Building Reflective Practices Through a Digital Literacy Portfolio in an Online Context

Building Reflective Practices Through a Digital Literacy Portfolio in an Online Context

Jackie Marshall Arnold (University of Dayton, USA) and Mary-Kate Sableski (University of Dayton, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0206-8.ch003
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Digital storytelling is a way to utilize evidence-based practices in an online context that incorporates foundational literacy content with digital tools. Two literacy professors sought to maximize candidate learning and engagement through authentic, purposeful practices. This chapter details the utilization of a digital literacy portfolio assignment as part of an online, collaborative context to facilitate candidates' articulation of beliefs and understandings about effective literacy instruction. As candidates engage across both the face-to-face and online contexts, they develop understandings about effective literacy instruction, the application of digital tools in the classroom instruction, and a lived sense of the content of the ILA Standards that will inform their future practice. While teacher education programs face political scrutiny and intense pressure to incorporate vast amounts of content, the assignment described in this chapter provides an opportunity to facilitate candidates' learning in an online environment.
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This chapter examines a collaborative online portfolio assignment in digital literacy that was used as part of a methods course to facilitate pre-service teachers’ articulation of beliefs and understandings about effective literacy instruction. The course was the first in a two-course sequence focusing on effective methods in literacy instruction. Two literacy professors at a Midwestern private university sought to maximize pre-service teacher learning and engagement through authentic, purposeful practices and assessment. The collaborative online portfolio in digital literacy was a midterm assignment. It proved itself an integral pedagogical component of the methods course by scaffolding assigned readings, clinical observations, creation of a storyboard, creation of a digital story, reflection, and response to peers’ portfolios.

The course, Introduction to Literacy, is required for all early childhood (grades PK-3), middle childhood (grades 4-9), and intervention specialist (grades K-12) licensure areas. It focuses on examining best-practice literacy instruction and assessment that is grounded in research on effective practices in literacy instruction across contexts. The emphasis is on building the pre-service teachers’ knowledge base for a comprehensive framework in literacy instruction, a framework that includes reading, writing, and content-area literacy. It also focuses on instruction that supports readers and writers in a range of media, and thus includes digital tools that support and enhance instruction. This course specifically concentrates on meeting Standard 1 of the International Literacy Association’s (International Literacy Association, 2018) Foundations of Reading and Writing, while also integrating ILA Standard 2, ILA Standard 5, and ILA Standard 6.2. (See Table 1 for fuller delineation of these standards.)

Table 1.
ILA Standards integrated into the course
ILA Standard 1Candidates demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical, historical, and evidence-based foundations of literacy and language and the ways in which they interrelate and the role of literacy professionals in schools.
ILA Standard 2Candidates use foundational knowledge to critique and implement literacy curricula to meet the needs of all learners and to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based literacy instruction for all learners.
ILA Standard 5Candidates meet the developmental needs of all learners and collaborate with school personnel to use a variety of print and digital materials to engage and motivate all learners; integrate digital technologies in appropriate, safe, and effective ways; foster a positive climate that supports a literacy-rich learning environment.
ILA Standard 6.2Candidates reflect as a means of improving professional teaching practices and understand the value of reflection in fostering individual and school change.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Member Checking: A qualitative data analysis technique in findings are shared with participants to gain their perspective on the analysis.

Observation Guide: An outline provided to pre-service teachers as a way to scaffold and support their observations of balanced literacy practices taking place in classroom instruction.

Digital Storytelling: Using digital tools to tell a story utilizing sound, images, video, and more in a compelling, engaging format.

Digital Storyboard: An outline of words and images that provide a structure and plan for the digital video.

Discussion Forum: An online platform in which participants post responses and engage in virtual, asynchronous discussions.

Digital Literacy Portfolio: Pre-service teacher education assignment that required the development of a digital storyboard and then the creation of the digital video to comprise the digital literacy portfolio.

Flipped Classroom: An instructional strategy in which online classroom is provided and reviewed outside of the classroom before the face-to-face class takes place.

Educational Clinical Rounds: Observing in classrooms to watch effective based practices in context with integrated instructional teaching from the classroom professor throughout the experience.

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