Category Archives: Moblogging

ePortfolios and mLearning Part 2

Time to look at mPortfolios options through the ePortfolio solution first. Listed below are some popular ePortfolio options, certainly not exhaustive, but cover a broad spectrum. I’m interested in how each platform can be accessed, edited, added too etc from a mobile device, once again specifically the iPhone or Touch, but will also add in info on other mobile platforms if available.

In no particular order:

WordPress (Edublogs): As mentioned in my previous post, any WordPress (version 2.7 or higher) powered blog/eportfolio is can be easily added to through the use of the WordPress iPhone app which works seamlessly when adding new pages or posts with images. Viewing and adding comments/feedback to the eportfolio requires the use of Safari on the iPhone. However some sites have been optimised for use on the iPhone, often through installing an iPhone friendly theme such as WPTouch allowing the browsing  commenting and administering of the site a simple pleasure! (this site has WPTouch installed so check it out on your iPhone/Touch). With a little work from the WordPress web host to set up the something like WPTouch (wordpress.com has, edublogs hasn’t, self hosted is up to the owner) mPortfolios are well catered for on the WordPress platform.
Andriod WordPress app info here, Blackberry info here. WPTouch supports both.

Google Sites: As part of your education addition or a personal account, Google sites offers another great eportfolio option. Google have an iPhone app which easily sets you are to connect to your google suite of apps, but not sites. Using Safari you can easily access your sites the traditionally way to edit and add new pages and posts. You can also insert images through pasting in thecURL but a lot of the features like inserting a Picasa image, document or calendar does not function well mainly due to the lack of Flash (?) support on the device. No really an enjoyable experience without having an iPhone/mobile optimised site like much of the other Google apps.

Blogger: If your eportfolio is a Blogger/Blogspot (also supports WordPress, Joonla, Drupal, MoveableType and more) blog then look no further than the app mentioned in the previous post, BlogPress. Easily the best option for creating new content and has the added feature of allowing YouTube video embeds. It is a shame it cost the extra money to get all of these extra features but the free version does the basics well. Commenting not catered for and Blogger is not really mobile friendly. I am still playing around with themes and layouts to find the best combination for a mobile friendly site. The best way is perhaps to view the site’s RSS feed rather than the web page, this utilises the iPhone/Touch’s built in RSS reader (go to reader.mac.com in mobile Safari if you are not familiar with this feature). Bookmark the feed to revisit the portfolio on the device.

Elgg: Like most eportfolio tools and certainly a lot of those listed below, Elgg can be accessed through the iPhone/Touch’s Safari app. Editing and adding content is not without problems (in v 1.6). Creating a new blog post is easy enough and adding the title OK but I was unable to enter any text in the body. However, searching through the Elgg community discussion forums there is some development in making iPhone specific themes and even a iPhone app to make accessing an Elgg site better. The user community for Elgg is nowhere near as big as that of blogger or WordPress but it is exciting to see that there is interest from the user base to get this type of initiative underway. That’s great use as I am a big fan of Elgg.

Blackboard: (Untested) I have no working knowledge of using Blackbaord as a portfolio platform but after reading an eportfolio report recently it was one of the most popular options. I have not tested it but have included here after reading that they have an iPhone app that they will custom build to fit your requirements: “Our open platform also lets you build and add your own applications so you can tailor Blackboard Mobile in the way you see fit.” Available for the iPhone/Touch and Blackberry. Potential here? I do know enough to say one way or the other.

PebblePad: (Untested) From the website: All installations of PebblePad include a version of Pebble Mobile. To access your mobile version of PebblePad simply point your mobile browser at your normal PebblePad URL and add ‘/mobile’ at the end e.g.: http://www.pebblepad.co.uk/eportfolio/mobile. Plans are seemingly afoot for an iPhone app: We are currently developing a PebblePad iPhone app which will allow users to work with PebblePad on the move. Features currently include viewing your assets, uploading a file, creating a thought and posting this to a blog. This is still an ongoing project due for release in the very near future (PebblePad Newsletter, 10/2009). Sounds great!

Have also not tested the following options: KnowledgeNet, My Portfolio/Mahara, UltraNet. (I do not have access to try some our the the time to try the others but will attempt to try).  As with the other options, I would image that Safari on the iPhone allows surfing of these sites and editing facilities as per a standard web browser with perhaps some limitations… please confirm if that is not the case!

To wrap this post up though it is pretty clear that the eportfolio tools that have a specific app such as Blogger or WordPress have a big advantage over those that don’t. However this experience is not complete until the eportfolio host has taken some measure to also make the eportfolio system mobile friendly to aid viewing and commenting while on the go. While this and a dedicated app is not absolutely required, it makes the process of uploading and sharing learning and receiving feedback on that learning very easy and helps contribute to a collaborative eportfolio from a mobile phone.

iPhone – now the perfect eportfolio gadget, Part 2

My earlier post about the iPhone and its suitability to be the hub of the ePortfolio or even your PLE, has taken another turn as the Apple rumour mills get into the “What’s going to be available for Christmas 2008?” mode.

9to5mac.com this morning wrote UK report claims iPhone nano for Christmas on their website. Pictured above, the phone will cost £150 and be available on prepay. Sounds promising if it is to be believed.

This would certainly get me interested as the iPhone in its current pricing configuration is not really achievable for use in education and therefore in my ePortfolio plans. But as prepay and a one off purchase price, that would be great… if it were only true…

Just like the MacBook touch rumours… or here. Looks to good to be true, but wouldn’t it be cool?!

iPhone – now the perfect eportfolio gadget?

I have previously blogged about the potential of the iPhone as a tool for generating and uploading content and reflections to your ePortfolio. This was before the release of the iPhone 3G and the brilliant WordPress app for managing your WordPress blog. This is a pretty nifty app which has been described in more detail here, here, here or here.

There is plenty of evidence of bloggers using the tool and helping with it’s development. You can view these posts, such as this from the highly respected Dr Helen Barrett and others. The really great thing about this web app is that it also works from your iPod Touch too, as long as you have updated to the v2.0 software.

(Don’t worry if you don’t have a WordPress driven blog, there are still 13 other options described here for blogging using the iPhone or iPod Touch).

This web app and others (10 million apps in total were download in the first weekend) designed for the iPhone and Touch really hold the potential for the educational benefits of these mobile tools.

While the iPhone carried with it the hype, anticipation and desirability, it is still a device which lacks in certain areas.

But for me, the learning potential lies not in the hardware, but in the apps that are being developed to support learning. This of course is not a new concept at all, the technology should not drive what you are doing. It gets me really excited to see that a concept that wasn’t really practical or workable a few months ago has been made possible with the arrival of the iPhone v2.0 software and the WordPress web app.

What I would give to be able to afford a class set of iPhones (or iPod Touches!) to really explore this phase of elearning..

Any sponsors out there..?

ePortfolio Presentation

Today the Wellington Apple Bus Tour visited Russell Street School as part of its tour of Wellington, Masterton and Palmerston North schools to see ICT in action.

It is always a pleasure and an honour to share and discuss what we value in our school and also give the students the opportunity to present their learning to a new audience.

I had the responsibility of sharing the school’s background and development in ePortfolios, where this may be headed in the future and an overview of my research – all in no more than 20 minutes!

I remembered this post from Ewan McIntosh’s blog:

…so in future TeachMeets the rule of No PowerPoints will stand, of course, but be coupled with “anything you want to show must be online and linked to from the TeachMeet wiki page“.

A great concept and one that more conference organisers and speakers should adopt. So here is the presentation… sorry no audio commentary.

Let me know if anything needs further explanation.