Tuesday, 05 September 2017 15:58

Dominica Teaching and Learning - Initial Goals

I have started a new challenge with Ross U and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). For me, this is a foray into medical education and the concomitant challenges of covering a vast collection of content while ensuring a holistic social construction of knowledge.

My initial focus will be on how to help the faculty and colleagues make their thinking visible to each other. Ross employs the MS Office 365 suite of tools, which facilitates access to information across the institution. While I favour the Google Suite of tools for personal use, I support the use of institutional tools for the support, future-proofing and access that they provide

One task will be to move toward the use of a departmental platform housed within the larger institutional platform. This will connect us with our colleagues outside of the department and give us a presence among those very same colleagues to promote our activities.

 A concurrent task will be to examine strategies that will raise the 'teaching' profile of the CTL. One long term plan is to contribute to the design and implementation of the Medical Education Teaching Certificate (METC). The target audience for this certificate are those who wish to pursue and enhance their roles within  medical education. Another goal is to promote the ability of our colleagues to make their thinking visible to each other. This goal will be pursued in one instance through modeling good practices, and through another by encouraging others to communicate with us through the institutional tools noted above.

To paraphrase a comment I shared with a colleague this week, I think adopting a mission statement, vision for action and perhaps a philosophy of education, gives focus to our work by helping to underpin our individual goals. My stated philosophy that, "Education is a community affair", is evident in each of my goals outlined above. In each instance, the underlying notion is to create an educational community by allowing each of us a means and set of tools to communicate with each other.

pleslie card back

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 15:04

Narratives of learning: The portfolio approach

I have recently had another paper on portfolios accepted for publication in the The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. While I am waiting for the paper to be published, you can access it here.

woman irrodl


This paper will explore how a portfolio approach to teaching and learning can help the educator incorporate unique forms of reflective practice into his or her daily work. By being able to express ideas more clearly to himself, the educator can better promote the relational construction of knowledge in his educational communities. This paper, as part of a larger body of research asks, how can a portfolio approach to teaching and learning help the educator develop unique forms of reflective practice that will help him express his ideas more clearly first to himself and then secondly to his educational communities? Research methodology is primarily participatory action research and includes an autoethnographic review of the author’s work, reviews, interviews, observations and focus groups with student teachers and professional teachers in the United Arab Emirates. The research concludes that in consideration of McLuhan’s (1964) notion that the ‘medium is the message’, the interactions that arise through the use of new media tools can lead us to relational, co-constructed ideas that are not those simply passed on from other texts. By making our thinking visible, the portfolio approach allows the educator to capture the contextual relationship between the author, the audience or community, and the knowledge being created.

               Keywords: portfolio, relational construction, education, scholarship, reflection

Monday, 08 August 2016 22:41

Idea Management in Higher Education

Idea Management

In order to support students in their academic efforts, the notion of Idea Management can offer a series of processes and strategies that can tie together, both conceptually and practically, their interactions with important and recurring concepts. Such processes can be reflected in assessments that are designed to help students articulate their thoughts, to themselves, their academic communities and their assessors, in a coherent and complete manner.

Idea management is a notion that speaks to the highly interactive nature of the flipped classroom, a model that is quickly gaining prominence, especially in Australia and elsewhere. Many current assessment strategies include opportunities for students to demonstrate competency through a variety of practical activities. Students now need a structured, holistic approach to these assessments that will allow them to compile and curate the range of ideas, skills and concepts that they produce through their classroom and assessment work and that are related to the various practices they are expected to master. These processes will be designed to support their ability to recall and reuse concepts and strategies across units.

Variation Theory

The ability to recall and reuse, and apply concepts speaks to the issue of threshold concepts. In many areas of study, the ability to be successful relies on students being able to grasp elemental concepts and then develop and build on those concepts. Variation theory, as means of working with threshold concepts provides a means of modelling activities that support student success.

Variation theory may be viewed as an application of Schema Theory (Ausubel) supported by Differentiation and the notion of Ill-structured knowledge domains (Spiro). Schema theory suggests that in order to understand a new concept, we must be able to place or attach it to the context of our current understanding. Ill-structured knowledge domains consider the idea that knowledge is not usually linear and hence requires a variety of ways to represent and understand it. Differentiation suggests that we all learn in different ways. Hence, variation theory suggests that we might learn better if we are given opportunities to interact with new knowledge in different ways in order to account for all of its permutations and combinations.


