Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TEDx India presentation

In February 2010 I will be in Mumbai, India, at ASB Un-Plugged 2010, an International Schools Conference. Prior to the conference, I have been invited to make a presentation at TEDxASB, which will be held at the American School of Bombay on February 25th, 2010 between 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The theme of the TEDx event is “Embracing Leadership, Innovation, and Change”. The audience will consist of the participants of ASB Un-Plugged 2010 and members of the ASB community -- parents, faculty and students.

Here is my proposed presentation:

Social Networks and Interactive Portfolios: Blurring the Boundaries

Electronic Portfolios have been with us for almost two decades, used primarily in education to store documents and reflect on learning, provide feedback for improvement, and showcase achievements for accountability or employment. Social networks have emerged over the last five years, used by individuals and groups to store documents and share experiences, showcase accomplishments, communicate and collaborate with friends and family, and, in some cases, facilitate employment searches. The boundaries between these two processes are gradually blurring. As we consider the potential of lifelong e-portfolios, will they resemble the structured accountability systems that are currently being implemented in many higher education institutions? Or are we beginning to see lifelong interactive portfolios emerging as mash-ups in the Web 2.0 cloud, using blogs, wikis, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, etc.? There are many similarities between these two processes; the major differences are in extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation (Dan Pink's concept of autonomy, mastery, and purpose). This presentation will draw on Pink's new book, Drive, and how blurring the boundaries between social networks and e-portfolios could motivate people to adopt the portfolio processes of collection, reflection, selection/presentation, interaction, and collaboration to support lifelong learning.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Motivation and Selecting an ePortfolio System

I have pre-ordered Dan Pink's new book, Drive, which is all about motivation in business, but the more I read, from his newsletter and website, the more I can see application in education. Pink quotes Internet guru and author Clay Shirky (www.shirky.com):
...the most successful websites and electronic forums have a certain Type I approach [to motivation] in their DNA. They're designed-often explicitly--to tap into intrinsic motivation. You can do the same with your online presences if you listen to Shirky and:
• Create an environment that makes people feel good about participating.
• Give users autonomy.
• Keep the system as open as possible.
These criteria came to mind as I recall the following e-mail message I received a week ago:
My school district has been using a ePortfolio system for over three years now with limited success, and is currently researching ePortfolio alternatives.  While I have found numerous platforms that are currently on the market, I have not found any recent articles which compare and contrast these options.  We are particularly focused on adopting a system that will easily allow us to aggregate/export data surrounding student achievement of specific learning goals, primarily as they relate to gradation requirements, but also as a manner to track the consistency of learning and teaching which occurs across the school.

Is there a particular ePortfolio platform that you feel is especially adept at accomplishing these tasks, or an article that you might recommend?
I really wonder what he means by "limited success" but here is part of my response: [after referencing my April 22 blog entry]:
So, you need to decide whether you want an electronic portfolio or an assessment management system. When you describe "a system that will easily allow us to aggregate/export data surrounding student achievement of specific learning goals, primarily as they relate to gradation requirements, but also as a manner to track the consistency of learning and teaching which occurs across the school" that sounds like an institution-centered assessment management system, not a student-centered ePortfolio.  For what purpose of assessment? Accountability or Improvement? (see my recent blog entry and the associated White Paper). There are a variety of recommendations in that blog entry.

In a recent presentation at the Assessment Conference in Indianapolis in October, I made the following point about "Opportunity Cost" (what you give up when you make a decision). You might also be interested in an article on the Limitations of Portfolios.

I don't know what systems you have considered. Do you have a server where you could install Mahara (an open source portfolio tool created in New Zealand)? Did you look at Digication? My research is on students developing student-centered ePortfolios using a variety of free Web 2.0 tools (that they can continue to use after they graduate), primarily GoogleApps (Docs, Sites) or WordPress/EduBlogs. These systems are not used to collect quantitative data about student learning. For that purpose, you could use a data management system that allows you to link to student-centered online portfolio artifacts.

I'm not sure this answers your questions, but the tools today are very primitive, and not well balanced between accountability and improvement. Also, most of the research has been done in higher education, not in K-12. If only we could just capture the engagement of Facebook into an ePortfolio system... but I do not advocate using social networks for ePortfolios... just incorporate those strategies into ePortfolio systems. The only one I know of that tries to include those social networking strategies in a hosted system is Epsilen.com.
So, in addition to the functional criteria for evaluating e-portfolio systems, what about some motivational principles for that are aligned with Shirky's three criteria, where students feel good about participating, giving them some autonomy, while keeping the system as open as possible? Can we also consider Dan Pink's motivating workplace environment that promotes autonomy, mastery, and purpose?

Friday, December 25, 2009

The New Family Album/Diary

For the last six months, my daughter has been living with me, giving me an opportunity to observe how the younger generation lives with technology (not that I don't... but most of my generation of friends and colleagues only use email, not social networks). My Christmas presents from her today were: a windshield mount for my iPhone and a Phillips 8x10 electronic picture frame, to show up to 1,000 photos (one of the few electronic gadgets I have not already bought for myself!). She and I both have iPhones where we can both capture images... she just captures most of hers with the Facebook app and immediately uploads them to her account. Last weekend, we went to a Messiah concert, she took pictures, and had comments from her friends before the concert was over. She has developed a habit of documenting her experiences with her iPhone and Facebook, creating the 21st Century form of the family photo album and diary combined. She has demonstrated the "everydayness" of documenting her experiences because she has a handy tool, and the motivation to share among her far-flung community of friends... who provide feedback through comments.

The ability to immediately document (and also reflect) on experience, and receive immediate feedback from both peers and mentors, is what we need in the academic e-portfolio development process. I am not advocating using Facebook for academic portfolios, but I am witnessing many portfolio processes that can be supported by adding this capability to any number of available systems (already available with most blogs): a social networking app that works with a mobile device (including a camera... missing from the iPod Touch right now). The iPhone/iPod Touch also has the capability to record audio clips, important for younger learners, or those who reflect better with their voices than with their fingers. (There is Dragon Dictation on the iPhone that seems to do a fairly good job of translating spoken words to text... in a quiet place... it didn't work for me when I tried it in an airport Food Court... would that be similar to a busy classroom?).

The tools are slowly starting to emerge to facilitate the workspace/learning/process portfolio, or eDoL (Electronic Documentation of Learning). As we approach the end of this decade, and I reflect upon how much technology has changed in the last 10 years, it is pretty exciting to think about where it will be at the end of the next decade (an appropriate reflection for New Year's Eve?). It is an exciting time to be exploring the potential, and to help others find the relevance of these social networking processes in the service of lifelong learning. Such a gift!

