Dr. Victoria Trinder
Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Dr. Michael K. Thomas
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

Funded by Marjorie Pelino

The E-Portfolio Project is a response to the need to assess pre-service teachers in meaningful ways that support their teacher identity development. Dr.Trinder and Dr. Thomas (Educational Psychology at UIC) direct the project, which is intended to support pre-service teachers in early childhood education programs.

The project leans on expertise in ePortfolios as pedagogical instruments brought by Co-PI Dr. Thomas and his scholarship on developing instruments for critical teacher reflection (Thomas & Liu, 2012, 2011, 2009). Goals for the project build on a central premise of that scholarship: “There is great potential for ePortfolios to support such skill development among teachers and prospective teachers in a way that is technology-rich and intellectually engaging.” This research study is designed to explore connections between critical reflexivity of portfolio implementation and foundational principles of systemic racism. This study integrates expertise in critical race theory, decolonizing curriculum, urban teacher education, instructional technology, and ePortfolio innovations. As part of the design based research project we will conduct Human Computer Interface trials that include usability studies of both paper prototypes and web-based prototypes of the interface design of the ePortfolios. In this way, we will be able to move from simple design/naive design to a more robust understanding and interpretation of necessary design elements for maximizing learning of the program’s anti-racist theoretical framework.

Racial Justice Salience

This project builds on the current movement in the College of Education to expand our understanding and implementation of racial justice in education, and this collaboration establishes a new dimension of those efforts. This moment in history also calls us to innovate in racially-just ways around technology that make education accessible for all when pandemics alter the medium, content, and goals. This project, therefore, interweaves both current crises of justice and opportunity and uses our current struggles to call ourselves to find synergies in academia where they might not previously have existed. The PIs of this research project propose to develop a permanent advancement in technology pedagogy that centers complex knowledges for teaching – fundamentally those grounded in critical understandings of race and inequity in urban education. These complex knowledges and their location in the program curriculum are demonstrated in the critical framework developed by program leadership and used to ground all instruction for all Urban Education students.

Project Impact

This collaborative research project broadens access for pre-service teachers to effective resources for curating their work, while providing opportunities for reflection and reflexivity. It will accomplish this through the use of existing technologies adapted for the purpose of expanding the impact of the Reparative Framework for Decolonizing Teacher Preparation across teacher education programs in the College of Education. By preparing pre-service teachers in Chicago through the use of ePortfolios and accompanying reflexive practice, we may impact not only the preservice teachers but their colleagues, schools, and a generation of the children they interact with toward adopting a decolonizing orientation.