Saturday, December 31, 2011

Downloaded Google Sites

I received an email today from an educator in China who cannot access my Google Sites. I found the software from Google to download my Google Sites, and I uploaded a few of my sites to my own web server:
At least I now have a backup of these Google Sites as of the end of 2011. The content of the sites is alnost all there, but the navigation is not quite what appeared on the original Google Site. Any sub pages must be accessed from a link at the bottom of the main page, not from the navigation bar. Of course, most of the CSS formatting is missing. Access the Google Sites Liberation User Guide and download the software.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mobile Year in Review

This video is fun...and points out the impact of mobile technologies this year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

High School Portfolios revisited

I received the following email recently:
At ___, we're just around the corner of requiring a portfolio from every student. I'm asking, as both a teacher and a parent, whether your thoughts in your 2005 blog would still be your same thoughts. Years have passed; have colleges really accepted portfolios in a meaningful way? Are some schools who have tried e-portfolios now reconsidering? What is a school that would be a "model" for how they work with portfolios and where the students see the work as meaningful and not just a "hoop" or "graduation requirement"?  One administrator told me this morning, "They passed courses. That should be enough." I know the way to respond (similar to your post - but I need to know the research. HAS the e-portfolio proven to be worth all the work? I don't want our school and community to go down a path that has already been blazed and people are walking back towards us without sharing what they have learned from their experiences.
Here is my response: I think the real problem is the general assumptions about portfolios...especially when they are a graduation requirement or for college applications. I am not an advocate of high stakes portfolios, or to use them to replace standardized tests. What about using portfolios for learning throughout the educational experience, to avoid the idea of a "hoop" to jump through? I like a different metaphor: mirror (reflection) or map (goal-setting/direction). I really like this model of self-regulated learning, and portfolios can support all phases of this reflection cycle. I also see portfolios as both process and product (see my latest paper published by the British Columbia Department of Education:

I recommend you look at High Tech High in San Diego, where all students maintain a DP (digital portfolio) throughout their high school years. The portfolio is used to document learning and support their Presentation of Learning (PoL) that they do three times a year. I am using that high school as a case study in my book. I don't know if their experience has been documented in a formalized research project, but they have been using digital portfolios since the school opened in 2001. Here is my blog entry:
When I talked to a few students in the school about their DPs, their eyes lit up and I could tell they were very proud of them.

There is some research that shows that how a portfolio is introduced to students has a huge impact on their acceptance (and intrinsic motivation) and the effective use of the portfolios to support learning. If students see the portfolio as just another assignment or a hoop to jump through, they will be ambivalent; but if they see this online space as their personal learning environment, as their space to explore their future, to show off what they are really good at, then you will get much more acceptance. Ownership, Choice and Voice are major issues for me. I did a TEDxASB talk in 2010 that outlines the blurring boundaries of electronic portfolios and social networks, along with intrinsic motivation. I published the script on the MacLearning website:

Good luck! And let me know if I can help.

I was also sent a link to a video on an ePortfolio project in a high school in the Boston area: 

Friday, December 16, 2011

ISTE 2012 Sessions Scheduled

Today, I received notice of approval of these sessions for the 2012 ISTE Conference in San Diego:
  • Create Interactive ePortfolios using GoogleApps: Docs, Picasaweb, Blogger, Sites [Workshop : Hands-on] Scheduled: Saturday, 6/23/2012,  8:30am–3:30pm PDT.
    GoogleApps provides a comprehensive ePortfolio system: Store artifacts in GoogleDocs/Picasaweb; maintain reflective journals using Blogger; create showcase/assessment/presentation portfolios with GoogleSites; manage domain with Teacher Dashboard
  • Student-Centered Interactive ePortfolios with GoogleApps [Concurrent Session : Lecture] Scheduled: Monday, 6/25/2012,  12:45pm–1:45pm PDT.
    Create a comprehensive student-centered system supporting all three levels of ePortfolio development: Create/collaborate/store/share artifacts in GoogleDocs; Reflection/Feedback using blogging; Presentation Websites with GoogleSites.
  • mPortfolios: Supporting reflection in ePortfolios with mobile devices [Learning Station Session : Poster] Scheduled: Tuesday, 6/26/2012,  10:00am–12:00pm PDT.
    Mobile devices (iOS, Chrome or Android) can support reflection through regular planning & goal-setting, capturing the learning moment, and metacognition (reflecting on change over time).
I've never done a poster session before, so it will be a challenge to present a complex topic like reflection and mobile devices in this format. But my presentation on GoogleApps is a reprise of my 2011 presentation that I thought was on of my best! The full-day hands-on workshop will give me an opportunity to provide an overview on my online Introduction to K-12 ePortfolios class with GoogleApps supplement. I'm pleased!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

RCAC 2011 Keynote & Workshop

I just returned from London, Ontario, where I gave the Thursday afternoon keynote for the Western [Ontario] Regional Computer Advisory Committee (RCAC). I also did a short breakout session to have a conversation about ePortfolio implementation. There were representatives from the Ministry of Education, so the questions tended to focus on policy, privacy, parents, and permissions.

