Keynote Speakers


Day 1: Monday, 21 March 2016

Dr Helen Barrett


In 2005, Dr Helen Barrett retired from the faculty of the College of Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage and is now living in the Seattle area. She has been researching strategies and technologies for ePortfolios since 1991, publishing a web site (, chapters in several books on ePortfolios and numerous articles. She worked with the International Society for Technology in Education between 2001 and early 2005, providing training and technical assistance on ePortfolios for teacher education programmes throughout the US under a federal PT3 grant. In 2005, Dr Barrett became the Research Project Director for The REFLECT Initiative, a two-year research project, underwritten by TaskStream, to assess the impact of ePortfolios on student learning, motivation and engagement in secondary schools.

Dr Barrett is currently doing research for a book on interactive ePortfolios to be published online. She has been an adjunct faculty member for Seattle Pacific University, where she taught about issues and advances in educational technology. Her international consulting focuses on the integration of ePortfolios for learning and digital storytelling in K-12 schools and higher education. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator.

At the European ePortfolio Conference in Maastricht, October 2007, Dr Barrett received the first EIFEL Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to ePortfolio research and development. In 2011, she established the REAL ePortfolio Academy for K-12 teachers, providing online courses for individuals and assessment/planning support for K-12 institutions.

Keynote abstract:
Balancing the two faces of ePortfolios

In her keynote address, Helen will focus on the two main approaches to ePortfolio development: portfolio as process/workspace (supporting learning and reflection) and portfolio as product/showcase (supporting accountability and self-marketing/employment). She will provide a balanced framework for developing ePortfolios, especially using mobile devices that support lifelong learning, with the essential elements of reflection and intrinsic motivation. Helen will also explore the two conflicting paradigms of assessment according to Peter Ewing (accountability versus improvement) as applied to ePortfolio development.

For presentation and resources, go to:


Day 2: Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Dr Michael Seery

speakers-03Michael Seery is a Reader in Chemistry Education at the School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh. His current interests focus on prior knowledge and cognitive load in chemistry and reducing this load through various teaching strategies, including technology-enhanced learning. He has studied the performance of chemistry students on the basis of their prior knowledge, and this work is leading him into the area of learning analytics.

Michael was the winner of the 2012 Royal Society of Chemistry Higher Education Teaching Award for his work in the use of e-learning in the teaching of physical chemistry. He was previously awarded the Irish Learning Technology Association Jennifer Burke Award and a National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (NAIRTL) Teaching Excellence Award. He is Chair-Elect of the editorial board of Education in Chemistry and is Guest Editor for a 2013 Special Issue of Chemistry Education Research and Practice with the theme of technology in chemistry teaching. He writes about the use of technology in chemistry education at

Keynote abstract:
Documenting learning with ePortfolios: blurring personal and professional

Students attend university with the purpose of obtaining a degree; a document that outlines their performance in various academic subjects. However, learning at university expands beyond this certification, blurring the boundary of professional and personal. Many of these learning experiences outside the formal assessment process are never documented because of their transience or perceived lack of merit. Paradoxically, many of these experiences are also most informative to employers because they represent the whole individual, rather than a focus on academic capacity.

This presentation will argue that we should enable students to draw on these experiences so that they may represent their learning at university in a more holistic way. To achieve this, the presentation will draw on my own experiences in completing an ePortfolio that documented assessment and reflection on learning. This will be followed by a description of two projects currently underway, both of which aim to translate these experiences to undergraduate teaching. They involve encouraging student reflection while being exposed to new cultural experiences on placement, and the use of badges to document learning on a more granular level than module marks. A discussion with attendees will include what learning we aim to document and what form ePortfolios can take in our practice.

Day 3: Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Helen Beetham


Helen Beetham is a writer, researcher and adviser on e-learning issues and a regular keynote speaker across the English-speaking world. As a long-standing consultant to the Jisc e-learning programme, she has written influential reports on ePortfolios, digital literacy, open education and digital organisations. Helen was a member of the UK Government’s Beyond Current Horizons programme on educational futures and has led futures thinking initiatives for a number of global universities and national bodies.

Most recently, she has completed a year-long study on the expectations and experiences of today’s ‘digital students’ and designed a digital capabilities framework for use across education sectors. Helen has co-authored volumes Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age and Rethinking Learning for a Digital Age (both Routledge), which are standard texts on PGCert and Masters’ courses in Education. Tweets @helenbeetham. Blogs (currently) at and

Keynote abstract:
Digital identities: resources for uncertain futures?

ePortfolios are important sites of digital identity work. They allow us to curate aspects of our selves in a digital space; to narrate a particular story of who we are and how we came to be that way; and to present a capable persona. We rightly encourage students to develop digital identities as resources they can draw on for their working futures. But if the future of work is radically uncertain, do we know what kinds of persona will be capable there? And if our identities are increasingly scattered across different digital sites and data streams, what happens to ideas of coherence, authenticity and self-actualisation? This keynote draws on recent work to develop a ‘digital capabilities framework’ for education, in which digital identity and wellbeing are seen as critical to the learning experience. It also asks whether we can be fully in control of our digital identities, and how we might embrace the ‘strange’ (Barnet) and the ‘uncanny’ (Bayne), as well as the ‘uncertain’, in our digital education practices.