Feedback from a number of fellow colleagues in higher education suggest that a coherent strategy would be appreciated and would offer meaningful support, both longitudinally beyond the duration of a unit through a course, and concurrently across units. Feedback also supports the development of a coherent strategy that could be modelled for other units and courses. Feedback from literacy advisors indicates that there is need of an overarching strategy that can support students to address their other literacy needs and that can be used to track progress and to guide further personal development.

Idea Management and Student Work Space

The notion of a student work space refers to a set of tools, and processes to make the best use of these tools in the pursuit of excellence. One of the elements of this approach will be a curated collection of work to serve assessment purposes.

A structured work space for idea management outlined through assessments provides students a range of lifelong learning skills including communication and presentation skills, collaboration and participation skills, analysis through curation, and critical self-reflection. It also provides a set of skills that help students to function in a knowledge economy and that will provide coherency and consistency across the span of a student’s university career and hopefully beyond as they pursue lifelong learning.

The activities that support and are supported by this approach also speak to a range of learning items including learning styles. The notion of differentiation discusses the value of presenting information in different ways, and the need to consider the students learning styles as well as our own. 

We need to consider how students take in information and ‘digest’ it. Most people learn in a variety of ways but will have a preference or a particular strength in learning in one of these ways. We also need to be very cautious not to generalize from our own experiences when trying to understand how others learn.

Students receive ideas and information from a variety of sources, and are expected to do a variety of things with that information:

  idea manage 200

Another way of viewing this work is to look at it through a sequential process.

  idea manage classroom 200

Students themselves are often not aware of how they learn and so should be given the opportunity to experience multi-modal methodologies. For example:

learning styles three 200

  • Auditory learners: Learn from or when hearing others talk.
    • How: Let them talk! When they speak aloud they quickly realize they do or do not know what they are talking about.
    • Let others talk
    • Share videos online
  • Visual learners: Need to see the information
    • How: Write new concepts and vocabulary on the board – leave them there as a reference throughout the lesson
    • Use presentation tools with graphic images with or instead of text.
    • Let students design their own graphics and concepts maps.
  • Kinesthetic learners: Need to move or physically interact with information
    • How: Provide opportunity to take notes, remind them to write something down
    • Let them get up and write on the board,
    • Let them handle things (manipulatives – e.g. spreadsheets), “hands on” activities,
    • Work in groups to make a concept map.

How do we then integrate these methods into our classes?

  work spaces 200

By providing structures for work spaces, associated classroom activities, and incorporating these processes into formal assessments, the faculty can encourage students to come to class much better prepared for the flipped classroom. By employing cloud storage tools to capture and share ideas, students should always have access to their work and be able to draw upon previous work and documentation.

The notion of “Making Thinking Visible” allows students and faculty to externalize their ideas – to literally take the ideas out of our heads – and through the use of various media create ‘discrete’ ideas which can be manipulated, shared, sequenced and put on display for others.

By using a few select, freely available tools, students can bring their old ideas with them to new classes. They can reflect on past work and make connections by virtue of having a range of thoughts and ideas arrayed before


Students should use their own cloud storage tools for the actual storage of their data in its various formats. There are a variety of different tools available.

Google is recommended because it offers a range of tools under one log-in account and is already widely used around the world. It also offers longevity for the account, easier access to other account holders, ample storage space and an integrated suite of tools.

The following is a selection of tools and purposes offered as examples.

Personal work space

  • Google Drive

    • provides ample cloud storage space (15GB)

    • Accessible from multiple devices and integrates into multiple platforms.

    • Can’t be forgotten at home.

    • Can’t be lost

  • YouTube

    • provides a video platform.

