Award Date

12-1-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Linda Quinn

Second Committee Member

Karen Grove

Third Committee Member

Katrina Liu

Fourth Committee Member

Cathy Pohan

Fifth Committee Member

Lori Olafson

Number of Pages

166

Abstract

Preparing the next generation of teachers to prepare students for the 21st Century is a challenging endeavor. Teacher candidates need to possess critical thinking and evidence-based pedagogical skills. It is believed that teacher reflection is the cornerstone to making informed decisions and timely modifications to daily instruction (Cochran-Smith, & Zeichner, K. 2005, Darling-Hammond, L. & Bransford, J., 2005 NBPTS, 2014; Schon, 1987;). What has been less examined is how an ePortfolio can be utilized as a tool to aid in the development of reflection among teacher candidates. This case study significantly contributes to our understanding of how to develop reflective practitioners.

The researcher evaluated how an elementary teacher education program ePortfolio project at one university aided in the development of reflective practice among teacher candidates. Fifteen ePortfolios were analyzed, along with supporting documents from the program. The researcher conducted a focus group with graduates of the program to further explore emerging themes about the project and the quality of teacher candidates’ reflections. Findings indicate that in order to improve teacher candidates’ reflective practices, project directors must view the ePortfolio holistically, as an ePortfolio Ecosystem. Threats and mutations to the original vision of the ePortfolio project were discovered. The researcher recommended a number of adaptations to be introduced in order for the ePortfolio Ecosystem to exist in homeostasis. These findings and recommendations are pertinent for all programs using an ePortfolio as a tool to help teacher candidates develop reflective practices.The researcher evaluated how an elementary teacher education program ePortfolio project at one university aided in the development of reflective practice among teacher candidates. Fifteen ePortfolios were analyzed, along with supporting documents from the program. The researcher conducted a focus group with graduates of the program to further explore emerging themes about the project and the quality of teacher candidates’ reflections. Findings indicate that in order to improve teacher candidates’ reflective practices, project directors must view the ePortfolio holistically, as an ePortfolio Ecosystem. Threats and mutations to the original vision of the ePortfolio project were discovered. The researcher recommended a number of adaptations to be introduced in order for the ePortfolio Ecosystem to exist in homeostasis. These findings and recommendations are pertinent for all programs using an ePortfolio as a tool to help teacher candidates develop reflective practices.

Keywords

Curriculum; Ecosystem; Elementary Education; ePortfolio; Reflection; Teacher Candidates

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Methods | Instructional Media Design

Language

English