Use of Web-Based Portfolios as Tools for Reflection in Preservice Teacher Education

Nov. 20, 2011

Source: Journal of Teacher Education, 62(5), p. 477-492, November/December, 2011
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study explored the development of preservice chemistry teachers’ reflective skills as they were involved in web-based portfolio construction as part of their teaching practicum course.

More specifically, the purpose was to identify
(a) whether preservice teachers demonstrated evidence of reflective thinking throughout a semester, and, if so, the types of reflective thinking indicators;
(b) whether there was an increase in the number of high-level reflective indicators over time; and (c) the role of the web-based portfolio construction, as perceived by the participants, in developing reflective skills.


This is a mixed-methods study that combined qualitative data collection, analysis, and quantitative data analysis procedures.

The Research Context
The study took place in a teaching practicum course offered at a research university in Istanbul, Turkey.
Participants included 19 preservice chemistry teachers (eight male and 11 female) who were enrolled in the course in the last semester of their program of study.
The participants were between 22 and 27 years old, and did not have any previous classroom teaching experience.

Building on the work of Fuller and Bown (1975), the authors proposed a set of reflection-based tasks to enrich preservice science teachers’ internship experiences.
They undertook the task of designing a reflection context and analyzing the data.
They developed a reflective framework—a combination of course assignments and reflection task questions—that was embedded in a teaching practicum course in the context of web-based portfolio construction.
They also developed a coding scheme that enabled them to distinguish among different forms of reflective approaches taken by preservice teachers throughout a semester.

Data Analysis
The authors analyzed two forms of data in this study:
(a) the web-based portfolio entries of 19 preservice science teachers as a response to the two reflection tasks and
(b) the same participants’ replies to a questionnaire in which we asked them to evaluate their web-based portfolio experience.

Discussion and Conclusions

The findings of the study showed that the participants demonstrated high- and low-level reflective skills in each reflection task.
Moreover, the authors identified a statistically significant increase in the frequency of high-level indicators from the first to the second reflection task.
In addition, the participants perceived the web-based portfolios as tools that allowed easy access and the development of better portfolio artifacts.

The findings suggest that with carefully designed tasks and a medium that supports easy access and revision, preservice teachers can engage in meaningful reflection.

Student teachers received feedback on their first teaching practice from their peers only. However, the second teaching practice was evaluated by the course instructor.
This shows the value of extensive expert feedback in the process of developing a reflective disposition.

The authors conclude that this study provides specific tasks for reflective practice for preservice teachers and a coding scheme for analyzing the outcomes of such practice.
The study also identifies ways in which the advantages of the web can be utilized to develop reflective skills and suggests how teacher educators can integrate web-based technologies into preservice teacher education.

Fuller, F. F., & Bown, O. (1975). Becoming a teacher. In K. Ryan (Ed.), Teacher education, 74th yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (pp. 25-52). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Updated: Mar. 05, 2014