  • Twitter

    • can hold links, articles,

    • Share ideas

  • LinkedIn

    • Profile, employment related groups and discussions

    • Great source of professional communities

    • Can be linked, used for communication, updated and shared

Community work space

  • Google docs
    • Synchronous editing
    • Exports to Word, Excel, PPT.
    • Supports forms
    • Documents and videos from these platforms and from social media including Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. can be easily embedded.
  • vUWS
    • Discussion boards, wikis,

Assessment and Competency

  • vUWS

    • Supports assessment documentation and provides various efficiency means for assessing and providing feedback

      • Classroom activities

      • Work sheets

      • Quizzes and results

      • Presentations

      • Discussion boards

      • Wikis

  • Blogger

    • Can hold embedded documents, RSS feeds from Twitter, LinkedIn profile etc.

    • Can be used for reflective writing and exported.

    • Can be closed, shared, partially or fully public.

  • Folders:

    • Personal folders can be shared in such a way as to support assessment of individual items.

    • Folders can be assessed for such aspects as:

      • Completeness / inclusion of

        • Instructor and / or peer feedback

        • Individual homework items

        • Reflections on activities

      • Presentation of contents

        • Ease of access to contents

      • Curation

        • Are the contents representative of some element of the unit e.g. real world examples of unit content found in media / imagery

    • In class activities need to be:

      • Related to the weekly content in various formats in order to allow for the flipped model to function.

      • Map from outcome to activity to assessment needs to be explicit.

      • Can incorporate a point system for the portfolio activities.

      • Need to consider recurring strategies that allow the students to be familiar with what they need to do and what tools they might need to use.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016 20:23

Digital Literacy

I am working with my new team at WSU to review and find means of helping students to manage the many varied tasks and challenges involved in being a successful learner. One of the issues that has arisen in my work is the challenge of managing our documents and pieces of information. Document storage may seem like the epitome of mundane tasks, but I consider documents to be physical repositories (even with virtual or soft copy documents) of our ideas. Hence, storage and nomenclature become second only to the contents of the documents. If we cannot find each other’s ideas, then we are poorer for that.

An integrated approach to file storage and naming can serve a number of purposes. The architecture alone of a clear folder system can indicate the relevance or documents without even having to open a document. Document retrieval is also greatly enhanced, almost as a side effect, although we might argue that said retrieval is the primary purpose of a clear filing protocol. Often, we start be trying to find one document and end up looking in a dozen different places for it.


However, ideally, we want to start with a dozen different carefully itemized locations and quickly delve into the exact location for the one document we want to find.

folders reversed

However, the most important effect of being able to efficiently access our documents is to enhance our ability to access our ideas. As I have noted elsewhere, one form of practice for practitioners and / or students is to begin to wrestle with the myriad ill-structured domains of knowledge that they encounter in their daily professional life and employ what Jacobson and Spiro (1993) term, ‘cognitive flexibility’ to put their ideas into an accessible format that can be viewed and shared by other people. This practice will enable the practitioner to begin to both actively and passively share their ideas more readily and easily with their community of inquiry and, almost as a by-product, and with little tampering, provide a high-stakes showcase of competencies.

Similarly, in the process of epistemological curiosity, the practitioner can employ a portfolio approach that allows him or her opportunities to “assemble relevant abstract conceptual and case-specific knowledge components” (Jacobsen & Spiro, 1993, p. 3), better explain or organize those knowledge components, and then hold and examine them, almost as concrete objects, before putting them out into the world.

When considering whether new forms of media can alter our ways of thinking, we can reflect on McLuhan’s (1964) argument that the “medium is the message”. How do the new possibilities of the social media and web 2.0 technologies influence our abilities to share ideas? As years’ worth of students have told me, “I am doing it in my head”, ‘it’ being planning, outlining, organizing, preparing for assessments, and otherwise being a student. This is also true for practitioners or academics. ‘Doing it in our heads’ is certainly possible, how do others can access those ideas that are in our heads. With 21st century tools, practitioners can now be much more efficient in sharing their ideas with their community and stakeholders and thus creating the possibilities for growth.


Jacobsen, M., & Spiro, R. (1993). Hypertext Learning Environments, Cognitive Flexibility, and the Transfer of Complex Knowledge: An Empirical Investigation. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Center for the Study of Reading. Champaign, Illinois: College of education. Retrieved September 7, 2014, from https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/17752/ctrstreadtechrepv01993i00573_opt.pdf?sequence=1

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media. Cornwall: Routledge.

