In concert with the goals set forth by the campus and district improvement plans, I propose a bold move toward improving student engagement and academic achievement in English Language Arts classrooms on our campus.
Some of the most prominent buzz-worthy concepts in education, personalized learning, and individualized instruction, have been around for many years, but have always faced resistance from instructors due to the overwhelming complications involved in implementation. This is especially true considering the increase in demands on teachers and growing class sizes, however, our recent commitment to 21st Century learning and integration of technology has opened the door for a new form of individualization.
Launching eportfolios and the COVA approach in English courses will provide many benefits to our students. The specific goals being targeted through the piloting of the COVA approach (choice, ownership, voice, and authenticity) in English courses include improving academic achievement, student engagement, and college/career readiness. We plan to use technology to allow the exploration of individual interests and goals of the student through an authentic learning model, allowing the student to own their experience.
Moving the emphasis of the course to student choice, ownership, voice, and authenticity will significantly change the learning environment, providing opportunities for learning that will impact students for years to come.
To ensure the success of the initiative, the following video includes insights that were gleaned from research and the success or failure of other initiatives. Other initiatives were examined in order to learn what worked, why some initiatives failed, and how to ensure the success of this initiative.
To begin, a clear goal should be identified. Sticking to the goal and focusing on learning instead of technology is key to the success of an initiative.
In addition, it is vital that stakeholders hear why the changed needs to happen. Teachers must understand why the change needs to happen. Without motivation to make the change, it will certainly fail. Leadership should strive to anticipate roadblocks and barriers.
Plan for Implementation
ePortfolios: A High Impact Approach to Personalizing Education
I. Preparation for change
A. Teacher buy-in
1. Establish WHY the change to create eportfolios is necessary and an improvement on status quo
2. Make the need for change obvious
3. Have examples of what the eportfolio will look like
4. Know how much work it will be to make the change happen
B. Technology infrastructure
1. Ensure access to Chrome books for implementation
2. Ensure ongoing, regular access to Chrome books
C. Focus on vision and goal
1. One goal: Increase student engagement through personalized learning experiences
2. Eportfolios are an opportunity for students to own the learning while demonstrating choice and voice in an authentic, real-world experience.
3. VISION: We are a 21st Century Learning community where all learners are empowered by a personally rigorous educational experience with an emphasis on cultivating creative problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, and creating a positive academic digital footprint.
1. Students create their websites in English class; ongoing support for implementation is available.
2. Teachers identify essay structures that will be posted to the eportfolio by all students and are to be retained throughout high school for reflection of growth.
3. Students identify a purpose for their blog and begin doing research on their topic. Blog posts include research and reflection on topics of the students’ choice.
4. Students learn to use category tags
5. Additional topics for reflection and discussion can be added once students know how to use tags.
IV. Expand use to other disciplines
1. Demonstrate the eportfolios for other faculty members
2. Offer suggested uses
3. Provide instruction for keeping eportfolios organized
V. Graduates retain eportfolios as positive academic digital footprints.