On Friday, I gave a full day workshop to help technology consultants plan for the implementation of electronic portfolios in their boards/school districts. I used the planning process that I outlined in my online class, where the components are linked to the different course lessons. Here is a sample of the tweets from the conference:
  • @Gill_Ville #rcac11 this year the theme is storytelling!
  • @thecleversheep Storytelling... the unofficial theme for the day. Love it! #rcac11
  • @lisaneale (e)Portfolios are dynamic celebrations & stories of deep learning = choice & voice of the individual recognizing lifelong learning. #rcac11
  • @harryniezen #rcac11 Very moving examples of ePortfolios ... via @eportfolios
  • @markwcarbone @eportfolios: blogging for a public authentic audience makes a +ve difference to student learning - nice connection to my FBk w/shop today
  • @sadone #rcac11 @eportfolios Keynote slide show available for you at
  • @harryniezen #rcac ePortolios as a vehicle for students to share their passions (via @eportfolios )
  • @harryniezen #rcac11 Going deeper with @eportfolios (Dr. Helen Barrett) on the value and implementation of ePortfolios as a tool for student learning
The provincial government has established E-Learning Ontario and is providing the Desire2Learn platform to all schools in the province. Recently included in their D2L implementation is a portfolio tool. One adaptation that will be made to their D2L portal will be inclusion of GoogleApps, and they will also incorporate the WordPress blog. It sounds to me like this integrated platform will provide educators in Ontario with a broad choice on cloud-based tools, that can be a powerful combination for ePortfolio development. I am looking forward to following schools in Ontario for some exciting learning with ePortfolios!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

iPadio for recording audio artifacts

I am experimenting with applications to record oral evidence of learning, and interested in recording audio from my iPhone. I quickly recorded a short audio clip with the iPadio app on my iPhone. This process has a lot of promise for web based portfolios, especially demonstrating competence in speaking a new language!
The image on the right is the form to complete when uploading the recording. The title could be an assignment, and the description could be a short reflection! These recordings have a unique URL and can automatically be posted to the following social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Posterous, LiveJournal, WordPress.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Frameworks for ICT & ePortfolios

THE UNESCO ICT COMPETENCY FRAMEWORK FOR TEACHERS - Version 2.0 has just been released.

Policy awareness
Policy understanding
Policy innovation
Basic knowledge
Knowledge application
Knowledge society skills
Integrate technology
Complex problem solving
Self management
Basic tools
Complex tools
Pervasive tools
Standard classroom
Collaborative groups
Learning organizations
Digital literacy
Manage and guide
Teacher as model learner

This new matrix provides another framework for training teachers. I have been working with a university in Vietnam to develop a proposal under the State Department's English Language Specialist Program. We have developed a project for me to work with English teachers in Vietnam to use ePortfolios to demonstrate English Language Learning. (I am keeping my fingers crossed, that I can spend the month of March in Vietnam!)

I just read an interesting post in the ePortfolio Conversations Google Group (Australia), on how to "help those students who feel they need some preparation before the bigger tasks ... a set of intro skills could help them feel better prepared and equipped to tackle e-learning and having a presence online":
  • Step 1 without a doubt - Email and how to use it effectively as a communication tool and an organisational tool
  • Step 2 - Social Networking in SOME form (Forums / blogging / Facebook / Twitter - establishing themselves as a resident - or at least a regular visitor SOMEWHERE online)
  • Step 3 - blogging - the why, where, how and when (also what a learner can expect to receive in return for their investment of learning how to blog)
  • Step 4 - Eportfolios.
Coach Carole responded with a more elaborated version in a follow-up post:
  1. Communicate and Network online (include gmail and how to make that work for you smartly) (include skype and BbC for real time communication) (include disussion forums for anytime discussions)
  2. Learn and collaborate online (include access and share learning resources in cloud based learning spaces, accessing and navigating learning spaces online, learning to be self-directed/self-managed learners)
  3. Reflect and Connect online (include blogging and other online writing skills, curating and researching online, reflecting on learning, connecting with wider cohorts of online learners)
    Then after 3 short courses like these (maybe a month each) - engage learners in something like the epcop mooc over 2 months. 
  4. Collect and Present online (focussing on e-portfolio approach to learning)
This looks like a logical progression, although I have been writing about the role of blogging in ePortfolio development. As I am putting together my book, I am incorporating some great examples of K-12 educators using blogs as portfolios.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Wes Fryer interviews Kern Kelley

This is Wes Fryer's interview with Maine educator Kern Kelley about how students in his school district use iPod Touches, email, and Picassa Web albums to digitize content for their digital portfolios on Google Sites. Kern Kelley's school also gives students their own domain names when they graduate.

Earlier this year, Wes also posted a great article on how his 5th grade daughter digitized her writing folder with a microphone, iPad2 and Audioboo.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Intro to Electronic Portfolios in K-12

The first self-paced course of the REAL ePortfolio Academy has been completed and is posted online:
By January, there will be supplemental modules available for Implementing ePortfolios with GoogleApps Education Edition, WordPress/Edublogs, or iOS/Android Mobile Devices.

Any non-profit/educational institution is free to use this open courseware content with colleagues in a school and and teachers are encouraged to become a member of the free Google Group for open/free discussion:

I am starting the first facilitated version of this class in January 2012. If you want to be part of this first facilitated class, register on this website in December:
I am in the process of getting approval for professional development college credit through Seattle Pacific University for those who need it, and registration information will be available upon receipt of the facilitated course enrollment.

