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Teachers’ Friends (4 Short Papers - 0030, 0134, 0227, 0212)


09:00 - 10:20 on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 in 9.90
0030 ePortfolios in Teaching and Teacher Education: Friend or Foe? Helen Boulton
0134 Exploring the use of ipads for assessment and feedback – an institutional snapshot Agi Ryder, David Westwood
0227 Smartphone feedback: pervasive exchanges and interventions Andrew Middleton, Anne Nortcliffe
0212 HEAT in a Cold Climate: evaluating high quality, cost effective solutions for embedding inclusive learning Terry McAndrew, Shirley Evans
0030 ePortfolios in Teaching and Teacher Education: Friend or Foe? Helen Boulton

Portfolios of authentic evidence for professional competencies have formed part of teacher training for many years. More recently aspirational teacher educators across Europe have successfully embedded ePortfolios in teacher training programmes (Granberg, 2010). However, research into varying aspects of ePortfolios in teacher training has not yet examined the transition of the ePortfolio from teacher trainer to professional teacher. This research examines the expectations of newly qualified teachers in this transition and considers the changing role of the ePortfolio for recording continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers at a time when the context of CPD for teachers is changing.

This paper reports a longitudinal research project (= 3 years) at Nottingham Trent University, UK, part funded by Training and Development Agency. The aim of the study was to consider the potential of the eportfolio as a CPD tool for newly qualified teachers (NQTs). The theoretical framework underpinning this research is that of self-regulated learning (Bandura, 1991). Relationships are also drawn to the theory of situated learning (Lave and Wenger, 1991), which emphasises the idea that what is learned is specific to the situation in which it is learned. The methodological framework is that of action research (Carr and Kemmis, 1986; Reason and Bradbury, 2008). Both quantitative and qualitative data were gathered and analysed. In order to gain a multiperspective account and rich contextual data on the tool and its use, a range of experiences were sought from primary and secondary senior teachers (=103 schools) across the East Midlands and primary and secondary teacher trainees. In addition newly qualified teachers from schools across the East Midlands who developed a multimodal, authentic and reflective ePortfolio while at University have been interviewed. The analysis of the data has provided opportunity for critical reflection and evaluation of whether the ePortfolio meets the expectations of NQTs and whether there is a role for the development of this tool for teachers in the current climate. The key finding, supported by school senior teachers, is that this is an appropriate tool developing an authentic evidence base for developing professional identity, however the evidence from NQTs suggests schools are not yet ready for this tool.

Key results will be presented that have significance for future activities for both Higher Education Institutions considering ePortfolios for trainee teachers and for schools looking for new ways to support staff in developing a lifelong learning resource evidencing professional identity for teachers. The results which link to future activities will be presented. These are wide ranging and include: consideration of ePortfolio tool; purpose of ePortfolio; training and support for teachers; consideration of how an ePortfolio will link to the career of teachers including ‘Threshold’; and how ePortfolios provide opportunity for formative feedback to facilitate the development of evidence of the pursuit and achievement of personal and professional development throughout teaching careers.

0134 Exploring the use of ipads for assessment and feedback – an institutional snapshot Agi Ryder, David Westwood

This short paper will look to disseminate the findings from an institutional project looking at the use of tablet PCs (Apple Ipads) to enhance the assessment and feedback process. Many educators have positively heralded the arrival of a new generation of tablet PCs into the classroom. The easy-to-use nature and variety of educational apps available on the iPad has made this portable device one of the most discussed educational aids of recent times. However, currently there is very little research offering critical and theoretical discussion into the effective educational use of such tablet PCs; the ways in which they can enhance education as well as the identification of any possible limitations of their use. Throughout the 2010/11 academic year Middlesex University has been investigating the use of e-assessment and e-feedback across the Institution. A small number of action research projects have been looking into the affordances and constraints of iPads when used by faculty in the context of e-assessment, e- feedback, and e-reflection. The projects have been conducted within a range of disciplines including: sports science, nursing, psychology, education, and business studies and draw on different themes, such as mobile marking, video and audio feedback, and significantly shortening the feedback loop. This presentation will critically discuss the projects highlighting benefits as well as challenges faced by faculty when embedding such technology within their work practices. The challenges include: costs, compatibility issues, and issues with the hardware.

