Pre-service teachers show off portfolios, but in electronic fashion

Jim Carlson
December 05, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — All it took was the letter 'e' to do away with the ponderous portfolios prospective teachers have to have when marketing themselves to future employers.

Pre-service teachers in Penn State's College of Education preparing to do their student teaching during the 2019 spring semester put their ePortfolios on display for people to see in a recent Krause Studios for Innovation showcase titled "Making our Learning Visible."

"We are presenting our portfolios that we made, or ePortfolios, and we just basically talk about things we've done with the kids this semester … our best work," said Bailey Mielcusny, a senior elementary education major from Pittsburgh. "We want to highlight our best work for what we've done in our student teaching placement." 

Mielcusny explained that the ePortfolios consist of four domains.

"The first domain is about planning and practicum, the second is about teaching, the third domain is about reflecting on your teaching, and the fourth is all about professionalism," she said.

Mielcusny is completing her pre-service teaching at the Friends School on University Drive in State College, but her student teaching field experience will be in Pittsburgh. She was displaying lesson plans on her laptop computer and brought a drawing book that her students had produced.

Throughout the semester, the students were given a list of standards for teachers, according to Megan Foust, a pre-service teacher at McAuliffe Heights Elementary School in Altoona Area School District.

"When we write lesson plans, we have standards for the kids but then there are standards for us as well," Foust said. "There are four domains we have to follow and we were asked to complete eight out of maybe 20 or 30 different standards. I just gave a blurb about how I fulfilled this standard (pointing to her laptop). We were allowed to add pictures and give justifications on why it's important to do this. Today is just a way to showcase that."

Foust said the ePortfolio is an ongoing building process and will be completed next semester during the pre-service teachers' daily student teaching field experience.

"I have eight sections done," she said. "There are a bunch in each one and I've only completed one of them, but next semester we're hoping to complete it."

Jimmy Moreland, a senior childhood and early adolescent education major from Norristown, was showing in his ePortfolio not only what he's learned from his field experience in the Norristown Area School District and overall coursework but his background experiences as well.

"I work with a lot of blind children during the summer, I help at a blind camp in Avalon, New Jersey," he said. "I taught a lesson in blind culture. I was able to get tactile books, shirts with braille on them. I was able to get a whole bunch of resources from a lot of my co-workers at camp who are in the vision field themselves.

"They send me stuff and the library has some good resources and there's a Happy Valley NFB, which is the National Federation for the Blind. There are a bunch of places in the area willing to lend canes and stuff like that; it was a really good activity."

Moreland will compile those activities and other required work within his ePortfolio and eventually send it to prospective employers.

"It's about lesson plans and materials that I use for the classroom," he said. "It's nice to get everything out there, to show off your work, and it's all the exceptional work that you've done throughout the year."

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 05, 2018