Ed Tech professionals. I love seeing what others find on the web.


1. The toolbar required to pearl pages occasionally crashed IE.

2. It's a beta so it could disappear or go to "pay to play" at any point.