Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Capstone Experience for Preservice Teachers: Building a Web-Based Portfolio

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Capstone Experience for Preservice Teachers: Building a Web-Based Portfolio

Article excerpt

Technology That Improves Teaching and Learning

Technology use in higher education has increased as instructors see the opportunity to increase the effectiveness of subject matter delivery along with increased flexibility for teacher candidates and instructors (Blicblau, 2006). Technology can be an effective tool to help the learner more fully understand the target knowledge, and develop higher order thinking skills and problem solving strategies (Fletcher, 2001; Jonassen, 2001). Recent technologies such as Google docs and the concept of Web 2.0 can help to facilitate greater communication of candidates' skills and talents (Henke, 2007; McPherson, 2007). The integration of technology specific to teacher preparation has also expanded in recent years (Alexander & Golja, 2007; Wilhelm & Confrey, 2005). Expertise and use of technology by instructors at the higher education level has improved with university wide support (Herner, Karayan, Love, & McKean, 2003). This has set the stage for ever more effective uses of technology, specifically web-based tools.

The Use of Web-based Portfolios

The use of electronic portfolios (particularly web-based) for teacher preparation is recent, but they do build on the foundation of traditional paper portfolios. Portfolios generally include a resume, philosophy of education, references, letters of recommendation, reflections on educational theories, personal goals, examples of lesson plans, and unit plans (Aschermann, 1999; Chappell & Schermerhorn, 1999; Ryan, Cole & Mathies, 1997; Wiedmer, 1998). The definitions of portfolios are numerous. They have been defined as a purposeful collection of student work assembled to demonstrate progress and achievement (Barrett, 1999; Bull, Montgomery, Overton & Kimball, 1999; Herman & Morrell, 1999; Tuttle, 1997; Wilcox, 1997). Others believe that portfolios offer the opportunity for multidimensional assessment (Backer, 1997; Cole, Tomlin, Ryan & Sutton, 1999; Jacobsen & Mueller, 1998; Riggsby, 1995). They also may be used to enhance teacher preparation course instruction (Corbett-Perez & Dorman, 1999; Mohnsen, 1997; Purves, 1996; Watkins, 1996). Portfolio creation involves the participant in active learning activities such as problem solving, writing, analyzing and researching (MacDonald, Liu, Lowell, Tsai, & Lohr, 2004). Electronic portfolios also have the possibility to create a program that is more highly visible, with a web presence that aids in student recruitment (Reardon, Lumsden, & Meyer, 2005).

Web-based Portfolios in Teacher Education

Portfolio content that is stored in a web-based course management database, such as WebCT[TM], Blackboard[TM] (In February 2006 WebCT and Blackboard merged) or Desire2Learn[TM], may be presented to the reader in a variety of formats depending on purpose (Banister, Vannatta, & Ross, 2006). To borrow terminology from the information systems discipline, the user can have a view of the data that fits the user's particular need (Herner, Karayan, Love, & McKean, 2003). Instructors will see artifacts created by a teacher candidate as the program progresses and use them to help form the candidate's development. If the portfolio is maintained in one location throughout the course of studies a final committee reviewing a teacher candidate's mastery of standards as the candidate nears graduation may see cumulative and summative artifacts and a final reflection created by the candidate. Teacher candidates can create a matrix (see Figure 1) that will assist those responsible for accreditation reporting to see specific course assignments and candidate artifacts produced in response to the assignments that address each standard. As a result, sequencing of assignments and curriculum content to develop the candidate's mastery of the standard can be evaluated. This is especially important as teacher education becomes more student-centered, and accrediting bodies look for specific evidence of growth (Chambers & Wickersham, 2007). …

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