Overcoming Obstacles to ePortfolios

Overcoming Obstacles to ePortfolios

This morning’s faculty meeting saw teachers paired up with Middle School Digital Media students. Our goal was learn from students and ‘crack the code’ on how to use eportfolios more effectively. We followed up on last week’s meeting (vertical process standards/formative assessment/eportfolio demo) and last week’s conference mentor discussions (how students can take greater ownership of their learning through eportfolios).

Today’s Faculty Meeting Agenda

Essential Questions:
Based on student feedback, how can we ‘crack the code’ for how to use eportfolios more effectively both ‘for learning’ (formative/workspace) and ‘of learning’ (summative/showcase)?

Desired Outcomes:
Students and faculty collaborate to discover students’ ideas around iterating eportfolios.

Learning Opportunities:

  • Chip shares feedback from Conference Mentor meetings (~5 mins)
  • Students from Digital Media show their eportfolios to MS faculty members (~10 mins)
  • Faculty members interview students regarding eportfolios (~15 mins)
  • Faculty member partners affinity map post-it notes on small whiteboards (~3 mins)
  • Faculty member partners transfer post-it notes from each small group onto five Z-racks (~10 mins)
  • Each group shares insight with the faculty as they transfer post-it notes to Z-rack
  • Ticket Out the Door – Remember two weeks ago in vertical teams – Based on the information you now know from the students, how might you iterate what you designed for your formative assessment/eportfolio piece related to a specific vertical process standard/learning outcome?


Here are the post-it notes captured by teachers when interviewing students…

What I like Most…
– different from everyone else
– allowed to express learning
– everyone can see work and what we’re proud of
– better than last year (google sites), easier and more simple to figure out
– tabs arranged by classes (disciplines) vs. mindsets (2x)
– we can choose what to put
– choice
– teacher driven, but students given choice
– don’t have to get on the Google site – no searching
– helps us study for tests/quizzes
– ability to customize and autonomy
– Digital Media class really helps with ePortfolio
– future value: resume, look back at accomplishments, US can use to preview students

New Ideas to Consider
– besides Google, film, video, picture, prezi, padlet
– paper for Grandma
– add friends?
– add something I’m proud of
– would prefer to be told to upload – easy and don’t have to think about it
– use for admissions (submit when you are applying?)
– show students who are applying to MVPS
– extra points would make them upload for fun
– use QR codes
– podcasts

How to Improve
– use eportfolio as assessment – student doesn’t know how
– not motivated, don’t want to add imperfect
– benefit of reflecting? – maybe more explanation
– reflecting not fun, but sometimes necessary
– students don’t want to show off work that is bad or poor grade
– sharing study guides on eportfolio may make it more useful for students
– merge quizlet study concepts w/eportfolio
– outside of showcasing, no real use
– choosing what to upload
– pictures was easy to upload, document not so much
– more freedom on stuff to upload
– don’t like this year’s eportfolio – it’s confusing and more steps (than google sites)

Don’t Understand Yet
– adding papers and modules are confusing
– multi-step, don’t know 1/2
– easier
– how to videos help
– can see it more in high school, but not now
– if we had a class on it, we should be able to do a lot more, outside of uploading – we can’t do a whole lot
– kinda cool, but more relevant in high school

Obstacle 1: Lack of clear purpose
– why do we have to publish everything?
– Church?
– don’t know what to add for outside MVPS
– don’t do much on computer outside MVPS
– fun? expressing self
– feel like I can try something harder b/c I was successful here
– feel proud to know I can do this – Scratch
– outside of showcasing students, don’t use it for anything else
– like that it allows you to be creative but other than showcasing, no use
– students feel it is more useful for high school students b/c they can use for college applications, etc. but NOT useful in middle school
– display best work
– technology not working well. publish stuff then it says unpublished
– do you put rough draft? – no – it is ‘show off’ but could
– Google docs eportfolio was much easier
– things were not uploading when they showed it to us

Obstacle 2: Audience Too Small
– like/want to see everyone’s eportfolio
– they’d be more motivated if more people (like US students) could see
– who is audience?
– do teachers look at this? any audience?
– unsure of audience
– don’t want to upload what they did poorly
– who to see? parent, grandparent, know you better/unique views
– audience: teachers, Mr. Houston, Deans

Obstacle 3: Too Many Tech Steps
– challenging uploading for subjects that are paper-back
– refresh button hits
– improve rich text video
– tabs, I don’t get subtitles
– it broke down, buttons missing, no publish button
– tech issues (a la video), don’t like unguided reflection
– not easy to operate, reflections remain problematic
– have to publish each inc pg – annoying!
– hard to make lots of edits in many tabs b/c
– want to publish it all at once
– easy to use
– don’t know how to save from studio 7 – no picture
– process uploading isn’t bad, BUT it’s hard uploading videos
– the use of outside emails to MVPS email gets tedious
– no internet when we went to show eportfolio
– MVPS restricted youtube, need video platform that can see
– can create more than 1
– didn’t know about “outside mvps”
– add a module: hard to interpret, text, picture, etc.

Obstacle 4: Too School-Centered
– don’t want to load bad grades
– don’t like teacher determining uploads
– not in favor of wider reach
– want to upload a presentation over a lab
– more creative, more color
– teachers tell you what to do
– only posting things that are mandatory
– big question about an END OF THE YEAR reflection – they don’t want to do that
– like Digication
– don’t want to show it to college necessarily
– one wants best work
– want control over it
– is it apps for 5th graders to have it? vs. high school? vs. 8th grade?

– a lot of checking the box
– rough draft 1, shiny 2
– don’t want to post “boring” things
– people don’t think the process is interesting to look at
– looking at a picture of a lab is boring
– do not like reflecting. think it is boring and unhelpful
– grades would motivate them to put more effort in
– matters: Shows everything & you can go back and see what you’ve done
– want final product, not ‘blueprint’
– Grammar rough draft included
– takes up advisory when they want to study
– favorite types of media: google pres and a game
– why matters: to show teachers improvements, likes, enjoyments
– interactions: comments would be ok
– customization, uses mindsets, likes organization
– it’s boring
– more fun formatting
– how you felt when showing eportfolio: nervous
– reorganize categories
– upload what she wants, restricted
– purpose: simply organize work??

How to make it better?
– 7th grade feels students are afraid that they will have to do another BIG REFLECTION for eportfolio like last year – didn’t like it.
– They want an opportunity to be rewarded for eportfolio use


1 thought on “Overcoming Obstacles to ePortfolios

  1. Meghan C says:

    Chip, What a great way to help both the students and the teachers reach a shared understanding and a common purpose for the ePortfolio. I admire the process you’re taking both your students and your faculty through rather than giving a directive of what has to or “should” happen. You don’t pretend to have all the answers, and yet, you are challenging others to see what you see in the potential of an ePortfolio. Thanks for inviting me into your learning journey both today and through your blog!

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