Sunday, March 30, 2008

Online File Storage Research

I'm beginning a review of online file storage, building on my prior blog entry. I'm looking for online space to store artifacts for an electronic portfolio, not a standard file backup service. I found the following resources that either listed or reviewed the different services:Based on this work and a chart that I downloaded, from an article called The Online Storage Gang, I am exploring the following services. I pulled together a couple of PDF files and one MP3 file to upload as a test of the system. Here are my requirements: free storage of at least 1 GB of any type of data (including audio files) and able to share files in two ways (email with link to a file and permanent URI that can be added as a link to a web page).
  • (I've had an account for more than a year, but haven't really used the service.) 1 GB free storage, maximum file size 10 MB (would not accept the MP3 file of my 12 minute 11.4 MB presentation) without an account upgrade. I had to edit the file down to less than 10 MB. Even then, it hung up in the middle of uploading the 9.9 MB MP3 file, and I was never able to add it to my account. Requires an upgraded account to create a permanent URI.
    Email: YES - URI: NO
  • Omnidrive (When I tried to sign up for an account, I received the following message: We have currently reached server capacity and there are no more accounts available during the beta period. We expect to launch Omnidrive 1.0 during April, 2008.) That's too bad. Based on the features and description, it looks the most promising. 1 GB free storage
    Email: ? - URI: ? (website says YES to both)
  • MediaMax (I read bad reviews, so I signed up with some reservations.) 25 GB free storage. I was able to upload files, either individually or as a batch. I uploaded an MP3 file, but it was too large to be downloaded without an account upgrade. It accepted the smaller file. After I transferred the files into a Hosted Folder, it showed the URL to link to each file. Files can also be shared by email. This was the most trouble-free and intuitive of the sites that I tried.
    Email: YES - URI: YES
  • - A very easy site to set up. I was able to upload my PDF files, but it rejected the MP3 file that I created, with the statement "Publish failed Suspected copyright infringement - upload denied." That won't work if students want to upload audio samples that they create. 5 GB free storage
    Email: YES - URI: NO
  • Adrive - Very easy to set up and upload both PDF and MP3 files. No file size limit. A single click shares the file, and the list of shared files includes the URI. However, clicking on the link goes to a web page that downloads the file. 50 GB free storage
    Email: YES - URI: NO

Thursday, March 27, 2008

AERA 2008 Conference

Holding a conference of this size in midtown Manhattan has some substantial challenges, especially since the sessions were spread between four hotels from the Marriott on 46th Street & Broadway in Times Square to the Hilton at 6th Avenue and 53rd Street. There were sessions that I wanted to attend, but the time it took to get between hotels limited my choice of sessions. I attended two SIG meetings: Portfolios and Reflection in Teaching and Teacher Education and the new Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning. The Portfolio SIG had a fascinating discussion on reflection, which gave me a lot of new ideas. This afternoon, I did a short (12 minute) presentation on my REFLECT research and I posted my slides and the paper online.

Several of the other participants in the same session also had very interesting research to present. Lina Pelliccione from Curtin University in Australia presented a paper that:
focused on the goal of enhancing student reflection and learning with the key objective being to determine whether a structured reflective tool can enhance students’ ability to engage in the reflective cycle at a deeper level.
I was also impressed with a paper given by two teacher educators from the University of Calgary entitled, "The Value of eJournals to Support ePortfolio Development for Assessment in Teacher Education" by Susan Crichton and Gail Kopp.
The originality of this work rests in the importance of establishing an eJournal to accompany the ePortfolio. Based on our findings in this action research study, we challenge and add to the existing ePortfolio literature around such issues as ePortfolio project design, process vs. product, the use of templates, social software, and documentation.
They call it eDOL: Electronic Documentation of Learning. There it is: research that supports the importance of including a blog in an ePortfolio! These educators have validated my current opinion and practice of including a reflective journal (a.k.a., blog) in a comprehensive ePortfolio system.

After the presentation today, I had a very stimulating conversation with an educator from New Zealand. He had been reading this blog and most of my web site, and it was almost spooky to have someone seemingly inside my head, observing the changes in my own thinking over the last eight years. It was also exhilarating to talk about the leading (bleeding?) edge of ePortfolio implementation. It also confirms for me the power of the Internet to facilitate collaboration.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Digital Archive for Life Diagram

Digital Archive (for Life) Supports Lifelong & Life-wide Learning (click to see full size image)
I developed this diagram as part of my presentations on e-portfolios for lifelong/life-wide learning. As shown here, a "digital archive for life" can follow an individual from informal learning in the family (and the popular development of scrapbooks), into formal education and professional development, and serve as a "memory enhancer" as we reach our post-retirement years.

Friday, March 14, 2008

MOSEP - More self esteem with my ePortfolio

I have been aware of the MOSEP project (funded by the European commission, managed by the Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft). I was just sent the link to a PDF version of their report on the project. This is a very impressive piece of research, with participation from across Europe, specializing in adolescents (aged 14 to 16). To quote their web page:
MOSEP will experiment with electronic learning and more specifically the use of electronic portfolios (ePortfolios) as a means of supporting both the adolescents and the teaching and counselling staff that work with them during this transition phase. We hope to prove the efficiency of this ePortfolio method, based on a learner-centered model allowing a greater degree of personalisation of learning, in motivating and empowering the adolescents enabling them to acquire the skills needed to succeed in today's knowledge economy.
They also developed online materials for a course for educators which helps support the process. As part of that course, I found the following video, created by Graham Attwell of Pontydysgu (in Wales) on E-portfolio Development and Implementation used in the Mosep Course (this flash video is streaming from Europe, so it may be patient):

This project is further evidence that the Europeans are very enlightened about the use of ePortfolios, especially with adolescents. I am impressed with the emphasis on building self-esteem through the development of an ePortfolio in the adolescent years.

Friday, March 07, 2008

SITE 2008 Conference

It is good to be back. I'd forgotten what a warm and caring community I had found in the Society for Technology and Teacher Education (SITE). I attended these conferences every year from the mid-90s through all of the PT3 grants (2006). Last year I missed the conference because I was in Asia/Australia/New Zealand. Some highlights from this conference (besides lots of wonderful networking!):
  • I did a presentation on Lifelong ePortfolios, as well as a round table on digital storytelling
  • I met educators from Germany working on software for PCs and cell phones, so that students could collect data with their mobile phones and transfer it to their desktop computers (MOLES and mini-MOLES)
  • I attended the Special Interest Groups on both Assessment/eFolios and Digital Storytelling, and connected with educators from around the world who are interested in both of these topics. I also learned that UNLV graduate students are doing their ePortfolios using GooglePages!
  • I attended the keynote address on the last day that focused on the One Laptop Per Child, and attended the follow-up conversation with the speaker, Dr. Antonio Battro (from Argentina), the Chief Education Officer. I am anxious for my OLPC to arrive so that I can play with it and see how it could be used for online portfolios. If it works, I am interested in providing some professional development for teachers.
  • I learned about an organization, Teachers without Borders, which is headquartered in Seattle. I am anxious to contact them, to see if there are opportunities for volunteering and contributing to this worthwhile cause.
I'll have to plan to attend SITE next year (I am advocating for a Retired membership and conference fee rate). I am starting to form an idea for a distributed research project where educators from across the world can participate in Researching Lifelong Portfolios and Web 2.0. More to be revealed in the next month or so.