ePortfolios: Term 1

With the first term of teaching all wrapped up it is time to reflect on how the eportfolios have performed to date. After making the decision to move from our self-hosted install of WordPress MU to Edublogs, the technical side of the move has been reasonably seamless. There has been some new learning for both the students and teachers but these will become more automated and natural the more the actions are performed. Some how to tutorial links are provided below as well.

Flickr has been extensively used to host any images that are embedded in the eportfolios. The great thing about this is that you can embed images that you have set as viewable only by you in Flickr. This allows you to keep images private if necessary. Uploading to Flickr is incredibly easy especially if you have iLife ’09 which comes complete with iPhoto Flickr integration where you can upload and set permissions all with the click of the mouse. Also we can bulk upload scanned artwork, draft learning, planning etc. direct from our photocopier to Flickr making it easy to get learning online.

If you are interested a worksheet/tutorial is here for you to see the process.

We have used TeacherTube for a couple of years now to embed video content into our school blog and now we are using it for eportfolios as well. This is generally going well but is not the best solution to use. Firstly, making videos private in TeacherTube makes them unable to be embedded so video content is public. Any video not suitable for public viewing is naturally not shared in this way. TeacherTube has so far proven to be safe with no undesireable content seen, unlike YouTube which has caused us a few problems in the past. TeacherTube is also a bit if a pain for a Mac user as most of the video content produced and shared through iLife is either in a .m4v or .m4a format which is not accepted. This can create an extra step in getting content online by having to convert it to a .mov, .mp4, .avi etc. There are other sites out there that will accpet the default Mac formats but these may compromise the relative safety of the TeacherTube environment. Hopefully the soon to be released new revamped TeacherTube site will change this…

Worksheet/tutorial is here.

SlideShare is proving to be easy for the students to use to get their iWork Keynotes online. While we could produce these using Google Docs or SlideRocket and embed them, Keynote is such a great program that the students are so familiar with that it just makes sense to maintain using it. Sure you loose any fancy animations when uploading to SlideShare but as I keep asking my students, do whizzing words and spinning pictures actually add to your learning and sharing of information? Apart from the same privacy issues as mentioned above for TeacherTube, SlideShare is working perfectly for embedding content.

Worksheet/tutorial is here.

Finally, students have also been sharing their draft and reworked versions of their writing through their eportfolios by pasting in their Google Docs documents. While pasting in their writing in this way is not perfect, it is working well enough and there were just not enough hours in the day to take the students through the process of cross posting their docs to their blog. Maybe next term.

So that is the technical side of the progress to date. The next post will discuss parent engagement in the commenting/feedback/feedforward process.

6 thoughts on “ePortfolios: Term 1”

  1. hey nick! hopefully you remember me.
    good work here! what grade level are you starting this digital portfolio?

  2. Glad you’ve picked this topic for you inquiry! It’ll be interesting to see how your inititiatives go cause this has been an issue for us and anyone else who’s using eportfolios.

    We’ve sent home details about our student’s efolios last term too. So far, from what I’ve seen on my blogger dashboard, the comments are pretty scarce. Another reason (I wonder ) for this could be the perception that they can give the feedback orally anyway so why go through the trouble of writing it on their efolio? I have noticed, however, how much the students look forward to having me comment on their blogs. I’ve made an overall ‘feedback on the term’ post and they have all been stoked to read what I’ve written – it’s permanent and there for everyone to read!

    Something to add – We’ve used the site – scribd – to embed documents the students have created. Word and excell have worked brilliantly this year so far. This is one of the benefits of using blogger, though- being able to embed third party content.

    Here’s a link to a student’s efolio from term 1. (Given with permission of course) She has had teachers comment from Hamilton and Auckland! – via a twitter link.

    http://dpulmanefolio.blogspot.com/

    Keep up the good work – Respect.

  3. Hi Nick

    We’re in our second year of ePortfolios, and this is the first year that every class has one. Some of our problems, like video, audio and document embedding have been solved by http://www.divshare.com/. Thought you may like to have a look, if you’ve not already done so!

    I was interested in reading about your (lack of) parent involvement. We haven’t given our parents log in details yet, and this is the first year they will not receive paper reports, so I’m wondering how it will go!

    Thanks for all the info given here. It’s a great blog!

  4. @Raenette
    Raenette, thanks for the comment. Would love to touch base with you how your eportfolios (and no doubt other forms of communication) have replaced paper reports. Sounds great. Intrigued about how this may contribute to greater parent engagement.

  5. @Mark Herring
    Hi Mark. Thanks for the comments and sharing your student’s eportfolio. Your students are sharing some really effective learning there!
    Your ideas about why parents aren’t leaving comments is really valid. It is easier for them to orally comment than type it. For some students this is fine but I think that some need to refer back to comments and feedback in order for it to help improve their learning.
    Looking forward to seeing your eports grow over the remainder of the year.

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