In last month’s edition we featured a ‘top tips’ explaining how digital technology can improve teaching and learning. This month, we are focusing on reflection and celebration.  

City of Glasgow College has successfully adopted e-portfolios, which record students’ progress, feedback and achievements digitally. Inspired by this, we provide ten top reasons why using e-portfolios can enhance feedback, reflection and celebration of students’ work. 

ENCOURAGING REFLECTION:

  • Engagement across time – the use of e-portfolios to store information relevant to learning helps students track their personal development across time. City of Glasgow College found that e-portfolios allowed students to revisit past assignments and learn from their mistakes. Students were encouraged to see the continuous nature of their learning.  
  • A rich picture of learning – the use of e-portfolios can help students to build a rich and detailed picture of their learning. Written coursework can be stored in e-portfolios, but make full use of their digital potential. Videos, photographs and audio recordings can also help students to document a more complete image of their vocational educational experience. 
  • Ask specific questions – students can be prompted to reflect on their learning by being asked questions. Build this into the e-portfolio. You can ask students to detail: practical activities undertaken; the quality and accuracy of their work; their methods and formative tasks; their reflections on the learning process.    
  • Making feedback accessible – storing feedback in one place allows students to reflect when they are ready to do so. For one thing, digital feedback is more difficult to lose than paper feedback. City of Glasgow College’s use of e-portfolios allowed students to more closely examine their teachers’ comments and ideas.  

  IMPROVING FEEDBACK: 

  • Track students’ development – e-portfolios allow teachers to track their students’ learning across time. Teachers are able to see how students are improving and identify students that require more help.   
  • Enhance department assessment – the use of e-portfolios helped City of Glasgow College to improve their departmental assessment processes. Teachers were able to provide evidence that their feedback was rigorous and helpful.  
  • Aphased rollout – adopting digital technology in classrooms can create challenges. However, challenges can be overcome by implementing changes slowly. City of Glasgow College began by giving 50 students e-portfolios. This was gradually increased as teachers and other members of staff learnt how the system worked best. 

CELEBRATING STUDENTS’ WORK AND OTHER HANDY HINTS: 

  • Demonstrating achievement – storing evidence of work in one place enables students to demonstrate their achievements to others. In particular, students finish the course with a single document detailing their educational journey and accomplishments to show to potential employers.      
  • Use familiar programmes – e-portfolios need to be accessible to students and teachers. Using software that students and teachers already feel comfortable with will help create a smooth transition and increase engagement. City of Glasgow College suggest that Microsoft packages work well, but also found that using iBooks Author can help give e-portfolios a professional finish – appealing to future employers.  
  • Inclusive teaching – dyslexic students are able to record their work in dyslexic-friendly formats. City of Glasgow College found that dyslexic students were able to receive feedback with more confidence and better demonstrate their achievements. 

If you wish to read the full report from City of Glasgow College, as well as case studies by many other UK institutions on ‘Using digital technology to enhance teaching and learning’, you can access it here.