Monday, 4 February 2013

Benefit of e-portfolio

Has your centre manager (or administrator, head teacher or parents) complained that it's been a long time since the children's portfolio updated? 

Do you sometimes get 'writer's block' when you sit in front of a computer trying to write a learning story?

Why suffer?  An e-portfolio can make life easier.  

Sometimes a picture says a thousand words, taking photos with meaningful description and share it in children's blog (e-portfolio), what's better, a video can tell the whole story.

Benefits of e-portfolio, both for individual child and for the whole centre, from the Ministry of Education site:

The outcomes for children, include:
  • experiencing the instant and immediate opportunity to reflect on events, experiences and learning
  • making individual decisions about the look of their blog
  • making independent decisions about what documentation they value
  • a greater interest in peer's experiences, which has spring-boarded into more involved conversations with peers and staff
  • an increased interest in literacy, as children are drawing meaning from what they are seeing.
The outcomes for parents, families/whānau, include:
  • feeling more connected to their child's life at the centre
  • experiencing the emotion and achievement the child feels as evident in their e-portfolio
  • enabling distant family members and friends to see what is happening for the child
  • the ability to easily revisit learning through the online e-portfolio
  • understanding how learning is achieved over time (not always evident in paper portfolios)
  • enabling children who are absent or attend part-time to easily 'keep in touch' via the e-portfolio system.
The outcomes for teachers, include:
  • a richer picture of both events and learning (more so than still photos and text) through the use of video and other multimedia to chart children's learning experiences
  • recognising that teaching practice has become more transparent because of the blogs - they must be on top of their game professionally
  • more purposeful face-to-face conversations with parents
  • strengthened relationships with families that lead to meaningful learning for children. Teachers have found that parents are more likely to respond to a post on an e-portfolio.

After trailing different blogging platforms, wordpress, blogger, google sites, edublogs, I found blogger being the easiest for everyone.  Blogger's interface is user-friendly, very easy to use, it can also import word documents so it's spell-checked & grammar checked.  It can host public and private blog easily, not many people have problems getting into private sites, I had a lot of issues from people getting into wordpress private blogs.

Another pros for using blogger is that the centre or kindergarten can add affiliate links, and adsense easily to get additional funds for resources.  For example, recommending books, apps, dvds, so every time a parent buys from clicking the link, the centre/kindergarten will get a commission.  Or every click on ads on the site.  This is not major, but it's a compliment.  Imagine, a centre can run a fund-raising project on the website, and all family, extended family, friends of parents can help by buying products they can use on the site.

Cons for using bloggers is that it can share files as easy as on google sites, but you can always link to a shared file in google drive.

I don't see a lot of early childhood centres use e-portfolio, I wonder what the challenge is?

Is it:
- about Internet safety, privacy issue?
- not familiar with blogging?
- a bit of a hassle setting the system up?
- doesn't have reliable Internet connection & necessary equipment?

Please share your thought in the comment section, there's a solution to all of the above.

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