Saturday, December 31, 2011

Downloaded Google Sites

I received an email today from an educator in China who cannot access my Google Sites. I found the software from Google to download my Google Sites, and I uploaded a few of my sites to my own web server:
At least I now have a backup of these Google Sites as of the end of 2011. The content of the sites is alnost all there, but the navigation is not quite what appeared on the original Google Site. Any sub pages must be accessed from a link at the bottom of the main page, not from the navigation bar. Of course, most of the CSS formatting is missing. Access the Google Sites Liberation User Guide and download the software.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mobile Year in Review

This video is fun...and points out the impact of mobile technologies this year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

High School Portfolios revisited

I received the following email recently:
At ___, we're just around the corner of requiring a portfolio from every student. I'm asking, as both a teacher and a parent, whether your thoughts in your 2005 blog would still be your same thoughts. Years have passed; have colleges really accepted portfolios in a meaningful way? Are some schools who have tried e-portfolios now reconsidering? What is a school that would be a "model" for how they work with portfolios and where the students see the work as meaningful and not just a "hoop" or "graduation requirement"?  One administrator told me this morning, "They passed courses. That should be enough." I know the way to respond (similar to your post - but I need to know the research. HAS the e-portfolio proven to be worth all the work? I don't want our school and community to go down a path that has already been blazed and people are walking back towards us without sharing what they have learned from their experiences.
Here is my response: I think the real problem is the general assumptions about portfolios...especially when they are a graduation requirement or for college applications. I am not an advocate of high stakes portfolios, or to use them to replace standardized tests. What about using portfolios for learning throughout the educational experience, to avoid the idea of a "hoop" to jump through? I like a different metaphor: mirror (reflection) or map (goal-setting/direction). I really like this model of self-regulated learning, and portfolios can support all phases of this reflection cycle. I also see portfolios as both process and product (see my latest paper published by the British Columbia Department of Education:

I recommend you look at High Tech High in San Diego, where all students maintain a DP (digital portfolio) throughout their high school years. The portfolio is used to document learning and support their Presentation of Learning (PoL) that they do three times a year. I am using that high school as a case study in my book. I don't know if their experience has been documented in a formalized research project, but they have been using digital portfolios since the school opened in 2001. Here is my blog entry:
When I talked to a few students in the school about their DPs, their eyes lit up and I could tell they were very proud of them.

There is some research that shows that how a portfolio is introduced to students has a huge impact on their acceptance (and intrinsic motivation) and the effective use of the portfolios to support learning. If students see the portfolio as just another assignment or a hoop to jump through, they will be ambivalent; but if they see this online space as their personal learning environment, as their space to explore their future, to show off what they are really good at, then you will get much more acceptance. Ownership, Choice and Voice are major issues for me. I did a TEDxASB talk in 2010 that outlines the blurring boundaries of electronic portfolios and social networks, along with intrinsic motivation. I published the script on the MacLearning website:

Good luck! And let me know if I can help.

I was also sent a link to a video on an ePortfolio project in a high school in the Boston area: 

Friday, December 16, 2011

ISTE 2012 Sessions Scheduled

Today, I received notice of approval of these sessions for the 2012 ISTE Conference in San Diego:
  • Create Interactive ePortfolios using GoogleApps: Docs, Picasaweb, Blogger, Sites [Workshop : Hands-on] Scheduled: Saturday, 6/23/2012,  8:30am–3:30pm PDT.
    GoogleApps provides a comprehensive ePortfolio system: Store artifacts in GoogleDocs/Picasaweb; maintain reflective journals using Blogger; create showcase/assessment/presentation portfolios with GoogleSites; manage domain with Teacher Dashboard
  • Student-Centered Interactive ePortfolios with GoogleApps [Concurrent Session : Lecture] Scheduled: Monday, 6/25/2012,  12:45pm–1:45pm PDT.
    Create a comprehensive student-centered system supporting all three levels of ePortfolio development: Create/collaborate/store/share artifacts in GoogleDocs; Reflection/Feedback using blogging; Presentation Websites with GoogleSites.
  • mPortfolios: Supporting reflection in ePortfolios with mobile devices [Learning Station Session : Poster] Scheduled: Tuesday, 6/26/2012,  10:00am–12:00pm PDT.
    Mobile devices (iOS, Chrome or Android) can support reflection through regular planning & goal-setting, capturing the learning moment, and metacognition (reflecting on change over time).
I've never done a poster session before, so it will be a challenge to present a complex topic like reflection and mobile devices in this format. But my presentation on GoogleApps is a reprise of my 2011 presentation that I thought was on of my best! The full-day hands-on workshop will give me an opportunity to provide an overview on my online Introduction to K-12 ePortfolios class with GoogleApps supplement. I'm pleased!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

RCAC 2011 Keynote & Workshop

I just returned from London, Ontario, where I gave the Thursday afternoon keynote for the Western [Ontario] Regional Computer Advisory Committee (RCAC). I also did a short breakout session to have a conversation about ePortfolio implementation. There were representatives from the Ministry of Education, so the questions tended to focus on policy, privacy, parents, and permissions.

On Friday, I gave a full day workshop to help technology consultants plan for the implementation of electronic portfolios in their boards/school districts. I used the planning process that I outlined in my online class, where the components are linked to the different course lessons. Here is a sample of the tweets from the conference:
  • @Gill_Ville #rcac11 this year the theme is storytelling!
  • @thecleversheep Storytelling... the unofficial theme for the day. Love it! #rcac11
  • @lisaneale (e)Portfolios are dynamic celebrations & stories of deep learning = choice & voice of the individual recognizing lifelong learning. #rcac11
  • @harryniezen #rcac11 Very moving examples of ePortfolios ... via @eportfolios
  • @markwcarbone @eportfolios: blogging for a public authentic audience makes a +ve difference to student learning - nice connection to my FBk w/shop today
  • @sadone #rcac11 @eportfolios Keynote slide show available for you at
  • @harryniezen #rcac ePortolios as a vehicle for students to share their passions (via @eportfolios )
  • @harryniezen #rcac11 Going deeper with @eportfolios (Dr. Helen Barrett) on the value and implementation of ePortfolios as a tool for student learning
The provincial government has established E-Learning Ontario and is providing the Desire2Learn platform to all schools in the province. Recently included in their D2L implementation is a portfolio tool. One adaptation that will be made to their D2L portal will be inclusion of GoogleApps, and they will also incorporate the WordPress blog. It sounds to me like this integrated platform will provide educators in Ontario with a broad choice on cloud-based tools, that can be a powerful combination for ePortfolio development. I am looking forward to following schools in Ontario for some exciting learning with ePortfolios!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

iPadio for recording audio artifacts

I am experimenting with applications to record oral evidence of learning, and interested in recording audio from my iPhone. I quickly recorded a short audio clip with the iPadio app on my iPhone. This process has a lot of promise for web based portfolios, especially demonstrating competence in speaking a new language!
The image on the right is the form to complete when uploading the recording. The title could be an assignment, and the description could be a short reflection! These recordings have a unique URL and can automatically be posted to the following social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Posterous, LiveJournal, WordPress.