Rather than using a highly structured course management system, we are going to use social networking strategies to facilitate interaction in the facilitated class: email through a private Google Group and collaboration in the Edmodo or Google+ social networks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review of Commercial Tools...and my response

Trent Batson just published an article in Campus Technology entitled, "A Survey of the Electronic Portfolio Market Sector: Analysis and Surprising Trends." He discusses the variety of commercial and open source eportfolio tools; many of the commercial providers are members of AAEEBL. My response:  
You reviewed the commercial and open source market here. However, in my experience, the largest growing category of student-centered ePortfolio tools are so-called Web 2.0 tools: blogs (such as WordPress and Blogger), wikis (such as Wikispaces and Google Sites), and web site authoring tools (such as Weebly and Yola). Next month, Seattle Pacific University will receive one of four 2011 Sloan-C Effective Practice Awards for its use of as bPortfolios: Blogging for Reflective Practice -- 
Worthy of special mention is the GoogleApps Education ecosystem, providing a variety of tools for authoring, storage and data transferability. When looking at portfolios across the lifespan, it is important that portfolio data not be locked into silos, but exportable into open formats. I have also spoken about how the boundaries are blurring between social networking and ePortfolio development. The new Facebook Timeline is an interesting platform for lifelong and life-wide learning, reflection, storytelling, & meaning-making. As asked in a comment on my blog, "How will those of us using ePortfolios in higher education compete with a social network that already dominates (and in some cases defines) our students' lives?"

Monday, October 10, 2011

SPU bPortfolio process wins award

Sloan-C will formally recognize SPU's work as an effective practice award winner for 2011 at a featured session at the 17th Annual Sloan-C International Conference in Orlando on November 11, 2011. The award acknowledges SPU for advancing learning, access, scale and student and faculty satisfaction.
The project description that won one of four 2011 Sloan-C Effective Practice Awards: bPortfolios: Blogging for Reflective Practice - Seattle Pacific University
It is so great that these efforts have been recognized by such a prestigious organization. It is important to gain more recognition for the benefits and outcomes of supporting student reflection and ownership of documenting their own learning, whether in teacher education, or in K-12 classrooms. SPU's Teacher Education Program should be proud of creating an environment that balances learner-centered reflection with institutional assessment. Students are also experiencing a model of electronic portfolio development that can be adapted to K-12 students using widely-available and free online tools.

I appreciate the opportunity to add my very small contribution (and my name) to the application. Since my ideas were credited as part of their initial decision to adopt a blogging platform and move from their previous commercial system, I am very proud that these efforts have been recognized.

UPDATE: Blog responses to this award:
‘ePortfolios’ are out, ‘bPortfolios’ are in (apparently) 
At Last – Recognition for Blog-based Portfolios

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Samsung Chromebook 3G

After my experience in South Carolina last week, I found this Samsung Chromebook on Craigslist and decided to buy it! (I know, I can't return it to Costco, but it seems like a good research tool...and my granddaughters would use it when I am through with it!) I am getting used to only having a web browser, and only using specific apps available through the Chrome Web Store. I am getting it set up with the tools I use on a regular basis, including Blogger (I'm writing this entry on it), and all of the Google Apps. I am teaching an online class this fall at Seattle Pacific University on "Issues and Advances in Educational Technology" and I am going to try to do the entire course with this device (or one of my other mobile devices). My primary research purpose is to see how this device works with normal classroom activities.

I can easily edit all of my Google Apps (Docs, Sites, Mail, etc.) with this device. I can't edit Sites with my iOS devices, and that is a very important tool for me, because my online course outlines are all in Google Sites. The keyboard is very comfortable to use, although I keep right-clicking (with two fingers). I am also testing the battery life, which should far exceed my Mac laptops. I haven't tried the 3G Verizon Wireless yet, but I am looking forward to being able to use the device during the rare times that I do not have wifi access with 100 MB free every month for two years (not a lot, but works in a pinch).

The man who sold it to me said that he added a 32 GB SD card for additional storage (it only has 16 GB--same as my iPad); but he said he rarely used it. With so many cloud-based options for document storage, I don't think that will be a problem for me. I was able to add a Dropbox extension and I hear rumors that Google might be resurrecting its GDrive, although Google Docs is nearly a universal document storage system.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mobile Devices for Student Use

Last week I facilitated a two-day workshop on implementing electronic portfolios using Google Apps for the Richland Two School District in Columbia, SC. The participants were teachers, building-level technology specialists, and district-level curriculum supervisors. We explored how they could use their new Google Apps adoption to support their emerging 1TWO1 computing program. They have been very proactive in implementing technology in their schools, along with other educational initiatives, such as Schlechty's Working on the Work model of student engagement. We also worked on building a district-wide and school-based implementation plan for integrating electronic portfolios to support student learning.

