Students and ePortfolios

A couple of weeks ago I visited Mary and her year 6 class at Oxford.  Meeting and supporting the BLP teacher has been an important part of my visits to schools over the last four weeks or so.  On this occasion Mary actually took me into her Year 6 class for the afternoon and I ended up doing some team teaching with her (much to my shock!).  It was a great experience for a secondary trained teacher who hasn’t taught students this age before.

Mary is getting the students to develop their own ePortfolios and they regularly update them with personal reflections.  Mary really emphasises quality reflections, rather than any old thought and it was interesting to see how much time she spent with one or two reticent boys reinforcing this.  It is great to see the teachers starting to use Mahara with their own classes.  I think ePortfolios have huge potential as a learner centred environment that is the student’s own.  It will be interesting to track the progress of this class and use some exemplars for other teachers to get ideas.  The students were certainly engaged in what they were doing and worked away for two hours.

Mary is also investigating how she could use a Moodle class with this class.  As a starting point she is differentiating for a group of six able students in the class who are working on a novel about the Rainbow Warrior incident.  Using an online environment to differentiate for your students is a great idea and something I have seen quite a few teachers do.

I had a chat with one student about the look of course, because Mary was concerned it was quite boring looking.  This girl had no problem with it and really didn’t seem to care.  Do we as teachers sometimes get too carried away how a course might look?  Do the students really care?  Has anyone asked them?

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