Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Corporate e-portfolios

From the newsletter I received today from Eliot Masie's Learning TRENDS:

Learner Portfolios Emerging - Win for Instructors & Learners: I have been tracking an increase in interest by Corporate Learning leaders to experiment with the use of e-Portfolios for their learners. These are used in Universities, creating a sharable file for each student with an updated resume, personal statement, examples of work and other assets that would be of interest to future employers and current teachers.  A few companies are now conducting experiments with e-Portfolios, allowing learners to build a profile that is of high value when they enroll for internal corporate training programs.  Imagine being able to see profiles of each learner in a leadership development program, with their backgrounds, perspectives, work samples and more.  Some LMS systems are adding e-portfolio options and there are a number of robust open source projects detailed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_portfolio

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Presentations at AAEEBL in July

I am doing three presentations or workshops at the ePortfolio Conference hosted by AAEEBL in July in Boston:
  • Workshop on Monday, July 19, 2010: Your Digital Self: Web 2.0 as Personal Learning Environment and E-Portfolio
    Web 2.0 tools facilitate self-expression, reflection, online interaction and feedback. This hands-on workshop will focus on Web 2.0 tools that can be used to construct a PLE for a variety of purposes, and provide a broader look at using these tools within the context of ePortfolios and Digital Identity Development: Web Aggregators/AJAX Start Pages, Blogs & RSS Feeds, Social Networks/Twitter, and Interactive Productivity Tools/GoogleApps. Bring your wireless laptop!

  • Keynote Address on Wednesday, July 21, 2010:
    Blurring the Boundaries between ePortfolio Development and Social Networking
    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 achievement 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?

  • Presentation TBA: 
    The Future of mPortfolios (m=mobile) for Lifelong Learning
    Most people are carrying powerful computers in their pockets, whether a smart phone, iPod Touch or the emerging iPad/tablet/XO3 market in schools. Combined with web-based portfolio tools, learners have the potential to create/maintain a working portfolio anytime/anywhere. Explore the current status and future possibilities. This session will be more of a conversation/group brainstorm than a presentation.
All of my presentations will be appropriate for both a K-12 and higher education audience.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Another misunderstanding of term "electronic portfolio"

Thanks to Kathleen Wilbanks' tweet today, I read Michigan’s Public Policy Reaction to The Race to the Top. Here is the third paragraph, referencing electronic portfolios:
The increased availability of data to teachers, parents, students, administrators, colleges, and employers is hoped to improve instruction and heighten learning experiences for students. These reforms could include but are not limited to the creation of an electronic portfolio containing the test scores, performance records, and grades of each student and teacher as well as the amount of access to the system (with proper privacy settings) to researchers in order to quickly evaluate and replace failing systems. These reforms also focus on linking individual teachers and individual students regardless of their spatial proximity. In Delaware, a state discussed further later on, The Education Association placed a significant amount of value on the development of a data system that would track student performance from pre-school to college and/or career. The hope is for teachers and administrators to become aware of at-risk students before the student drops-out or becomes "unreachable".
The goals as stated here are very important. However, in my opinion, what is described here, this tracking of performance ("test scores, performance records, and grades of each student"), is an assessment/accountability system, that they are calling an electronic portfolio; but this model is far different from a student-centered electronic portfolio that is a learner's own digital footprint, or their story of their own learning over time. I wish we could be much clearer about the difference between these two paradigms. When "electronic portfolios" are define with institution-centered terminology, the importance of a student-centered process (collection, selection, reflection, direction, presentation) seems to be ignored. How do we raise the awareness of the larger community that there is another side to electronic portfolios? How do we show that an electronic portfolio can be a space for students to explore and showcase their interests, purpose and passions? In the U.K., an electronic portfolio can also include a learner's personal development plan (PDP). I am just asking for a balanced perspective when using the term, or to at least recognize the multiple purposes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Training in Brooklyn

I just finished four days of ePortfolio training in South Brooklyn and Staten Island. This was my third trip to do training for the New York City Schools under their Title IID grant. It has been refreshing to see a large school district approach ePortfolios from a learner-centered perspective (we started with teachers developing their own professional portfolios using Google Sites) and then transferring that experience to their students. In the second trip, we added digital narratives to the portfolio training (a very intense two days!) but the examples that I saw last week were quite inspiring. This week, we focused on a planning process to implement ePortfolios in a school.

When I think back over the teachers I have met this spring, from the International Schools Conference at the  American School of Bombay (ASB), to Bucklands Beach Intermediate (BBI) in Auckland, New Zealand, to the teachers in New York City, I saw some of the extremes in opportunity in our worldwide education system.  In the private International Schools, the use of technology was assumed... every student had a laptop, or there was a very low student-to-computer ratio. BBI is a public school in a relatively affluent neighborhood, where more than 10% of the students have bought a laptop and bring it to school every day, in addition to the sets of laptops that are available to use in classrooms. In NYC, I worked with both private and public school teachers. Yesterday, I was meeting with high school teachers, and I was corrected about my erroneous assumption that high school students created most of their written work with a computer. We didn't talk about access to technology, although it didn't seem to be as high a need as expressed by some of the teachers at BBI.

My impressions, as I think back over these three examples, is that the "haves" (affluent students) are getting a technology-rich education, but the "have-nots" (low income students) are not reaping the constructivist/creative/collaborative benefits of educational technology that have emerged with Web 2.0 (as contrasted with 1980-90s models of direct instruction/LMS). That is why I am pleased to introduce a student-centered constructivist approach to electronic portfolios to schools in New York City. I've seen this approach successfully implemented in schools from Mumbai to Auckland to rural California (my trip next week). Electronic portfolios should not be just for students in affluent schools; we need to implement this student-centered strategy with all schools. That raises issues of sufficient access to networks and tools, but I think these problems will be solved in the next few years, especially as tablet/iPad-like devices become more affordable. Or until schools allow mobile phones to be used for educational purposes. But that is the subject of a future reflection.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Portfolio Life --at Mercy College

I made a presentation this week to the faculty of Mercy College. I am sharing my slides here in my blog. This presentation is an extended version of the TEDxASB presentation that I gave in February. I am pleased with the response that I received from this presentation. I heard from some of the participants that they weren't expecting a motivational talk about electronic portfolios. I guess that is my mission...and my passion... and I never showed a single digital story.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Add-Ons to GoogleApps

Today, several tweets from Google:
Lots more Google products are coming to Google Apps soon. Which one would you like to see first? #add2GA
Blogger, Picasa & Reader got the most votes! Those & more coming to Google Apps.
Their blog entry today: Lots more Google products are coming to Google Apps customers contains a lot more details. To quote their blog:
We intend to have all Standard, Premier and Education Edition customers moved to the new infrastructure that enables this change in the fall, and customers who would like more control over the timing of this change will be able to make the switch voluntarily during the summer.
I voted for Blogger! K-12 schools need a protected version inside their implementation of GoogleApps Education Education, which just keeps getting better and better! Now we need to resolve audio recording (Aviary's Myna add-on?) and safe, accessible video storage.