Spiro, R. J. (1993). Cognitive Flexibility, Constructivism, and Hypertext: Random Access Instruction for Advanced Knowledge Acquisition in Ill-Structured Domains. Institute for Learning Technologies. http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/papers/Spiro.html 

Saturday, 31 October 2015 07:17

Poster of PhD Defense

The attached image shows the poster that advertised my PhD defense at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel on October 13th, 2015.

Published: Professional Portfolios to Demonstrate ‘Artful Competency’

e-Journal of Business Education & Scholarship of Teaching Vol. 8, Iss. 2, 2014, pp: 112-122. ”http://www.ejbest.org

Paul Leslie Faculty of Education / Educational Technology, Sharjah Higher Colleges


A complaint of, and about, professionals is that they often have no way of "accounting for the artful competence" (Schon, 1983: 19) displayed in their daily work. A portfolio approach to learning (Leslie, 2012) offers educational practitioners processes through which to both demonstrate professional competencies and continue to learn from their own work. This study uses observations, surveys and interviews with teacherparticipants from a six-month project in a primary school in the UAE. It examines how the teachers begin to employ a portfolio approach in their own practice to transform the traditional portfolio into an experiential, lifelong learning process. Findings discuss how the teachers developed a greater sense of community, a range of associated skills, and allowed stakeholders including supervisors to play a much greater role in the skills development of the teachers.

Keywords: Professional portfolio; competencies; experiential; lifelong JEL

Classification: A22 ; I21 PsycINFO Classification: 3560 FoR Code: 1303; 1599 ERA Journal ID#: 35696 


Artful Competence

We have discussed this concept before (scroll down to Competency Sphere), but perhaps have not discussed what you think it means.

artful competence 200

Have a look at this article and focus on the competencies. These are for doctors, but many of the competencies equally apply to teachers.



  •  Remind me to talk to you about some housekeeping details
    • Classes next week
      • Monday & Tuesday
      • Thursday
    • Assessments & Moodle


Core knowledge 
Basic communication skills 
Information management 
Applying knowledge to real-world situations 
Using tacit knowledge and personal experience 
Abstract problem-solving 
Self-directed acquisition of new knowledge 
Recognizing gaps in knowledge 
Generating questions 
Using resources (eg, published evidence, colleagues) 
Learning from experience

Physical examination skills 
Surgical/procedural skills

Incorporating scientific, clinical, and humanistic judgment 
Using clinical reasoning strategies appropriately (hypothetico-deductive, pattern-recognition, elaborated knowledge) 
Linking basic and clinical knowledge across disciplines 
Managing uncertainty

Clinical setting 
Use of time

Communication skills 
Handling conflict 
Teaching others (eg, patients, students, and colleagues)

Tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety 
Emotional intelligence 
Respect for patients 
Responsiveness to patients and society 

Habits of Mind
Observations of one's own thinking, emotions, and techniques 
Critical curiosity 
Recognition of and response to cognitive and emotional biases 
Willingness to acknowledge and correct errors


 I have written quite a range of entries about different types of artefacts. Here is one written for Ramaqia School. See the portfolio assessment as well for further suggestions.

Table X:

Curated Artefacts



Professionalism and Understanding

Certificates of Workshop attendance

Anecdotes from colleagues

Images of professional treatment of guests

Curated collection of work clearly related to competencies

Planning for learning

Lesson plans

Photos of arranged / organized classrooms

Anecdotes from repairing / rearranging classrooms & equipment

Implementing and Managing Learning

Videos / images from the classroom

Observations from colleagues, MST, MCT, principal

Feedback from surveys, student reactions

Assessment and Evaluation

Products from student activities

Test scores and graphs

Anecdotes from students on what they learned


Journal entries

Daily reflective entries

Curated collection of work



I would like to make a list of all the competencies you think you need to demonstrate and then design a chart in which you tell us how you are going to demonstrate these competencies.

It could look something like the ones that we have given you.

Alternatively, it could look like something totally different.


Epstein R.M., Hundert, E.M. (2002). Defining and Assessing Professional Competence. Journal of American Medical Association.;287(2) pps 226-235. doi:10.1001/jama.287.2.226.

