Monday, April 23, 2012

#SSCHAT on ePortfolios tonight

Here are my tweets on an hour-long Twitter chat on ePortfolios tonight using the hashtag #sschat . It is hard to follow the conversation while trying to provide some meaningful content, so I prepared a lot of these tweets in advance. I still found it to be a disjointed discussion... I guess. Of course, the order is reversed in my tweet history, so here is the order that I posted my tweets:
  • My #ePortfolios main website with links to lots of Google Sites:
  • Let's Answer 3 questions about #eportfolios: WHAT? WHY? HOW (including tools)? (in that order)
  • WHAT? define #portfolio: purposeful collection of student work demonstrating learning, progress, achievement over time.
  • WHAT? #eportfolios = #portfolio contents developed & stored electronically - online (now) dvd/cd (old model)
  • #ePortfolio processes=collect/archive, select/hyperlink, reflection/storytelling, direction/goals, present+feedback w/ choice&voice
  • What to collect in #eportfolio? depends on your purpose. - first step in the process - figure out your purpose.
  • WHAT? online #eportfolio similar to social networking processes: + sharing, interactivity & communication w/acadmic focus
  • WHAT? reflection of student as person undergoing continuous personal development, not just store of evidence (JISC-Rebbeck)
  • WHAT? evidence = artifacts (student work) + reflection (rationale/self-assessment) + validation (evaluation) depending on outcomes
  • #eportfolio artifacts can be text, images, audio, video - let students use imagination to demonstrate their leaning
  • WHY? What are your reasons/interests for student #eportfolios?
  • High stakes Standardized tests & #eportfolios come out of different paradigms of learning & assessment. behaviorism/constructivism
  • IMHO #eportfolios should be part of a strategy for lifelong learning, not only short term accountability
  • WHY? #eportfolios = persistent learning record gives students opportunities for taking ownership of their learning #NETP
  • #NETP=National Educational Technology Plan (2010). #ePortfolios on p.12 & 34
  • #NETP Student-managed electronic learning portfolios part of persistent learning record & help students develop…
  • #NETP ...self-awareness required to set learning goals, express own views of strengths, weaknesses, and achievements…
  • #NETP ...& take responsibility for them.
  • There are student-centered #eportfolios that let them explore their purpose and passions & institution-centered EPs used for accountability
  • WHY #ePortfolios? 41 Benefits:
  • HOW? Good resource from NZ: DIGITAL PORTFOLIOS: Guidelines for beginners
  • HOW? Free online tools for #ePortfolio dev:
  • ePort processes:Capturing/storing evidence, Reflecting, Giving/receiving feedback, Planning/setting goals, Collaborating, Presenting
  • HOW? Free online #ePortfolio tools include: WordPress, GoogleApps, mobile apps, Weebly, Yola, Mahara, Digication (with Google)
  • HOW? K12 #ePortfolios with GoogleApps:
  • HOW? 3 levels ePort Dev: 1.artifact dev&storage, 2.reflective journal (blog) 3.showcase portfolio
  • 3 levels come from my chapter Balancing the 2 Faces of #ePortfolios:
  • Level 1 #ePortfolio: artifact development and storage online with URL. Tools: Google Docs, Dropbox, EPwebsites
  • Level 2 #ePortfolio: learning portfolio/reflective journal organized chronologically. Tools: blog (wordpress, Blogger, EPwebsites)
  • Level 3 #ePortfolio: showcase portfolios organized thematically Tools: Weebly, blog pages, Google Sites, EPwebsites
  • Popular specific #ePortfolio websites which also include blogs: Mahara (open source), Epsilen, Weebly
  • Website with lots of information/scaffolding reflection, especially in blogs & showcase portfolios:
  • Support Reflection in #ePortfolios using Mobile Devices: #ISTE12 poster session)
  • Facilitated online class Intro to #ePortfolios in K-12 begins next week.
  • Learn more about #ePortfolios in self-paced or facilitated courses: Focus on GoogleApps, Mahara, mobiles
  • Some #ePortfolio-specific websites & GoogleApps can be kept private (behind passwords) to address FERPA concerns.
  • Was there consensus on whether to assess eportfolios? #sschat Do you mean give feedback (assess) or grade (evaluation)?
  • Depends on purpose. Feedback supports learning. Grading makes portfolio just another assignment. Want more!
  • Join me in online facilitated course starting next week: Intro to K-12 ePortfolios - using GoogleApps
  • Online facilitated class starting May 1: Intro to K-12 ePortfolios (generic tools)
  • Also learn about using mobile devices to support reflection in #ePortfolios

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Using Schoology to facilitate online course communication

During the first cohort of my online course, Introduction to K-12 ePortfolios, I used Edmodo as the environment for discussion. The normal process in conducting distance classes is usually through a structured course management system, such as Blackboard or Moodle. These systems are very instructor-centered. I wanted to use more student-centered tools, so why not use a social network? There are many available, including Facebook and Ning. Since this course was for K-12 teachers, I selected a tool that can be used in K-12 classrooms. Therefore, the primary social network was Edmodo, with some use of Google (Groups, Plus).

my Schoology Folders (Intro to K-12 ePortfolios course)
While Edmodo was easy to use, and looked like Facebook, it did not have true threaded discussion. While I could post a question, and the participants could reply to a post, there was no ability to reply to a reply. I also found it difficult to scroll back through all of the posts to find specific entries...the organization was chronological, not thematic (no one used tags). I tried setting up age-level groups, but they were not used by many of the participants. As a social network for schools, I think it is a great tool, but I was not happy with using it to facilitate my course. So I went looking for another online service.

