Using a Reflective Process to Implement Electronic Portfolios

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Virginia Tech

This case study documents the stages, procedures, and interactions between a researcher and a public school teacher during the implementation of electronic portfolios. The primary topics highlighted are: general information regarding portfolios; reflection; and issues that arose during the study. The classroom teacher in this particular study worked in Southwest Virginia at a modern vocational facility, and she had expressed a desire to master the various technologies necessary to implement electronic portfolios. The researcher was competent in these technologies; her objective was to ascertain the methods and materials, and other processes in which electronic portfolios could be implemented in a public school setting. The collaboration between the researcher and the teacher provided for an arrangement wherein the teacher often learned the technologies simultaneously, along with her students. The researcher's ongoing assistance also offered the teacher time to concentrate on the various management aspects of the project.Reflection was developed as a critical component of the process. It was instrumental for the students, the teacher, and the researcher. Students were required to write "reflections" about the artifacts they had chosen for their electronic portfolios. The researcher and the teacher would meet regularly to reflect on the project's status; methods and materials; management issues; and even to reflect on reflection itself, and the methods to take the students deeper as it pertained to their reflections on any given artifact.Three aspects of the process revealed themselves to be major components that would be inescapable considerations for any classroom teacher who wished to implement electronic portfolios: the technology; the reflective writing process; and management issues. The management issues generally pertained to time issues. This study was successful because it proved to identify the essential components of an electronic portfolio project. And, lastly the collaboration between the teacher and the researcher proved to be successful because the two major objectives of the study were achieved: the teacher mastered the technology (and the process) necessary to implement electronic portfolios; and the researcher identified, correlated, and recorded this discovery so that it might be replicated.

electronic portfolios, reflection