Merry Christmas! (my annual Christmas letter)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Digital Narratives in Online Class

I just spent the afternoon reviewing and grading the final projects in the online class that I have been teaching this fall. One of the assignments was a narrated digital narrative, with the following instructions:
You will create a multimedia digital narrative (digital story with voice narration), that outlines your Technology Philosophy/Creed. This project will be submitted as a URL and embedded into your blog, and the script for your narration should include the references you used to support your statement. This digital narrative will be 4-to-5 minutes (400-500 words), recorded and illustrated with digital images, and posted online, either in YouTube/TeacherTube/SchoolTube (upload a digital video created with iMovie, MovieMaker or PhotoStory), or developed in VoiceThread.com, or developed as Powerpoint adding narration using Screenr.com. Digital images should be either Creative Commons (from Flickr search) or digital photos that you have taken or Powerpoint slides you have exported to JPEG or screenshots of educational websites. No student faces should be identifiable (see Privacy statement). 
I provided step-by-step instructions for using one of the free video editors (iMovie, MovieMaker2 or PhotoStory), and two Web 2.0 authoring tools (VoiceThread or Screenr). Given those choices, the final projects were developed using a variety of tools:
  • Screenr (7) -- many created in Powerpoint and recorded directly to Screenr website
  • VoiceThread (2)
  • a video editor (8) -- iMovie (3) and MovieMaker2 (5)
All of the students maintained a bPortfolio (blog-portfolio maintained in WordPress.com) and most of them embedded their videos using the following tools:
  • Youtube (8)
  • Screenr (5) (2 exported to YouTube)
  • motionbox (1)
  • voicethread (1) (one exported to YouTube)
  • vodpod (3) (to embed video in WordPress.com blog)
For many of these students, it was the first time they had created any type of digital video, or posted a video online. For an online class, there was no face-to-face assistance for the assignment, even though I offered to come on campus to provide a hands-on workshop (no one asked me). Some said that the hardest part of the project was embedding the video into their WordPress blogs (thus the use of vodpod.com). There was some push back when the assignment was first discussed on our last Adobe Connect Conference, but I provided both a practical and theoretical rationale. I am so pleased with the resulting assignments. I am going to ask for permission to post a few of them on the class website.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Portfolio Visualization

Nick Rate, educator and portfolio deep thinker from New Zealand, posted some simple, elegant diagrams on his blog: http://nickrate.com/2009/12/02/portfolio-visualisation/ These simple graphics help explain the progress of portfolio ownership and purpose over the school years.

There is something about these simple diagrams that help to explain a complex process. He also published a more recent blog entry that helps explain the inquiry process: http://nickrate.com/2009/12/06/inquiry-visualisation/

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Assessment, Accountability and Improvement - a paper by Peter Ewell

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) has published an occasional paper by Peter Ewell. I read an earlier version when I was at the Assessment Conference in Indianapolis in October, when I attended several sessions where Dr. Ewell discussed some of these ideas. The table below outlines two paradigms of assessment that represents two extremes along a continuum that represent tensions between improvement and accountability.

Assessment Portfolios are implemented somewhere along the continuum between those two paradigms. As I emphasized in an earlier blog entry,  the concept of Opportunity Cost should be considered here (what do we give up when we emphasize accountability or improvement based on these two paradigms of assessment?). How can we find a balance along the continuum between these two approaches? Here are some preliminary ideas for addressing the balance issues:

  • Use separate tools for assessment management and student e-portfolios?
    (Ball State’s rGrade & WSU’s Harvesting Gradebook)
  • Incorporate blogging and social networking tools for interactivity and engagement
    (Open Source Tools:  WordPress, Movable Type, Mahara)
  • Allow embedding student Web 2.0 links, including video, into their e-portfolios
  • Enable exporting e-portfolio to students’ lifetime personal webspace
  • Acknowledge the importance of both portfolio as workspace (process) & showcase (product)
  • Support student choice and voice in e-portfolios
  • Facilitate reflection for deep learning
  • Provide timely and effective feedback for improvement
  • Encourage student use of multimedia in portfolios for visual communication and literacy
    • Digital Storytelling & Podcasting
    • Picasa/Flickr slideshows
  • Acknowledge/Encourage students’ Web 2.0 digital identity

Monday, December 14, 2009

10 Reasons to use a Blog for your ePortfolio

Here is another blog entry from a faculty member at Boise State University, where I visited last week. It is refreshing to see faculty members model the use of blogs as a reflection space. Both Barbara and Lisa's blogs are developed in WordPress.com, taking advantage of the pages in addition to the blog entries. As they implement a reflective journal (aka, learning log) with their graduate students in the Educational Technology Program at Boise State, they will be providing a model of reflection that their students can emulate in their K-12 classrooms. Bravo!

Of course, all blogging tools are not created equal. I am creating this blog in Blogger, because that is the tool I started using in May 2004. Blogger allows Labels (key word tags) but not the categories available in WordPress. Blogger doesn't allow additional pages, like in WordPress. When I first started blogging, I posted duplicate entries to both a WordPress blog on my own server space (but gave it up after a few months as duplicative), and developed a portfolio using the pages and sub-pages available in WordPress.com (version 2.0+).  I keep a private personal blog in WordPress because I require a password to access the blog (or any individual entry in a public WordPress blog can require a password). So if WordPress has so many more features, why am I still writing this blog in Blogger? I think it is the user interface: Blogger is clean, simple, easy to use; I find the WordPress interface to be more cluttered, complex, but I can see its advantage for institutions that want to host the system on their own servers. For me, the major difference is that I can embed audio, video and slideshare files into my Blogger blog, but WordPress.com would require me to upgrade my account with VideoPress for an annual $60 fee (not applicable for sites hosting WordPress on their own server).

I just finished reading a dissertation written by an elementary teacher who implemented an electronic portfolio to support process writing with her fourth grade students using WordPress on a server in her school... in Greek! In the school where I worked in Turkey last month, that school is implementing e-portfolios with fourth and fifth grade students, making a transition from PowerPoint to WordPress on their own server... in Turkish! It helps to have a technology support staff! The value of this open source tool that can be installed on an institution's server, and modified to be implemented in the native language of the school, provides an easily modifiable environment to facilitate the reflection that is "the heart and soul" of a portfolio. My next project will be to test out the blogging capabilities built into the Mahara open source e-portfolio tool.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fun day at Boise State

I just spent a fun day at Boise State University, working primarily with faculty members in the Educational Technology program, to help them streamline their graduate student summative ePortfolio process. We used my "Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios" presentation and diagram as the framework for our discussions. It was really fun to talk with faculty members who knew the technology, and we were able to brainstorm strategies for building a reflective learning journal over time, to help students capture their learning (probably in a blog) throughout the program. Then, they would be more prepared to develop a final assessment portfolio at the end of the program, tied to the program standards. Overall, I was pleased with the discussion and I enjoyed seeing how a group of faculty worked together to improve their program.

