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Portfolios in design and technology education: investigating differing views

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posted on 11.06.2007, 13:27 authored by Malcolm Welch, David Barlex
In many professions, portfolios constitute a primary method of documenting proficiency, skill, style and talent by showing examples of actual work. However, the multiple purposes of portfolios in design and technology education have given rise to problems. The conversion of a portfolio into a product has become a significant problem, as have the constraints imposed by examining bodies. This paper will describe a research study that investigated the use of portfolios in professional practice, initial teacher education and secondary design and technology education. Separate focus group interviews were conducted with professional designers, teacher educators and secondary school teachers of design and technology education in both England and Canada. Questions asked of participants focused on definitions and the advantages and disadvantages of using a portfolio, as well as the particular purposes of portfolios in the context of the professional work of each group. Audiotapes of the interviews were transcribed verbatim. Analysis of the data involved thematic analysis and concept analysis. Preliminary analysis of the data has identified that professionals use four types of folio, each for a quite different purpose. These findings have given rise to questions about how these four types of folio could be used to enhance teaching, learning and assessment in design and technology education, and to what extent the adoption of these four types of folio could resolve the conflict between the portfolio as a teaching and learning tool and the portfolio as an assessment instrument.



  • Design

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  • D&T Association Conference Series



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This is a conference paper