Friday, 18 March 2016

PebblePad - ing my way to Fellowship

This is the second in a  series of blogposts on gaining Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.
The route I am taking to gain Fellowship is through my work and is called APEX Open. This involves creating an electronic portfolio comprised of the following:
  • A 2000 word Reflective Assessment Portfolio (RAP)
  • Two 750 word case studies
  • A 500 word Professional Development Portfolio (PDP)
  • Two teaching observations
  • Two references
  • and a Student Evaluation Summary (SES)
We will be using a web-based portfolio system called PebblePad, which will be accessed through Blackboard, the University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). This tends to be used by cohorts who need to produce evidence of a journey and is used mainly by Education students and those completing the APEX courses. The last time I had to do anything like this was for my CILIP Chartership portfolio in 2012 and at the time they still had a paper system. I did have a brief foray into Mahara in a previous job but since then I have never had to use any sort of electronic portfolio system. It does look a little fiddly but with a little playing around with it does get easier.
One of the advantages of using an electronic portfolio like this is that it can easily be shared with mentors. Participants in APEX are strongly recommended to have a mentor (more of which in my next post), although it isn't required in order to be validated directly by the HEA. My mentor for Chartership had to rely on what I was saying to them and only briefly saw my portfolio once it was about to be submitted, whereas with this my mentor will be able to view it as I go along. This means they will be able to view it in advance of meetings so hopefully they will be more productive.
One of the best bits about PebblePad I have discovered so far is that the front page is customisable. I have set mine in a wood; I love walking in them whenever I get the opportunity as they clear my head and make me feel calm. it's the first thing I see when I log in so I'm hoping it will help put me in the right frame of mind to fill it in!

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