One of the most interesting activities that I observed on my last morning, before flying home, was a meeting with high school and middle school administrators, to look at a variety of Mobile Device Options. They had the following devices on display: Apple iPad, Lenovo Android Tablet (with keyboard), Samsung and Asus Chromebooks, and Lenovo Laptop Thin Client (Windows Thin PC). A group of teachers identified the priorities for these devices (on a scale 1-5):
  • Internet research/browsing [4.8]
  • Long battery life [4.8]
  • Easy to set up (teacher) [4.7]
  • USB port and/or card reader [4.3]
  • Flash sites (videos, games, etc.) [4.2]
  • Google Docs collaboration [4.2]
  • Google Sites (e-portfolios) [4.2]
  • Web 2.0 sites (Glogster, Wordle, Prezi, Wall Wisher, Voice Thread...) [4.2]
  • Content management and creation (Blackboard, Edmodo, etc.) [4.2]
  • Apps [3.8]
  • Games/simulation [3.4]
  • Notetaking (word processing) [3.3]
  • Video editing [3.3]
  • Video conferencing (Skype, etc.) [3.3]
  • Podcasting [3.2]
  • Reading e-textbooks and e-books [2.8]
There were other requirements that they assessed, without ratings: Multimedia (video, audio, files); Notetaking (handwriting recognition); MAP testing possible using VDI;  Presentation design (Google Docs or free resources); Office productivity; Photo editing. As they looked at each of the four devices, and how well each one could meet those required features, the scores were very interesting: Chromebooks and Lenovo Laptop Thin Client were virtually tied in the lead, with Android tablet next and Apple iPad last. I borrowed an Asus Chromebook for an evening, and I was able to do everything I wanted to do on GoogleApps, or any Internet-based activity. I'm now trying to find a Chromebook to push to its limits! It was obvious that the iPad scored lower because of its challenges with both Flash and Google Sites.

(Written while watching MSNBC's Education Nation...very different from last year. We heard from teachers this year! Great dialogue about the issues, and a great story from a 4th grade teacher including a homebound student in his classroom using Skype...and his students blog!)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Facebook Timeline - a life portfolio?

Last week, Facebook announced changes to the Profile, to include a Timeline that is a "friction-free" process for documenting our lives:

"Timeline is your collection of all the top photos, posts and apps that help tell your story. Learn more at"

How soon before Facebook has all of the tools necessary to document our learning as well as our social graph?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Teacher Action Research on ePortfolio Implementation

Last week, I was the external examiner on a Masters Thesis entitled, ELECTRONIC PORTFOLIOS: TOOLS FOR SUPPORTING THE TEACHER’S NEED FOR ASSESSMENT AND THE STUDENT’S NEED FOR DEEP LEARNING. I was given permission to post his final thesis. "The intent of this study was to examine how qualitative assessment in the form of electronic portfolios could be conducted to engage students in their learning." This action research focused on a small (N=12) group of mostly First Nations students in northern British Columbia, and was conducted by their teacher in his grade 11/12 Comparative Civilizations course over the 2009-2010 school year.

I found this study to be enjoyable to read, although a little repetitive. Chapter 6-Conclusions gives a concise overview of the case study plus his conclusions. This is a good case study of what a dedicated teacher can do on his own with almost no technological support. He literally bought flash drives for each student where they could keep their work stored in the classroom and create their Powerpoint-based presentation portfolios. In response to my questions to this researcher, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the process, and thought that in the future he would have students using a wiki to achieve the same goals. He kept a reflective (albeit, paper-based) journal throughout the process, and quoted from it throughout the thesis. Despite the technical issues, students gained a lot of technology skills, and he identifies these benefits:
...electronic portfolios support formative assessment by encouraging dialogue between the student and teacher that focuses on improving student work and is not emotionally threatening.    Electronic portfolios support deep learning by allowing students to demonstrate their strengths, set personal learning goals, identify areas needing improvement, and use feedback to improve their learning.
As part of his definitions, he further defined deep learning for his work:
Deep learning occurs in two ways. One way is when students learn how to manage their learning.    They develop the metacognitive skills that support self regulation of their learning. Students learn how to plan, monitor, and evaluate the success of strategies they used to complete learning tasks. The second way deep learning occurs is when students are able to take what has been learned and apply it to new situations.
Nicely done! This case study is a good example for teachers to use to conduct similar classroom-based action research on electronic portfolios, especially using more Web 2.0-based tools.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Google+ or Edmodo for online course support?

I am starting to develop the online courses for the REAL ePortfolio Academy for K-12 teachers, and I want to use tools that model strategies that K-12 teachers can use with their own students. While some are using Moodle, few are using Blackboard or many of the course management systems used in higher education. I found an interesting blog post on Selecting Appropriate Technology for Online Learning. The author used Bates and Poole’s SECTIONS model: Students, Ease of use, Costs, Teaching and learning, Interaction and interactivity, Organizational support, Novelty (newness), Speed. These are interesting factors to consider as I develop an environment to support collaboration in these online courses.

Last week, there was a very interesting Edmodocon, with educators from around the world presenting about the use of Edmodo in K-12 classrooms (recording now online). I used the tool several times this summer in workshops, and it has the look and feel of Facebook. I like the ability to set up private groups and sub-groups. From the online conference, I saw how teachers are using this environment for collaboration. The most interesting presentation was on Game-Based Learning and how to set up and award badges in Edmodo. The system keeps track of Students, Teacher Connections, Library Items and produces a Sharing Score. It would be easy to see the level of participation by individuals in a course.

