Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fresno State University Keynote & Session

I had the privilege to provide the keynote address at a faculty development workshop at Fresno State University on August 20:

My colleague and fellow ADE Otto Benavides, took this photo where I am showing the Google Site that I set up for the workshop:
 After the keynote address, I provided one of my favorite presentations on digital storytelling and reflection (Know Thyself):

I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet new and old friends, and to continue to share my knowledge and passions for ePortfolios, reflection, and digital storytelling.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pathbrite ePortfolio Tool

As part of my preparation for the keynote address that I am providing to faculty at Fresno State University, I created the 42nd version of my online portfolio using Pathbrite.

Here are my impressions of this free tool (for students), which has been adopted by Fresno State. I understand that there is a fee for institutions to gain access to all of the integration and assessment tools.
  • Free accounts with 2 GB storage limit, and links to most types of uploadable files as well as online sources - Examples of file types: Image, Text, Video, Documents, Web Link; Import Files from external services: YouTube Videos, Vimeo Videos, Google Drive Files, Facebook Photos, LinkedIn Recommendation, Khan Academy Badges, Parchment Transcripts, Credly Badges.
  • Multiple showcase portfolios can be created using uploaded content.
  • Relatively easy to use - there is an intuitive interface for both editing Style & Settings, and Adding Work.
  • Publishing online - the system creates a URL for each showcase portfolio, although it does not appear that the user has any control over how each view is named (the "YouTube/GoogleDocs" model of assigning file names)
  • Single screen view - there is only one web page for each portfolio, although Categories of entries can be used to create sub-views of content
  • Each artifact has a title and "Story behind this Work" which can be used to provide a description/brief reflection.
  • Student and Faculty access Pathbrite from inside their Blackboard accounts, and faculty can set up course portfolios that provide templates for students
  • The system has an assessment system where faculty can see which students have completed specific item in the assigned portfolios, and assign points. Reports can be generated, but I did not see this feature (no access to their Blackboard)
  • The system is designed to work with tablet browsers (although I set up my portfolio using my MacBook laptop).
My overall impression: I can see some of the advantages, and if I were a faculty member, I would appreciate the back end (assigned course portfolios, assessment system for collecting and aggregating data). I understand that this system would be available to students after they graduate, and students can create any number of showcase portfolios for a variety of audiences, including potential employers. The system has only been available for the last two years, and has an impressive number of institutions and users who have independently set up accounts. I am also impressed with the integration of a variety on online sources for adding existing content. The ability to work with mobile browsers (but no specific app) makes it more compatible with the growing use of mobile devices in K-12 and Higher Education.

Some of the disadvantages I saw from my brief experience with the Portfolio tool: I only tried the 2-across Grid Layout, not having time to figure out how to use the other layouts provided (Patchwork, Bricks, Pyramid), so it was a pretty boring layout visually. The single page approach makes it easy to navigate, but very limiting in terms of creativity. I did find the Categories helped in creating partial views of the content, and a single artifact can be easily assigned to multiple Categories. To add reflection to the portfolio required either creating a separate text box, using the limited caption, or linking to a blog, as I did to this blog.

I was asked which of the 42 tools I liked the best. For myself, I still like my updated Google Sites portfolio, although I have seen great things done with WordPress and its K-12 versions (EduBlogs, Kidblog). I can see some advantages of Pathbrite in the institutional environment. I just wish it had more flexibility in presentation.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


I'm attending the CUE 2015 conference in Palm Springs, and these are the highlights for me:
  • Skitch app for annotating images uploading to Google Drive & lots of apps
  • Shadow Puppets EDU for creating narrated slide shows (with lots of images available from web)
  • Glogster for creating posters 
  • Google Storybuilder - creates a story in Google Docs (with characters "speaking")
  • Vine for iPad
  • Canva - design app for iPad
  • Thinglink - to annotate images or movies:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hamilton, NZ Keynote

I am in Hamilton, New Zealand, presenting the keynote address at WCELfest2015. These are a great group of educators and it has been fun to share my ideas and see what they are doing with both ePortfolios and digital storytelling. Here are my slides:

