Saturday, April 10, 2010

ePortfolio Apps Needed?

Today, I received the following email message from a graduate student in the UK:
I am very interested in the mobile application development we have discussed and intend to make it the focus of my research.
I will be developing for the iPad, iPod, iPhone platform initially.

Just a thought, do you think the greatest need currently is for apps which connect to an ePortfolio such as: Wordpress, Blogger, Google Docs or similar, to enable uploading, editing and reflection of digital content? 
Or, is there also a need for a standalone mobile ePortfolio app?
Here is my response:

There are many purposes for ePortfolios, that require different types of tools (learning/reflection, showcase/employment, assessment/accountability). There are also many portfolio processes to be supported by different tools: creating/authoring digital content, collecting my work, reflecting on that work, selecting (hyperlinking or embedding) that work into my presentation portfolio, writing goals, presenting my work, getting feedback, etc.

With Web 2.0, an ePortfolio is really an aggregator of my work that is stored at many places online: video in video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, blip.tv, etc.; images in Flickr, Picasa; documents in GoogleDocs, scribd.com, or lots of other locations; audio in Myna, etc. What we lack is an aggregator. We need a database to keep track of our online content, sort of like a database that we can use to organize our personal content, wherever it resides on the web. If you look at the report that was written by Ian Fox in NZ, a database of personal/academic content, that can be meta-tagged, is the missing link.

I imagine something that acts like my Macintosh in Garage Band or iMovie or Keynote, where I pull up Media, and it shows me my photos in iPhoto, my movies, my iTunes files, etc. I can select that piece of content and insert it into my document. We need a Web 2.0 equivalent, so that I can get to my content wherever it is stored online. What I need is not to insert the actual content, but to be presented with a choice of a hyperlink or an embed code that I can copy and paste into whatever presentation portfolio I am using. Right now, I have to do this task manually, link by link. For me, that is the need: a content management system for Cloud content, that is accessible on a website using any browser or mobile app. We can upload all kinds of data to the Web from our mobile devices... how do we organize all of this content?

Electronic Portfolio Components

Above is a diagram of eportfolio components as described in BECTA and JISC reports, and you will see where there is a need to organize the Digital Repository: online space to store resources and an archive of evidence.  I have also defined the Two Faces of ePortfolios, which are the workspace (reflection + archive/collection) and showcase (presentation+feedback). Most of the commercial tools organize the showcase... no one independently organizes the workspace right now (except what I do on my own in my blog or in a spreadsheet/matrix). And it needs to be easy enough for a 3rd grader to use! Maybe I'm thinking about a version of the MyLifeBits research that Microsoft conducted around "life store" of data.

So, we'd love some input: what type of apps are needed to support ePortfolio development using mobile devices with access to the Internet?

2 comments:

FC said...

I began learning about iPhone/iPad development recently and decided to document the journey as an ePortfolio.

Selecting the tools I'll use for a) the Workspace and b)t he Showcase part of it has been my main activity this weekend.

"a database of personal/academic content, that can be meta-tagged, is the missing link"
Helen, I agree 100% with you.

"I imagine something that acts like my Macintosh in Garage Band or iMovie or Keynote, where I pull up Media, and it shows me my photos in iPhoto, my movies, my iTunes files, etc. I can select that piece of content and insert it into my document."
Yes! You know, Bento does exactly that. It is hands down my tool of choice to organize all my workspace/collection stuff before putting it online.

As for cloud content, I'm using WordPress as my content management system. Reason? I'm familiar with it and it's very customizable (it's gonna take LOTS of customization work though).

The default blog format (posts in chronological order) doesn't make much sense for an ePortfolio. I'm figuring out how to organize it thematically.

So, I'm thinking… if there's a WordPress theme better suited to suit an ePortfolio, then it would make sense to have a mobile app that connected to it. No, wait, I just confused myself… WordPress itself is a database (under the hood) + it lives online, so there's gotta be a way to make it work.

Dr. Helen Barrett said...

Seattle Pacific University and University of Oregon are examples of universities using WordPress.com for student blogs. You are right, that WordPress is itself a content management system. Following is code for an eportfoliomanager
(This is a web based manager which allows Wordpress based student ePortfolios to be created) http://code.google.com/p/eportfoliomanager/

The chronological organization of the blog is a good format for the Workspace model... as long as you include categories and tags to provide another layer of organization for the showcase model. Of course, you can also create pages and sub-based for any other organizational structure (goals, standards, etc). The tags and categories allow you to search and select specific entries. I have a website that focuses on WordPress:
http://sites.google.com/site/eportfolioswp/