Tag Archives: Web 2.0

ePortfolios in the news

There has been a few interesting references made to ePortfolios that have landed in my Reader inbox over the last week or so.

A good contrast too from;

E-portfolios have taken up more conference time and wasted effort than almost any other learning technology topic I can recall.


What the portfolio provides is something richer than just a number or a grade… It provides a depth of understanding for both the learner and the observer.

Here’s a selection:

1. E-portfolios – 7 reasons why I don’t want my life in a shoebox

An interesting and provocative blog post outlining some of the reasons why eportfolios have not had any real impact within education and beyond taken perhaps from a narrow point of view. The ongoing discussion in the comments section is great and adds another valuable dimension for using this post to reflect on and ask questions about your eportfolio use and purpose. Well worth a read.

2. E-Portfolios Evolve Thanks to Web 2.0 Tools

On the flip side this article from the Education Week promotes the use of eportfolios as a method of showcasing student progress. It discusses the authentic nature of eportfolios allowing students to showcase their skills and intelligence, discusses the challenges (time and access) and gives examples of Web 2.o tools being used. Perhaps nothing new here but a good affirmation for those practitioners with similar goals and methods.

3. Creating Student e-Portfolios with Google Sites

This resource came through the K12 Eportfolios Google Group, which you may like to consider signing up for. It is a 5 unit Moodle course on creating students eportfolios using Google Sites. Written by Jen Hegna, it is released under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Each unit has a Read, Discuss, Activity, Reflect, Evaluate, Checklist learning design sequence and a wide range of relevant and excellent material is used and referenced throughout. A great resource.

4. Do e-Portfolios make a difference to student outcomes?

An interesting question has been posed in the VLN ePortfolio group:

We are wondering what/if any data schools are using to see if an e-Porftfolio is making a difference to student outcomes. Some our teachers are beginning a Teacher Action Inquiry and need some baseline data so we can see if they have make a difference. Any thoughts?

It would be great to see some responses in there to this question. If you are not a member of the Virtual Learning Network (VLN), consider joining and participating in this and other discussion about teaching and learning.

5. Eportfolios – J’accuse

Similar in some ways to the 7 reasons why above, this post from The Ed Techie unpacks a number of issues around institutionalised and over complicated eportfolios. A strong case is made for blogs being a better means of achieving eportfolios than specific eportfolio systems. Also, like above, the comments section is hugely valuable where different points of view are offered and counter arguments reinforced. Another worthwhile read.


Animoto and the iPod Touch

With the beginning of the new school year approaching, my interest in using mobile technologies for learning, especially so the iPod Touch, is starting to really take hold. Although I do not, apart from my personal iPod, have access to this technology for my students (yet… right David?!) to use I am investigating new apps and uses for the technology.

My most recent playing around has been with Animoto’s new iPhone/iPod Touch app which allows users to create Animoto slideshows direct from their device.

While the iPod does not have a camera to capture images to use in a slideshow, you can use any image stored on the iPod. This includes photos synced from your computer or any image saved from the Internet direct to your device. This is where I see the real potential for this app on the iPod.

The movie below was created 100% on the iPod. By simply saving images of frogs and toads (let’s assume a child is undertaking an inquiry on them…) and using the Animoto app, the movies was created and is easily embeddable in a blog or wiki.

Great fun and so easy. Motivating. Engaging. Students could complete this at the beginning of a unit of work to get them thinking about the topic or at the end to show a understanding or new knowledge. Artist studies, personal interests, curiosities… anything…

The benefits of Web 2.0, RSS, XML, Atom, tags & categories in ePortfolios

As a follow up to my last post I have just read the following article as part of my efellow research.

This may be of interest to those of you who would like a further and much more detailed (yet easy to read) explanation of using the benefits of Web 2.0, RSS, XML, Atom, tags, categories for organising ePortfolios and promoting learning.

In the right environment the social networking potential of the learning landscape and eportfolio-related tools are features that facilitate and enhance the making of connections and the linking together of people, ideas, resources and learning… (pp. 30)

The Learning Landscape: A conceptual Framework for ePortfolios.

Chen, H., Haywood, J., Light, T., Tosh, D., & Werdmuler, B. (2006).

Available in: Handbook of research on ePortfolios. Hershey PA: Idea Group Reference, pp. 24-32.

Well worth a read if you can get hold of it. There is certainly a lot more worthwhile reading in the full handbook which contains contributions from over 100 of the world’s leading experts.

Jing – A screencasting tool

If you are a teacher or regularly run workshops for other teachers in using new technologies and software, you can be sure that you have spent hours putting together how-to sheets or screencasts using a variety of different tools.

Included are Apple’s well known screen capture keyboard shortcuts or Grab, or a selection of other tools including iShowU, Snapz Pro, the more Web 2’y tools like GrabUp, Skitch or Screencast-O-Matic.

Jing is another tool and a free download. It is able to capture your screen, or a selection, as an image or movie and upload them directly to a location of your choice for embedding in to blogs and other web pages, or simply to store online for future use or sharing.

The process is simple and with the concept of  ‘Jing is the always-ready program that instantly captures and shares images and video…from your computer to anywhere’ this app certainly makes it easy…

1. Select the option from the Jing menu.

2. Drag the cross hairs to select the screenshot area. This is one of Jing’s best features – the fact that all of the selection box lines extend right to the edges of the screen.

3. Selection the from the options of image, movie…

4. ..and then annotate with text, arrows, drawing or shapes and select from uploading to your free screecast.com or flickr, ftp’ing to a remote location, saving as a file or copying to the clipboard. Further options include uploading to use as link (URL) or to embed in your blog, the option used throughout this post.

5. The file will then upload and inform you that the code for embedding on your site is ready for pasting in. Very handy.

It is as simple as that.

If you choose to upload them to your free trial screencast.com account (easy to create from the Jing preferences – no need to visit screencast.com) you are able to upload 2GB of movies and images and have 2GB of bandwith available per month. More info on that here.

I have found that giving teachers and students screencast how-to movies instead of paper step-by-step guides has reduced time spent on preperation for teaching these skills as well as reducing the time spent going over skills with individual teachers. Just make them easily available on the web available and remind people how to access them.

Rating:  out of 5

Pros: Free, integrated upload and embeding, easy to use, intuative, supporting website

Cons: Weird default ‘sun’ controller (thankfully you can change this to the input menu), no moveable (follow the mouse) movie capture