At the beginning of the day, I asked how many of them had their own e-portfolios. There was a few tentative hands that went up... but at the end of my presentation, many of them who kept a blog (most using WordPress.com) were able to say that their blogs and the associated pages really represented who they were professionally. Lisa Dawley, the program chair, raised an interesting idea: to incorporate students' blog-folios into the LinkedIn professional network site, to begin building their professional network before they graduated... an interesting approach, especially as a showcase portfolio for employment and self-marketing. The LinkedIn site appears to work well with a WordPress.com blog. I am talking with schools that are using the Ning social networking site for similar purposes, all part of embedding academic work into a larger context. More to explore!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dragon Dictate for iPhone

I am writing this entry on my iPhone using Dragon Dictate, a new app available for free (for now). I am sitting in a motel room south of Reno, Nevada. Getting ready to drive back to the airport to go home after being snowbound for a day. Meeting canceled due to weather. I also left my power cord for my laptop at home. For the last day and a half, all I've had is my iPhone. Somehow it all worked. My inbox had over 100 messages sent and received in the last day. I even changed my return flight reservation on Alaska website.

I'm not sure this will replace my laptop, but I am impressed with how little I miss my laptop. And when I discovered that DragonDictate was available for the iPhone. I immediately downloaded it. I recorded 95% of this message using the software on my iPhone. Only needed to make minor changes and it has a keyboard for that purpose. I am still not comfortable dictating but I could really get used to this. Writers and researchers say there is a distinct difference between typed text, hand written text, and spoken text. It will be interesting to analyze my writing done in this format.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age

In October 2009, Google hosted a two day meeting called Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age. I've spent the afternoon watching some of the YouTube videos of the sessions. These are interesting viewpoints from some of the leaders of the technology community plus a few educators.
It is refreshing to hear the emphasis on learning, teaching, professional development, school culture, not really on the technology. I heard Linda Darling-Hammond call for another PT3 program for Teacher Education programs... yes!

I also discovered the blog that different participants contributed entries. A really interesting enry: Using Alternative Assessment Models to Empower Youth-directed Learning Including a high school senior's Digital Media Portfolio created using VoiceThread developed as part of Global Kids, Inc.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

T.H.E. Article on E-Portfolios

This article, published by T.H.E. Journal provides a shallow overview of e-portfolios in K-12 schools, mostly providing an incomplete look at the types of tools available. The author also made the following statement:
Google is probably the leading provider of mashup services and software for the creation of e-portfolios. The search giant isn't yet offering an e-portfolio product, per se, but in 2007 it began publishing a step-by-step process for combining its Google Apps software into e-portfolio mashups. On its "Google Apps E-Portfolios Mashup" web page, the company has published a series of documents describing how to mash up such applications as Google Docs, Gmail, Google Notebook, Blogger, and the iGoogle portal to, essentially, create an e-portfolio.
Google is also providing guidance specifically aimed at K-12 education. The company has published descriptions of three levels of K-12 e-portfolios: e-portfolio as storage; e-portfolio as workspace; and e-portfolio as showcase.
Lowendahl [Garner Group] is pleased to see Google getting into the e-portfolio business. He says interest from companies of such stature is necessary to secure the application's future.
I agree, it would be nice if Google was getting into the e-portfolio business, but they aren't. What the author is referencing is MY website. Here is the comment that I added to the article:
 This article provides interesting information about e-portfolios, although some of it is inaccurate and incomplete. It is true that most of the research and implementation of electronic portfolios has been in higher education. My reading of the Gartner Hype Cycle for Education, 2009, noted that ePortfolios were listed in the stage of "Sliding Into the Trough" (...of Disillusionment). To move to the next stage of the cycle (Climbing the Slope... of Enlightenment) we will need to have more research on the most appropriate strategies and "best practices" to support student learning, especially at the K-12 level.
Your reference to Google's support of ePortfolios was actually posted on MY website (http://electronicportfolios.org/google/ ). I wrote the K-12 support materials for both GoogleApps (and WordPress), linked from my web page (http://electronicportfolios.org/ and published using Google Sites). I developed the three-level model, based on my collaboration with both Washington State University and several school districts in California and Texas:
1. portfolio as storage (collection of artifacts)
2. portfolio as workspace (collection plus reflection/metacognition)
3. portfolio as showcase (selection, summative reflection and presentation)
It is also important to recognize that reflection is the "heart and soul" of a portfolio... not the technology or collection of artifacts. The real value of an e-portfolio is in the reflection and learning that is documented therein, not just the collection of work.
My note to the author: To whom at Google do I send the bill for all my development work over the last two years? ;-)

UPDATE: After having a nice conversation with the author, the online article was corrected to read:
Google is probably the leading provider of mashup services and software for the creation of e-portfolios. The search giant isn't yet offering an e-portfolio product, per se, but in 2007 educator Helen Barrett, who has been researching strategies and technologies for e-portfolios since 1991, began publishing a step-by-step process for combining Google Apps software into e-portfolio mashups. On her "Google Apps E-Portfolios Mashup" web page, she describes how to join such applications as Google Docs, Gmail, Google Notebook, Blogger, and the iGoogle portal to create an e-portfolio.
Barrett also provides guidance specifically aimed at K-12 education. She has published descriptions of three levels of K-12 e-portfolios: e-portfolio as storage; e-portfolio as workspace; and e-portfolio as showcase.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Keynote in Spain and Motivation

After an exhausting trip from Istanbul, we arrived in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) last night. Just finished keynote address at ePortfolio conference for a national group working on ePortfolios in Spain. Great translation in the morning... none in the afternoon. My Spanish (from a short course over a year ago) isn't up to listening to presentations, but enjoying conversations during breaks and formal dinner. I hope that I can get their publications in digital format, so that I can read translated versions, because many of the ideas expressed in the meeting were very exciting. Some mentioned their use of social networking strategies; others recognized that faculty need to change their teaching and assessment strategies for ePortfolios to best support student learning. I was on a panel where a student teacher talked with great enthusiasm about her ePortfolio... I just wish I had her remarks in English to study further.

The wonders of the Internet! At dinner, one of the participants came up to me and said he didn't speak English, but he followed my blog through RSS (and translated it)! That's motivation (for me to continue writing this blog... and not spend as much time on Twitter)! Speaking of Motivation, I just watched Dan Pink's TED speech and found out about his new book, Drive (about Motivation in business). From his website:
The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
How do these principles of Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose, as he discusses in relationship to motivation in business, apply to EDUCATION? Could the appropriate development of an ePortfolio be part of that process? Could an ePortfolio process be developed using these principles? Anxious for the book to come out in January, to see if there are some applications of his analysis to my field. I have gained so much from A Whole New Mind, his book about "the six essential [right-brained] aptitudes on which professional success and personal fulfillment now depend" (Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, Purpose).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Wonderful Week in Istanbul

We just finished a wonderful four days at Enka Schools in Istanbul, working with 4th & 5th grade teachers on ePortfolios, and a few of their students developing digital stories... in English, their second language! They were wonderful, very short stories about themselves or their best friends, and their enthusiasm was energizing. They have new skills to enrich their ePortfolios, now in Powerpoint, but soon they will explore more interactive tools, on their own WordPress server.

