Wednesday, 7 October 2009

A bit of reflection - mainly on evidence of practice-related competencies(!)

I'm enjoying activity 3.1 - considering the key features of eportfolio software. We seem to be moving towards a discussion stage now, which should be really interesting. I really value Madeleine's proactivity in proposing a collaborative effort on the task as I think it has helped us focus on the fact that we are aiming for a discussion, not just 15 different contributions.

I'm also enjoying the activity as I feel I'm able to be proactive myself. Again I've been able to use some of the slightly more technical skills I have to support the group with wiki pages and a collaborative spreadsheet in Google Docs. This has been interesting for me in several ways. Trying to make a large table display in the wiki resulted in a mass of very narrow columns - it would quickly become unreadable as the rows would become enormously high. This reinforced for me the lesson of choosing the right assistive technology for the job... while a wiki was good for collaboration, it wasn't going to be able to display the data. So, next thought was a Google Doc (although I use this a lot, including for collaborative work) it wasn't until I saw Kevin had posted his incredibly comprehensive comparative grid to Google that I realised what a good idea it was). Google Docs also gave the flexibility for our different needs - Kevin's to display to viewers without giving editing rights, and mine to allow full and equal access to all who had the URL.

I hope that I can use activity like this as evidence of technology and communication-related skills and proactivity (categories from our course framework for professional development). I've created my own 4x4 grid to try to start logging how each piect of work relates to the competencies. I've also set up tags in my OneNote notebook - and using its search/aggregation feature I can easily see where I've tagged items against each competency/feature. So, the technology to log my evidence is not the problem. Where I feel I am coming unstuck is in how to identify an item as evidence for a particular competency. I think I can actually relatively easily identify when work relates to the technology, communication or research competencies... so the tricky one for me is practice-related. I really can't get my head around what would demonstrate this in the context of the course. I wonder if an activity like 3.2 (writing a report to educational managers, recommending an eportfolio system) is the type of thing that would count here. My concern again, (as in my blog reflections last weekend), is with the term practice. In my current job I don't work with eportfolios, reflection, or even with students or educational institutions. I'm at the technology end of the educational technologist spectrum - investigating new options, and their applicability to various users and contexts. Perhaps I will actually be able to use this as a practice-related competency... but I feel unsure.

[Quite enjoying this reflection... following where my thoughts go, watching questions bubble up, trying to focus myself on answering them... bit of solution-focused therapy!]

So it seems my concerns are about the practice-related elements, and whether I'll be able to supply appropriate evidence. To reduce these concerns I probably need to better understand what constitutes evidence here - so I need to ask. I guess a tutor group forum post would be appropriate here. I could privately email the tutor, but hopefully I'm not the only one with this confusion... and if that's the case, a forum post would be proactive in itself... and could that also be a practice-related competency (knowing when personal professional development is required, and seeking guidance?)... or am I clutching at straws here? Any comments much appreciated!

[Hoping that this will have got some of the meandering thoughts out of my head, and left me a little bit of room to contemplate the next activity - but it's identified some points I need to come back to.

Finally - thanks to anyone who made it this far through a rambly reflection. It's good to feel my reflective writing is developing though... I'll stop now before I descend into reflecting on reflecting...!

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