Category Archives: ePortfolios

Eportfolios: Big picture questions…

I have a few eportfolio presentations and workshops in the pipeline, one at a local ICTPD conference here in Palmerston North, a couple of CORE Breakfast Seminars and plans are already underway for a pre-conference workshop for ULearn 10 in October.

So I have been clarifying and updating some previous presentation slides and thought I would flick them up here in order to hopefully get some feedback.

Part of the purpose of the workshops from my perspective is to get the attendees to think critically about the bigger picture of eportfolios and some of the concepts and ideas that need to be discussed before diving in and also as part of the ongoing review of implementation. So I have 8 questions/discussion starters below. Have I missed anything obvious out? Or what big picture question related to eportfolios do you have that aren’t covered in these questions. Please let me know.

Eportfolio Discussion Question 1

Should an eportfolio include all aspects of a student’s life and learning? Will the eportfolio reflect what is happening beyond learning associated with school? If a student is actively involved in music lessons, sports, coaching, volunteer work, travel etc. not directly related to school, will that be part of your eportfolio vision?

ePortfolio Discussion Question 2

Are your parents and teachers ready? Do your parents understand the school’s beliefs associated with eportfolios? Do they understand the benefits to learning? Is the technology available at home? Work? Does everyone have an understanding of the process involved? The pedagogy? The importance of feedback?

Eportfolio Discussion Question 4

What happens when a student leaves school? Moves to a new class? Transfers? Covering the angle of those wanting interoperability between systems. Is that necessary? Is there one protocol that will allow flexibility of choice so that the system does not dictate the pedagogy? Should every student use the same tools? What happens if the teacher moves on?

Eportfolio Discussion Question 5

Do your current internet & computer use policies cater for eportfolios and the use of Web 2.0 tools? When a student does move on from your school, what happens to the learning contained in your school’s Web 2.0 sites? What of sites that have minimum age requirements? Concepts of digital identity, digital citizenship, digital footprint, online safety, online security, moderation… need to be clarified along with all long term implications.

Eportfolio Discussion Question 6

Will your eportfolios play a role in reporting achievement against the National Standards? Is there a middle road that can be found by including plain language reporting and judgements within a reflective learner centered eportfolio? Does an eportfolio qualify as a written report?

Eportfolio Discussion Question 7

Who retains ownership and control? Related to a number of questions already asked such as transferability and inclusion of learning beyond school. Is the portfolio institution controlled and directed or student centered, open and flexible? Learning selected by learner or prescribed by teacher? Assessed or reflective?

Eportfolio Discussion Question 8

Do you need a packaged solution or is a mash-up of Web 2.0 tools OK? Does appropriately tagging artifacts, rss feeds, and the use of aggregators negate the need to have an eportfolio product or container? Web tools are chosen as required, flexible, for specific purposes, tagged and subscribed to or with an alert through another service such as Twitter to the social learning network… is that still an eportfolio?

Graham Attwell: Rethinking e-Portfolios

I have got a lot of time for Graham Attwell’s thoughts around eportfolios. I referenced his article e-Portfolios – the DNA of the Personal Learning Environment? in my ePortfolio research. He also contributed to the MOSEP (More Self-Esteem with my ePortfolio) project which is well worth a look.

Hot off the wire is his current thoughts around eportfolios, discussing such questions as these:

Is an e-Portfolio intended as a space for learners to record all their learning – that which takes place in the home or in the workplace as well as in a course environment or is it a place or responding to prescribed outcomes for a course or learning programme?

How much should an e-Portfolio be considered a tool for assessment and how much for reflection on learning?

Can one environment encompass all of these functions?

And such technologies as OSPI, Elgg and Mahara. Further discussion involves Mash Up Personal Learning Environments and research looking at the value of light weight widgets for promoting reflection that can be embedded in existing e-learning programmes.

All interesting stuff and worth a couple of minutes of your time.

Social Networks and Interactive Portfolios

TEDx Talk. Dr. Helen Barrett on Social Networks and Interactive Portfolios: Blurring the Boundaries.

Electronic Portfolios have been with us for more almost two decades, used primarily in education to store documents and reflect on learning, provide feedback for improvement, and showcase achievement for accountability or employment. Social networks have emerged over the last five years, used by individuals and groups to store documents and share experiences, showcase accomplishments, communicate and collaborate with friends and family, and, in some cases, facilitate employment searches. The boundaries between these two processes are gradually blurring. As we consider the potential of lifelong e-portfolios, will they resemble the structured accountability systems that are currently being implemented in many higher education institutions? Or are we beginning to see lifelong interactive portfolios emerging as mash-ups in the cloud?

ePortfolios at Learning@School Conference

If you are interested in ePortfolios then the annual Learning@School conference in Rotorua should suit you well.

