This project seeks to explore whether keeping an electronic portfolio during a learning process can be an aide to developing the habits of reflection and connection which are significant to professional development. It will test the value of building an e-portfolio as evidence of learning and skills as a means of forming the habit of effective learners who seek and share learning through reflection and who are aware of the need to represent professional abilities to different fora.
7 Teach First year 1 (up to 6 year 2 student teachers) and 2 GTP student teachers will be involved in the study. Up to 8 Drama student teachers at Goldsmiths studying PGCE will also be involved as a comparative group who have been using e-portfolio but have not focussed to date upon reflection and connection.
Students will be the key activists in the project, with the lead research and co-researchers supporting the process of e-portfolio development. Questions will be developed with researchers but refined through and with student partners and school-based professionals. Following the model of action research, support sessions, on-line support and researcher analyses of student e-portfolio practice will be focussed upon generating open dialogue within the project for the benefit of the students.
Support is needed by researchers to bring in expertise in using Mahara, in covering staff time to support practice and evaluate value with students, to undertake study into other research already undertaken in to the use of e-portfolio and mahara e-portfolio and in developing and designing practice development tools to inform future practice. To date the different logic of text construction through e-portfolio has proved challenging and we aim to provide user-friendly analogies as part of hands-on training for future students. The intention of the research is to inform the guidance of and wider adoption of e-portfolios to benefit reflective professional learning across the university. Using Mahara will support the university introduction of Moodle and also open possibility for further international research with Monash.