It is fun to follow my Twitter feed of comments. Here is a sample and a few images:
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan
    encouraging students to be creative taking on a persona and telling stories #wcelfest
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 36m36 minutes ago
    Helen Barrett @eportfolios reflecting on the road taken. Her journey of choices in a digital story #WCELfest
  • Ursula ‏@UrsulaEdg 38m38 minutes ago
    @eportfolios great keynote #wcelfest thank you! #storytelling #elearning
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 40m40 minutes ago Hamilton City, New Zealand … my first attempt at a digital story #wcelfest #eportfolios @eportfolios thank you
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 45m45 minutes ago
    The challenge what story will we tell #wcelfest
  • Kristina DC Hoeppner ‏@anitsirk 45m45 minutes ago
    #wcelfest helen barrett: reflections & relationships are the heart & soul of an ePortfolio and not the technology.
  • Teresa Gibbison ‏@gibbisons 46m46 minutes ago
        @eportfolios with an important reminder #wcelfest
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 46m46 minutes ago
    The heart and soul of a portfolio is the relationships, the conversations, the interactions #WCELfest @eportfolios
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 48m48 minutes ago
    Range of tools for capturing, reflecting, sharing, learning. We are spoiled for choice #WCELfest
  • Noeline Wright ‏@enrite 49m49 minutes ago
    @easegill @difo38 #wcelfest yes- article still being cited 4 yrs later. Must have been one of first in education
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 50m50 minutes ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Eportfolios or Mportfolios - capturing the learning moment using mobile devices. So powerful #eportfolios #wcelfest
  • Teresa Gibbison ‏@gibbisons 50m50 minutes ago
        @eportfolios mPortfolios site … #wcelfest
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 50m50 minutes ago
    The essence of reflection: here's what, so what, now what? #WCELfest
  • Stephen Harlow ‏@stephenharlow 51m51 minutes ago
    .@eportfolios remembering meeting @arrowbound & Janice McDrury, authors of Learning through #Storytelling: … #wcelfest
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 52m52 minutes ago
    mPortfolios - reflecting in the moment #WCELfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 52m52 minutes ago
    Mobile the future of eportfolio capturing the moment of learning #wcelfest
  • K Gilliver-Brown ‏@kgilliver_brown 53m53 minutes ago
    #wcelfest Dr. Helen Barrett: Coming to the realisation that the journey is as important as the destination.
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 53m53 minutes ago
    “@robeanne Process is more important than the output, that is where the learning is #wcelfest” #waitalk
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 54m54 minutes ago
    The process is much more important than the product. #learning #WCELfest
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 54m54 minutes ago
    #WCELfest portfolios & stories help us to recognise impt themes & patterns, informing decisions
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 54m54 minutes ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Who learns more in the classroom? The teacher or the students? #wcelfest #eportfolios
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 55m55 minutes ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Process is more important than the output, that is where the learning is #wcelfest
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 56m56 minutes ago
    'Making the focus of my portfolio the reality of my existence' Finding purpose in life #WCELfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 56m56 minutes ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    #wcelfest our students need to know why and how they are learning and where they are going. #eportfolios
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 58m58 minutes ago
    Stories, ours and others, shape our memories #digitalstorytelling #WCELfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 58m58 minutes ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Whole idea of learning through story telling is very powerful and exciting #digitalstorytelling #eportfolios #wcelfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 59m59 minutes ago
    Reflection how we learn, hold on to our stories, giving us our sense of self #wcelfest
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 59m59 minutes ago
    #wcelfest Telling stories is a way to deeper learning
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 1h1 hour ago
    Portfolios should be persuasive #ePortfolios #WCELfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Experiential learning and portfolios. Learning from reflecting on experiences #eportfolios #wcelfest
  • Teresa Gibbison ‏@gibbisons 1h1 hour ago
        “@traceymorgan: @gibbisons capturing the moments #wcelfest ” love this pic!
  • Teresa Gibbison ‏@gibbisons 1h1 hour ago
    @eportfolios Reflection4Learning Google Site … #wcelfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 1h1 hour ago
    @gibbisons capturing the moments #wcelfest
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 1h1 hour ago
    Getting a shout out at #WCELfest is @cogdog and his elephant thanks to @eportfolios
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Digital stories to promote memory recall for Alzheimer sufferers #wcelfest #eportfolios
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 1h1 hour ago
    Eportfolios as part of your digital identity. What do you find when you Google yourself? #WCELfest
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 1h1 hour ago
    wcelfest what starts as well-being evolves into managing self and then to acting autonomously