I received my Google+ invitation in the first few days, but there wasn't a lot of activity for me to follow. I recently listened to a whole series of podcasts called, Google+ Today and I've also been following This Week in Google podcasts. I have set up my Circles (Friends, Family, Following, ADE, Ed Tech, ePortfolio Colleagues) and Sparks (android tablet, iOS, educational technology, reflection in learning, digital storytelling, electronic portfolios). I posted a question (about using Google+ as a tool to facilitate communication in an online class), and received some very interesting responses (notice the length and depth of the last response). I haven't tried Hangouts yet, but it looks like a really interesting alternative to Skype and Google Voice, especially with groups of 10. (I could care less about Games right now in Google+; I have enough games on my various devices to keep up my procrastination level!)

What about other social networking tools? A lot of schools block Facebook, and I am finding I prefer using that tool for personal networking with close friends and family. I also don't think Facebook has the tools for online courses (although they are adding Skype for one-to-one voice chats). My other favorite social tool is Twitter, but the 140 character limit, and the public nature of tweets, contributes to short conversations, but not to the rich dialogue that I experienced in my recent Google+ post. I find that Twitter is good for announcements and what Chris Betcher calls, "tiny bursts of learning." Until I started following Sparks in Google+, I was using Twitter instead of RSS feeds, to read what other people are reading and posting.

What are the differences between these tools? Edmodo is called "Safe Social Networking" that can be used in schools. Google+ restricts membership to those over 18. For that reason alone, I should focus my efforts on Edmodo... but I am intrigued by Hangouts: could they be used for collaborative discussions? It seems like a great way to create small, like-minded groups to support each other through the process of implementing ePortfolios. I want to be able to record these Hangouts, though, so I have more research to do.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Resources on Reflection

I recently found the following resources on reflection in the learning process:
There are other great resources on this wiki, worth a few hours of exploration.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

ePortfolio Workshop in a Montessori School

I just led a workshop at the Montessori Hale O Keiki school in Kihei, Maui. My slides for this workshop are below. The website to support the workshop:

The school has a Schools of the Future foundation grant, and will be focusing on the integration of individual ePortfolios in grades 4-8, with class or group portfolios in the primary years. On the first day of the workshop, we started using the Edmodo social networking tool and then we focused on collaborative writing using GoogleDocs; on the second morning, we set up individual teacher Google Sites. The school has purchased iPads and iPod Touch devices to use in the classrooms, so we explored using the cameras and StoryRobe to create short digital stories, which these teachers embedded in their Google Sites. According to feedback (PDF) from one of the participants:
I especially liked the “MyStory” activity with StoryRobe. What a simple tool, but so much fun! As I was walking around the Montessori Hale O Keiki campus snapping my shots, I thought that this activity could really lend itself well to students who struggle with language... I thought of the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, and it is so true. What a fun way to share a little something about “who I am” with the world. I think that activities like this one can really help a struggling student with self-esteem and pride in their school work.
The participants left the workshop with a brief plan to implement this ePortfolio/storytelling process with their students. I am very interested to follow their progress. This is the first time that I have worked with a Montessori school, but I was told that my presentation very much matched their philosophy of learner-centered education. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

AAEEBL Conference Reflections

The second AAEEBL Conference was held in Boston on July 25-28, 2011. Below are the slides from my two pre-conference workshops. The first workshop was led with Eileen Brennan from Mercy College.

The second workshop was lead with Cynthia Lucena from the University of Puerto Rico.
Her story about the commercial and open source tools that they tried at UPR, followed by their current adoption of GoogleApps and Moodle to collect evaluation data, is an interesting journey through a variety of different ePortfolio tools, both commercial and open source. Their decision to adopt Google Sites reinforces the message of this workshop: adopt student-centered tools that can be maintained across the lifespan, not tools that require a lot of technical support or fees to maintain beyond graduation. 

I received some interesting feedback from one of the participants in the afternoon workshop. She told me that my presentation, which tends to take a more student-centered, personal development viewpoint, was a marked contrast with the majority of the institution-centered sessions that tended to focus on accountability and program assessment. I tend to agree; my perception is that the people who attend AAEEBL are more focused on the use of electronic portfolios in institutional contexts... perhaps that is because the membership of AAEEBL is primarily higher education institutions, not individuals. This is a real contrast with the European ePortfolio and Identity Conference (EPIC) that was held two weeks earlier in London, where there was more interest in community portfolios, individual identity development, and lifelong portfolios. The draft Proceedings of the EPIC 2011 conference are online.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Education Gazette
E-Portfolios in New Zealand:
Digital portfolios grow with the learner
Education Gazette reviews the growing use of digital portfolios by students, teachers and schools.
Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ePIC Conference Keynote

