Friday, June 17, 2011

Links to recent E-Portfolio articles and blog posts

I've come across some recent articles and blog posts that provide interesting reading about e-portfolios.
  • E-Portfolios Evolve Thanks to Web 2.0 Tools in EdWeek, June 15, 2011.  I am quoted in the article and I previously blogged about my visit to Rob Van Nood's classroom, the first example (I made the connection between him and the author). Here is my comment on the EdWeek article:
    Thanks for the examples, including Rob's classroom, which was a fun place to visit. The need for teacher professional development is important to meet the potential of e-portfolios to engage students in managing their own learning. That is why next week at the ISTE Conference, I am launching the REAL* ePortfolio Academy for K-12 Teachers (*REAL = Reflection, Engagement, Assessment for Learning).  Primarily through online courses which establish grade-alike Communities of Practice, K-12 teachers from across the world will learn portfolio development principles, share strategies, and support each other in implementing e-portfolios using free Web 2.0 tools.
    Dr. Helen Barrett
  • Nick Rate's recent blog post, ePortfolios in the News,  has links to some new websites. Two I particularly like:
    Eportfolios - J'accuse where the author discusses the benefits of using a blog as an e-portfolio over specialized e-portfolio systems: Over-complication; Institutional, not user focus; Focus on the tool, not the skills; Lack of social element; Educational arrogance.

    E-portfolios – 7 reasons why I don’t want my life in a shoebox:  Uninteroperable; Institutionalised; Human nature; People are not learners [I disagree!]; Boundary problems; Plus ca change [the only constant is change]; Recruitment myth. I agree with some of his comments, but I think he misses the potential in others. The author, Donald Clark will be a presenter at the EIFEL Conference in July in London. I think I will be leading the panel.

    The comments on both of these blogs are great reading!
  • Blogs as Showcase Portfolio by Kim Cofino, June 12, 2011. This is a GREAT resource (she uses WordPressMU with her 6th grade students... see examples). I love Clint Hamada's comment on this post, partially copied here:
    Kim, thanks for highlighting the ease of using blogs as a portfolio tool. The key, I believe, is to create a culture of blogging (and sharing and reflecting) as part of the day-to-day workings of the school. Then the showcase is truly that: a showcase of things students have already done that do not require any huge amounts of work to prepare!
    My response: I love this post and Clint's follow-up comment. The first level of building an electronic portfolio is to capture and save work in digital form (integrate technology into the teaching/learning process); the second level is to set goals and reflect frequently (a blog is the perfect environment for connecting artifacts and reflection); the third level is building a showcase portfolio at specific times during the school year (parent conferences? formal presentations of learning?). I discuss this process in more detail in my online article, Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios (2011, British Columbia Ministry of Education, Innovations in Education, 2nd Edition). I’ll be sharing your links! Thanks!
There is a theme in these blog posts, and in my recent research for my book: blogs are a great tool for developing e-portfolios, from Kindergarten through adulthood. People have been keeping written journals for centuries; blogs provide a similar space for reflection and deep learning, with a significant difference in storage and permanence. (I once blogged about the loss of physical memories through natural disasters, such as floods or fire: Digital Archive for Life, 2005) As long as Blogger keeps it stored digitally, it should last my lifetime and beyond (I've misplaced a lot of paper journals over the years). But every so often, I back it up... JUST IN CASE!

I've created many versions of my thematically-organized presentation portfolio, but I rarely visit or update these showcase portfolios (the only one I keep updated is my GoogleSites URL-branded version, first developed in 2008). My reflections are posted in this blog, which I consider my learning portfolio... and the easiest and most natural to maintain as a learning journal. The structure of a blog also lends itself well to comments and conversation.

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