Using ePortfolios or blogs for Home Economics lessons

An ePortfolio, is a website that enables students to collate digital evidence of their learning. Sort of like how I am using this blog as digital evidence of my learning. 

How an ePortfolio or blog can enhance learning

  • It increases peer and collaborative learning between students and teachers when ePortfolios are made visible to other students. For example, students can view each other’s finished products after a cooking class and learn where their peers have done well or not so well.
  • Students have a place to document their achievement and because it can be made visible to peers and the public, it would make the work more meaningful for them (and possibly make them take their work more seriously.) 
  • Would allow students and teacher to look back at the students previous work, any assumptions they might have had on a topic, discussions and work processes
  • ePortfolios accommodate a range of learning styles because it can contain a wide range of files, such as text documents, pictures, videos, links to websites and other online resources. This would be a great way for students to store pictures of the dishes they have cooked or mind maps they have done. Students could even use the portfolio to store pictures/pdfs of their worksheets. 
  • Students will be able to receive more feedback and in a more timely manner because it will be easier for teachers to monitor students’ progress.
  • Increased feedback from teachers will encourage students to reflect more deeply on their own learning
  • Process work can be recorded (instead of just finished products), which would make it easier for students to be reflective of their learning. For example, students could add video clips of their cooking techniques.
  • If students can leave comments on each other’s work which helps students to develop digital literacy skills that enables them to become fully participatory citizens in society

Other advantages of using an ePortfolio or blog

  • Teachers can more easily form supportive relationships with students over the course of their study through interacting with the student’s portfolio
  • Reduces the need to pass bulky portfolios back and forth between teacher and student
  • ePortfolios can help students stay organised 
  • Students become more confident in co-producing class knowledge and content
  • Students can get help on their work outside of class hours from each other and the teacher
  • Students can express their opinions online. This might be good for students who are more shy.

Challenges 

  • Time needed to teach students how to use the e-portfolio unless they have learnt during another subject (FCE has very limited face time with the students so this can be challenging)
  • Time needed at the beginning to set up the structure of the ePortfolio for the students.
  • Some students may be apprehensive about using the technology and may need considerable support
  • Students may not have access to the technology to make it easy for them to build the ePortfolio
  • Possible increase in workload if the teacher doesn’t determine at the beginning the how and when the ePortfolio should be graded

Possible ways to overcome challenges

  • Set aside time after school to teach students the technology
  • Create explainer videos for the students so they can teach themselves
  • Have a clear plan right in the beginning on how the ePortfolio should be used (e.g. a repository of finished work? Process work?) and what, how and when comments should be given to students and grading should be done.

Possible platforms that can be used for an ePortfolio or blog

Free platforms

  • Google Sites 
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Blogging platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, TypePad
  • Padlet

Paid platforms

  • PebblePad seems like a great platform because there are built in ways to grade the portfolio / blog, but you cannot trial the product as an individual and plans start from £25/year (SGD$43.25; AUD$46.75). 

Some articles on ePortfolios

4 ways ePortfolios are going beyond college resume building

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