Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

June 6, 2011

What are the advantages or disadvantages of portfolio assessment

#Edchat 05 – 24 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thank you to Geoff Krall for this wonderful summary of the chat on Porfolio assessment. As ever it was a lively discussion with lots of  ideas and information being shared (there were a lot of links on this topic!). Geoff has produced a great summary of the chat bringing together all the disperate threads and analysing well the merits of each of these. You can find out more about Geoff and his maths blog at the end of this post.

 The focus of this #edchat was centered around the use of student portfolios. While there was a general agreement about the usefulness of student portfolios, there were some great key questions concerning the purpose of a student portfolio: is a portfolio intended to show growth or demonstrate proficiency? Are they to be assessed summatively or formatively? What resources are available for E-Portfolios? Do student portfolios actually make a difference upon applying for post-secondary education or jobs? Who should assess the portfolios: teachers, students, outside evaluators or all/some of the above?

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • What should the portfolio demonstrate: proficiency or development?
  • Selection of work to include in the portfolio
  • Social Media and Web 2.0 as portfolio tools (Blogs, Facebook, Google Sites, etc.)
  • Connections between portfolio and real world applications (job/higher ed).
  • Rubrics as a method of portfolio assessment

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

@ Wmchamberlain: Portfolios need to include work chosen by students as well as teachers. I also think it shouldn’t just be “best work” either.
@ Anvonban: Portfolio assessments make for more authentic feedback, but it needs to be continual, or it’s just another summative assessment.
@pammcarr: Portfolios can show the growth of a student, grades really just show a snapshot of the student.

@drdouggreen:  All student projects should be in the portfolio for starters. Weeding can happen later.

@pammcarr: portfolios must also show how students can collaborate and problem solve.

@inquirebook: Portfolios can be messy, but so is real learning.

@inquirebook: Students also feel greater ownership of portfolios than of tests.

@ isteconnects: An e-portfolio will blow minds.

@drdouggreen: Your portfolio is your resume. It shows what you can do for me today.

@tellio: I would like to see a portfolio also represent a repertoire of skills and abilities not just things.

@isteconnects: Actually, resume shows what you have done, portfolio shows what you can do.

@tomwhitby: Colleges are shifting to portfolio assessment for graduation. It would speed up the process if they used it for admission as well.

@ malcolmbellamy: I would recommend fellow student feedback (possibly videoed) in e-folios.

@PCSTech: If I were an employer, I’d much rather see a portfolio of work rather than grades which tell me little.

@drdouggreen: I let my graduate students grade themselves. That takes grades off the table and gets the focus on learning.

@ mrkaiser208: An authentic portfolio is a student’s own work. I don’t think it can be more simple.

@zeitz: An Authentic Portfolio is one that reflects the work that a student or professional is doing or has completed.

@Teachpaperless: Portfolios should be assessed not just in terms of student’s own academic development, but in terms of the development between student & community.

@ChrisVacek: As an employer we require applicants for new web developer positions to submit an on-line e-portfolio of work.

@TeachPaperless: Authentic portfolios should engage the student in the life, questions, problems, and ideas of the community.

@malcolmbellamy: A portfolio should say to anyone looking “this is me and what I have learned.”


To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 


As ever, there were some great links shared:

@nancyrubin: Designing an ePortfolio Assignment http://t.co/JB9NXvb  #edchat

@derrallg: I usually share Helen Barrett’s website for portfolio resources http://bit.ly/5CeVQZ  #edchat

@ nancyrubin: Example of EPortfolio (Digital Portfolio) Rubric – http://ow.ly/51TqK  #edchat

@edtechworkshop: here is a post I wrote w/some intro thoughts about portfolios/obstacles, etc. http://bit.ly/iuLYvI

pamwesely: @davidwees #edchat UIowa has all preservice teachers do ePortfolios – believe it is a state requirement http://bit.ly/l9G5ZV

