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Friday, 13 August 2010

Ewan MacIntosh on 'sharing'

Screenshot: Ewan MacIntosh
Ewan neatly presents the argument for pupils collaborating in their learning. This is an excellent video and at less than 4 minutes expresses concisely what in my view an ePortfolio is all about.

However, before teachers new to ePortfolios start clamouring for full openness we need to think of some of the preconditions. Ewan identifies three possible sharing scenarios, ie within the whole class, within the whole school or the ultimate sharing scenario of the whole world. This might be OK for adult learners, but I would put in a plea for establishing proper safeguards.

With eFolio, of course there is a better solution, that of steadily expanding one's audience as situations demand and even allowing different audiences to see only selected items.

Children need to be taught about what I call 'Digital Responsibility'. Firstly this involves understanding how to ensure that personal information is not given gratuitously to strangers. But secondly, information posted on one's ePortfolio should be legitimately presented and not defamatory of any third person or their works. And thirdly, and most importantly, if legal action is not to be incurred, that sources should always be properly quoted.

Even recognising the above, I feel that there is still firstly a place for teaching about Digital Responsibility, including some form of contractual AUP and secondly, an obligation for schools to have in place an appropriate level of filtering and monitoring which will vary from school to school.

And lastly, parents should be seen to have a clear understanding of what their offspring are up to, at school, at home and elsewhere when not directly supervised. A recent post on 'The Declaration of Digital Citizenship' makes interesting reading.


42 said...

Learners have been sharing their work with the world using INGOT Blogs as part of OFQUAL accredited qualifications for a few years now. Reasons for using Blogs that are publicly viewable include motivation - the students seem to like it, increased accountability - parents and teachers can see the evidence, managing assessment - assessors and verifiers can check the evidence and easily provide feedback. Reducing costs - INGOTs are considerably less expensive than similar qualifications. While we are thinking of defining a content type called "learner share" which enables learners to determine who can and can not see or edit pages they produce, this is more to satisfy some of the assessment criteria in the ITQ Unit "Using Collaborative Technologies" than anything else. We have had no problems so far with learners making work available generally - well a couple of instances where we censored things as inappropriate but that too is covered by the Acceptable Use Policy. Some children are already posting to Facebook etc from a young age so they need to learn to take responsibility very early on from direct experience of these types of technologies. Overall, I think the facilities for presenting work in web pages will replace conventional exercise books and folders. That requires some non-trivial learning by teachers and students and that is the main constraint that will slow down transition. Changing that is really what the Schools ITQ is all about. I think that rather than individual schools managing locally sited software, facilities will be freely available in similar forms to Facebook but with an emphasis on sharing learning. Each learner will have an access device based on Smartphone technology and all the basic tools for creating their work will be freely available from the web, from editing graphics to playing and editing video. Repositories such as Wikimedia,, School Tube etc will provide the content which learners will supplement with their own, remix and re-present. They will do this collaboratively with the older ones producing a lot of the learning resources they use.

Tatiana12 said...

Ease of web page posting is here today. The learning curve is just about absent. Also, the use of public blogs connected to ePortfolios makes sense. The more mature use of blogging with increasingly easy to use tools, which includes improvement as what "42" has mentioned adds to evidence of technology tools like blogging platforms are more mainstream, as is are the e-communities that happen alongside (twitter lists, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, etc.

Robust blogging platforms that require NO set-up and learning curve, like Posterous (email posting) and Tumblr, and are robust enough for moderation and password protection. The ease of creating a group blog as well means that the means to great tech. tools is at hand.

These are best facilitated and validated by f2f interaction, which, in the end is the point of portable e-Portfolios. A few bells and whistles added can make the student to graduate transition seamless.

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