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Portfolios have to be formative not summative or it won't be student ownership or investment #wcelfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Fascinating cultural study of parents who upload pictures of children on social media #eportfolios #lifelonglearning #wcelfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 1h1 hour ago
    Scrapbooks of life experience activities of eportfolio #wcelfest
  • Teresa Gibbison ‏@gibbisons 1h1 hour ago
     @eportfolios URL #jisc Effective Practice with ePortfolios … #wcelfest
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 1h1 hour ago
    Students need continuous personal development and we must encourage and enable that. Universities are learning institutions #WCELfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Eportfolios not just a storage space. A place for learners to find their voice #eportfolios #wcelfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 1h1 hour ago
    Dialogue at the centre conversation of eportfolio #wcelfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Eportfolios are laboratories where learners construct meaning #wcelfest
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 1h1 hour ago
    #wcelfest [people] who manage themselves are enterprising, resourceful, reliable, and resilient ... NZC 2007 …
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 1h1 hour ago
    “@difo38 And of course self management is a key competency in the nz curriculum #wcelfest” And should be a graduate attribute #waitalk
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 1h1 hour ago
    Students constructing meaning #wcelfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Questions for forming personal growth portfolio to help recognise learningfrom Peter Drucker #eportfolio #wcelfest
  • Teresa Gibbison ‏@gibbisons 1h1 hour ago
        @eportfolios 'Know Thyself" #wcelfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 1h1 hour ago
    Know thyself, life long learning, the magic of reflection via the portfolio #wcelfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    The starting point has to be the learner building self awareness and understanding #eportfolios #wcelfest
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 1h1 hour ago
    And of course self management is a key competency in the nz curriculum #wcelfest
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 1h1 hour ago
    Eportfolios are like the Blind Men and the Elephant. Stand back and understand the bigger picture of eportfolios #WCELfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 1h1 hour ago
    Showcase, assestment, development, personal ownership #folio #wcelfest
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 1h1 hour ago
    Why? Depends on which part of the elephant we perceive #wcelfest Fundamentally about student choice & voice
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Eportfolios for showcase, assessment and reflection. It is all that things #wcelfest just like the blind men and the elephant
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 1h1 hour ago
    Self, artifacts& reflection - digital storytelling and eportfolios with @eportfolios Helen Barrett #wcelfest
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 1h1 hour ago
    “@difo38 Making thinking visible, archive of evidence, multi-purpose, multi-tools #wcelfest” The multiple facets of eportfolios
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Hear the learner's voice through digital stories in eportfolios #digitalstorytelling #eportfolios #wcelfest
  • Stephen Harlow ‏@stephenharlow 1h1 hour ago
    "#ePortfolios make thinking visible" @eportfolios @visiblelearning #wcelfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 1h1 hour ago
    Hearing the learrners voice #wcelfest
  • Dianne Forbes ‏@difo38 1h1 hour ago
    Making thinking visible, archive of evidence, multi-purpose, multi-tools #wcelfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 1h1 hour ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Eportfolios and digital story telling go hand in hand. Possibilities for deep learning #eportfolios #wcelfest
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 1h1 hour ago
        Dr Helen Barrett delivering the #WCELfest keynote at Waikato University #WaiEvents
  • mel ‏@melchivers 2h2 hours ago
    Eportfolio as both a workspace and a showcase. #WCELfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 2h2 hours ago
    Collecting of artifacts, leonardo, making Thinking visible #wcelfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 2h2 hours ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Portfolios make learning visible #wcelfest #eportfolios #davinci
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 2h2 hours ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    A portfolio has a different meaning for every walk of life #wcelfest what does it mean to you?
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 2h2 hours ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Portfolios for lifelong learning for identity development #WCELFEST
  • Nigel Robertson ‏@easegill 2h2 hours ago
    Portfolios not just for students, teachers should use them too #WCELfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 2h2 hours ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Rewired rather than retired - love it! @eportfolios #wcelfest
  • Anne Robertson ‏@robeanne 2h2 hours ago Hamilton City, New Zealand
    Building stories for reflection through #eportfolios recognizing how much we have learned @eportfolios #wcelfest
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 2h2 hours ago
    My hero helen barrett creates Google site #wcelfest
  • Stephen Harlow ‏@stephenharlow 2h2 hours ago
    .@eportfolios tuning up the #WCELfest audience @waikato with her keynote: Know Thyself: #ePortfolios & Reflective Stories of Deep Learning
  • tracey morgan ‏@traceymorgan 2h2 hours ago
    Dr Helen Barrett about to give us the lowdown on eportfolios & reflective stories #wcelfest

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Resurrecting this blog

For the last two-and-a-half years, I have been ignoring this blog. The reasons were both personal and professional. My elderly mother came to live with me in 2012, and my attention was diverted to more retirement activities; I bought a Kindle, then a Kindle Fire HD, activated my Audible account and have accumulated some wonderful ebooks and audio books! My professional travel has also been greatly reduced (I am no longer MVP on Alaska Airlines -- sniff!). But today is my birthday; I received many wishes on my Facebook page, and I received a very interesting email from a K-12 school district, which made me realize that there is still interest in my ePortfolio expertise.  So I decided to get caught up with posting past presentations and other communications that I thought worthy of sharing.

While I won't post as often as in the past, I think it is time to pay more attention to my blog. I expect to post more interesting weblinks that I have just been uploading to my delicious account. Next week I will leave for a week working with Waikato University in New Zealand. After the webinar that I participated in through the Center for Digital Storytelling, I became energized by using the WeVideo tool. So, I am preparing a proposal to work with a local school on digital storytelling with teachers and high school students using WeVideo, I hope! It is time to rewire rather than totally retire!

Inquiry from K-12 Technology Coordinator

Here is an excerpt of an inquiry from a K-12 administrator for a school district in Texas:
I am the Director of Instructional Technology at the -- School District in --, TX.  Our district would like to implement electronic portfolios as a digital collection of evidence for learning.  There has been various committees that have worked on this program for several years and have struggled getting it off the ground.  Several teachers have implemented portfolios in their classroom, but we are wanting a solution that can be implemented district-wide.  During my research, I found your site and have shared it with the committee members.

During our meeting yesterday, it was suggested that I contact you and to discuss ways you can lead and support us in this journey.  We are a Google Apps for Education district and have decided that Google Sites would be our platform for our portfolio system...

I would love the opportunity to discuss how you can help us fulfill this goal of providing our students with a repository for their work.
Here is my response:

Have you found my online course on ePortfolios with Google Apps?
Since you are a Google Apps district, you also have Google Drive to establish a digital collection of student work (the first level). You can use Blogger (or Google Sites Announcement page type) to support students maintaining a reflective journal (the second level). Google Sites provides the framework for a showcase portfolio (the third level). Are you using either Hapara’s Teacher Dashboard or Google Classroom to help teachers manage student collaboration work?

I am a believer in student-centered portfolios, where students use their portfolios to learn about themselves by reflecting on their own work. There are multiple purposes for developing e-portfolios, but self-understanding as reflected in the work products themselves, as well as reflections that the students write about their own learning is, in my opinion, the heart and soul of a student-centered portfolio. There are trade-offs between institution-centered goals (graduation requirement, standards, etc.) and student-centered goals (more of a learning journal that becomes a “laboratory for constructing meaning”). I am doing a keynote address at a conference in New Zealand next month with the title, “Know Thyself: ePortfolios and Reflective Stories of Deep Learning.” 

I have worked with other states and school districts to help them implement ePortfolios; i.e., New Hampshire, New York City Schools, Eastern Sierra USD (CA), Richland SD2 (SC), ASB (Mumbai, India). Here is a success story from ASB: and
Between 2009 and 2013, I worked with the White Oak School District there in Texas to help their teachers implement ePortfolios (they use both Google Apps and EduBlogs):

Have you looked at other schools who have successfully implemented ePortfolios? My favorite is the High Tech High schools in the San Diego area. (some schools use Google Sites, others have students create their own websites using their school web server). From my visit to their schools, I found that the portfolio process is infused throughout the curriculum (and the students I talked with LOVED their DPs—digital portfolios). They use their portfolios to support three Presentations of Learning a year (PoLs) and student-led conferences. Here is a case study written for me by teachers in a high school in the Boston area:

How many schools and teachers are supporting the portfolio development process (and how many of them have their own ePortfolios)? At what grade levels are you wanting to implement ePortfolios? Where are you in the process? Do you have an implementation plan for your ePortfolios? I focus on building an implementation plan in my online course noted above. I looked at the websites that you provided, and each can be a framework for student and teacher portfolios. You will notice that one option in the lessons in my course is for the learner to construct a professional ePortfolio.

I am available to work with your committee and teachers if you like. I can help your committee set up professional development for teachers (beginning with their own professional portfolios???).  I can start with a free single hour-long Skype/Google Hangout with your committee or I can do face-to-face meetings or workshops with your teachers. I could even facilitate a customized version of my online course for your teachers. It is up to you and your budget and what kind of PD works best in your district.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Workshops at Radford University

I just finished a second day of workshops at Radford University in Virginia (August 2014 and January 2015). I created this website to support these workshops:

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Digital Storytelling with WeVideo

I just finished a webinar series sponsored by the Center for Digital Storytelling on creating digital stories with WeVideo. I went through the process and learned to use the tool, and I am VERY IMPRESSED with this online video editing tool. It reminds me of the version of iMovie that I loved (and Apple ruined--iMovie6).

This website provides a concise description of creating a digital story with still images:
Create a photo story with WeVideo

Here are some tutorials on the WeVideo site: 
Personal Narrative & Digital Storytelling with WeVideo [Part 1]
Personal Narrative & Digital Storytelling with WeVideo [Part 2]
Personal Narrative & Digital Storytelling with WeVideo [Part 3]
WeVideo Academy on YouTube (tutorial videos)

I created a very personal family story using WeVideo, so I will not post it here in my professional blog. However, I will work on another story that I will be able to post. I also hope to work with students and educators on creating digital stories for deep learning.