In this Spotlight series we highlight experts in our team from across the globe. This week, the spotlight is on Gail Ring, Director of Service and Learning Partnerships for PebblePad North America. Gail is based in Clemson, South Carolina in North America and has been with PebblePad for over seven years.
What is your role at PebblePad and what is your background?
I am the Director of Service and Learning Partnerships for PebblePad North America. This role enables me to utilize my education and experiences related teaching, learning, and assessment. I have a PhD in instruction and curriculum and spent much of my career focused on how to effectively use instructional technologies to design a more learner-centered curriculum.
Prior to PebblePad I was the director of the eportfolio program at Clemson University. In this innovative initiative all undergraduates (over 17,000 students) created an eportfolio to demonstrate their knowledge and skills related to general education.
My role was to implement the project and support and engage students, faculty, and staff throughout the undergraduate journey. From there I joined PebblePad and now I have the great pleasure of doing this work at universities throughout North America, which is brilliant.
What would you say you’re most passionate about in Higher Education?
The short answer is student engagement and creating learner-centered environments. As a graduate student I began to incorporate eportfolios into my teaching. As my knowledge and passion grew, so did my realization that as a pedagogical tool eportfolios have the potential to transform learning and learners. Because eportfolios encourage students to take responsibility and ownership of their learning, they support student autonomy.
Because eportfolios encourage reflection and revision, they support the process of learning. Because eportfolios encourage integrative learning, they act as the connective tissue that binds disparate learning experiences.
I have witnessed first-hand the transformational, life-changing moments that occur when students begin to generate new knowledge through these practices.
One of the most exciting trends I’m seeing is how educators are shifting the balance of power toward the learner. By engaging in more iterative and process-oriented methods of teaching and assessment that include self-reflection, peer-to-peer feedback, as well as feedback from external mentors and supervisors, a richer picture of learning and the learner begins to emerge.
Moreover, providing the space and time where learners can continue to reflect on their learning, their evidence of learning as well as feedback on that learning contributes to the development of their personal and professional identities.
What do you love most about PebblePad?
Oh so many things. I love how PebblePad supports the pedagogies that foster learner engagement. I left academia to join PebblePad because I believed in PebblePad’s mission to transform the learning journey and make visible the process of learning. It is such a privilege to share and support these ideas and pedagogies with universities, faculty and students throughout North America.