Tweets from people attending the presentation:
  • @shojikajita "When cloud computing meets with Semantic Web: A new design for e-portfolio systems in the social media era" #epic11
  • @isabellegonon #epic11 Helen Barrett : the future (of #eportfolio) is in the #cloud and in #mobile
  • @ljanegray #epic11 Helen Barretts philosophy for e-portfolios = authenticity, choice and voice.
  • @inicot #epic11 I'll certainly remember this piece of advice from Helen Barrett "Rewire, don't retire!"
  • @John_Pallister the #ePortfolio challenge is to make it the 'e'asy portfolio; the 'e'ssential portfolio and then go for learner 'e'ngagement #epic11
  • @isabellegonon #epic11 now I know what a #shoebox story is ! Thanks to Helen Barrett
  • @kirstie_C Great presentation from helen barratt. Epf as digital document of development. it's everywhere #epic11
  • @shojikajita Peter Drucker "Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves" in "Managing Oneself" #epic11
  • @donpresant #epic11 Helen Barrett: family photos, videos often start building digital identity before birth...ultrasound as #eportfolio artefact
  • @donpresant #epic11 Helen Barrett: 4 pillars are: self awareness, planning to learn, knowing how to learn, monitoring your learning
  • @shojikajita Isaac Asimov "The day you stop learning is the day you begin decayin." #epic11
  • @inicot #epic11 Helen Barrettt, "the matriarch of ePortfolios": Lifelong learning shouldn't be confused with lifelong schooling 
It was an interesting session. First there was Donald Clark, talking about his skeptical blog post about ePortfolios: 7 reasons why I don’t want my life in a shoebox. In some ways I agreed with him when he railed against the commercial ePortfolio tools and extolled the use of social software. But he made some generalized statements that did not match my experience or beliefs, especially about lifelong learners. I think this blog entry simplified a very complex process, and didn't recognize the importance of metacognition. Before my talk, Shane Sutherland talked about the design of Personal Learning Spaces, which was an interesting look at systems design.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

simondseconoart.png 1987×1639 pixels
This picture was shown in a presentation today. I found it and sent the link by email to my blog, but had to go back to the website to upload the image.

Sent from my iPad

Monday, July 11, 2011

ePortfolios and Identity Conference 2011

I am in London, providing two workshops at EIFEL's ePIC Conference. Here are my slides:

Here are a few tweets from the sessions:
  • @inicot Dr Barrett : "Upload your videos onto youtube, vimeo... They will make sure that they are still accessible in a 100 years from now" #epic11
  • @shojikajita Instant screencast #epic11
  • @inicot At #epic11, attending Helen Barrett's workshop,'Adding voice to ePortfolios'-"Write lousy first drafts!"- @eportfolios
  • @shojikajita Tools for Digital Storytelling #epic11
  • @isabellegonon #epic11 #evernote pour sauvegarder ses notes, ses enregistrements audio ou video depuis son mobile et se souvenir de tout, je vais essayer !
  • @isabellegonon #epic11 Helen Barrett parle de twitter comme outil reflexif pour échanger sur ce qu'on est entrain d'apprendre
  • @CnamSDTICE leonardo da vinci's folio is the first portfolio in history says Helen Barnett in #epic11 electronic portfolios since 1991 only !
  • @inicot @batier Merci Christophe ! On diffuse à l'interne. A Londres pour la conference ePortfolio #epic11 can't wait i meet Helen barrett;-)
It is nice to reconnect with colleagues in the ePortfolio field. Besides a wide representation from across Europe, there is a large group from Singapore. I will be doing a short keynote in two days.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Audio and Video Diaries

Thanks to a Twitter post, I found this article in The Guardian:
Next generation learning: the gift of sound and vision
"David Stinson has pioneered the use of video and audio diaries to improve students' learning." Excerpts from the article:
"By using video and audio diaries and much more besides, the kids can reflect on trials and tribulations they've encountered during the learning process..."

"The real benefit of using e-portfolios is that every student, regardless of ability, can adapt to the dynamic nature of recording their thoughts and emotions in video and audio, removing some of the anxiety involved in pen and paper communication. For students with special needs this can be especially constructive, as the unique nature of expression in e-portfolios takes away the need to endlessly compare to their classmates."
I am going to start using the term online diary instead of blog or reflective journal for the type of working portfolio that involves documenting the learning process over time. The word diary has a more universal meaning, regardless of media. This article demonstrates the powerful impact of reflection on learning, even though the word reflect is used only once. Now, with mobile technologies, it is much easier for learners to capture audio and video reflections. We know that students have figured out how to use the cameras on their mobile phones... for good or for ill; here is an opportunity to teach about appropriate uses of these tools (digital citizenship) while using a tool that is intrinsically motivating and always in most students' pockets.

We need to document strategies to capture these multimedia diary entries in easy-to-use websites that can be overseen by teachers when used in K-12 schools. I started with my mPortfolios Google site, and my workshop at ISTE last week. I have two upcoming workshops on using Web 2.0 tools (at EIFEL in London on July 11, and at AAEEBL in Boston on July 25). Once those workshops are over, I will focus on how to incorporate these ideas into the online courses to be offered by the new ePortfolio Academy for K-12 teachers.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ISTE 2011 Reflections

