Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Era of "I.E."?

I have just read a very interesting article which discusses the value of ePortfolios. These words really struck a chord: "ePortfolio is about: learning with and from our don't get to pull out your lecture notes you've been teaching from for the last twenty-five years. You have to change what you are doing. Every time you go back to the classroom it's new. It's different. It's evolving". The key word for me is "EVOLVING".

Does the above mean my 30 years of teaching count for nothing unless I keep up with everyone here and now, in the era of "I.E." - "Instant Everything"? It could be indeed a scary thought for someone like me who has been a "traditional" teacher for so long. I have never wished to rest on my laurels. In fact the opposite is true. I am striving to keep up with modern trends in order to "survive" in the educational field, but the word "evolving" here means constant change and development within modern technology.

So from teaching English in the late 1970s (modern technology involved using a "Banda Machine" - does anyone remember it?) to teaching English in 2009 , what has evolved for me in terms of my goals and aspirations? I think the answer is they remain the same as always: to do the best I can, and then some. My objectives have always been the following:
  • 100% commitment to my students
  • set high standards
  • adapt to the needs of the students
  • keep up with new trends
In the past , the pace of change was much more "gentle" and leisurely, in my opinion. Nowadays, "evolution" is happening so rapidly that you could easily miss out on a new trend unless you are constantly "on the ball", so to speak. Thus a teacher is left with no choice in this digital age of "I.E." but to learn as rapidly as the new concepts and tools are coming out. Suddenly, it seems that we teachers are all becoming "virtual" students in order to keep up with the new "Thumb Generation" of "Digital Natives" who were born surrounded by Youtube, Facebook, Ning, Twitter, Ipods etc. The list seems to be endless...

My question to all of you out there in the "blogosphere" is this one. Do you like the constant change or do you wish somehow it would just slow down a bit to allow for assimilation?? I would love to hear your views.


Ray Tolley said...


Your comment about e-Portfolios and learning from our students first caught my eye - and I will attend to that shortly.

However, you ask serious questions about moving with the times, and I want to answer that first. At one time we judged the preparedness of our children to learn in terms of whether they brought a fountain pen to school or still relied upon the inkwell and dip-in pen. Then, I often judged a class as to the number who brought their own slide-rules to lessons. Some ten years later, the criterion for preparedness to learn was if the pupils brought their own calculators to school. Later I noticed that some children were actually doing their homework on a computer at home - and this too impressed me. Now, government here in the UK is expecting all pupils to have home access and are providing support for those who need funding.

On a personal level, yes, I loved producing my multi-coloured Banda printouts and, before the OHP, do you remember the epidiascope? And now I am into blogging and e-Portfolios!

What I am trying to say is, yes, we do move with the times and according to the technology available we DO adopt the new technologies, even if a bit cautiously.

I think that what you are really asking is 'Is what we delivered as teachers 30 or in my case 45 years ago is still relevant?' Well, somethings change but our passion for teaching, our love of knowledge, our desire to see children make progress should not be diminished. As I have said in my own blog, we should be prepared to allow enough time for teachers to catch-up, regularly, and that there should be available those kindred spirits who are willing to spend the time in staff support and development.

Rant over, and now back to e-Portfolios! (I love them) The point about learning from each other is well made. W.J. Popham crystalises this out well in his book, 'Transformative Assessment'. He identifies four different aspects to formative assessment, what benefit the learner gains, what benefit the teacher gains, benfits at teacher-group level and at whole-institutional level. Quite mind-blowing and compulsorey reading for anyone thinking about formative assessment!

My question, however, is 'Where are the examples of formative assessment happening?' and please can we see examples of this?

See my blog at

Best Wishes,
Ray T

LLJB said...


Thank you so much for your insightful comments regarding e-Portfolios and moving with the times.

I have the utmost respect for your 45 years of teaching and all the knowledge you have gained and the fact that you are at the cutting edge of evolving trends in education.

I am a relative newcomer to the world of e-Portfolios and I do not have one. However, I would like to organise one for myself as I feel it is good to reflect on what one does and why one does something.

I read through your blog with great interest and I found the posting on "Towards a new "Digital Divide" thought-provoking. I had no idea that the notion of e-Portfolios has already been introduced to young children in some primary schools.

I have learned something new today from the "virtual classroom" that surrounds me and it's a great feeling.

I'm sorry, I don't remember the epidiascope. It sounds interesting, though!

Best wishes


The Python said...

..."ePortfolio is about: learning with and from our don't get to pull out your lecture notes you've been teaching from for the last twenty-five years. You have to change what you are doing. Every time you go back to the classroom it's new. It's different. It's evolving"...


What we already know is still of use. We are simply sharing our knowledge and expertise in new and more powerful ways.

LLJB said...

The Python

Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate feedback as then I know someone is actually reading what I write!

Will catch you later on Ning.