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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 13, 2003

Education College ePortfolio Project Nets $215,150 Carver Grant

The University of Iowa College of Education will use a $215,150 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine to support Iowa teachers as they learn to use the ePortfolio, a web-based framework for collecting, revising and reflecting upon teachers' professional work.

The ePortfolio provides an inexpensive, interactive medium for teachers and their mentors to document teachers' mastery of Iowa's recently adopted Teacher Quality Standards.

The ePortfolio Model was developed by Rebecca Anthony, director of the UI College of Education's Placement Office; John Achrazoglou, director of the college's Technology Center; and James Marshall, associate dean for teacher education, so UI students preparing to become teachers could demonstrate their skills on a range of teaching competencies.

Students take an introductory course on technology in the classroom where they are given free web space and training on how to upload and organize the teaching materials they prepare in their education courses. These materials are tied to the standards students must meet for licensure, and as students move through their program, the materials on their web sites grow in number and sophistication. They include statements of teaching philosophy, lesson plans and reflections on those plans, photographs of classroom activities, samples of their own students' work, as well as audiotapes and video excerpts of classroom life. As they complete their student teaching and begin looking for teaching positions, students can use the materials as a "live" resume, giving prospective employers a rich portrait of what they know and what they can do.

As the ePortfolio's potential for UI students became clear, Anthony, Achrazoglou and Marshall recognized its additional promise for school districts and other organizations where progress toward meeting standards needs to be documented and easily reviewed.

In October 2002, in response to overwhelming interest in the ePortfolio, the trio published a white paper describing the project and distributed it across the country to state departments of education, colleges of education, school administrators, legislators, policymakers and media. This spring, in collaboration with Cedar Rapids School District and the Cedar Rapids Education Association, the College of Education developed a version of the model that can be used state-wide by school districts whose first- and second-year teachers must document their mastery of eight Teacher Quality Standards.

"The collaborative work with the Cedar Rapids Community Schools District and the Cedar Rapids Education Association has been particularly rewarding and productive," Anthony said. "Working together, we have developed an extremely useful tool that is free to all teachers and administrators in the state of Iowa."

Marshall added, "The College of Education has long been committed to working closely with the public schools in Iowa. This project is one instance where we can build something new together."

The simplicity of ePortfolio and its relatively low cost, given that it relies only on off-the-shelf web authoring software, are two reasons officials with the Carver Trust give for deciding to award the grant to the UI College of Education.

"We're hoping the ePortfolio tool will help administrators and teachers meet requirements for teacher quality, while also honing basic technology skills," said Lisa Calvin, a program officer with the Carver Trust. "The template is especially useful because it doesn't require an infusion of money or new technologies from the school districts to make the system work."

The grant -- made to the UI through the UI Foundation -- will fund the training of 300 early-career K-12 teachers from across Iowa, beginning with 50 in November 2003, 100 in 2004 and 150 in 2005, the third and final year of the grant. Each teacher will receive a $250 honorarium and travel expenses for attending the training sessions. Iowa school administrators and technical support staff attended an initial training session in May.

A recently launched website about the ePortfolio project can be viewed at http://www.education.uiowa.edu/carverteachers.

The Carver Trust has been supporting the UI since the trust began its grant-making activities in 1987, and it has made gifts to UI programs every year since that time. Carver Trust gifts and pledges to the university, in addition to gifts made by the late Roy Carver and his widow, Lucille Carver, total approximately $109 million. The trust has distributed its generous support throughout the UI campus. In addition to gifts to the College of Education, the trust has supported the UI Carver College of Medicine; the UI colleges of Dentistry, Engineering, Law and Liberal Arts and Sciences; UI Libraries; Hancher Auditorium; UI athletics; student aid; and other UI programs.

The ePortfolio grant from the Carver Trust is part of the UI's seven-year, $850 million comprehensive fund-raising effort, "Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University," being conducted with guidance from the UI Foundation. The foundation is acknowledged by the UI as a preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information, visit www.GoodBetterBestIowa.org.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu.Program: Rebecca Anthony, director of the UI College of Education's Education Placement Office, 319-335-5353, rebecca-anthony@uiowa.edu

OTHER INFORMATION: A PDF version of the ePortfolio white paper can be viewed online at http://www.education.uiowa.edu/eportfolio/whitepaper.pdf