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."