It was an interesting experience having all of my presentations translated... forcing me to slow down, reduce my content to the most critical elements. An interesting insight: There is no word for REFLECTION in Turkish, so they had to use a version of "thinking about your thinking/learning."

On Saturday, we had a tour of the historical center of Istabul. Now we are getting ready to leave for Spain. More later... with photos!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

mPortfolios (m=mobile)

Nick Rate, an educator from New Zealand (and fellow ADE) who published a paper last year for the Ministry of Education on Assessment for Learning and ePortfolios, has just written a few blog posts about using mobile devices to maintain student-centered mPortfolios using the iPod Touch. As he said in a previous post last year:
I see a huge potential in how mobile technologies can contribute to this area and it relates closely to some of the core beliefs I have about ePortfolios. The ability to share, for the purpose of receiving relevant and constructive feedback to improve learning, can only really happen if the learning is shared or made available almost immediately.

The web can make his happen. A blog post with embedded media takes minutes and then it’s there, ready to share. But a web based portfolio does not necessarily mean that parents will view it and share in the learning. And if they do, will they leave a comment? Will they view the learning with their child?
The physical presence of a portable device, like an iPod touch, could significantly change this. A child bringing home an iPod containing their learning gives an opportunity for sharing, not dependent on a broadband connection, taking only on a few minutes of time with mum or dad. Feedback is instant. Praise here and a suggestion here. Done.
His most recent blog posts focus on some of the software available for the iPod Touch that could be used to support mPortfolios:
  • ePortfolios and mLearning Part 1 - a look at Apps available for the iPod Touch: WordPress (works with EduBlogs), Evernote, BlogPress (works with Blogger), Tumblr, BlogWriter, and Tubey, all having a web-based version to host the text, images and video. 
  • ePortfolios and mLearning Part 2 - a look at popular Web 2.0 ePortfolio solution and support from a mobile device: WordPress/Edublogs, GoogleSites, Blogger, Elgg, Blackboard, PebblePad.
I learned about a few new apps available for the iPod Touch/iPhone, and his discussion raises a lot of possibilities for developing mPortfolios. The challenge is in the interactivity: a web browser is needed to add comments and provide feedback. It looks like these tools can support the presentation but not necessarily the conversation about learning. Still, these developments are in the right direction, especially when combined with web-based solutions that provide the interactivity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Google storage changes

Yesterday I received a notice from Google that my online storage of GMail and Picasa photos was being changed from $20 to $5 per year, or my storage allocation was increased to 80 GB for the same $20. Needless to say, I reduced my service until I find out what might be on the horizon in terms of Google storage. Might I soon be able to store more than just email and photos? Does this mean that Google's long-rumored web drive is about to appear? 80 GB would be well worth $20/year, and there were additional levels for additional fees, up to 16 terabytes (for over $4,000/year). The possibilities are exciting for my work in lifelong portfolios. Hmmmm....
Sent from my iPhone
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

CIC CAO Presentation

Here are my slides for the Council of Independent College' Chief Academic Officers Institute, held in Sante Fe, New Mexico over this last weekend. I found it interesting that there was no Internet access provided by this conference, although the hotel charged a daily fee. I ended up just using my iPhone, and found a cafe with free wifi (to clean out my Inbox). I am now in the Albuquerque airport with slow but free wifi.

I will be developing a guided tour to my part of the Teach21 website that was developed as part of CIC's project developed under a Microsoft U.S. Partners in Learning grant. As part of that tour, I will be creating a narrated version of this slide presentation, which will also be posted to the CIC website. The narrated version should be available by the end of the year.

Friday, November 06, 2009

CIC Website: Teachers for the 21st Century

I have been working on this new website for the last five months, and it will be announced and showcased at The Council of Independent Colleges annual Institute for Chief Academic Officers, to be held in Santa Fe on November 7-10, 2009. The website includes the ten webinars that I did for CIC under a Partners in Education program funded by Microsoft (seven on electronic portfolios, three on digital storytelling). I also helped the faculty members develop the digital stories that are embedded in this site.  I learned a lot about converting WMV-to-Flash video and discovered Motionbox as a website to store videos online. I also published a simplified version of the content on my website.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

[Portfolios] Here, There, & Everywhere

Campus Technology just published another article about ePortfolios (where I am quoted extensively). I'm not sure if she quoted my blog, or the ePortfolio Track keynote that I did last week, when I said I thought that universities should be getting out of the portfolio storage business, giving students control of their own web space to store their portfolio documents, using Web 2.0-based storage systems. My response to the article:
Thanks for quoting some of my work. There are some standards under development in the U.K. (LEAP2A) which resemble blogging standards for interoperability. There is a student side and an institution side to the e-portfolio process. The student side is the Personal Learning Environment (as indicated in the article); the institution side is more of an assessment management system. We need to be careful that the standards don't over-structure the PLE side of the e-portfolio so that personalization and creativity are diminished... that is the situation today with most of the commercial and open source e-portfolio tools. The article didn't mention WSU's Harvesting Gradebook which keeps track of assessment data, letting the student use a variety of Web 2.0-based portfolio artifacts. We need more R&D on better tools that keep the portfolio development and assessment processes distinct but interconnected. At the Assessment Institute in Indianapolis last week, I proposed that there is an Opportunity Cost in the way we implement portfolios for accountability vs. portfolios for learning/improvement. Student engagement supporting lifelong learning strategies should be as important as collecting data for accreditation. Finding balance in the process is the challenge.
 The article mentions the Gartner Hype Cycle for Education, 2009, and ePortfolios were listed in the stage of "Sliding Into the Trough" (...of disillusionment, where we say "woah, we were sold down the river"). To move to the next stage of the cycle (Climbing the Slope... of Enlightenment, where we say, "no, come to think of it, used in the right way, this can be good") will be a challenge: figuring out "the right way" from which philosophical perspective? Accountability or Learning/Improvement?

Monday, November 02, 2009

E-portfolios in formative & summative assessment in UK

The final report, plus case studies (34 in total) from the "Study on the role of e-portfolios in formative and summative assessment practices" by a team led by the Centre of Recording Achievement (U.K.), are now available from JISC:
Interesting reading from higher education in U.K.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Northwest eLearning Conference

I just finished attending another conference with my daughter: the Northwest eLearning Conference held in Nampa, Idaho. She and I led a pre-conference workshop entitled, "Voice and Reflection in ePortfolios: Multiple Purposes of Digital Stories and Podcasts in ePortfolio," and our slides are posted on SlideShare (embedded here).
It was the first event we have done together since she attended the Center for Digital Storytelling workshop in August. We didn't have time to do anything hands-on, but we were able to show many examples and cover the process, as shown in these slides. Most of the examples are online, with the links on the slides. (I won't comment too much about the difficulty I had in hooking up my Macbook Air to their projector… I ended up using a monitor for the small group, with my own speakers. Later that day, I took all on my videos out of my keynote presentation, and just transferred my slides over to the presentation computer… which was being used for both projecting to the room and on Adobe Connect. Ah, the frustrations of being a Mac user… still!)

Then, I provided the opening keynote address entitled, "Interactive ePortfolios: Using Web 2.0 tools to Provide Feedback on Student Learning." My slides are also posted here from Slideshare.
I think I opened a lot of eyes about the multiple purposes for portfolios, and the challenges of balancing formative and summative assessment in portfolio development. The pressure of accreditation seems to be driving the push toward portfolios; I think my message of "what's in it for the students" is starting to make people think about the tension between the two approaches. My conversations with faculty after my presentation led me to the conclusion that there is not a lot of experience with ePortfolios, and therefore, not a lot of research to support their implementation in many of these small colleges and universities. I probably unsettled a lot of people who were considering the adoption of different tools. My focus was on the process, and I only talked about a variety of Web 2.0 tools, and none of the commercial tools available. My presentation was recorded with Adobe Connect and is available online.

Later in that afternoon, Erin made her first conference presentation on teaching English Language Learning in Second Life. She was much braver than me… I never count on a live Internet connection for my keynote presentations… only for hands-on workshops. She included participants in her Cypris Chat community, both the founder of the group and some of the student participants. She uploaded her slides into Second Life, and made her presentation "in-world" for both the guests in-world as well as those of us present in the room. I was very proud of her and thought the presentation went very well. She will be repeating the presentation in-world with a group of graduate students from UNLV next week, and then will be doing a conference presentation at the Hawaii International Conference on Education in January, where she cannot count on Internet access. So, she will create some videos to use in her presentation to substitute for a live demo.

In all, most of this has been a good trip, including the eight hour drive each way! I hope I made some contacts that will lead to more collaboration with higher education institutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Assessment Institute

Yesterday, I conducted a day-long pre-conference workshop on Web 2.0 Tools for Formative Assessment and Interactive ePortfolios. Today, I gave the ePortfolio track keynote (my slides are embedded here) at IUPUI's Assessment Institute. I recognize the perspective on assessment in the ePortfolio process in higher education that I see here at this conference. It was interesting at the opening session to see the number of people who stood up when asked if they were using standardized assessments (or e-portfolios) and sit down if they thought that method did not enhance student learning; most people using standardized measures sat down... more people using e-portfolios remained standing. An interesting response! In my keynote, I emphasized the concept of Opportunity Cost (what do we give up when we emphasize accountability or improvement (learning) based on Two Paradigms of Assessment (Ewell, 2008). Here are the slides that emphasized these concepts:

This was the first time I have presented these slides, but I intend to write more about these ideas, and share them with other educators who may (or may not!) be wrestling with this tension.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Limitations of Portfolios

Today, Shavelson, Klein & Benjamin published an online article on Inside Higher Ed entitled, "The Limitations of Portfolios." The comments to that article are even more illuminating, and highlight the debate about electronic portfolios vs. accountability systems... assessment vs. evaluation. These arguments highlight what I think is a clash in philosophies of learning and assessment, between traditional, behaviorist models and more progressive, cognitive/constructivist models.
  • How do we build assessment strategies that bridge these two approaches? Or is the divide too wide?
  • Do these different perspectives support the need for multiple measures and triangulation?
(It reminds me of the current culture clash we are seeing in our larger society today. Is this the equivalent of a red-state/blue-state perspective on assessment/accountability?)

My viewpoint on assessment is through my work with e-portfolios, which are not always developed for the purpose of assessment or accountability. My track keynote at the Assessment Institute in Indianapolis on Monday, October 26, is on "Balancing the Two Faces of E-Portfolios." Those two faces are:  the "portfolio as workspace," a formative approach to support learning with feedback for improvement; and the "portfolio as showcase" of achievements, often used for summative assessment, accountability, or marketing and employment.  I am concerned with the "opportunity cost"* of using ePortfolios for summative assessment.
  • What is the opportunity cost of emphasizing accountability in portfolios over reflection and deep learning?
  • What learning opportunities are we missing when we completely structure a learner’s portfolio, as often happens in many of the commercial e-portfolio tools in use today?
*opportunity cost: the alternative you give up when you make a decision…the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Changes over 25 years

I just received an email from my graduate school, offering me a free "branded" email address via their Google Apps domain and a free ePortfolio via Epsilen. What a change since I was in that program, when we struggled with online communication using private proprietary systems, then CompuServe, AOL, etc. Of course, I was immersed in all of the changes over the last 25 years; I defended my dissertation in 1990, prior to public access to the Internet. Now I think about the changes in this decade, especially Web 2.0, and wonder what will happen in the next decade. It is pretty exciting to be a lifelong learner today, especially with Personal Learning Networks, facilitated by Twitter, Facebook, Ning, Google, RSS, etc.! I made the following statement at the end of my dissertation in 1990:
It has been my opinion that through the process of learning to use a personal computer, adult learners can gain a better understanding of their own learning processes. For some people, the process may awaken a spark or capacity for independent learning that may have been unrealized. Perhaps the process of learning to use a personal computer has the potential to enhance our self directed learning skills as well as our self-esteem and confidence in our own abilities as lifelong learners.
In the future, personal computers and interactive multimedia will provide a whole new environment for self-directed learning, not just for learning about the technology, but as a process to explore new bodies of knowledge. A computer providing access to vast storehouses of visual as well as textual data, will be the catalyst for a major change in adult, self-directed learning.
I believe this prediction has been realized today, only the details have changed: from personal computers to mobile devices, and we aren't just exploring knowledge... we are producing it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Real-Time Collaboration Tools

I received my Google Wave invitation last Thursday night, but only know one colleague who has an account, so I haven't spent a lot of time playing with it. In the class that I am teaching using free/open tools, we thought we would try Google's Sidewiki to facilitate collaboration. This tool only works with specific browsers, and software must be downloaded and installed. Even though I did that on my Mac (Firefox only) and my Windows XP netbook, I am getting inconsistent results. I am finding it to be buggy (I see different things in the sidewiki on the same pages, depending on which Google account I am using... not good). So, we are going to try a different solution: http://etherpad.com/

EtherPad has the real-time collaboration of Google Wave, but doesn't require an account invitation or even a log-in: you just click a button on the first page and you are ready to edit. Click another button, and you can invite collaborators. Copy the URL, and you can share the site with others. At first, I embedded a Public EtherPad into a Google Sites page in our course, and we edited it there. Later, I replaced the "live" page with a recording of the entire session. There is a Play button and a Time Slider to play back the document. Paste in a URL, and it is converted to a link automatically. We didn't add any multimedia, like you are supposed to be able do with Google Wave, but our focus was really on the conversation in text. We will use this tool in our class as an example of a real-time collaboration tool.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Another ePortfolio video

