The initial teacher e-portfolio: towards a streamlined platform
The Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) is a provider of Teacher Education (TE) for second level teachers in the technical subjects Construction Studies and Design and Communication Graphics. In line with the requirements of the Teaching Council, Ireland, GMIT facilitates student teachers to develop a professional teaching and learning portfolio. Since 2011, GMIT has researched and pioneered innovative approaches to the development of an electronic Teaching and Learning Portfolio (ePortfolio) in the contexts of e-Assessment; initiatives that have been commended by theTeaching Council in their report of the programme in January 2014. The e-Portfolio has a threefold purpose: to showcase teaching philosophies, innovations and resources, to act as a live teaching tool in the classroom, and to facilitate e assessment, by peers and staff. The Institute currently uses Weebly and Excel tools for these purposes. The former provides a professional showcase of learning outputs and thelatter acts as a repository management system for students teaching resources and a platform for eAssessment. This current action research critically examines the effectiveness of these tools, from both student and staff perspectives. Research methodologies include: individual online (Moodle) critical reflections, questionnaire surveys, and focus groups. The research finds high levels of satisfaction with both tools, on the part of staff and students alike, from the perspectives of construction, accessibility, easy navigation, showcase potential, cost, and effective use in the classroom. The initial feedback related to a critique of using two independent tools. However, further research suggests that students would prefer one comprehensive platform that should have two distinct functions; 1)an open access area that presents a selection from their teaching and 2)a secure repository for teaching resources. Examining secure cloud based options that will act as both a showcase for work and as a resource repository will constitute the next phase/cycle of action research.
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