The Department of Education & Skills has hosted the first meeting of the European ePortfolio project consortium.
The project is a trial of the use of ePortfolios in teaching, learning and assessment. An e-portfolio, or digital portfolio, is a collection of electronic material which can include texts, electronic files and images.
Working with Ireland on this European project are representatives from Ministries of Education and their agencies in six countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lithuania, Slovenia and Spain. Representatives from all seven countries have been meeting over the past two days (9th and 10th May).
The seven-country consortium was successful in applying for a grant under the European Commission’s “Creative Classrooms” call for proposals. 
This project is estimated at just over €1million, with the EU providing funding of €790.000.
The two-year project starts this month. Piloting in schools in four countries will begin once the specifications and roll-out have been agreed. Twenty Irish post-primary schools will be involved in the piloting, with schools in Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia also involved in this stage.
The project also involves a review of international policy and practice, platform development, pilot implementation, evaluation of the pilot experience and the development of a policymaker’s handbook. A final report from the project will be available at the end of the two years.
Speaking at today’s meeting, the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., welcomed the opportunity for exchanging knowledge and experience: “One of the main challenges all areas of education are facing is the successful integration of ICT into the teaching and learning process.
“ICT has the potential to be a massive educational resource and the learning from this project will provide a sound base for Ireland and other European countries to make policy decisions on the use of technology in teaching, learning and assessment”.
Notes for Editors:
In an Irish context, this project is particularly relevant to the implementation of Junior Cycle reform. Part of the proposals for Junior Cycle reform is the introduction of flexible forms of assessment. It is proposed in particular that subjects will be assessed by means of a final written assessment and through a school work component.
The use of an electronic portfolio could support the teaching and learning in, and assessment and monitoring of, student progress over the three junior cycle years cycle. The e-portfolio option could deliver significant benefits in terms of:
· Supporting better teaching and learning, assessment, monitoring and reporting practice in schools
· enhancing the integration of ICT in teaching, learning and assessment
· building on and developing digital competence among pupils, and
· capturing the potential of ICT to enrich and enliven learning and to foster observation, inquiry and critical thinking skills.
 This call for proposal is funded under the EU Lifelong Learning Programme. The programme funds a range of actions including networking activities. Projects are intended for individual students and learners, teachers, trainers and all others involved in education and training.