Professional Learning and ePortfolios

Welcome, educational pioneers!

You are here because you have decided that you want to try something new, improve your own teaching and learning, and improve the quality of learning for our students. Over the past year and a half, we have been working in a digital leading and learning program. Our main focus has been researching the use and implementation of learning ePortfolios in the secondary classroom. Below, you will find our overall goal, as well as our goals and plans for all nine sessions this year. This is a different kind of professional learning program. Instead of a “one and done” system which doesn’t really work, we will be practicing more of a “go and show” model, which will cover the ideas discussed in the
Prezi you watched last year. In this model, we will be coming to each session with a clear, achievable goal. We will be there for support during each session, where we will foster collaboration among all of us. In addition, each session will contain a deliverable  as well as a task to practice and troubleshoot over the month afterwards. In between sessions, we (as well as administration) will also be reaching out to you to check in and see if you are in any need of assistance with that month’s goals.Feel free to refer to our timeline so you can see where all of your hard work from this year is going!

Background information:

Thank you for volunteering your time towards this innovative alternative professional learning model.  You will NOT be disappointed. Over the past year and a half, we have been doing extensive research about how our students learn best in today’s world. Technology has become way more advanced than we could have ever imagined, and our needs in school have changed, as teachers and as students. When trying to decide what could improve the learning environment the most, we came across the idea of implementing ePortfolios in the classroom. We believe that learning ePortfolios will help bridge the gap and engage our students in their learning. Overall, we want them to remember what it is like to have a growth-mindset instead of a numbers and grades mindset, and we want them to learn how to become lifelong learners. This is a skill that is not intrinsic anymore, and so we, as their educators, have a massive responsibility to help impart these skills onto them. If you please, follow us along this  journey of trial and error, patience, and innovation. 

BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) – Overarching Course Goal

Teachers will create and utilize learning ePortfolios in their individual classrooms while collaborating and troubleshooting with their colleagues to improve the quality of classroom instruction, student engagement, and authentic student learning.

3 Column Table

Learning Goals Learning Activities Assessment Activities
Session 1

Teachers will learn about the “why” behind learning ePortfolios.

Teachers will watch the promotional video and will review the ePortfolio literature review.

 

Teachers will create a shared Google doc to hold ideas, needs, areas of concerns, etc. throughout this year’s professional learning.
Session 2

Teachers will learn how to create ePortfolios.

Teachers will create WordPress sites and customize personal ePortfolios. ePortfolios that have pages, categories, menus, blog posts, etc.
Session 3

Teachers will learn how to implement ePortfolios in their classroom.

Teachers will collaborate with the lead teachers and their colleagues on activities that use their own ePortfolio. A plan of how each teacher will use their own ePortfolio in their classroom
Session 4

Teachers will learn how to troubleshoot when it comes to implementing the ePortfolios.

Teachers will bring their feedback in regards to strengths/weaknesses and pros/cons of implementing ePortfolios and will collaborate with the group on their experiences to troubleshoot and improve. Teachers will make necessary adjustments following the troubleshooting process.
Session 5
Teachers will learn how to instruct their students on creating ePortfolios and learn how to create an assignment for a blog post.
Teachers will learn how to help students create their own ePortoflios. 

Teachers will create the first student-centered ePortoflio practice lesson.

Teachers will have their students create ePortfolios and also have them create blog posts.
Session 6
Teachers will discuss and create at least one student-centered and classroom-relevant application.
Teachers will trouble shoot last month’s issues.

Teachers will discuss create examples for student-centered uses of ePortfolios.

Teachers will create a shared Google Doc to add ideas and content, as well as notes about concerns and needed areas of improvement.
Session 7
Teachers will learn how to troubleshoot when it comes to issues regarding ePortfolios in their content area.
Teachers will bring their feedback in regards to strengths/weaknesses and pros/cons of how students are using ePortfolios in their content area and will collaborate and troubleshoot ways to improve with the group. Teachers will make necessary adjustments following the troubleshooting process.
Session 8
Teachers will discuss and organize time and plans for what to accomplish over the summer and next school year and also determine the group’s needs for the ePortfolios to be a success.
Teachers will discuss their findings from the year.

Teachers will set goals and outline steps for moving forward over the summer and in next year’s alternate professional learning model.

Teachers will create a list of needs for resources to share with administration in the next session.
Session 9

Teachers will discuss and reflect on the year’s work and will seek approval for moving forward to full building implementation for the following year.

Teachers will host a meeting with administration. Teachers will provide and show both teacher and student ePortfolio exemplars.
Teachers will continue to work on their own ePortfolios over the summer.

Key principles for effective professional learning:

KP 1: The duration of professional learning must be significant and ongoing to allow time for teachers to learn a new strategy and grapple with the implementation problem. (Sessions 1-9 and onward)

KP 2: There must be support for a teacher during the implementation stage that addresses the specific challenges of changing classroom practice. (Sessions 1-9 AND in between sessions)

KP 3: Teachers’ initial exposure to a concept should not be passive, but rather should engage teachers through varied approaches so they can participate actively in making sense of a new practice. (Sessions 1-3)

KP 4: Modelling has been found to be highly effective in helping teachers understand a new practice. (Sessions 1, 2, 3, 5, 9)

KP 5: The content presented to teachers shouldn’t be generic, but instead specific to the discipline (for middle school and high school teachers) or grade-level (for elementary school teachers). (Sessions 1-9)