Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Challenges of Electronic Portfolios: Student Perceptions and Experiences

Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Challenges of Electronic Portfolios: Student Perceptions and Experiences

Article excerpt

With the implementation of national standards addressing technology, teacher preparation programs are faced with the issues of preparing teachers to effectively use and to seamlessly integrate technology across content areas. A team teaching approach at one major southeastern university required its methods students to produce electronic portfolios. The teaching team consisted of secondary education language arts and social studies faculty, inservice teachers, instructional technology faculty, and graduate students from both disciplines. This effort of modeling technological best practices resulted from numerous team meetings, intensive planning, and consistent project evaluation. The preservice teachers were required to attend technology seminars as part of regular classroom and methods work. Students were evaluated on their electronic portfolios that consisted of web-sites, digitally edited teaching episodes, databases, concept maps, and more. Through pretest and posttest surveys, the students were assessed on their perceptions of an electronic portfolio's value and their ideas of how technology can enhance teaching and learning in future classrooms. This article presents a discussion of the results from these assessments, procedural details, and the challenges and successes experienced by the teaching team and the students.

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With the development of National Educational Technology Standards for Students and Teachers (NETS) through the cooperation of the U.S. Department of Education, International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE), and other organizations, states are beginning to integrate technology standards for teachers and students within their courses of study. Institutions of higher learning are cooperating through consortia efforts with other colleges and K-12 faculty to increase the preservice technological experiences for students. Fulton (1998) noted that teachers must be technologically savvy if students are expected to graduate with adequate workplace skills. According to McKenzie (1999), only 20% of teachers report feeling very well prepared to integrate educational technology into classroom instruction, which seems to indicate that preservice education and extended staff training are needed. The development and use of electronic portfolios by preservice teachers may be one method to introduce the students to s kills for teaching and learning in future classrooms.

LITERATURE ON ELECTRONIC PORTFOLIOS

Lankes (1998) defined electronic portfolios as a "purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student's efforts, progress and achievements" (p. 18). Electronic portfolios differ from traditional portfolios in that information is collected, saved, and stored in an electronic format (Barrett, 1998). Electronic portfolios allow students to demonstrate problem-solving and critical thinking skills using authentic and performance based assessment (Campbell, Cignetti, Melenyzer, Nettles, & Wyman, 1997; Meyer, 1992). While more research is required to assess the effectiveness of electronic portfolios with preservice teachers, existing research suggests that there are benefits to be gained from use with preservice teachers (Herman & Morrell, 1999; Polonoli, 2000). Numerous advantages related to the use of electronic portfolios are suggested by the literature. Bull, Montgomery, and Kimball (2000) wrote that electronic portfolios promote learner self-evaluation even as they maximize the use of diverse learni ng strategies. Barrett (1997) agreed with this assertion adding that electronic portfolios allow students to demonstrate problem-solving skills even as they are compelled to take responsibility for their learning. Campbell et al. (1997), argued that out of this learner responsibility comes a degree of control over the learning process and over the process of becoming a professional educator. …

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