@sanmccarron:  My portfolio requirements continue to be a work in progress, after 10 yrs! http://skyearthwater.com/Chem/ChemPortfolio.html   #edchat

@padgets: #edchat we have used wikis but are changing to google sites next year – here is what it looks like http://tinyurl.com/42rrxpy

@cybraryman1: My Electronic Portfolios page: http://cybraryman.com/portfolios.html  #edchat

@pamwesely: National Board Certification for teachers has a portfolio aspect http://bit.ly/kmLBwJ  #edchat

@JJIEga: Looks like some #GA officials could have used a little insight from #edchat on this one: http://bit.ly/jfaaY0  #charterschools

@tomwhitby: Tech has provided a way to create, store and transmit porfolios as never before. / see http://epsilen.com  #edchat

@ISILBOY:  E-Portfolios for Learning http://bit.ly/a6PBf2  #edchat

@cliffmanning: #edchat may like http://t.co/pNFI0Mm  safe free portfolio and blogging platform for schools all over world

web20education: Gr8 tools and apps to make heard your visual presence around the #semanticweb #edtech20 #onlineportofolios #edchat http://t.co/gRswL51

@chris_reuter: #edchat checkout what my students are working on right now. online portfolios http://bit.ly/isCfU3

@cybraryman1: My Grading page (see: Grading vs. Assessment of Learning Outcomes..) : http://tinyurl.com/4nrqzll  #edchat

@edtechworkshop: @chris_reuter nice example! thanks. Here are our 8th graders’ portfolios http://bit.ly/jIdxIZ  (some are open/some blocked) #edchat

@ywsanchez Project-based learning: What it is & isn’t (RT @nancyrubin) | #edchat #ntchat http://ow.ly/50Uj3

@edtechworkshop: Here is a 5th grade portfolio http://bit.ly/iBR5p9  plan is to move to “blogfolios” next year #edchat

@drthomasho: Here’s case study on Epsilen e-portfolio http://www.centergrove.k12.in.us/centergrove/lib/centergrove/epsilencasestudy.pdf   #edchat

@nancyrubin: Notes on ePortfolios and Personalized Learning http://t.co/wBdA4Vy  #edchat

@juandoming: Designing an #ePortfolio Assignment http://t.co/Nek1KAF  vía @AddThis   #elearning #socialmedia #edtech #edchat #education #web20 #odite

@tomwhitby: Guide Provides #Teens w/Innovative Way To Take Ownership of Learning-Leave School http://bit.ly/jnAryY  #edchat @InnovativeEdu

@nancyrubin: Why isn’t there more E-Portfolio Development in K-12 schools? http://blog.helenbarrett.org/  #edchat

@derrallg: @cybraryman1 I usually share Helen Barrett’s website for portfolio resources http://bit.ly/5CeVQZ  #edchat

@jrichardson30: @cybraryman1 Seen some people use VT effectively for portfolio style stuff. Here’s an example-scroll dn http://tinyurl.com/3v4g43p  #edchat

@nancyrubin:  Personal Learning Environments – Creating User-Centric Learning Environments http://t.co/rnQwZKl  #edchat

@mrsgettys: @ShellTerrell district in Tucson http://bit.ly/kmz9YT  has created rubrics for assessing 21st century skills Featured in THEjournal. #edchat

@SECottrell:  World language teachers should look at Linguafolio http://bit.ly/6rged1  – online portfolio to follow students through the years #edchat

@Neil_Mehta: http://j.mp/kvvW9z  blog about use of portfolios in #meded #edchat

 @edtechworkshop: Here is my portfolio http://bit.ly/bXvluF  TOTAL work in progress!!!! #edchat

 @GWoodJCG: My dissertation on reflective portfolio use in HS science http://drgreenwood.wikispaces.com/  #edchat

@edtechworkshop: here is a post I wrote w/some intro thoughts about portfolios/obstacles, etc. http://bit.ly/iuLYvI  #edchat