I just finished my presentation, Student-Centered Interactive E-Portfolios with Google Apps.
Here are the tweets I just captured about my presentation. I thought it was one of my better presentations. I really feel like the elements are aligning to make student-centered portfolios a reality: tools, philosophy, pedagogy.
  • @TheHomeworkDog RT @jessievaz12: More on #eportfolios #ISTE11
  • @erinbarrett Lots of "ooohs and aaahs" when @eportfolios shows #teacherdashboard! Great tool! #ISTE11 #eportfolios
  • @jessievaz12 An 'ooooo' overtook the crowd as the teacher dashboard plug in was showed from the google marketplace! #eportfolios #ISTE11
  • @rgriffithjr Agreed! - RT @jessievaz12: Portfolios should be a conversation about learning, not a presentation on learning #eportfolios #ISTE11
  • @cbuchanan_dasd RT @millpub: Taxonomy of Reflection #iste11 #eportfolios #iste11dasd 
  • @RSOldring #eportfolios Lvl 1 - collection of Artifacts/ Lvl 2 - collection with reflection/ Lvl 3 - selection and presentation #ISTE11
  • @RSOldring #eportfolios being built in social media tools can be a great motivator for students #ISTE11
  • @Sharvey85 The power in the portfolio is the process/journey not the destination #eportfolios #iste11
  • @erinbarrett My mom, @eportfolios is rocking her presentation...of course! #eportfolios #iste11
  • @jessievaz12 A dad uses twitter as portfolio showing growth and experiences of his child. Started the minute she was born! Amazing! #eportfolios #ISTE11
  • @Sharvey85 Give students ownership of their learning with #eportfolios
  • @Tim_Yocum Social media makes portfolios easy. RT @jessievaz12: The line between eportfolios and social media is blurring #eportfolios #ISTE11
  • @divatechie12 @Student Centered #eportfolios with Google Apps. Website for presentation is
  • @jessievaz12 check out all those resources! #eportfolios #ISTE11
The themes I found repeated at this conference were mobile devices (everyone has an iPad or iPhone!) and Google Apps really took off this year. I also found a lot more teachers interested in portfolios through our Birds of a Feather sessions on Electronic Portfolios and Google Apps in Education. It has been an exhilirating conference!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

mPortfolios Workshop

These are the slides from my workshop on Saturday at the ISTE conference in Philadelphia. I am finding that mobile devices are ubiquitous at this conference!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Google Apps update alerts: Embed your Google Docs videos

Google Apps update alerts: Embed your Google Docs videos: "You can now embed your Google Docs videos in Google Sites. Release track: Rapid Release* Editions included: Google Apps, Google Apps..."

Hooray! That solves a lot of problems for schools.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A new tool - Motorola Xoom

I'm playing with a new tool, courtesy of Costco's 90 day return policy (for the same price as my original iPad)! If I like it, I'll keep it. I was able to download some of the major apps I use on my iPad: Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo, Evernote, Kindle, as well as the Google apps, Docs, Gmail, Maps, Earth. I started this post in the Blogger app, but when I went back to the app, after it quit, I couldn't see the draft. So I am editing in the browser, something I cannot do on the iPad. (Blogger also lost my last edits, so I'm posting it again!)

The Xoom was fairly easy to set up, once I was able to manually type in my hidden wifi ID and password. The latest update to Honeycomb, Android 3.0 for tablets, downloaded automatically when the Internet connection was made. It took a few minutes to synch with my Google account, but now I can see all my Docs, and I can do basic editing on my Sites, another task I cannot do on my iPad.  I am trying to figure out the Android version of iPod/iTunes, to download my favorite podcasts. I am preparing for an mPortfolio workshop next Saturday at the ISTE conference, where I am focusing on iOS  apps on iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone, and so we really won't be doing a lot with Google Apps. However, I will be doing a presentation on Student-Centered Interactive Portfolios with Google Apps on Wednesday, so I want to really assess how well it works on an Android tablet.

Editing typos on this screen is frustrating, to get the cursor in the right place (I am making the final edits with my Mac). I took this picture with the camera on the Xoom (has a flash...nice!), which uploaded it automatically to my Picasa Blogger album. It was easy to insert it from there with my Mac. Still trying to insert it with the Xoom.

Update: I returned it to Costco. Compared to other Android tablets it was bigger and slower! I didn't like it well enough to keep it. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Links to recent E-Portfolio articles and blog posts

I've come across some recent articles and blog posts that provide interesting reading about e-portfolios.
  • E-Portfolios Evolve Thanks to Web 2.0 Tools in EdWeek, June 15, 2011.  I am quoted in the article and I previously blogged about my visit to Rob Van Nood's classroom, the first example (I made the connection between him and the author). Here is my comment on the EdWeek article:
    Thanks for the examples, including Rob's classroom, which was a fun place to visit. The need for teacher professional development is important to meet the potential of e-portfolios to engage students in managing their own learning. That is why next week at the ISTE Conference, I am launching the REAL* ePortfolio Academy for K-12 Teachers (*REAL = Reflection, Engagement, Assessment for Learning).  Primarily through online courses which establish grade-alike Communities of Practice, K-12 teachers from across the world will learn portfolio development principles, share strategies, and support each other in implementing e-portfolios using free Web 2.0 tools.
    Dr. Helen Barrett
  • Nick Rate's recent blog post, ePortfolios in the News,  has links to some new websites. Two I particularly like:
    Eportfolios - J'accuse where the author discusses the benefits of using a blog as an e-portfolio over specialized e-portfolio systems: Over-complication; Institutional, not user focus; Focus on the tool, not the skills; Lack of social element; Educational arrogance.

