e-Portfolio as reflection tool during teaching practice: The interplay between contextual and dispositional variables
This paper focuses on an e-portfolio pilot initiative at the Faculty of Education at a South African university and aims to determine whether the theoretical underpinning and expectations of an e-portfolio aligns with the current practices and attributes of students’ training during school practicum as teachers at a South African university. In the South African context, e-portfolios are increasingly being considered in teacher training programmes, to enable student teachers to reflect in, on and about practice in a structured way, whereby they demonstrate their growth and development as professionals. A self-selected sample of 11 student teachers placed in different urban and rural school contexts were provided with tablets and data bundles. Equipped with varying digital skills, daily reflections and regular online interaction with peers and project members was expected. Data gathering was done by means of semi-structured interviews which were analysed by means of framework analysis. Results suggest that student teachers still require support in reflective writing; that the social and collaborative aspects of e-portfolio use within the given context is underdeveloped, and that the level of digital skills of students will impact the potential success of the integration of e-portfolios as reflective tools. This paper contributes to the growing interest in South African literature regarding the use of e-portfolios for teacher training, by highlighting contextual and dispositional variables as essential considerations before adopting such a learning approach as part of teacher training.
Keywords: digital literacy; e-portfolio; online collaboration; reflection; student-centred learning; teacher training