EUfolio finalizes project with international conference on ePortfolio learning

Dublin Castle was the prestigious venue of EUfolio’s final event – an International ePortfolio conference, held on 22 April 2014.

The conference was a big success with more than 200 people attending, and schools from Cyprus, Lithuania, Slovenia and Spain showcasing their experiences with ePortfolios in Lower Secondary schools. While the international participants had to confine themselves to send teachers and principals, Ireland’s schools were also represented by students.

Keynote speaker Val Klenowski from Queensland University of Technology talked about “Accentuating the Social in the digital Age of Assessment.” She emphasized the difference between just being connected via Social Media and communicating with other beings. Not all students – who often have brilliant digital skills – are equally skilled in conversation and relationships. Val Klenowski thinks that (e)Portfolios can contribute to a learning process that leads to substantive conversation, metacognitive development and reflection – especially if they are used as a basis of an exam, which is actually rather the defence of a student’s (e)Portfolio. The recording of the presentation shows examples of such defences.

The following podium showed “Perspectives on ePortfolios”. Sean Gallagher (Ireland) as facilitator lead through presentations on “ePortfolios in Education” (Klaus Himpsl-Gutermann from Austria gave an insight into the project KidZ – schools of the future), EUROPORTFOLIO (by Bernhard Ertl, Austria), EUfolio’s key findings (by Anastasia Economou, Cyprus), and the EUfolio school experience (by Eoghan Evesson from Ireland).

Parallel Sessions were devoted to different aspects of ePortfolios, such as implementation, assessment with ePortfolios, learning design and teacher’s and student’s experiences – which were made visible throughout the conference by a showcase exhibition, as well.

A further plenary session assembled all the stakeholders of the educational process on the stage –  including a student from the pilot reflecting on his ePortfolio experience. He especially welcomed the fact that he had more ownership of his learning. The conference was honored by an address from Mario Roccaro from the Digital Online Learning Group of the European commission and closed by a speech from Ireland’s Minister for education and skills, Jan O’Sullivan. She emphasized that the findings from the EUfolio pilot will be transferred to school practice. Sean Gallagher (Ireland), MC of the conference bid the audience wellfare with reference to Seamus Heaney: We all have embarked the road of ePortfolios and will take the marks of this tar further down the road...

With a clip of the Youth Media Team the conference ended. It is impossible to mention everyone who contributed to the success of the conference which based on the success of the project EUfolio. However, Rita Sexton of the Department of Education and skills, coordinating partner in the project is doubtlessly the person who put most effort in the conference day. Worth mentioning are also the students of Ashbourne community school who did a great job as conference assistants.

The conference is well documented: