Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Culture and ePortfolios

How does culture impact on ePortfolio development? I have met with groups that question whether the focus on reflection in ePortfolios is a northern European/Australian/NewZealand/American form of self-disclosure that is very uncomfortable in other cultures, such as southern European, Asian, etc. Over ten years ago, when I was in Singapore, we talked about the difficulty many in Asian cultures have with public disclosure and reflection. (I wonder, has the emergence of social networking changed that attitude?)

When I was presenting at a university in the Midwest last fall, an anthropology professor pointed out the American/Euro-centric nature of my discussion of reflection. Last week, I worked with the Languages faculty at my former university, where we discussed the difficulties of students from some cultures to focus on self rather than groups (family, community) or to point out their own strengths and achievements. I am preparing for a possible trip to Vietnam, where I will be doing workshops on ePortfolios in English Language Learning.  I have a lot to learn about the impact of a person's culture on the implementation of the portfolio process. Are there cultural implications of reflection in ePortfolios that I need to be sensitive to, similar to the developmental dimensions?

I was interested in Darren Cambridge's tweet last weekend from the AAC&U ePortfolio meeting: "[the speaker] makes the classic mistake of thinking an eportfolio is a collection not a synthesis." In my previous blog post, I added some references to Bloom's Taxonomy within the context of ePortfolio development. In the revised taxonomy, where the concepts changed from nouns to verbs, the authors removed synthesis but added create. I added these components to a diagram that I am using to illustrate the development of ePortfolios with 1-to-1 mobile devices, but included both synthesize and create.

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