@nancyrubin: Here is Dr. Barrett’s Electronic Portfolio Development Process: http://ow.ly/51TLH   #edchat

@nancyrubin: A Profoundly Disruptive Technology http://ow.ly/51TAs  http://aaeebl.org  #edchat

@nancyrubin: How can e-Portfolios Support 21st Century Learning? http://ow.ly/51TYW  #edchat

@nancyrubin: Ewan McIntosh – ePortfolios & Learning Management Systems: Setting our default to social http://t.co/fnUQdOZ  #edchat

Geoff Krall is a Math instructional coach for the New Technology Network of Schools, a network of schools that employ a 1:1 student-to-computer ratio, Project-Based Learning, and foster a small school culture. Geoff currently resides in Fort Collins, CO after getting his Master’s degree in Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. In addition to this work, he also facilitates a blog focused on Math instruction: Emergent Math. You can find him on twitter: @EmergentMath.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

May 23, 2011

If we are to be more effective in reforming education, should there be a focus on content or a focus on methods?

#Edchat 05 – 17 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thank you to Rob King (@inquirebook) for this very thought-provoking summary of last week’s #edchat on method versus content on education. The chat was, as ever, very lively with lots of ideas and thoughts tumbling out in quick succession. Rob faced so much good content that I know he found it hard to pick out the best bits so his summary is very comprehensive! I’m sure you will enjoy it and if you weren’t there this will certainly evoke the mood for you! Thank you Rob. Find more information about Rob in his bio at the end of the post.