    E-portfolios – 7 reasons why I don’t want my life in a shoebox:  Uninteroperable; Institutionalised; Human nature; People are not learners [I disagree!]; Boundary problems; Plus ca change [the only constant is change]; Recruitment myth. I agree with some of his comments, but I think he misses the potential in others. The author, Donald Clark will be a presenter at the EIFEL Conference in July in London. I think I will be leading the panel.

    The comments on both of these blogs are great reading!
  • Blogs as Showcase Portfolio by Kim Cofino, June 12, 2011. This is a GREAT resource (she uses WordPressMU with her 6th grade students... see examples). I love Clint Hamada's comment on this post, partially copied here:
    Kim, thanks for highlighting the ease of using blogs as a portfolio tool. The key, I believe, is to create a culture of blogging (and sharing and reflecting) as part of the day-to-day workings of the school. Then the showcase is truly that: a showcase of things students have already done that do not require any huge amounts of work to prepare!
    My response: I love this post and Clint's follow-up comment. The first level of building an electronic portfolio is to capture and save work in digital form (integrate technology into the teaching/learning process); the second level is to set goals and reflect frequently (a blog is the perfect environment for connecting artifacts and reflection); the third level is building a showcase portfolio at specific times during the school year (parent conferences? formal presentations of learning?). I discuss this process in more detail in my online article, Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios (2011, British Columbia Ministry of Education, Innovations in Education, 2nd Edition). I’ll be sharing your links! Thanks!
There is a theme in these blog posts, and in my recent research for my book: blogs are a great tool for developing e-portfolios, from Kindergarten through adulthood. People have been keeping written journals for centuries; blogs provide a similar space for reflection and deep learning, with a significant difference in storage and permanence. (I once blogged about the loss of physical memories through natural disasters, such as floods or fire: Digital Archive for Life, 2005) As long as Blogger keeps it stored digitally, it should last my lifetime and beyond (I've misplaced a lot of paper journals over the years). But every so often, I back it up... JUST IN CASE!

I've created many versions of my thematically-organized presentation portfolio, but I rarely visit or update these showcase portfolios (the only one I keep updated is my GoogleSites URL-branded version, first developed in 2008). My reflections are posted in this blog, which I consider my learning portfolio... and the easiest and most natural to maintain as a learning journal. The structure of a blog also lends itself well to comments and conversation.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Evernote for Intermediate Portfolios

This blog attracts a lot of silent readers. Last November, one of my readers wrote to me with his story of how he was starting to use Evernote for ePortfolios in his grade 3-5 classroom. I am adding a version of the story about this school's experience into my book. Students in the intermediate classrooms (grades 3-5) in the Trillium Charter School (Portland, OR) are documenting their learning using Evernote on desktop computers, iPod Touch 4 (with the built-in camera), the teacher's iPhone and soon an iPad, with the addition of a wireless printer/scanner that can email scanned student work directly into their Evernote accounts. (They use a LexMark Pinnacle Pro 901 All-in-One that will scan paper on both sides... the biggest technical challenge was getting these printers set up, and adding all student Evernote email addresses). The Intermediate teachers have all adopted this process since the first of this calendar year, each adding one-to-three iPod Touch devices to supplement the three or four Free Geek donated Linux desktop computers in each classroom. I saw students choose the device they wanted to use to document their projects, with reflection scaffolded by a Portfolio Artifact and Reflection form that they could complete by hand and scan along with other paper or media.

The teachers assign time to work on Evernote every day, as a way for students to set goals and document their progress toward achieving their goals. On the day I visited, students were able to go to the only lab in the school, to work on their reflections. They preferred doing most of their writing with a regular keyboard, not the tiny keyboard on the iPod Touch, but they used its camera extensively to document their projects. This picture was taken with my iPhone directly into the Evernote app which uploaded to my account on the Evernote website. I was able to download the image from Evernote to my laptop to insert into this blog entry (I didn't figure out whether I could link to the image directly). What I found to be innovative about this process was the seamless way that the students could take a picture of a project with the iPod Touch, which automatically saved it to their Evernote accounts. They could add reflections and tags with either the iPod Touch or with one of the classroom  computers.

The students led parent conferences, and shared their Evernote accounts with their parents. Attached is their Conference Checklist. I also have permission to share part of a letter that was sent home to parents, to explain the use of Evernote. The students tag their work (with required tags plus their own) so that the teacher can easily review categories/collections of work; unfortunately, Evernote cannot be used to provide feedback... the teacher needs to send an email with feedback. The students are being encouraged to use Evernote over the summer if they see something cool (what I call "capturing the moment)!" The real advantage is the simplicity: students write directly into Evernote, and don't have to open a word processor on their home computers, and then copy/paste into a portfolio program. The students are developing "Working ePortfolios" to document learning anytime, anywhere. Imagine what would happen if every student had a mobile device...although having three or four in a classroom with classroom computers and occasional visits to a lab, seemed to work just fine! The students are not developing public presentation portfolios, although they could be shared with their teachers and families; they are documenting their learning and progress toward achieving their goals... and they were engaged and seemed to own the process!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Using ePortfolios as a reflective teaching tool - Case study

This video, "starring" Julie Hughes and two of her graduate students from the University of Wolverhampton in the U.K., was published by COFAonline at the University of South Wales in Australia. I love Julie's quote about blogging as: "thinking through your fingers."