Using ePortfolios as a tool for learning and reflecting with middle school students
It is important for learners in the 21st century to develop the ability to think critically and creatively, to be curious problem solvers and to take initiative in their learning. Students who are activated as leaders of their own learning are more likely to be engaged in the learning process. This researcher observed that young adolescents are challenged when asked to articulate their knowledge of themselves as learners. They struggle to go beyond knowing that they are simply “good at” or “bad at” a particular subject or skill. This research focused on whether consistent practice at reflection would enable students in grade 6 and 7 to better understand their learning journey. EPortfolios were selected as the tool to facilitate reflection and self-assessment because they enable students to work with online media, while also being designed with reflection, celebration and sharing of learning in mind. This study found that at the end of the school year, students overall were engaged in the creation of the ePortfolios and there was some development of reflection skills but the ability to express their knowledge of themselves as learners was still largely superficial. The researcher made some ecommendations as to how the Scholantis ePortfolio tool, powered by Sharepoint, could be adapted to increase the likelihood of independent student engagement and facilitate reflection. Additionally, recommendations were made for teachers and schools with respect to teaching reflective language and whole school implementation to reduce the technical learning challenges and develop metacognition over a longer period of time.