Published in EPC 3903
Thursday, 13 November 2014 04:40

Portfolios and Multimedia Design Principles

Portfolios and Multimedia Design

McLuhan (1964) stated that, "the medium is the message" (p. 7). By this, he meant that the medium we use to convey our messages is as important as the message itself. In your portfolios, the attention you make to the detail in presenting your work and making it clear and accessible for your audience tells us (almost) as much as the work itself. Are you organized? Have you tried your best to make my (the audience) experience as rewarding as possible? Have you paid attention to the clarity of your writing, the quality of your graphics and images?

McLuhan and Powers (1989) discuss the idea that visual knowledge, which they view as more traditional, is linear, connected, and best represented by the printed word. In our current world of electronic media, they argue knowledge is now more acoustic in that it surrounds us from all sides and is “simultaneous, discontinuous, and dynamic” (p. 14). How does the layout of a portfolio affect its ability to present acoustic information? 

Mayer (2009) offers a set of multimedia design principles that can help you to present your information in more coherent manner. These are outlined in Table 1. I have added a description of how the principles can enhance portfolio design for the audience.



Table X:

Mayer’s (2009) Multimedia Design Principles and e-Portfolio Application


Mayer's Definition

Portfolio Application


Extraneous or unnecessary material is excluded

Older materials should be archived and the most important materials highlighted in the best locations.


Directed curations are provided for specific audiences.


All materials should be intentional and reflect competencies


Labels and titles for materials and information are provided

Artefacts and sections of the portfolio are clearly labeled and may even follow an agreed upon format or layout. 


The significance of everything is obvious or indicated


Avoid redundancy in displays to reduce unnecessary cognitive processing

Curations allow for exemplar artefacts to be presented.


Supplementary information stored elsewhere.


Corresponding or related information is presented physically near to each other

Related artefacts should be easily found near each other.


Lesson plans and supporting materials should be on the same page or visually located together.


Corresponding or related information is presented at the same time

Information and artefacts related by time should also be visible at the same time without having to click forward to see additional work.


You may need to balance this with spatial contiguity


Information is better presented as segments rather than a larger whole

Balanced with coherence, larger chunks of information or documentation should be split into manageable amounts.


Use more paragraphs rather than less.


Use point form where appropriate.


Use white space appropriate. Do not leave 'empty' space. Leave intentional space for ease of reading and scanning.


Learning is enhanced by previous knowledge of main concepts

A map may be presented to highlight organizational structure or certain terminology.


Imagine that someone is looking at your portfolio without you to explain it.


Conversely, avoid terminology not suitable for your expected audience.


Learning is enhanced by using different modes (seeing and hearing) to receive information

Use a variety of media to present and explain the relevance of the artefacts.


Very much overlaps with multimedia principle


Learning is enhanced by using two media rather than one.

Within the preparation of individual artefacts, presentation can be enhanced by using text and images and audio, etc..


Learning is enhanced when a narrative style is used rather than formal style

When providing a narrative or description, talk to your audience.


A more formal style can be confined to the presentation of papers and projects that require academic language.


Mayer, R. (2009). Multi-media Learning 2nd Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media. Cornwall: Routledge.

McLuhan, M., & Powers, B. (1989). The Global Village. New York: Oxford University Press.

Saturday, 13 September 2014 05:36

Three Spheres of the Portfolio Approach

Three Spheres of the Portfolio Approach

3 spheres portfolio v2

Personal Sphere

One question we can ask about teaching and learning is,

“How can our forms of practice engender collaborative partnerships where diverse voices, competing ideologies, and opposing traditions can all be heard and respected” (McNamee, 2004, p. 406)?

How can a portfolio approach to learning can help individual practitioners begin to develop their own forms of practice that will eventually allow us to both actively and passively create partnerships in a community of inquiry where we can be a diverse voice among others and be respected? During this semester, we will explore how we can present ourselves and our competencies to others in a manner which helps us to further develop our potential along lines that we want, rather than along lines that others may guess or press upon us.

