IMPROVING STUDENTS’ SKILLS WITH AN ELECTRONIC PORTFOLIO THROUGHOUT SECONDARY EDUCATION
The main goal of the article is to analyze the educational and pedagogical model implemented by the Institut Nou de Sant Gregori (hereafter the INSG), which focuses upon the development of a personalized electronic portfolio throughout the secondary education period. That is, an educational method aimed at maximizing the skills of each student from a crosscutting and comprehensive view.
One of the most innovative assets of the system is that it covers the whole educational period, thus incorporating all subjects and teachers into a singular and coordinated structure. The program, which finds no other precedents within the near educational context, constitutes a strategic commitment for the INSG since it allows to develop students’ skills from an integrated manner, regardless the specific motivations of every teacher or the nature of their personal projects. Also, the comprehensiveness of this method is also expressed through the mechanisms used to enhance student’s competences (i.e. curricular, personal and interpersonal), which are ICT-related. It is through new technologies that the personal portfolio is developed and that students are guided towards excellence and result optimization.
The rationale behind the electronic portfolio is that the student him/herself (although with the guidance and supervision of the teachers) be able to monitor the educational process by establishing new challenges, looking for the most suitable solutions and finally, assessing the whole process through in-depth reflection and evaluation. To do that, a structured virtual blog called e2TransFoli is used as main platform (it lends its name to the project), which accompanies each student along the secondary education period.
This project is being implemented for the first time this academic year 2014-2015 by the INSG, a new educational center that counts on a group of six teachers, two of which constitute the management team, and that has a first cohort of 46 students divided in 2 pedagogical lines. In order to put this pioneering project into practice, the teaching staff has been involved in an innovative training program with the intention to develop more interactive and effective methods applicable to all curricular areas. Furthermore, this pedagogical experience is complemented and motorized by a group of researchers of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), thus being integrated in a research project using “action research” as main methodology. Through this, the e2TransFoli initiative seeks to strengthen its structure; to increase its scientific compliance and visibility; and to produce, in the mid-long term, empirical knowledge that could be examined through learning analytics techniques.
In a nutshell, the main purpose of the article is to present the initial stage of the process. That is: to explain the conceptual foundations of the electronic portfolio; to reflect upon its current application; to identify its main objectives; to asses the ICT-based platform that is being used for its development; and also to provide some real-life evaluations from both teacher’s and student’s perspectives. This project has been recognized as a “singular” and “experimental” Industry-based PhD project by the Secretaria d’Universitats of the Generalitat de Catalunya and it has been funded through the Fundació Catalana de la Recerca. It will be developed within the doctoral program “Education and ICTs” of the UOC.