This 3-minute video was created by Sònia Guilana,  to explain eportfolios to her high school students (12-18) in Catalonia, Spain. Great images! Nice, simple explanation.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Digital Down Low

Just saw this link on a New Zealand listserv. Great resource on using GoogleApps for ePortfolios.
Also a nice video to introduce ePortfolios to students (the author, Matt Montagne of Palo Alto, quoted my Google blog entry... several times!):

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Teaching a course with open tools

This week, I am beginning to team-teach a graduate course for Seattle Pacific University entitled, "Issues and Advances in Educational Technology" using a Google Site for the course content and a private Google Group for the class discussions.  David Wicks (my co-developer) and I thought it would be important for students to not only study these advances at a theoretical level, but also to experience these emerging technologies on a practical level. We also thought we should use tools that are free for teachers to implement in their classrooms. We are also using web-based readings rather than a textbook for the course content.

We recognize that there is a steeper learning curve with this approach, especially with most other SPU courses being implemented within Blackboard... but few schools use Blackboard. We are simply replacing desktop computer-based tools (bookmarks, word processing, web page authoring) with Internet-based tools (delicious.com, GoogleDocs, Google Sites). We are encouraging our graduate students to think about the application of these tools to their own situations in their classrooms.

We also wanted to model the collaboration that is possible using Google Sites: we kept most of our comments on the pages where we discussed the content and development process of the course as it was being constructed. We also set up a Notes on Development page, using the Announcements page type in Google Sites, as a journal or page (with entries organized in reverse-chronological order) where we documented our development process... much like a blog without RSS feeds.

Speaking of RSS feeds... when you are a member of a Google Site, you can go to More Actions and Subscribe to Page Changes (for the page you are on) or Subscribe to Site Changes (for the entire site). Any time a change is made to the page or site, you will receive an email showing the changes. For collaborative projects, this feature is essential! But it can add significantly to your email volume. So, we provided advice to our students on how to manage email from this class. We will be asking the students for feedback on the process and using these open tools, and I will blog about the process periodically over the semester.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Group Brainstorming with GoogleDocs

I have been doing a brainstorming activity for a while with groups, but yesterday, it was especially productive. I was doing a workshop on e-portfolios at a community college. We spent the morning exploring issues of e-portfolio development in a large group, lecture-style. After lunch, we moved to a computer lab, where I led them through several exercises to help them put together a plan for implementation. I did an almost identical set of exercises in my workshop in New Hampshire in August, but it took a lot longer because then we were using pen and paper.

On Friday, I had the participants organize in groups (sitting together around a person who had a Google account). Each team gave themselves a name. Then I had each team set up a GoogleDoc to store their brainstorming ideas, sharing these documents with me and the person in the organization who was responsible for the meeting, who needed a record of all of their work… I just needed to share their results on the projector so all could see. It is so much more efficient than paper and pencil or flipcharts and markers. I know this is not an original idea… it just worked so well for me, especially when they shortened my afternoon workshop by one hour (so that participants could avoid Friday afternoon traffic in Boston… I soon found out what they meant as I made my way toward the airport!)

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Official Google Docs Blog entry

I just wrote a guest blog entry on the Official Google Docs Blog on Electronic Portfolios in GoogleApps. It was an interesting process... trying to compress my thoughts into 500 words! But we used a shared Google Doc document that currently has 597 revisions! It was fun to edit a document with someone who really understands the collaborative editing capabilities of Google Docs.

Also made it on the Google Student blog as Creating your digital resume. I've been given a lot of titles (ePortfolio guru, the grandmother of ePortfolios) but on Twitter today there was a first: ePortfolio jedi master!

Another 15 minutes of fame on the Internet! And another public mention of writing a book... I guess I need to get it written!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Open Action Research Project

Posted to my website today:
I am embarking on a new form of research, to be conducted online. Participation is open to K-12 teachers or teacher educators. To be a full participant in this open action research project, teachers need to do the following:
  1. Set up a new blog to document your process of implementing ePortfolios with your students. Use Blogger, WordPress, Edublogs, or any blog that has RSS feeds. Send your blog address to Dr. Barrett by email. Describe your context (grade level/subject, type of school, state where you are located, whether you are urban, suburban or rural, etc.).
  2. Create a blog entry that outlines your goals for implementing portfolios with your students - and create a web page that describes those goals for both students and parents. This web page could be on your school web space, or a Web 2.0 space such as Google Sites. Send the web page address to Dr. Barrett, when you get it posted.
  3. Maintain weekly blog entries about the process, including what you did, what your students did, examples of instructional materials that you used (or developed). Dr. Barrett will follow your RSS feed and will respond as time permits by commenting on your blog.
  4. Enroll in Dr. Barrett's Google Group on K12 ePortfolios with other teachers participating in the project. In this group, Dr. Barrett will post suggestions and answer questions about the ePortfolio development process using Web 2.0 tools. Due to limited time and resources, answers will be limited to the use of blogs, wikis, GoogleApps and other free Web 2.0 tools, not on using commercial or open source tools. The primary communication will be through email posts to the group. (This group is moderated to avoid spam.)
  5. For those who like to Twitter, use the following tag #web2eportfolios or join the group: http://www.twibes.com/group/web2eportfolios
  6. Use the following resources to support implementation of ePortfolios in K-12 schools:

  7. If you are alone in your school, trying to implement ePortfolios, find a partner and get your principal's support! My previous research shows that it really takes a school team and strong leadership to effectively implement ePortfolios. Let's see what we all learn together!
If you maintain weekly blog entries, you may schedule periodic Skype conversations with Dr. Barrett to discuss your specific implementation strategies, issues and concerns.

"Hot on Twitter"

I just finished a Classroom 2.0 webinar on Interactive ePortfolios, and there was some technical problem with my slides, so they started to use my SlideShare version. (For the first time in years, I printed out my slides... good thing! Paper? Oh, well... it all worked out.) I received the following email from Slideshare during my presentation:
"Classroom2.0" is being tweeted more than any other document on SlideShare right now. So we've put it on the homepage of SlideShare.net (in the "Hot on Twitter" section).

Well done, you!

- SlideShare Team
Wow... 15 minutes of fame!

UPDATE on 9/22:  Another email from SlideShare:
Your presentation is currently being featured on the SlideShare homepage by our editorial team.

We thank you for this terrific presentation, that has been chosen from amongst the thousands that are uploaded to SlideShare everday.

