Digital portfolios in pre-service Teacher Education

Year: 2002

Author: Woodward, Helen, Nanlohy, Philip

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The value of portfolios as an assessment tool is thoroughly researched and their use in education is well documented (Woodward 2000). Research on the introduction of digital portfolios is substantially based on general portfolio research; however, additional specific factors and features need to be considered. One of the inherent dangers with digital portfolios, for example, is that the technological novelty of the product could overshadow the purpose of the portfolio. The danger is that learning to use the technology itself could then subsume the learning opportunities of portfolio construction. While the significance of technology is recognised, a balance must be sought so that the fundamental value of developing a portfolio is maintained. Can digital portfolios add value to existing practices or are they a fashion soon to be forgotten?

This paper discusses the first phase of research, being conducted with undergraduate students, to interrogate not only the products created but also the processes used as they develop their digital portfolios for their initial teacher education degree. Students were offered the opportunity to develop a first draft of their final semester portfolio within the supportive environment of an elective subject. This trial has prompted us as educators to further explore the ways students can be supported as they develop digital portfolios.