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J. Bobkina

University College Don Bosco (SPAIN)
“We need to invent Digital Native methodologies for all subjects, at all levels, using our students to guide us”.
Marc Spronsky

These words of Marc Spronsky referring to digital natives and digital immigrants have become classic among those teachers who are looking for new paths in education. It is a fact that our students have changed radically. The system of teaching in general and, in particular, the system of language teaching, is not adequate for the new generation of students. Having grown in a digital environment, they have developed new abilities, and even speak a different language which is not comprehensible for most of the teachers. There is no sense in struggling to re-educate Digital Natives (there is no way back), but in trying to learn to communicate in the language and style of our students, offering them new attractive methodologies.

With this idea in mind we got enrolled in the 2005 Project of the European Language Portfolio (ELP) promoted by the Council of Europe. Having a chance to be amongst the first teachers piloting ELP in the Primary School in Spain, we considered the project to be not only a valuable tool for learning foreign languages, but also a new philosophy of the teaching/learning process.

Getting started with the official portfolio models, we did have to abandon them very soon. It became clear that the only way to get closer to the Digital Natives was through a more flexible and autonomous type of work – the Electronic Portfolio (e-ELP).

Next, we did have to decide on the format and content of the e-ELP.

The first difficulty we came into: there was no e-ELP for Primary kids created so far.

The second difficulty: there was no common opinion among the teachers piloting the ELP on what exactly should be worked within it. The ELP is a very open project which includes a number of directions, such as:
-Portfolio as a new philosophy of teaching: open, creative, reflexive, and learner-centred.
-Portfolio as a tool of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism supporting learning languages and intercultural experiences.
-Portfolio as a new system of evaluation.
-Portfolio as a tool to certificate linguistic competence.

When thinking over the format of the electronic portfolio, we did not pretend to create new software digitalizing an already existing paper model. It should have been new, easy to learn, flexible and challenging. The solution came almost immediately: A PERSONAL WEB PAGE. That was the format that allowed our students to make decisions, look for information, select, publish, discuss….

As far as the content concerns, we have designed the Portfolio as a global project consisting of three complementary parts:
-Presentation and index.
-Selection and publication of students´ learning process evidences.
-General evaluation.

We pretend this work should help our students to develop such basic abilities nowadays as, to work individually and in groups, process information, evaluate their work, and to speak in public. And the most important, we will give them a chance to be the protagonists of their own learning process.

In continuation we will analyze in detail each of the mentioned parts, as well as give examples of the webs created by students.