Saturday, March 31, 2012

EIFEL Preconference sessions

I just sent the following descriptions of my workshops to EIFEL for my full day of workshops on Monday, July 9, 2012, in London. It should be a fun day!

Morning Session #1:
Title: Using "Free" Online Tools for ePortfolio Development
Description: In this session we will cover major categories of free Web 2.0 tools and how they support  the multiple portfolio processes that are identified in the JISC publication Effective Practices with ePortfolios: Capturing & storing evidence, Reflecting, Giving & receiving feedback, Planning & setting goals, Collaborating, Presenting to an audience. The tools include: WordPress; GoogleApps; free website builder & hosting tools that include blogs, such as Weebly, Yola; open source ePortfolio tools that require a server (Mahara, OSP/Sakai).

Morning Session #2:
Title: mPortfolios: Supporting Reflection using Mobile Devices
Description: 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). The Learning/Reflection Process is based on a theory of Self-Regulated Learning.  This session will include demonstrations of mobile apps with supporting websites, or those that include the ability to upload artifacts to Dropbox, GoogleDocs, YouTube, etc.

Afternoon Session:
Title: Tell your Story in Digital Video created with mobile devices
Description: Digital storytelling can add voice to an ePortfolio. Mobile devices are becoming powerful enough to use for editing and posting short video clips that can be embedded in ePortfolios. Learn the basics of digital storytelling using mobile devices: write the script; record the narration; capture images with the mobile camera; edit the video with low-cost software, such as Avid Studio or iMovie, which can be used to post these creations to online video sharing sites such as YouTube or Vimeo.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Google Sites Navigation & ISTE Workshop

I discovered the horizontal navigation bar for Google Sites that includes a menu with drop-down links. I developed a Google Site on Using GoogleApps for K-12 ePortfolios, which was adapted from my "generic" Introduction to K-12 ePortfolios course site. I was not going to make the GoogleApps site open to the public, since I added supplemental course information on my ePortfolios with GoogleApps site. I forgot that I used that URL in my ISTE proposal, although I have been receiving requests for access to this site. So, I just opened up the website today, but with major revisions.

I recently saw a very interesting website on Working with GoogleSites, developed by an Iowa technology consultant, that incorporated drop-down menus. After a little experimentation in the Manage site menu, I was able to move the Navigation bar from the left side to horizontal tabs across the top of the site. It gives me more screen space, and longer descriptions in the sub-page links. But on the downside, I have to manually manage the menu items,  adding each new page. On the other hand, I can control the order of the menu and sub-menu links (no more being restricted to alphabetical order when I "Automatically organize my navigation" in the sidebar). I like it!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Evernote Webinar on ePortfolios this week

This coming Thursday, Rob VanNood of Trillium Charter School will be conducting a webinar sponsored by Evernote. His blog is a very good resource on using iPod Touch devices and Evernote to maintain student goal-setting, documenting their learning, and reflecting throughout the learning process.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Philosophy of ePortfolio Development

As I work with others on the implementation of ePortfolio Development, I need to articulate my own philosophy. My doctorate is in Human Development (not computer science), so my philosophy comes from the perspective of using e-portfolios in the context of learning and individual lifelong development. Some people see ePortfolios through the lens of ICT and the underlying technologies; I see ePortfolios through the lens of human development potential in an era of social media. 

I believe:
  • ePortfolio development activities can be found across the lifespan
  • ePortfolio development can be an important element of a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) and Network (PLN)
  • ePortfolio development and social networking have many similarities
  • ePortfolio development is a balance between process and product 
  • ePortfolios can be created for many different purposes 
  • ePortfolios can be created with many different tools
  • ePortfolio development should be integrated into everyday activities
  • ePortfolio development supports a process of Reflection and Metacognition that is essential to lifelong learning

I elaborated in a longer GoogleDoc Document with supporting links to some of my work.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

My Mahara ePortfolio

Thanks to a Facebook posting by one of my colleagues in Australia, I found a free hosting site for Mahara: This service limits file storage to 50 MB. But all of my artifacts are stored on one of my websites, and all of my videos are stored in one of the video sharing services, so I don't need a lot of storage. (YouTube now lets me upload videos longer than 15 minutes, so I uploaded a lot of my recorded presentations and some of my older videos.) I spent the entire evening developing the 41st version of my portfolio with this service. (I guess there is another free Mahara hosting service, which offers a Premium upgrade for $40/year for up to 2 GB storage.)

My portfolio is located at:
I wrote my reflection on the process on a page in the portfolio. I didn't try Mahara in the past because I didn't have a server and the portfolio views were a single page. However, this version let me set up a Collection, which groups pages together and places a navigation bar across the top. There are no sub-pages, and the process was a little quirky, requiring a lot of clicks to do a task. But the drag-and-drop nature of creating pages and populating them with content is fairly intuitive.