Congratulations! Have a Great Day!,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another Midnight Class

Last night, I worked with a group of elementary teachers at midnight (for me), lunchtime for them... in Mumbai! I am starting an ePortfolio project with teachers at the American School of Bombay. This is a school with 1-1 laptops from third grade! And I get to visit the school for a conference at the end of February 2010, when I will get a chance to meet the teachers face-to-face, and see the ePortfolios that their students are building. They are part of my research for my book.

This time, I shared my desktop with Adobe Connect, and they called my phone for the audio. I was told the screensharing was much better that using Skype's new feature, and phone audio was more consistent... and when you have teachers on a short lunch break, that is important. We are also using a Ning social network between sessions. The school bought the elementary teachers Elizabeth Hebert's book, The Power of Portfolios, covering the pedagogy of portfolios in elementary schools. The book doesn't address the use of technology for this process, but together we will select the appropriate tools for students to use.  There are three third-grade teachers participating... it will be fun to see what their students can manage. It won't be a typical school situation, but I know we will learn a lot from each other.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Introducing DataLiberation.org: Liberate your data!

Today, the leader of Google's Data Liberation Front announced his team's efforts to "allow users to transfer their personal data in and out of Google's services by building simple import and export functions." As explained in the blog entry,
... a liberated product is one which has built-in features that make it easy (and free) to remove your data from the product in the event that you'd like to take it elsewhere....

We've already liberated over half of all Google products, from our popular blogging platform Blogger, to our email service Gmail, and Google developer tools including App Engine. In the upcoming months, we also plan to liberate Google Sites and Google Docs (batch-export).
This feature has huge implications for using Google tools for ePortfolio development.  Just as they announced last month that you could transfer a Google Site from a GoogleApps for Education domain to another Google account you own, this looks like a systemic approach to data portability, to transfer data out of Google, should you so choose.  This is an open standards approach which will be interesting to watch. The only thing is... where else would I put that data? Are other cloud computing companies going to follow suit?

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some Interesting New Links

Google Wave – how will it change the online learning landscape?

This blog entry, from a university in New Zealand, points out the potential advantages of Google Wave over a traditional Learning Management System (LMS). I love the quote,
"On every investment, one expects at least some positive return. As far as LMS’s go the students actually get none! All the work they do in a course over the semester is lost as the courses on LMS’s are recycled for use next semester. As far as the notion of ePortfolios go, Google Wave will have a huge impact upon selection of what tool to go with and a positive spin for the students who’ll be able to showcase all of three years work to prospect employees." 
Amen! I am so anxious to get my hands on Google Wave! I hear a beta release is due out September 30, 2009, to a select group of users. Other recent blog posts:

A Virtual Revolution Is Brewing for Colleges - washingtonpost.com

Will the Internet Revolution have the same impact on Higher Education as it has on the newspaper industry? This quote is disturbing to me:
The typical 2030 faculty will likely be a collection of adjuncts alone in their apartments, using recycled syllabuses and administering multiple-choice tests from afar.
To me, that statement reflects a misunderstanding of both teaching and assessment.

Ask-Dr-Kirk: E-portfolios A Useful Tool For Both Students And Faculty 

The attachment on this page is by J. Elizabeth Clark, Professor of English, and Bret Eynon, Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning, both of Laguardia Community College, CUNY entitled "E-portfolios at 2.0—Surveying the Field" published by AAC&U, Winter 2009. This is a good overview of the current issues in implementing ePortfolios on a national and international scale. Providing a good counter-argument to the Washington Post article, the paper identifies the Four Major Drivers of Portfolio Use:
  1. pedagogical change in higher education, a growing interest in student-centered active and integrative learning
  2. technological capacity to document and publish diverse forms of student learning online... and the experience of learners with social networking tools
  3. the pressure for increased accountability in higher education, facilitating a more classroom-based and faculty-driven alternative form of assessment
  4. the need for “an education passport,” a way for mobile students—and professionals—to represent their learning and carry it with them as they move from one setting to another.
One emphasis of the LaGuardia ePortfolio is their attention to visual rhetoric in students' portfolios [increasing personalization and creativity]. A quote from this article supports the notion that the loss of visual richness in "fill-in-the-blanks" types of ePortfolio systems does not allow the level of student engagement that an ePortfolio should encourage, along with my issues of balancing student ownership with institutional accountability:
Through e-portfolios we have an opportunity to harness the power of imagery and digital media to advanced cognitive processes. If standardized presentations become the norm, it may jeopardize student enthusiasm and miss an opportunity to connect academic discourse to the visually rich multimedia universe. (p.21)
...if e-portfolios are only assessment tools, without value or meaning to the students who create them, they will lose vitality and become an exercise in discipline and surveillance. (p.23)
Another Amen! The article also quotes me (about different approaches to ePortfolios and assessment) during a panel at the ePortfolio Conference held at Laguardia in April 2008.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Discovering your "something"

Today, President Obama said:
Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide.
He also told students, "stay focused, find something you're passionate about... set goals and work hard to achieve them." I would add: How will you know what that "something" is? We all need a space where we discover, explore, and document what we are good at... what we have to offer. What better place for than exploration than a reflective portfolio, to highlight our strengths and passions? In an online journal/portfolio, we can share our goals and dreams with ourselves and our teachers, friends and family. That's an opportunity an ePortfolio can provide.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Google Sites

I worked on developing two new Google Sites this weekend to support ePortfolio development in both K-12 schools and in higher education:
  • GoogleApps ePortfolios - a resource on using Google Apps for Education (and specifically Google Sites) to develop and maintain ePortfolios
  • WordPress E-Portfolios - resource on using WordPress or Edublogs to develop and maintain ePortfolios
I am inviting other educators with experience using these tools to participate in developing these two sites. I intend to use these sites as part of the research for my book, also inviting teachers who want to implement ePortfolios with Web 2.0 tools to participate in the research. I will be formulating a plan which will be announced right after Labor Day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Google Apps/Sites updates

It just gets better and better! For a large company, Google is very responsive to making upgrades to its software. Now we can transfer Google sites between owners (i.e., from an education domain to a personally owned Google account). Now, ePortfolios created in one domain can be transferred to another! That is just what we have been waiting for! Now these ePortfolios can be transferred between accounts, making these sites as portable as blogs! They also improved the Announcements page.
In July, Google also announced changes to the Navigation Bar in Google Sites, to automatically generate links to pages as they are created (the option needs to be set for sites created prior to July 2009: More Actions -> Manage Site -> Site Layout ->edit [Navigation] -> Automatically organize my navigation). They also allowed more flexibility in HTML coding embedded in Google Sites pages.
In the last entry, Google announced a new attachment section was added to the Google Sites management section for easier management of all uploaded attachments to Google Sites. Now you can see all attachments and which page they appear! Very useful for an ePortfolio. I wonder if you can generate a link to an attachment from another page?
(Thanks to Kathy Schrock's tweets for keeping me current on these changes. Her recent blog entry on how her district is implementing GoogleApps is very insightful.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Two diverse workshops

This week I was "on the road again" to Texas and Ohio. In Texas, I worked with 3rd-8th grade teachers in a school district, focusing on ePortfolios and the three levels of implementation using a blogging platform (they are using EduBlogs which is based on WordPress). In a previous entry, I provided a link to the diagram that I developed to explain the process between Level 2 (collection+reflection in blog entries) and Level 3 (selection+reflection in thematically-organized pages). After sharing this diagram with my colleagues at Seattle Pacific University, I modified the diagram for higher education, based on how they are actually developing "bPortfolios" using WordPress.com. So I have posted both a K-12 version and a higher education version of my latest concept map. I also set up a Google Site to support my work with the district.

