Improving Student Learning Through Reflections in Technology Projects and Electronic Portfolios (Eportfolios)

Students Summarize or Reflect

Students need to develop the life long skill of reflection. They have to be able to determine what they did well and what improvements they can make to improve in the future. Unfortunately, most of school is built on external feedback, usually the teacher’s. Teachers can build in the reflection process: by modeling it; by asking students to do it; and giving feedback on how insightful their reflections are.

Reflections are a critical part of student electronic portfolios or eportfolios. Let’s look at a student eportfolio reflection.

I liked writing the essay about Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights’ Dream. Both works of literature were great. I used the theme of love from the list the teacher gave us. For this essay I was told to tell three similarities or three differences and give examples of each. I followed the comparison/contrast essay format that the teacher gave us; I developed my outline using it. I looked over my notes and the class handouts and got the examples from them. It did not take me very long to do. I wrote five paragraphs. I outlined it and then word processed it. I think I did a good job.”

Nothing in the previous paragraph is a reflection. The student has summarized what he/she had to do. The only statement that comes close to a reflection is “I think I did a good job.” but even then, the student does not explain why he/she thinks he/she did a good job.

Another students writes.

I had trouble deciding whether I wanted to compare or contrast the two works of literature. I did a quick concept map of both and found that I had more complete examples to show their similarities. I could more easily prove the similarities after I changed the theme of ”love” to “crazy love”. I realized that both authors used humor to show how love can be crazy. I had trouble not including real life examples that are so similar to the literature examples. This time I listed examples of “crazy love” from each. Next time, I will match up the examples from the literature and show precisely how similar they are, instead of how generally similar they are.”

Notice how the second student clearly reflects his/her thinking and contains a specific suggestion for future improvements.

When your students do technology projects or eportfolios, do your students summarize or reflect?




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