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UW-Eau Claire Receives Grant
To Develop Electronic Portfolios
MAILED: Oct. 23, 2002
EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire School of Education recently received a $25,000 grant from the UW System to support a project that is changing the way pre-service teachers put together their portfolios.
As part of a statewide effort to integrate technology standards and teacher education curriculum, the VIVA! (Vital Issues in Virtual Assemblies) Electronic Portfolio Initiative assists schools and colleges of education with implementing or enhancing the use of electronic portfolios in their teacher preparation programs.
Effective August 2004, anyone applying for a teaching license in Wisconsin will be required to submit a portfolio giving evidence of achieved proficiency in the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s 10 teaching standards.
According to Carol Koroghlanian, assistant professor, foundations of education, and one of the principal investigators for the grant, besides making sure that new teachers understand teaching standards and are adept at using current technology, the state also is encouraging the use of electronic or e-portfolios to eliminate the handling of bulky and expensive paper documents in the teacher certification process.
UW-Eau Claire will collaborate with UW-Madison and Cooperative Education Service Agency 10 to develop a system that meets the state-mandated requirements and also works on a local level. UW-Madison has had an e-portfolio system in place for a few years, Koroghlanian said, and UW-Eau Claire will begin the process using that system, testing to see how well it works for students and faculty.
Six seniors in the UW-Eau Claire School of Education who plan to student teach during the 2003 spring semester will be the pilot project group. They are elementary education majors Lisa Hansen, Spencer, and Anna Rygh, Forest Lake, Minn.; special education majors Leatha Schultz, Colby, and Kati Lebick, Eau Claire; and in secondary education, comprehensive physical science major Michael Kosmalski, Rosholt, and comprehensive social studies major Justin Hentges, Shawano.
Koroghlanian said the students will meet as a group throughout the fall semester to discuss their ideas and receive mentoring and assistance in beginning their e-portfolios.
For the spring semester, the UW-Eau Claire Portfolio Committee will identify six in-service teachers to be paired with the six student teachers. The in-service teachers will help the students begin work on their professional development plans, of which the teacher’s portfolio is just one part, and the students will share with the teachers what they have learned about assembling electronic portfolios. Eventually all aspects of the professional development plans should be electronic, Koroghlanian said, but both paper and electronic documentation probably will be used for some time until the transition is complete. Pre-service teachers applying for licensure will submit their portfolios on CDs or by posting them to a secure Web server, she said.
Schultz and Kosmalski said initially they were a little nervous about the amount of time and work that might be involved, but now both are excited about the project and feel a sense of privilege at being included at this early stage.
“I definitely feel as though I will have an edge,” Kosmalski said.
Hansen agrees. “So many of my classes now are talking about the movement from paper portfolios to e-portfolios that I feel like I have a definite advantage by being involved in this,” she said.
Hansen said she has the added challenge of testing how well the e-portfolio process will work for people with visual impairments. She attended a special conference and training in June and is creating her portfolio using screen reading software (a voice program that reads to her).
“So far it has been challenging and very interesting,” she said, adding, “VIVA has been a really great experience and I am so glad to be a part of it. Because of VIVA I’ll have a very comprehensive portfolio to present to districts that says, ‘Take me! I can teach!’”
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: October 22, 2002