As always, this topic resulted in a spirited and thought-provoking discussion. To start with, most participants expressed the sense that content and methods were inextricable–that solid methods of instruction were the only route to content, and that content was the only reason for solid methods.
The conversation, then, turned to the issue of policy: What policy shifts would help bring about positive changes in methods and content? A group of participants discussed the importance of creating common goals in the education community–and the difficulty of doing so given the diversity of students, educators, and learning environments. A number of participants bemoaned the standardized testing environment of education, saying that learning skills are difficult to measure using bubble cards. Others pointed out that issues of education policy also draw in politics and money. Most participants agreed that teachers need more autonomy, not less–that they need to be freed up to teach. The consensus was that this sort of change must come from the grass-roots–incremental improvements happening one teacher at a time.
As the conversation continued, the definition of “methods” seemed to broaden, taking in not just the way that teachers teach but also the way that students learn. In other words, “methods” came to mean the skills that all of us need to learn content. At that point, many participants (including myself) moved toward the importance of methods. The idea was that the Information Age has made content so available that sheer memorization is less important than being able to find information, evaluate its quality, and think critically about it. Participants wrote about the importance of teaching the lifelong learning skills that allow students to adapt to an ever-changing world. Many also wrote about the need to be lifelong learners ourselves.
Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 
1. Both content and methods are important. They are intertwined. Methods provide access to content, but content affects the methods used to teach it. Both should be open to reform.
2. To create real change, educators need to be able to state common goals for reform. In order to do so, they must bring together a very diverse group of teachers and learners and overcome political obstacles. As experts in instruction, teachers need more freedom, not less.
3. If methods include not only the way teachers teach but the way students learn, then perhaps reform should focus on methods. Methods of instruction should help students become content creators rather than just content consumers. Methods of teaching should foster curiosity, thinking, and lifelong learning.
Here is a selection of some of the comments: 
With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@coreydahlevent: They need equal attention. Content is as important as methods. #edchat
@geraldaungst: Need to include both, and they can’t be considered as separate elements either. Integrated and intertwined. #edchat
@rliberni: Multiple methods, extensive content – start with the learner and provide skills and guidance #edchat
@TutorSolutions: How about neither? Let teachers teach, be passionate and provide a support system to allow for improvement, rather than punishment #edchat
@drthomasho: @davidwees I think a change in methods would lead to a change in content! #edchat
@Tina_Barr: In order to achieve reform we need to stop talking and start changing therein lies the greatest challenge #edchat
@chiyanlam: @cybraryman1 it seems that there are two levels to your question. ed reform within one’s classroom (student-level), and edu system #edchat
@republicofmath: Hard to do #math at all without “content”, but impossible to do well without “methods” #edchat
@PatrickatDS: Nobel winner says methods trump everything (title is provocative, read on) http://fxn.ws/isXFI4 #edchat
@aaronmueller: In language arts, the content can be interchangeable, what I teach are methods: interpretive, communication, evaluation. #edchat #edchat
@TutorSolutions: The biggest change that needs to be made in education is to stop trying to change it. Give teachers support/time and let them work. #edchat
@aaronmueller: My end-game is to teach a student how to be a better person, not a collection of content. Skills trump everything else. #edchat
@alicemercer: It seems to me that real ed reform is not going to be possible in current context. We need to reform ed politics #edchat
@TutorSolutions: I’m all for summers off, but imagine what great teachers we’d be if we worked those days to collaborate and learn. #edchat
@ericjuli: To meet the needs of diverse learners in urban schools, pedagogy matters more than content, but it’s not either/or #edchat
@inquirebook: If we teach students to seek answers, we make them content creators rather than just content consumers. #edchat
@cybraryman1: @coreydahlevent We must involve students in the learning process. Teachers should be more faciliators of learning #edchat
@HHG: @davidwees Before debating method or content, don’t we need to publicly stake our claim on a clear and common purpose? #edchat
@derrallg: @HHG unfortunately common purpose is difficult when you throw in socio-economic factors into what type of school a student attends #edchat
@coreydahlevent: Balance in everything. Change your methods, adjust your content. Don’t teach the same every year. #edchat
@maryannreilly: RT @HHG: @davidwees I don’t think we need ONE common purpose, any more than we need common curriculum or common pedagogies. #edchat So Agree
@Oroku_Saki: Teacher autonomy is a must. Curriculum is my rough draft. I meet what I have to, and fill in the holes with chaos. #edchat
@Mike_Prater: @HHG Agree. Teachers are the experts who know the children. Should be involved in instructional, curricular, and program decisions. #edchat
@isteconnects: U.S. doesn’t produce stuff anymore; we make $ on ideas and content. Schools need to prepare studs for a knowledge economy #edchat
@cybraryman1: @inquirebook @coreydahlevent: Don’t have to master all content as we can use Blended Learning to connect students with experts #edchat
@rliberni: Is content easier than method? Is that why it might dominate? #edchat
@QZLPatriotHawk: Outside forces control the content – I always tell the teachers, worry about what U can control. In this case it is delivery. #edchat
@Oroku_Saki: Bottom line: Adapt to your students, content, and delivery; the same way your students are expected to adapt to a changing world. #edchat
@pickledtreats: But if methods becomes legislated, where is the wiggle room to adjust when necessary – to help individual students? #edchat
@tomwhitby: If method affects how kids learn and content is what they learn, I think how they learn should be the Focus. #edchat
@aleecotton: @tomwhitby: I completely agree. Teaching how to learn makes understanding content easier & encourages lifelong curiosity/learning. #edchat
@jonbergmann: Not all Stds need all content, but all benefit from learning how to learn #edchat
@drthomasho: Focusing on METHODS will also motivate us to MEASURE, won’t it? That’s the key to REFORM, isn’t it? #edchat
@tomwhitby: The least educators should do is create a curiosity for learning. The best is to create a love of learning for a life long process.#edchat
@sram_socrates: RT @QZLPatriotHawk: How many of U have been 2 a conference w great content but a horrible presenter. Content w.out good delivery is ineffective. #edchat
@pickledtreats: @aleecotton @jonbergmann Exactly. How to learn, how to engage w/ content throughout life, is more important. #edchat
@delta_dc: #edchat I don’t know the exact content my learners will need. But being a problem solver and critical thinker will always come in handy.
@CTuckerEnglish: Content in many disciplines is constantly changing, so teaching methodology is creating long term learners #edchat
@tomwhitby: Instead of memorizing content, kids should learn it in the process of creating their own content.#edchat
@cybraryman1: “If children cannot learn the way we teach, we must teach the way children learn.” #edchat
@irasocol: Education is the most political thing any society does. “EduReform” is just an expression of your socioeconomic beliefs #edchat
@aaronmueller: Time to engage all school community members to refocus learning onto skills and not content. .. #edchat
@CTuckerEnglish: Students who develop adaptive expertise can approach new info & use knowledge flexibly to make sense of it=confident learners #edchat
@nancyrubin: RT @inquirebook: @davidwees Compartmentalizing knowledge encourages students to forget it once they leave the class. #edchat
@sram_socrates: RT @dendari: good content dies with boring teachers #edchat – and boring content blooms with exciting ones
@dendari: Great teaching dies without authentic content #edchat
@Tina_Barr: Education reform requires enrichment of each teacher’s intellectual competence. #edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 