These questions and goals provide a clear focus from which to start on a personal journey of practicing a portfolio approach to one’s own learning. I argue that one form of practice for practitioners is to begin to wrestle with the myriad ill-structured domains of knowledge that they encounter in their daily professional life and employ what Jacobson and Spiro (1993) term, ‘cognitive flexibility’ to put their ideas into an accessible format that can be viewed and shared by other people. This practice will enable the practitioner to begin to both actively and passively share their ideas more readily and easily with their community of inquiry and, almost as a by-product, and with little tampering, provide a high-stakes showcase of competencies.

Additionally, I will argue that the use of a portfolio approach to one’s professional practice allows us to control parts of our life that we do not know we are already sharing. This may be part of Ismael’s (2007) non-reflexive “I”. From our passive representation, what can people tell from our ‘data’? How can that gleaned knowledge help us, or help others to help us, or help us to help others? Regardless of what we do, we are engaged in co-constructing our own self with those around us (Gergen, 2011). Through a portfolio approach, we can be more proactive in our own development.

This is the personal sphere of the portfolio approach and it requires sustained, individual effort. 

Community Sphere

Gergen (2009) asks the question,

“How could collaborative activities among teachers for example be used to enhance the relational process within classrooms, or between classrooms and the world outside? (p. 269)

How can a portfolio approach afford opportunities for practitioners to go among each other’s work and find their own knowledge and new learning from that collection? In order to participate in a community, the practitioner must be willing to share their ideas and be prepared to both explain them, and change them. In the process of epistemological curiosity, the practitioner can employ a portfolio approach that allows him or her opportunities to “assemble relevant abstract conceptual and case-specific knowledge components” (Jacobsen & Spiro, 1993, p. 3), better explain or organize those knowledge components, and then hold and examine them, almost as concrete objects, before putting them out into the world. This is the point where the personal sphere of the portfolio approach overlaps with and interjects into the community sphere.

When considering whether new forms of media can alter our ways of thinking, we can reflect on McLuhan’s (1964) argument that the “medium is the message”. How do the new possibilities of the social media and web 2.0 technologies influence our abilities to share ideas? As years’ worth of students have told this practitioner, “I am doing it in my head”, ‘it’ being planning, outlining, organizing, preparing for assessments, and otherwise being a student. This is certainly possible, but these same students have never been able to demonstrate how others can access those ideas that are in their heads. With 21st century tools, practitioners can now be much more efficient in sharing their ideas with their community and stakeholders and thus creating the possibilities for growth.

From my perspective working in an international community of inquiry, we must also consider how we can create a sense of community among practitioners who may come from a wide range of backgrounds (Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2010)? Similarly, Gergen (2001) asks, “What are the pragmatic potentials of the forms of life to which students are exposed in our schools?” In the school system of the UAE, and in international schools around the world, students are exposed to many different customs and beliefs even if implicitly or passively shared through the simple act of being with each other. Through the passive representation of oneself as will be explored, how can we positively influence those potentials to make the most of our time together?

time span of discretion

Competency Sphere

The question that links the community sphere to the competency sphere, and back to the personal sphere is,

How can we work with other educators and students to allow them to determine their own voice without abandoning the institutional voice that comes from learning outcomes, program outcomes and the demands of the professional workplace?

Or, in other words, how can the use of a portfolio approach allow principals and mentors work with faculty and mentees to direct and guide development and meet institutional needs while preserving the voice and individuality of the participants?

This section will explore the most common and perhaps more traditional use of a portfolio as a showcase for the demonstration of competency. Though the competency sphere may have a perhaps confusing overlap with the personal sphere and the community of inquiry sphere, the high stakes nature of being able to demonstrate that outcomes have been met, or that competencies are consistently delivered, makes the competency sphere an integral and necessary part of the portfolio approach. Herein lies the overlap with both the personal sphere and the community sphere. Within this sphere where the showcase portfolio might be viewed as a static collection of artefacts, there are processes and tools that permit ongoing demonstrations that can be updated regularly, and in some cases, automatically. 


Cleveland-Innes, M. F., & Garrison, D. R. (2010). (eds) An Introduction to Distance Education. New York: Routledge.

Gergen, K. (2001). Social Construction in Context. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. (UK). Retrieved 2012, from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/hct/Doc?id=10076736

Gergen, K. (2009). Relational Being. New York: Oxford University Press.