The tool has a journal (blog) which can be embedded on a page as either the entire blog, or individual blog entries. Each journal entry can have attachments and multiple tags, to make searching easier. There is a tool to create Plans, which I need to explore further. I also set up a group, which could be used for collaboration and discussion. I might explore using this tool in a future online class. Now I need to see if I can upload artifacts with the PortfolioUP iPhone app.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

ePortfolios and Counseling High School Students

I received this email today:
...we were discussing how this tool might be infused in the high school... It was mentioned that our counselors at the high school are not convinced universities are interested in seeing digital collections when students apply for admission. Do you have any hard data on this? ...We would like to be able to approach the counselors and make this a topic they could tackle as students move through high school. Thoughts?
My response: I am going to raise your vision of ePortfolios a little higher, toward students building their positive online brand. There are many purposes for students creating ePortfolios; marketing/showcase for college admission is only one of those purposes. I did another blog entry a few months ago about high school portfolios.  I really like the purpose that is addressed in the National Educational Technology Plan:
Technology also gives students opportunities for taking ownership of their learning. Student-managed electronic learning portfolios can be part of a persistent learning record and help students develop the self-awareness required to set their own learning goals, express their own views of their strengths, weaknesses, and achievements, and take responsibility for them. Educators can use them to gauge students’ development, and they also can be shared with peers, parents, and others who are part of students’ extended network. (p.12)
Just as with employment portfolios, I think the primary audience for an ePortfolio is the learner, following under Greek philosophers' maxim, "Know Thyself". Developing an ePortfolio throughout school will help students document and understand their purpose and passions. Just as a portfolio helps an applicant prepare for a job interview, a portfolio can be used to prepare a university application essay (with hyperlinks to an online portfolio). But just as most employers don't know how to read a portfolio (or have the time), the same can be said for college admission officers. (Many resumes and applications are scanned or entered electronically and searched for keywords.) However, referencing an online portfolio might make a difference in applying for some jobs, technical programs or colleges.

Reflective portfolios can help students build self-awareness and build a positive online identity (their personal brand); I often quote from a Harvard Business Review article by Peter Drucker, "Managing Oneself", which is a great way to organize reflection in a graduation portfolio:
What are my strengths?
How do I work?
What are my values?
Where do I belong?
What can I contribute?
I became aware of the Drucker article at a conference on advising highly talented undergraduates, where the opening keynote speaker, from Harvard, said he had all incoming freshmen read this article. You might also be interested in the Saskatchewan Identity Management Project and their YouTube video: Digital Dossier. I also recommend blog posts (from Forbes, PBS and Wall Street Journal Online) that can be found in links on Portfolio Careers and Personal Branding in my online class website.

I was recently interviewed for an online article about ePortfolios, where she asked me specifically about college applications: Beyond the Transcript: Digital Portfolios Paint a Complete Picture. The author also asked me about how parents can support the ePortfolio process; I said, "Parents are the first portfolio keepers." So, hopefully you have some data to share with your counselors. Here in the State of Washington, the high school students develop paper portfolios under a counseling program called Navigation 101.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Supporting Reflection in ePortfolios

I was up early this morning for a webinar with a group of teachers participating in a research project in a school district in Ontario, Canada (without cameras at 6:30 AM!). I spent some time last weekend updating my presentation and several websites to focus less on specific tools and more on a generic process.

This presentation draws on some of my previous slides, but is more focused on a generic process rather than using Google Apps, mobile devices, etc. I also focused their independent study on my Reflection for Learning Google Site.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Selecting "Free" Online Tools for ePortfolio Development

All day today, I have been working on a new web page: Selecting a "Free" Online Tool for ePortfolio Development. The chart is developed for K-12 schools, but I think it is applicable to higher education.

I have also updated the diagrams linked from the following page on Interactive Portfolios that illustrate how to translate reflective blog entries into a thematically-organized showcase portfolio, using the first four types of tools listed below. These pages also cover the steps for using that tool throughout the portfolio development process. I identified these major categories of free tools (with links to the diagrams):
  1. WordPress and its derivatives for schools: EduBlogs and KidBlogs
  2. GoogleApps Education Edition, including Docs, Sites, Blogger & Digication
  3. Mobile Apps with supporting websites
  4. Free website builder & hosting tools that include blogs, such as Weebly, Yola
  5. Open source ePortfolio tools that require a server (Mahara, OSP/Sakai)
In this Free Tools chart, I then identified the different purposes/processes we want to be able to implement with these tools, asking: What is your purpose for creating portfolios? How does each tool support each process?
  • Capturing & storing evidence (stored in online system)
  • Learning/Reflecting (organized chronologically) Planning & setting goals
  • Formative Assessment  -Giving & receiving feedback & Collaborating
  • Marketing/Employment  -Presenting to an audience
  • Accountability/ Summative Assessment
  • Collect data for Accountablity Reporting
  • Showcase work thematically -Presenting to an audience
In the cells in the matrix, I put my best estimate of the capabilities of each tool for each process. I also looked at some of the technology infrastructure and support needs, asking "How does each tool match the support resources available?"
  • Server required?
  • Programming required?
  • Ease of Use for Students
  • Age Appropriate Grades K-12
  • Teacher Controls (setting up accounts, controlling content & process)
If you have already selected or are using one of these tools, do you agree with what I have written about the features? If you haven't selected a tool, what further information do you need? What did I leave out?