There are 11 breakouts that have a major focus or have reference to the use of eportfolios:

  • Earlybird: ePortfolio’s made easy! Brendon Muir
  • Earlybird: Dancing on the Same Page. Chrissie Butler
  • Breakout 1: e-Portfolios: A Case Study. Belinda Johnston
  • Breakout 3: ePortfolios 101. Nick Rate
  • Breakout 3: The Three aspects of an effective School Website that increase 21st Century Pedagogy. Tim Berends
  • Breakout 4: ePortfolios – A Showcase of Practice. Nick Rate
  • Breakout 4: Powerful Learning Journeys – Using Digital Story Telling within an ePortfolio to show the learning process. Ian Fox & Lenva Shearing
  • Breakout 5: Room 17 Voices: Eportfolios and the Online Classroom. Erin Freeman
  • Breakout 5: The LMS Gateway to learning and Assessment. Mark Treadwell
  • Breakout 5: The Open Source School. Mark Osbourne
  • Breakout 6: Laying the Groundwork: producing a realistic and relevant strategy for online learning. Stuart Armistead

Doing a bit of self promotion, I am really excited about the ePortfolios – A Showcase of Practice breakout. I have managed to bring together 5 current practitioners of eportfolios who will be sharing their experiences, beliefs and examples of implementing eportfolios in their schools. They are:

  1. Deb Cowan. Director of eLearning & Teacher, Russell St School, Palmerston North.Chrissie Butler
  2. Ministry of Research, Science and Technology Teacher Fellow 2010, and former BLENNZ (Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ) cluster facilitator.
  3. Sharron Eagle. Teacher, Rotorua Girls High School Childcare Trust.
  4. Belinda Johnston. Facilitator/Director, EastNet ICTPD Cluster, Elm Park School
  5. Jamin Lietz. ICT Lead Teacher, Bethlehem College, Tauranga

You guys are awesome! Thanks for agreeing to share your experiences!

The aim was to represent a cross section of schools, tools and beliefs. Unfortunatley, was not able to get a high school represented but am aiming to repeat this breakout or one very similar at ULearn10 so here is a call out to a high school who would be willing to show and tell! All suggestions welcome.

More ePortfolio Graphs

I was motivated to try and visually represent what I had written in a post in the ePortfolios in NZ Google Group thread. Here’s some of what I said:

“…Your example of scanning learning and now moving towards HTML templates illustrates this. Over time you also want or need to readdress your criteria, purpose and vision, especially if you are in a scenario where other classes are using paper. It is more than likely that your views and thoughts are expanding at the same time as your understanding grows due to an increased awareness of the technology capability, student/teacher capability and allignment to learning, and much more rapidly than for those with paper based portfolios…”

The attempt to visualise this into another eportfolio graph is below. The basic idea being that the more experienced you are in implementing eportfolios the more dynamic they are due to the teacher continually refining and developing the implementation.

Not rocket science really. The second graph below includes a reference to paper based portfolios. There are probably a few people who don’t agree with my view here that there are generally a static document in terms of how they change over time…

The graphs aren’t perfect and the terminology is not quite right. As with most posts in this blog I am just unpacking and reflecting on ideas running around in my head.

It is pretty full at the moment as there are two more graphs brewing. One is to try and show the relationship between the ownership and formative nature of an eportfolio and the other the place of feedback in a portfolio within the bigger picture of learning.

I get a lot of inspiration from Jessica Hagy who’s site thisisindexed.com is full of great visual representations of life and thinking relationally. I would love to be able to create such simple graphs that are yet so informative. Here’s an example:

ePortfolios in NZ

Jamin Lietz has initiated a thread in the MLE Google Group entitled ePortfolios in NZ.

He notes the purpose of the group:

It is my desire to establish a network with those who are using ePortfolios this year as a tool to enhance teaching and learning. I hope that together we can share good practice, research findings, our  journey, etc.

I would encourage anyone to dive on in there and participate in the ongoing discussions.

Some notable eportfolio personnel have participated already including Dr Helen Barrett, the global eportfolio guru, and Ian Fox the local NZ portfolio legend.

Thanks Jamin!

Tumblr for ePortfolio

It is all go exploring the best mPortfolio (Mobile ePortfolio) option for the iPhone.

Tumblr has jumped to the top of the list with the announcement of Tumblr Backup, a desktop application that allows you to backup your Tumblr blog as a self-contained folder complete with content including posts, movies and images. While this is not directly related to the Tumblr iPhone app, which is fantastically easy to use, Tumblr as a complete eportfolio package is shaping up nicely…

If regular blogs are journals, Tumblr blogs are scrapbooks.

The application is in beta and available now for Mac OS X and very simply to use.

Why is this potentially a good thing?

  • It enables you to capture the content of a blog/eportfolio and archive or burn it to a disc.
  • Parents not wanting to let go of the hard copy of a portfolio can now receive a copy of a child’s portfolio to keep.
  • Students moving on to a new school or leaving at the end of year 6, 8 or 13 can receive their learning journey as a momento or pass it on to their new school.

The whole point of using an online space for an eportfolio is to have it available anytime and anywhere enabling the participation of others. While this new Tumblr desktop app does not facilitate this process and is not designed to, it is great to know you can backup and store your blog, in simple HTML format, for whatever reason you have.