Academic journal article Australian Journal of Music Education

Curriculum Mapping and ePortfolios: Embedding a New Technology in Music Teacher Preparation

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Music Education

Curriculum Mapping and ePortfolios: Embedding a New Technology in Music Teacher Preparation

Article excerpt

Introduction

In this article we discuss the mapping of student ePortfolios across the content of a four year undergraduate degree program in music teacher preparation at an Australian university. This is the final stage of a project over the years 2009-2011, in which ePortfolios were gradually integrated into student workloads, and acts as a form of summation of the expectations of the role undertaken by an ePortfolio; it also acts as an interpretation of the significance of this form of IT-assisted learning, and indicates ways in which ePortfolios are changing and enriching students' learning, and informing staff delivery of courses (2). The process to this stage has consisted of:

1. Introduction to students of the idea of ePortfolio as a task,

2. Discussions with students about what they saw as ideal ePortfolio inclusions,

3. Requirements that students in the early years of this degree program complete basic tasks to produce ePortfolio components in a limited number of subject areas (e.g., writing a statement of personal philosophy of music education),

4. Design and implementation of more complex ePortfolio tasks (e.g., filming and editing suitable video material to demonstrate specified abilities and skills of music teachers),

5. Provision to students by a technology expert of one-to-one training in the technological aspects of ePortfolio design and compilation,

6. Expectation that final year students are producing a complete ePortfolio suitable for job application,

7. Consideration of how best to integrate ePortfolio tasks throughout relevant parts of the degree program,

and has been reported in various fora (Rowley & Dunbar-Hall, 2009; Dunbar-Hall et al., 2010; Rowley & Dunbar-Hall, 2010; Rowley, 2011).

This listing of the stages of our project indicates its sequential nature. It is also a proactive project, in which, rather than be seen as a reaction to developments in educational uses of technology and coercion to utilize IT-assisted teaching and learning, we position ePortfolios as a welcome way to handle the educational and professional requirements of this degree program. As the following discussion demonstrates, ePortfolios provide sound educational means for assessing the structure and sequencing of this four year curriculum, and delivery of the teaching within it.

The process of ePortfolio introduction and integration discussed here was guided by reference to five conceptual areas. First, growing awareness of 'technography', defined by Woolgar (2005, pp. 27-28) as 'the apprehension, reception, use, deployment, depiction and representation of technologies', in university settings. Second, literature on ePortfolios that was used to provide a pedagogical context, especially on the potential of ePortfolios to address the gaining of generic tertiary education skills and attributes (Aziz et al., 2010), ePortfolios as a site of learning (Stefani et al., 2007; Akcil & Arap, 2009), ePortfolios as encouragement of student reflection on learning (Doig et al., 2006), identity definition through ePortfolio activity (McAlpine, 2005), implications for universities of ePortfolio use (Joyes et al., 2010), use of ePortfolios to encourage peer assessment (Stevenson, 2006), ePortfolios as an adjunct to constructivist learning (Marcoul-Burlinson, 2006), and consideration of current university students as attracted to and adept users of developing technologies for social and educational networking, such as Facebook and Linkedin (Oliver & Goerke, 2007; Hemmi et al., 2009; Gray et al., 2010). A third site of discussion that influenced this project was literature reporting the use of ePortfolios in Australian contexts (e.g., Emmett, Harper & Hauville, 2006; Lawson, Kiegaldie & Jolly, 2006; Botterill, White & Steiner, 2010; Dinmore, 2010), especially in cases of ePortfolios used in creative/performing arts applications (e. …

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