Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Web 2.0 explorations

Since I returned home, I've been online full time, learning new online Web 2.0 tools. A colleague from Australia introduced me to two new websites: Wet Paint (a new wiki that is based in Seattle!) and Protopage (an AJAX Start Page). I am using my Wet Paint page to plan a workshop in Melbourne next March. I am using my Protopage to emulate an aggregator for my new model of ePortfolio development, as discussed in my EIFEL conference keynote (small pieces, loosely joined).

Thursday, October 19, 2006

PodPals in Budapest

I am in Budapest, visiting my daughter who teaches English in a high school. I visited her classes several days this week. These students are in a tourism and culinary arts high school. In one class, the students who are learning to become tour guides are going to start podcasting. I introduced them to both ePortfolios and podcasting with odeo.com. We are looking for students in other parts of the world who would like to become "podpals" with them, showcasing their conversational English skills, while talking about Budapest.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Creating PodCasts with GarageBand

I just finished two digital stories/podcasts using Apple's GarageBand, and I am really jazzed! This is such a cool tool, and I am relatively pleased with the results. After taking a half-day workshop at Camp Podcast in Vancouver, B.C., I felt confident enough to tackle this software.

The first podcast I completed was a new story called Changes, which I wrote to help me come to terms with a major change in my life. I recorded the story in my tried-and-true Sound Studio program, imported the audio into a track in Garage Band, and proceeded to add images at appropriate places on the Podcast Track timeline. The quality was not nearly as good as iMovie, but it was much faster, since I needed to finish the story in a day for a presentation. I also wanted to include audio from GB, and I was pleased with some of the music loops that were included there.

The second podcast that I completed was the keynote address that I did at the ePortfolio 2006 conference held in Oxford last week. I used my new iPod with the Belkin microphone to record my speech. Just started recording and lay it on the podium in front of me. When I was through, I had the audio of my entire presentation. I brought it into GarageBand. I also took my PowerPoint presentation and changed the page layout to square dimensions (required by GB's podcast track), which did a remarkably good job of adjusting the text on the slides. It squashed the pictures, though, but not that noticeably. I saved the entire slide show as JPEGs in a folder. Then, I put markers into the timeline for where each slide would start. When finished, I went back to the beginning and began adding the images onto the Podcast track. For the half hour keynote, it took me about an hour, twice through the audio. I have now posted it online for the world to hear.

There are many ways to create a narrated slide show. This was the easiest that I have tried. I also have downloaded a piece of software called ProfCast that I will need to try very soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

EIFE-L Conference 2006

I just left the fourth annual EuroPortfolio conference sponsored by EIFE-L. My keynote presentation on the second morning was entitled, Voice and Interactivity in ePortfolios: Digital Stories and Web 2.0. It was based on two articles that I have on my website: Authentic Assessment with Electronic Portfolios using Common Software and Web 2.0 Tools and Purposes of Digital Stories in ePortfolios. I will post the podcast of my presentation here when I finish editing it, adding my slides.

One of the things I emphasized was the need for “every day-ness” or how we can make ePortfolio development a natural process integrated into everyday life supporting Lifelong and Life Wide Learning. I also mentioned Social Learning, or how we can integrate ePortfolio development with what Vygotsky told us about learning as an interactive social activity. I also mentioned that the Architecture of Interaction (Web 2.0) allows a Pedagogy of Interaction (ePortfolio 2.0).

I took the opportunity to create a new graphic that describes a "mash-up" of different Web 2.0 tools that could be combined together for a powerful ePortfolio system, using a variety of online tools that students might already be using. These are generic tools or types of digital documents that can be created by any system. The important components are interactivity and multimedia.
ePortfolio Mash-Up

I discussed three emerging Models for Portfolios
mPortfolios (Mobility)
iPortfolios (Interactivity)
Digital Stories (Voice) facilitating Individual Identity, Reflection, and Meaning Making.

Thanks to my friend Evangeline Stefanakis, I showed that Portfolios are Lived Stories and that the real power of the portfolio is personal by showing the story that I am currently living. It was a risk, but the response was gratifying.

There are some exciting developments and new tools that were shown at this conference. Every year the field matures. I did not have a chance to attend the "plug-fest" on the first day, so I was limited in my observation of the technical developments. Elizabeth Hartnell-Young will be researching the use of Nokia mobile phones in ePortfolio development in schools. I also learned that there is another ePortfolio conference planned for Asia in March. Here is the schedule:
March 19-20, 2007 - Hong Kong
March 26-27, 2007 - Melbourne, Australia
March 29-30, 2007 - Wellington, N.Z.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

PDP and ePortfolios

I am attending the first conference on "Researching and Evaluating Personal Development Planning and e-Portfolios" near Oxford, England, sponsored by the Centre for Recording Achievement. I worked with this group over two years ago, and their development is very evident in the time since 2004. They define PDP (Personal Development Planning) as
"A structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement to plan for their personal, educational and career development." Dearing (1997)
The way that ePortfolios are used, to support the PDP process, provides a different purpose for portfolio development. Whereas portfolios in the U.S. are often adopted for institution-centered assessment and accountability purposes, the planning goals in the U.K. provide an institution-mandated student-centered approach, which is very refreshing. Each institution can implement the PDP program in individual ways, so there are examples that focus on accountability; but for the most part, student learning appears to be central to the process.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Digication Spotlight

I recently tried DigiCation Spotlight, another ePortfolio tool. This was the 21st tool that I have used to re-create my electronic portfolio. The process moved pretty smoothly. All URLs had to be converted to weblinks (it did not happen automatically). The tool allowed me to reconstruct my portfolio in less than an hour, copying the information from various online portfolios.

There is no data management tool, to aggregate assessment data. Therefore, this tool might work for formative assessment (providing teacher and peer feedback on student work) but not for summative assessment. The tool does not allow comments (as in a blog) or collaborative writing (as in a wiki), so its utility is really as a presentation portfolio. At the present time, the tool does not allow exporting the portfolio as a stand-alone archive. The real advantage is the price. At the present time it is free to the first 1000 users in a school.