Much of a 21st century approach to education is based around the concept of social interaction (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000; Crook, 1994; Ash & Clayton, 2009; Thatchenkery & Chowdry, 2007; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2010). The concept of a ‘portfolio approach to learning’ may offer a series of processes which can facilitate the sharing of ideas in a post-industrial learning environment (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2010, p. 18). Relational Constructionism offers a theoretical underpinning to portfolio learning by highlighting how knowledge is constructed. The Community of Inquiry Model (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000) offers a clear framework within which learning processes may be facilitated.
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Learning a language is a long-term endeavor; one that can be frustrating for students since the development of language skill is not always visible on a daily basis. ePortfolios are a natural fit for language learning programs, offering educators in the field of language learning a powerful way to communicate and to monitor student learning. The asynchronous, distributed qualities of ePortfolios enable educators to guide and provide feedback for students within the flow of student-teacher and student-student interaction, increasing the amount of authentic language feedback that the learner experiences. ePortfolios also provide learners with the ability to assess accomplishments and learning goals autonomously in whole or in part, and within the authentic language environment. At the meta-level, ePortfolios can aid the development of multi-literacy and digital skills in language learners and newcomers to English speaking cultures. The Electronic Collaborative Language Portfolio Assessment (eCLPA) was designed in Manitoba, Canada especially for language learners, either soon to be arriving or new to Canada. Developed in reaction to provincial and federal policy, the eCLPA was created with an awareness of theoretical frameworks and pedagogy for language learning, adult education, and eLearning. Implemented by English Online Inc. (a provincially and federally funded Not-for-Profit Organization (NPO) with great success, the eCLPA serves the Manitoba Nurses’ Union and the University of Winnipeg, among other groups. In this paper, first the theory behind portfolios and ePortfolios will be explored, along with how these theoretical concepts fit in with the field of language learning. Next, the development and use of the eCLPA is described with respect to three major shaping forces. And finally, some future considerations for the eCLPA are discussed.
With the introduction of the iPad in the classroom many new possibilities on how to actively engage students while they learn English have emerged. Games have always been highly motivating for students and now, with the accessibility of video games on the iPad, teachers have another opportunity to keep their students focused while learning at the same time. However, there are a vast number of games available and it may be difficult to decide which games are suitable. Some with educational value may not be motivating or engaging for the students. Teachers need to find the right balance of entertainment and education. As well, they need to know how to effectively introduce the game so their students can optimise their learning experience. This article reviews several iPad video games in terms of practicality, interest and educational value. It then addresses some of the issues teachers may experience and possible ways to overcome these. It also introduces some activities that could be used to support the learning objectives. Finally, the results of a survey conducted with students before and after using one of the games to determine their effectiveness in learning English and engaging the students is discussed.
This article highlights the experience of using mobile devices to facilitate and enhance the learning experience of students. Students in a Marketing Research course used their mobile devices to complete a research assignment. Specifically, students used their cellphones, tablets, and laptops to create and deploy online surveys, to gather data, and to formalise results. The experience had a number of positive outcomes. In addition to capturing students’ attention, the use of mobile devices facilitated active learning, sustainability, and student engagement.