0227 Smartphone feedback: pervasive exchanges and interventions Andrew Middleton, Anne Nortcliffe

The capacity of academics to provide effective feedback on student work remains a challenge despite ongoing demands (HEFCE 2010). Innovation with audio feedback has gone some way to address this (Rotheram 2009); however, despite the personal connectivity and meaningful engagement this affords, academic responsiveness and creativity are often constrained by dependence upon a tethered connection for its distribution. This is, therefore, at odds with the need for feedback that is dialogic (Nicol 2010). Common portable and connected recording devices, in the form of smartphones, allow formative spoken exchanges to be captured, freeing the academic to devise new forms of manageable feedback which can be distributed immediately so that exchanges can be revisited by the student when they decide it is useful to do so.

This paper describes how a personally owned smartphone is being used to provide feedback to local and international Engineering students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels to promote dialogic engagement around project and dissertation work. It reflects on the advantages and disadvantages of pervasive technology in meeting the needs of staff and students. Students are being surveyed and interviewed to reflect on their ongoing experience during the academic year.

Initial findings from this study are positive. Students appreciate the quick turnaround of the feedback and the “refreshing” quality that is characteristic of this “interesting format”. One student noted that, “It's not often we get that type of personalized feedback from any tutors unless we chase for it individually, so it's good that everyone got it by default.” However, another was frustrated that the ‘app’ did not produce audio in the standard MP3 format. The academic reports that pervasive technology brings benefits to managing the marking process, turning work around in a timely way, integrating it with domestic life at times of high pressure, and in promoting dialogic engagement. However, pervasiveness needs to be managed to ensure that a life-work balance is maintained.

Smartphone recording apps support a more fluid and responsive feedback process, not only helping to deliver feedback, but possibly helping to redefine feedback itself as an ongoing dialogic and formative process.

0212 HEAT in a Cold Climate: evaluating high quality, cost effective solutions for embedding inclusive learning Terry McAndrew, Shirley Evans

The proportion of disabled students enrolling in HE is increasing. Research estimates that approximately 8 to 10% of students in HE are disabled, that is 240,000 students in the UK. Disabled HE students tend to have lower qualifications on entry and are less likely to attain a good degree than those who do not report a disability (DIUS 2009)

Approach

Since 2006 JISC Techdis has managed four rounds of the HEAT Scheme. Eighty five projects have been commissioned over four rounds of the scheme with a mean value of only £1400 per project. The scheme provides staff working in Higher Education with small quantities of technology with which to develop or uncover an aspect of good inclusive practice. These small targeted projects have been effective at making larger changes in HE.

Surveys of previous participants (20 questions covering three main areas to be evaluated – impact, dissemination and links to other work) were undertaken. Follow-up telephone interviews took place to gain more insight into staff time impact on students wider impact value for the team and how they were inspired.

Results

The survey showed 97% of projects had successfully uncovered or developed an aspect of inclusive practice. 64% of project holders successfully obtained other funding as a result of their HEAT project.

The scheme has impacted in terms of inclusive practice on approximately 4,000 students (2,000 targeted in the original bid and a further 2,000 since). 64% of respondents obtained other funding as a result of the HEAT funding. Projects have impacted not only in the department but across and between institutions and even on professions.

Results from the current round four projects based in Wales (completing June 2011) using technologies including videoconferencing, video repositories, e-books and smartpens will also be reported.

Conclusion

Results and analysis has shown that relatively modest amounts of funding, carefully disbursed and with appropriate support in place, can result in disproportionately effective outcomes and developments. High quality and cost effective inclusive learning and teaching practice is essential if a level playing field in education, employment and life chances is to be achieved.