PebblePad provides a structured platform to plan, synthesise thoughts, collect evidence and reflect on learning and development. It offers a number of adaptable tools that allow users to present material for review, support collaborative work or facilitate assessment. It can be used to support and potentially assess a wide range of activities such as individual or group projects, personal development planning or work placements.
While the tools that PebblePad offers can be used directly to support or scaffold activities in relation to a module or programme, overall it is designed to be ‘learner centred’ more than ‘course centred’. Students can easily create and develop a range of ‘assets’ that evidence their learning from their modules, programme, work placements, etc. These accumulate within their personal PebblePad space which can be developed over the duration of their academic life.
- It allows users to build a record of learning and development, encouraging them to reflect on critical areas such as their progress and the process of their learning
- It provides a secure online environment where the user can participate in communities and engage in dialogue for example with peers and tutors
- It promotes self directed learning for personal and professional development and can help to build professional identity and encourage a positive attitude to life-long learning.
PebblePad allows users to create a collection of ‘assets’ using various types of tools. Many provide a structure for users to record their plans, ideas and thoughts and reflections, such as the ‘Action Plan’ tool. Other tools such as Blogs and Webfolios allow users to present a record of their learning and development. Some of the most commonly used types include:
Thoughts - Allows users to record journal entries, structured reflections, ideas or notes
Action Plan – A series of steps designed to help users achieve a particular outcome or goal
Blogs - Very simple webpage that lists journal-type entries presented in a chronological order, these can be private or allow selected others to comment on entries
Webfolios - Can be thought of as an evidence-based website that allows users to present their work or record of their learning and development. One of its primary uses is as an e-Portfolio
Forms - Versatile tools that can be customised to either give or receive structured feedback
Uploaded files - Users can also upload any file type
Everything that is created in PebblePad can be kept private or be shared with others such as peers, tutors or external users including placement supervisors or potential employers.
Using a feature called a gateway, PebblePad also offers advanced tools to efficiently manage interactions with students including large groups. These can be used to share resources as well as manage student submissions and efficiently organise the assessment and grading of work.
Some of the applications that these tools can be used for:
- Keeping a reflective journal
- Providing tutor/ mentor / peer support
- Planning for projects
- e-Portfolio of personal development
- Presentation of individual or group project (ie Wiki)
- Self-evaluation questionnaires
Examples of Use at Surrey
In FBEL, Lindy Blair has used PebblePad in a range of ways to support the Management Professional Development Thread, which helps student develop the behaviours, characteristics and skills that graduate employers are looking for. Notably students develop a web or e-portfolio to provide evidence of the ways in which they have improved their learning and performance.
In FAHS and FHMS PebblePad is being used widely and to support a variety of learning and assessment activities. In Health and Social Care for example, Operating Department Practice students keep a practice diary in the form of a blog within PebblePad. This was introduced to replace the paper based portfolio previously used. Students record, reflect on and evaluate all aspects of their developing practice and share this with their tutors and mentors.
Below are some of the people at the University of Surrey who are using PebblePad and are happy to share their experiences with colleagues:
What Users Say
“We have used PebblePad to enable the process of switching to an e-portfolio… It has enabled a much more coherent method of working, enabling the student to create a blog in practice. This has had the added benefit that practice mentors are now commenting more on the students work with the consequence that they seem to be getting better, more timely feedback. This in turn encourages the student to add more.”
Andi Sambrook, Health and Social Care
….it makes me think about what I have been doing and my strengths and weaknesses (and) means that I am able to identify where I need to improve and think about the different types of support that are available to assist me.
(Level 1 international student, about Management Professional Development Thread )
Finding Out More
For support materials, FAQs and details of workshops about PebblePad then please visit our PebblePad support page. If you are currently using PebblePad in your teaching or are considering its use, CEAD can provide a range of support, consultancy and resources to aid you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For support materials, FAQs and details of workshops related to applications of PebblePad then please visit our PebblePad support page
If you are interested in using PebblePad in your teaching CEAD can provide a range of support, consultancy and resources to aid you. Please contact us at email@example.com.
Who’s Using It
FBEL, Surrey Business School:
Ms Lindy Blair
FHMS, Health and Social Care: