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E-merging experiences of tutors in the transition from paper-based to e-portfolio use in teacher education. Pamela Cowan 1 , Jill Dunn 2 , Siobhan O’Doherty 3 and Victor McNair 4 1 Queen’s University Belfast 2 Stranmillis University College 3 St Mary’s University College

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E-merging experiences of tutors in the transition from paper-based to e-portfolio use in teacher education.

Pamela Cowan1, Jill Dunn2, Siobhan O’Doherty3 and Victor McNair4

1Queen’s University Belfast

2Stranmillis University College

3St Mary’s University College

4University of Ulster.

where do we live our lives
Where do we live our lives?
  • Mobile phones - texting
  • Social networking
  • Blogging
  • A connected society transforming how we operate…can education join the frenzy of living online?
starting point
Starting point….
  • Is there a role for educationalists to adopt the latest ‘social gizmo’?
  • What benefits could be accrued? For whom?
  • How could students’ existing skills and expertise be honed to current requirements of award-bearing courses?
  • How do tutors react to such a change?
This paper reports on the use of e-portfolios in the context of ITE focusing specifically on the compulsory assessed elements of the school-based placement and the production of the Formative Profile Report (FPR) and Career Entry Profile (CEP).
what the literature says
What the literature says…
  • Harnessing Technology: Next Generation Learning 2008-2014 (Becta, 2008, p. 11)
    • “making the learning experience more dynamic”
    • Allowing “education and learning professionals to engage effectively with learners”
e confident systems require e maturity
E-confident systems require e-maturity
  • E-confident systems emerge from an ‘enabled’ infrastructure, ‘capable’ uses of technology and ‘confident’ user base receiving personalised learning.
  • E-maturity – “the capacity of a learning institution to make strategic and effective use of technology to improve educational outcomes” (Becta, 2008, p. 20)
    • 4 Levels of E-maturity:
      • beginning;
      • developing;
      • performing;
      • outstanding (Becta, 2009).
  • Reflection - looking at ourselves first!
the big picture

Reflective Teacher

emPowering Schools Strategy


Chartered Teacher

Review of (Early) Teacher Education


GTCNI Teacher Competence Model

The ‘Big Picture’


overview of teacher e portfolio project professional context

Early Teacher Education

(3 Years)

Continuing Professional Development




Initial Teacher Education

Performance Review Staff Development

Early Professional Development



Teacher Leadership

UPS and Thresholds


How Learning is Recorded


Professional Development Activities




Evidence of


Assessments and Certificates

Professional Qualification for Headship NI






Career Entry Profile

Teachers’ Career Progression




Education and

Library Boards









Overview of Teacher e-portfolio project: Professional context
potential benefits of tep
Potential benefits of TeP
  • Increase students’ motivation;
  • Empower students as learners;
  • Enhance access to tutor support;
  • Immersion in process of reflection;
  • Sustainability over time;
  • ‘E-confidence’ of users;
  • ‘E-maturity’ of institution.
theoretical framework
Theoretical framework
  • Social constructivist view;
  • Reflective practitioner;
  • Online community of practice evolving;
      • Tutors
      • Peer group
      • (Teacher tutors in schools)
  • Approximately 60 PGCE student teachers from the 4 participating institutions;
    • Variety of subject backgrounds: ICT, Technology & Design , Early Years and IME.
    • 4 co-ordinating tutors training students and colleagues (9 supporting tutors)
  • Mixed methods
      • student and tutor questionnaires and
      • focus group interviews.
  • Statistical analysis of questionnaire data;
  • Thematic analysis of interviews.
  • [Activity – complete Action Plan(s), FPR and CEP at key stages in PGCE year.]
action plan
Action Plan

Completed prior to commencing the first school placement

action plan1
Action Plan

Completed at the end of the first school placement.

formative profile report
Formative Profile Report

Personal details and placement school information

National Teaching competence headings

Aide-memoires for each area of competence

Student-tutor collaboration

fpr evidence attached
FPR – evidence attached

Supporting evidence – click to view

instrument student questionnaire
Instrument – student questionnaire
  • Questionnaire sections:
    • Teaching and Learning
      • Action plan
      • Formative Profile report
      • Career Entry Profile
    • Attitudes to TeP
      • Technical
      • Role of tutor
      • My personal experiences of using TeP
  • 4 point Likert scale
findings students
Findings - students

74% of students felt the FPR was time-consuming to complete, 51% thought it was valuable and 25% felt it was a core part of their competence development as a teacher

67% of students felt the CEP was time-consuming to complete, 57% thought it was valuable and 37% felt it was a core part of their competence development as a teacher

  • Internal consistency of each scale > 0.9 apart from Technical issues (a = 0.74)
findings tutors
Findings – tutors
  • Internal consistency > 0.9 on scales
      • 5 point scale from Poor/no use to Very useful
  • 53.8% of tutors stated the TeP should continue into Induction and EPD only, 23.1% said it should be career-long.
  • Tutors requested training on areas such as using thoughts/blogs, accessing/navigating different facilities and responding to shared work from students.
  • More time was spent giving online feedback by over 50% of tutors.
  • Over 50% of tutors favoured using the TeP to support professional development only – not for assessment purposes – and almost 80% supported the inclusion of evidence to support reflections.
conclusions students
Conclusions - students
  • No major difficulties experienced by students in TeP;
  • Some evidence of experimentation with other features – sharing with peers for feedback was most frequently used;
  • Students positive about role of tutors and completing FPR and CEP;
  • Less positive about overall experience of TeP;
  • In interviews they agreed that TeP work had focused their attention on reflective practice and competences;
  • Students valued the e-FPR in directing them towards key areas requiring development and use of action plans for goal setting and its links to CEP.
conclusions tutors
Conclusions - tutors
  • Tutors felt the TeP assisted students in self-reflection, goal setting and familiarising themselves fully with the competence model.
  • They agreed that the TeP encouraged students to develop an evidence-based approach to their professional development and to start to engage in professional dialogue with peers and tutors.
  • Tutors were in favour of the supportive role of the TeP for the early years of teaching rather than a career-long commitment.
  • They were split around 50% for the time spent in various supporting roles both F2F and online and preferring the e-portfolio to its paper-based equivalent.
future study
Future study
  • Limitations
    • sample size
    • range of tutors involved
  • Areas to be developed
    • roll out to wider ITE group and more tutors
    • range of built-in features used
    • range of multimedia embedded as evidence.
final comment
Final comment
  • Very pleased with the pilot study and students keen to continue working in the TEP during Induction and EPD;
  • Interest growing from other tutors keen to try the TeP.

For additional information