Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Authenticity, ePortfolio Dimensions and Teacher Dashboard

Thanks to a tweet by Jamin Lietze (from New Zealand), I found a blog post by Nick Rate, another NZ educator who thinks deeply about e-portfolios: Dimensions and Dashboards. I was impressed with this statement:
The basis for this discussion is really considering what an eportfolio should be and defining a tool that is as authentic as possible. The problem with most eportfolio systems is that the eportfolio is not the central working (learning) space, it is generally a space where learning is brought to and then shared and reflected upon. There is a lack of authenticity here and often a double handling of learning artefacts. So the question… is there a dimension of eportfolios that removes or minimises this issue?
His comments about authenticity really resonated with me because adolescent students often don't acknowledge the value or relevance of developing an e-portfolio (in contrast to their constant use of social networking). He also asks a question: "Are eportfolios a true representation of the learning or just a snapshot?" Then he identifies six "dimensions" or what I would call categories of e-portfolio tools:
  1. The Dedicated (A dedicated eportfolio system)
  2. The Managed (portfolio functionality or module built in or attached to a LMS)
  3. The Blogged (contained within an online blogging tool)
  4. The Mashed (distributed across online spaces and web technologies, using an aggregator such as NetVibes)
  5. The Saved (created using desktop software and not online)
  6. The Integrated (ePortfolios that are seamlessly integrated into the way students are learning)
Under the last example, he highlights the "Teacher Dashboard" (by Hapara, Ltd. of Auckland, NZ) which is described as "an add-on to Google Apps Education Edition that makes it easier for teachers to deal with their classroom Google Docs, Sites, Gmail and Blogger content." The description of their presentation at the ULearn '10 conference provides a tool for teachers to manage access to student work across Google Apps. The examples shown are from the Pt. England school in Auckland.

In my opinion, this tool looks like it provides a much-needed teacher-centered management approach in schools to balance the learner-centered PrPl/PCB approach theorized by Paul Kim of Stanford. I can't find the Teacher Dashboard tool in the Google Apps Marketplace yet, and I would love to get my hands on see how it really works! It would be a great addition to the upcoming workshop that I will be leading for a school district in North Dakota in January, as well as the technology conference workshops and presentations that I will be conducting in the next few months at NCCE (March 3, 2011 in Portland) and ISTE (June 29, 2011 in Philadelphia).


Lenva Shearing said...

We are using Hapara next year to manage our student Google sites and docs. It is a fantastic tool. I will report back on how we go with it, but our teachers are looking forward to the simplicity and ease of use it offers, as well as it being a robust system for a managed learning environment.

Manaiakalani said...

Hi Helen, It was great to meet you at Garrisons with Lenva, and then again at ISTE this year. We have been using the Teacher Dashboard with our Google Apps for Education in the latter part of this year in our school (Pt England) and in our cluster schools. I can tell you that as a facilitator, it is the first technology implementation I have introduced to teachers that has had 100% of the teachers wearing a big smile after I left their classrooms. It is not about the technology or the ease of use, it is that they immendiately sense a world of teaching and learning made easy from one simple innovation.

Auckland, NZ

Jan Zawadzki (Hapara) said...

Hi Helen - the "visible" components of Teacher Dashboard are indeed focused on the teacher, although a lot of work has gone into management features that are also very important to school and district administrators.

We are working very hard to get Teacher Dashboard ready for public release on the Google Marketplace and to open it to more schools; we've been focusing our efforts on trialing the tools with a small number of schools for now.

We are very happy to answer any questions - please get in touch with us!