As ever, there were some great links shared:

@coreydahlevent:  This cartoon…what do you think? Content or method? http://flic.kr/p/9yZqzD

@FNESC: Educational parity too long denied – Editorial from the Edmonton Journal http://t.co/MCC5fHM  via @AddThis #edchat

@schoolsEDU:  We’ve talked about it in the past but more & more professors r using #socialmedia for better impact on students http://clck.co/2w8t1  #edchat

@PatrickatDS: Nobel winner says methods trump everything (title is provocative, read on) http://fxn.ws/isXFI4  #edchat

web20education: #infographic Coolege students : is #twitter hurting your grade ? on #edtech20 PLN: http://ning.it/mvbNxe  #edchat #ukedchat #socialmedia #elt

@mrmadden77:  New post on bringing our professional conversations to the general public – http://bit.ly/j4Vim2  #edchat

@TutorSolutions: Excellent guest post written by Nikki Robertson about @cybraryman1 and @shellterrell – http://bit.ly/krgWn5  #edchat

@mrsebiology: Overcoming the barriers to educational innovation: http://bit.ly/jwhcZq  If you have time, a good read #edchat #cpchat #edadmin

@4thGrdTeach: School: The Killer of Curiosity http://me.lt/4xg5k  #edchat #elemchat

@davidwees:  Some of the greatest ideas have come from people who have mixed areas of knowledge. See Lorenz for example. http://bit.ly/ipIzss  #edchat

@JudyArzt: Leading From the Classroom: Are Educators Ready for Cloud Computing in Schools? http://t.co/wwN5TxI  #edtech #edchat

@nancyrubin: Content Strategy for the Web http://t.co/b4l63Yw  #edchat

@cybraryman1: @pickledtreats Agree! My Cross Curricular – Interdisciplinary page: http://tinyurl.com/4gkgv6n  #edchat

@malcolmbellamy: My response to an article in the Higher Education Chronicle: What makes a good teacher? http://wp.me/pKfOP-Ri  #edchat #ukedchat

@mrsebiology: Curriculum and Instruction: A 21st Century Skills Implementation Guide: http://bit.ly/iSA2Yf  #edchat #cpchat #curriculum

@BrainTrack: Letters to a future teacher: http://bit.ly/iFoJKs  #edchat RT@lmtv

I am Rob King, lead author of Inquire: A Guide to 21st Century Learning. This middle-school student handbook teaches 21st century skills such as critical and creative thinking, problem solving, communicating, collaborating, and using media. It also focuses on the inquiry process and project-based learning. My co-authors and I tweet from our account, @InquireBook. I’m also editor in chief at Sebranek, Inc., the parent company of Thoughtful Learning, UpWrite Press, and Write Source. To learn more, go to www.thoughtfullearning.com.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat



If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

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