During the latter part of the week, I worked with a small college in Ohio to help a group of faculty members to adopt one new Web 2.0 tool in one of their classes this fall and next spring. I introduced a range of technologies, modeling the use of Google Sites and GoogleDocs. I love it when I learn something new while I am teaching: in a discussion of RSS, I learned how to subscribe to changes in a Google site (by eMail, not RSS). We also explored blogs, Twitter, networking through Google groups and Ning. I also wrapped up the workshop with an introduction to digital storytelling, with lots of higher ed examples. The participants downloaded Audacity, and explored ways that they could add audio clips to their courses in their CMS. From feedback, I hear that they want more on digital storytelling (no surprise!). I will be back there in January for a feedback and sharing session before the spring semester. I will also provide an introduction to creating digital stories (script development, image selection), so that they can prepare a digital story about their learning by the end of the school year. I will be back in late April or early May to do a hands-on workshop so that they can construct their stories. The faculty participants had new laptops (either Mac or Windows), but the experience was almost the same, since we were focusing on web-based tools. I am looking forward to working with them over the rest of this school year, to help these faculty tell the story of their Web 2.0 discoveries.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ePortfolio Conferences in 2010

So far, here are the dates for ePortfolio meetings or conferences in 2010:

ePortfolio Europe, 8th conference
sponsored by EIFE-L: July 5-7, 2010, at Savoy Place (not the hotel!) in London.

AAEEBL's first ePortfolio Conference: July 19-21, 2010, in Boston. Conference co-located with and managed by Campus Technology. Co-hosted by The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). (date correction as of 9/29/09-- formerly listed as July 27-29, 2010)

Also, prior to the AAC&U conference, there will be a one-day ePortfolio Day on January 20, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blog Portfolio Model

I am in Texas, working with a school district, where they are implementing ePortfolios using EduBlogs (WordPress). Here is a new model that I created to help explain the process. I was reading David Warlick's Classroom Blogging book on the plane ride from Seattle to Dallas, and the concept of blogging as a conversation really resonated with me, as the left side of this diagram reflects. This model works with any blogging tool that also allows pages, such as Movable Type. I added a full size version of the graphic on one of my web pages.

Monday, August 03, 2009

What if...

This teacher's application to the Google Teacher Academy... the essence of an ePortfolio. I hope he got in!

Friday, July 31, 2009

David Warlick's ePortfolio features

David Warlick wrote about The Next Killer App? (e-portfolios!) in his blog, where he outlines a very nice list of features for eportfolio assessment. My response to his blog and the very interesting comments that followed:
I applaud your list of features, which exist in one form or another somewhere on the internet. The challenge is putting them together into one system without making it very complex. I have experience with a lot of the commercial and open source e-portfolio systems, and the learning curve/ease of use is a challenge. In my blog– http://electronicportfolios.org/blog –I am discussing a lot of the issues of e-portfolios for learning. I have seen e-portfolios in teacher education programs move from stories of deep learning to checklists of standards/competencies. There exists a lot of confusion about e-portfolios: are they reflective journals? or are they assessment management systems? I believe the current collection of commercial tools were developed in response to the NCATE 2000 Teacher Education Program Standards. The problem with ePortfolio tools today is their genesis in higher education. There are very few tools that were created specifically for K-12, and especially usable by primary students.

After the last NECC, I wrote a blog entry (http://bit.ly/LZRM3) where I discussed ePortfolios and the new Accountability Systems discussed in the Obama Education Plan. There needs to be a wider discussion of the implementation of the e-portfolio process in K-12 schools, that is not tool-specific, but provides educators with a range of Web 2.0 technologies to support BOTH student learning and institutional accountability. Right now, I advocate using separate tools to meet these disparate purposes, because I believe that the capability for student personalization and creativity always takes a back seat to data collection and aggregation in these all-in-one systems. My blog entry on Which ePortfolio Tool? (http://bit.ly/4otfoo) outlines some of these issues. I also discuss “Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolio” on my website and in conference presentations and keynotes: http://electronicportfolios.org/balance/ (I believe we need to separate the workspace from the showcase; the process from the product; the learning portfolio from the presentation portfolio.) David, your work on Classroom Blogging is, for me, the foundation of a reflective Learning Portfolio.

Let’s keep up the dialogue. I think some of the best thinking on ePortfolios is happening in New Zealand, where they have published several interesting White Papers, and they are addressing the issues from the students’ learning needs. They have developed a very interesting e-portfolio model (http://bit.ly/RjoaJ) that includes a database to store artifacts or links to documents stored anywhere on the Web. Such a database could be used to organize all of the artifacts for use in a portfolio (regardless of the tool to be used to construct the presentation portfolio). With the Internet, the process is really one of hyperlinking and, as I learned from Hall Davidson at NECC: “All you need is an EMBED code!”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Micro blogging - Twitter

I've decided to take the plunge into Twitter, to see if it is a Web 2.0 tool that can be applied to the ePortfolio process. I signed up for Twitter in early 2008, because my first tweet was about preparing for my last trip to Hawaii... then I forgot all about it until NECC 2009, where it seemed to be the social networking tool of choice this year; so I wrote a second tweet about being at NECC with my daughter. In the last week, David Wicks encouraged me to try Twitter (see my last blog entry), so I decided to start learning. I found a SlideShare Twitter workshop (with link to YouTube videos) and another tutorial presentations that are good at explaining the process and how to interpret a tweet.

I am concerned about the 140 character limit of a tweet... Is that really appropriate for reflection? Does it just encourage short, shallow writing, compared to the deeper dialogue that can be facilitated using a blog or wiki? I am able to interpret the unique language of Twitter, but also realize there is a learning curve and a protocol to be learned. I forget my early experiences with Blogger more than five years ago, so I don't know if the blogging process is easier. I figured out how to post URLs to a tweet, so I set up an account on bit.ly to accompany my Twitter account and keep track of all of the URLs that I include. Now I am exploring the educational applications of this tool. I found a cute news video about a kindergarten class using Twitter in Seattle. It seems like the power of Twitter is the critical mass of users (like Facebook for social networking), but what about privacy of K-12 students? I also want to explore Edmodo, a micro-blogging application for K-12 students and teachers, which was created to address this issue.
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