Years ago, I used NiceNet, so I opened a new account, and set up a course, but I was not happy with the text-only nature of the website (it is a voluntary effort that hasn't changed much in the last ten years). I'm also not sure it does the type of threaded discussion I am seeking. I have taught courses using Blackboard, so I opened a course under their free CourseSites service. I know Blackboard supports the kind of threaded discussion I want. I have also used Moodle, but I'm not sure I have the time to find a reliable free hosting site.

While in Canby School District in early April, I asked about recommendations for a learning management system and was told about Schoology. So, I signed up for an account, and spent most of today setting up my course. I am impressed! I was able to set up folders and organize all of the course activities for each lesson within the appropriate folder. I could hide some of the materials on the site, giving participants a simple interface shown here. I even copied a lot of the content from the course Google Site, so that most of the course information is in one place, but it retained the links to the resources in my Google Site. I also like the Calendar, where I can announce our live events to be held using Google+ Hangouts.  Oh yes, it also has an iOS app!
Schoology course calendar

The next cohort begins May 1, but participants in the first cohort can also join this group. I have also changed the time frame for the course. Participants can proceed at their own pace through the course materials. I will conduct weekly Hangouts for the course participants as online Office Hours, where I will respond to individual questions and learning needs. Register by April 30, 2012.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Revised course plans (and travel plans)

Never again will I plan an international trip over Skype. Since before November 7, when the proposal was submitted, I have been working with the State Department's English Language Specialist Program to spend several weeks in Vietnam in March, because of the interest of a few English faculty members for training in electronic portfolios. I was told that the proposal was approved in February (but March was too soon to travel). Since then, I have been frustrated because I have not been able to get the details about my travel or the status of my visit. Until April 10, I was assured that they were waiting on final approvals, first from DC, then from a supervisor in Bangkok. A week ago, I applied for my travel Visa. Then, late on the night of April 10 on Skype, I was informed that an administrator in the Consulate has cancelled my trip. Still more approvals needed and paperwork to complete while classes are ending in early May. Oh, the bureaucracy! Now I need to figure out what I'm going to do for the next couple of weeks. Plant a garden? (posted to my Facebook account)
Instead, I spent some time last weekend revising two online course outlines:
The major change I made to both course sites was to provide an alternative to creating an Implementation Plan: creating a Professional Portfolio using the same course lessons:
  1. Overview (What?) Define the context for developing your portfolio and assess your readiness for developing a professional ePortfolio, including your technology skill level.
  2. Purpose (Why?) Identify the benefits (and your motivation) for creating your own professional portfolio and write your ePortfolio purpose/audience/vision statement.
  3. Collection/Archive (How?) Create an online space to store your artifacts and identify the artifacts you have collected in digital form and how they will be organized in your portfolio. Identify the primary audience for your showcase portfolio.
  4. Reflection/Blogs (How?) As part of this course, you have already established your own blog (learning portfolio/reflective journal). You could also develop a reflective digital narrative video to add voice to your portfolio (digital storytelling).
  5. Presentation/Showcase (How?) Create a hyperlinked website as a showcase portfolio, organized thematically. By now, you should have selected the appropriate presentation portfolio tool. Options are blog pages (WordPress or Blogger), Google Sites, Weebly, Wikispaces, Mahara, etc. Reflect on each category of artifacts plus provide a reflective caption on each artifact.
  6. Assessment/Feedback (How well?) Write your own self-assessment of your portfolio in your blog. Select one of the rubrics to guide your self-assessment. Share your portfolio link and ask for feedback.
Registration for the next cohort of my facilitated Introduction to K-12 ePortfolios course is open now and collaboration begins on May 1. Once a paid member of a facilitated course, participants are not automatically dropped from the course Google Group and may choose to continue learning with subsequent cohorts.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

New Google Sites version of my portfolio

I created this Google Site in 2010 as a demonstration during a hands-on workshop. Yesterday, I decided to use the virtually unused site to update my portfolio based on the design of my Mahara portfolio created earlier in March. Since I learned how to create a horizontal menu bar in Google Sites,  I wanted to create a portfolio with that type of navigation, similar to the Mahara template I used. It gives me a lot more screen space, and was a lot faster to update. I can also create hierarchical/drop-down menus in the horizontal navigation bar... not possible in Mahara. I am happy that I now have most of my longer videos in YouTube, which makes it so much easier to embed them in Google Sites. It is interesting to compare the two versions of my Google Sites portfolio:
My Apple iWeb portfolio created in 2006 is still my favorite version visually, but is so difficult to update with iWeb since I swapped out the original domain file! Besides, MobileMe is going away soon. I uploaded that version to my web server space, and also saved the website I created with iWeb about my 2006 European cruise trip: