For the CoETaIL final project, I will be detailing the implementation of Digital Portfolios in Grade Two. Grade Two students will be taking on the challenge of establishing digital portfolios to highlight and archive ongoing learning. As our school transitions from paper based portfolios to a digital platform; many challenges will present opportunities to apply knowledge gained from my experience in CoETaIL.
Documenting the journey a school takes while introducing digital portfolios is a good idea for my Course 5 Final Project; as I know that there are many other schools who have faced the same challenges, or are considering similar quandaries. The decision to take on digital portfolios is not one taken in isolation, as it has far reaching implications across teaching teams and the entire Primary School. Many stakeholders are invested in the programme’s success, not least the students who are at the frontline of these changes. Collaboration will be essential with Director of E-Learning, Primary Tech Integrationist, Primary ePortfolio Pilot Team, Primary Teachers & Primary Leadership Team within the school. I am hopeful that Holly Fraser from the International School of Zug & Luzern will partner with me during this time as she is also focusing on ePortfolios though we are as yet unconfirmed.
Concerns I have regarding implementing the Digital Portfolios are many layered. Student Class, Teacher and School-wide levels all must be considered. My concerns can begin to be addressed in some of the following questions: How will this impact the school assessment policy? What platform will be best to host the digital portfolios? Where will I turn for best practice examples? How will teachers who are not technologically savvy adapt to new expectations? What implications do decisions that I make within my classroom have on others? Is the switch to ePortfolios sustainable or even a good choice for grade Two students in the first place? Will my vision of digital portfolios and needs for CoETaIL align with what needs to happen educationally within my classroom? There are, of course, many other questions to consider which will be outlined in my posts in Course Five as I make my way through this final unit.
There will be some important shifts in pedagogy required to make these units successful. not least, the ability to carve out structures and strategies to allow students to be successful while creating reviewing and posting they’re learning to our new platform. In order to give students ownership, I plan to focus heavily on including my class in the decision-making processes and establishment of routines within the classroom. By developing shared protocols surrounding our digital portfolios, this should help to clarify expectations allowing all stakeholders to be more successful in its implementation. In addition to creating the time and the space to create our portfolios, I will need to more carefully balance skills-based lessons within the curricular framework of our primary classroom. I have much learning to do about best practices and I am sure that the quantum shift in my pedagogy, though as yet unidentified, but is surely to come as each roadblock presents itself.
With new initiatives such as this, the learning is not only limited to staff members but will heavily influenced by student thinking in many positive ways. As we are an IB School, our students are guided by both the Learner Profile and Attitudes and Attributes which help to make students successful. It it through this lens that we will frame their experiences. Learner Profile areas that we will be focusing on within the classroom include: Communicator, Risk-Taking and Reflective while Attitudes and Attributes are: Independence, Confidence and Creativity.
I am very excited to get started on this program as I can already sense the anticipation and excitement coming from my students regarding this opportunity. I have no doubt that there are many challenges and difficulties which lie ahead; however I am confident that these difficulties can be overcome and that the end product will provide an authentic venue for sharing and celebrating student work. Let’s get going!