Gergen, K. (2011). Relation Being: A Brief Introduction. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 24(4), 280-282. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10720537.2011.593453

Ismael, J. (2007). The situated self. New York: Oxford University Press.

Jacobsen, M., & Spiro, R. (1993). Hypertext Learning Environments, Cognitive Flexibility, and the Transfer of Complex Knowledge: An Empirical Investigation. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Center for the Study of Reading. Champaign, Illinois: College of education. Retrieved September 7, 2014, from https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/17752/ctrstreadtechrepv01993i00573_opt.pdf?sequence=1

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media. Cornwall: Routledge.

McNamee, S. (2004). Imagine Chicago: a methodology for cultivating community social construction in practice. Journal Of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 14(5), 406-409. doi:10.1002/casp.799


Friday, 05 September 2014 01:57

EPC 3403 - Week 2 - Portfolio Approach to T&L

Review of Portfolio Approach

3 spheres portfolio 2Leslie,P. (ND)

Although I will be editing this diagram, we can have a look at how it will support your work in the classroom and in the wider school community. 


This is you. This is you saving your work in places where you can easily access it in order to be able to access it not only later, but right now, or in the next few hours or days.

I have been pursuing a portfolio approach to my own work for a number of years. One significant finding from the span of time involved is the accumulated wisdom and access to ideas that is absent and from which even experienced practitioners have not benefited. In a recent conversation with a colleague about the process of developing portfolios with students, the colleague commented that, “Even I can't exactly remember what I did last semester so how can I expect my students to remember?” This perhaps is one of the best advertisements for the approach.

Similar to the concept of the time span of discretion discussed in a previous article, the longer the span of time a practitioner can capture and access through their own portfolio of work, the more beneficial will be that work and portfolio. As Ishmael (2007) notes, “It isn't until a network pf pathways is set up between pockets [of information] that the full potential of the additional structure is realized.” (p. 5).

Reflexive representations and non-reflexive representations of ourselves

How do we combine the view we have of ourselves with the view that others have of us? Ismael (2011) discusses the difficulties that we have of trying to reconcile the two views. A portfolio of one’s work can take the practitioner a long way towards being able to represent one’s work to their colleagues.

These benefits extend well beyond the individual practitioner as well. Despite being a personal sphere, this area extends outwards to our community and into a demonstration of competency for our stakeholders as practitioners. From a passive sharing perspective, the fact that this practitioner is not collecting demonstrations of competency for the rest of us to share is in someway irresponsible, especially when considering that the practitioner is an educator.

Community Sphere

How does the concept of cognitive apprenticeship help to focus social construction of knowledge? In terms of the community, the apprentice is a part of the community. In a more traditional version of an apprenticeship, the apprentice and the master may form the extent of the community however with the use of 21st century tools, that community can be greatly expanded. And indeed, as Leslie (2013) notes, the teaching presence, which in the traditional model would come from the ‘master’, can also come from the other apprentices as they solve problems and share the answers with their colleagues. The discussion board format is one way in which this can occur. With the proper tools the discussion board contents can be preserved and shared through an individual’s portfolio to contribute to a demonstration of competency and can also serve as a record for the person themselves or for other apprentices or students. Another similar tool is the journal and daily reflections. For practice teachers out on a placement, the journal should be viewed as an indispensible part of the experience. As many experienced will tell the less experienced, teaching can be an isolating experience and if you are in a school by yourself, this effect is significantly compounded.

Similarly to the concept of the situated self and the reflexive and non-reflexive representations of ourselves we also have the idea that through our portfolio and collection of work, we can present information actively that is intended for study or for projects in which the students may be engaged. However there is also a strong element of passive presentation as others may come to our work without our knowledge and learn from our work. 

Tasks for week 2

In our two hour session, we will review the various tools we are going to need to complete our tasks effectively and successfully.

  • Presentation tools
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
  • Assessment and monitoring tools
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
  • Administrative tools
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
  • Reflection Tools
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
    • ___________________

Next, we will begin to review our portfolios and prepare them for vigorous and continuous use.


Ismael, J. (2007). The situated self. New York: Oxford University Press.

Leslie, P. (2013). Discussion Boards for Assessment.

Published in EPC 3403
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