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Friday, 23 April 2010

ePortfolio CDL Conference April 24 2010

Screenshot from the presentationThe presentation by Mara Kaufman and Nazik Roufaiel at the ePortfolio CDL Conference April 24 2010 is attractive to look at and appears to be generally well researched. I was particularly impressed with several of the graphics including the one above.

However, as usual, it would have been helpful to see real examples of e-Portfolios produced by their students. I would have loved to be a 'fly on the wall' at their conference just to see audience reaction and to hear some of the comments related to the slides. I do hope that there will be an audio recording or a transcription of proceedings!
Perhaps my chief observation is that this presentation again reflect the efforts of an individual institution to reinvent the e-Portfolio. Is it not time that instead of talking about e-Portfolios we actually got down to using them in ALL of our institutions. Is it not time that we accepted that the e-Portfolio should be learner owned and completely portable from one institution to another and truly Lifelong?

Monday, 19 April 2010

Evaluation of an e-Portfolio system

I've recently received a copy of the report, 'Assessing the Efficacy and Effectiveness of an E-Portfolio Used for Summative Assessment '. - A very clear and well written document!

As regular readers will appreciate, I disagree with some aspects of the report such as the decision to use the embedded e-Portfolio tool within Blackboard. The authors also recognise a serious limitation of the report in not having any pre-implementation rubric results with which to compare findings. Again, I would disagree with the emphasis on evaluating implementation skills. I think that in terms of e-Portfolios we should be well passed that stage by now and just use the e-Portfolio to assess learning outcomes.

As the title of the report indicates, this implementation was being used to assess SUMMATIVELY. NO reference is made to the use of the e-Portfolio for enabling teachers to provide FORMATIVE feedback. However, the report is well worth reading in terms of the research methodology and the lessons learnt. People considering implementing e-Portfolio systems or even developing existing systems would do well to carefully study this document.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Example from HE

Picture: The Flower Carrier by Diego RiveraI have just come across this example of an e-Portfolio which clearly represents my approach to e-Portfolios in HE. It's a wonderful example that all my readers should thoroughly explore.
Obviously I must congratulate Pedro Arista for the quality of his eFolio but more than that, it shows just how professional an eFolio can be and how it can evolve over a period of time.
Pedro, if you read this perhaps you can get in touch with me?

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Developing a Networked School Community

Graphic: Front cover of the bookA guide to realising the vision – edited by Mal Lee and Glen Finger.

This book is a first in its class and should be found on the headteacher’s desk of every school. Its well-paced and easy read style presents a profound array of research in its twenty chapters from around the world. The authors argue for the application of ‘flat world’ thinking to all areas of teaching and learning. The extensive bibliography substantiates the combined wisdom and experience of a host of authors.

At 355 pages the book demands serious responses from its readers. Schools will never be the same again. Pedagogies must change, infrastructures and digital tools will inevitably change. Communities will emerge or be strengthened in ways never previously imagined.

Although digital technologies in industry, commerce and the home have become increasingly outward looking it is generally the case that where schools have become increasingly digital they are still slow to engage with the wider world. One quotation from the book must suffice:

“Notwithstanding, across the developed world education authorities, schools, and indeed national governments that have moved to a quite different digital operational mode, have begun to remove the traditional school walls and disturb the traditional conception of timetabled formal lessons, and use the opportunities provided by the networked technology to move into a third distinct phase of schooling, which is strongly networked and collaborative in nature and is starting to involve the students’ homes more fully in teaching and learning.”

Here, yet again, is a perfect example of where eFolio can provide that safe interface between the world, the school and the home. Anyone reading 'Developing a Networked School Community' must see the value of the e-Portfolio as the perfect Lifelong and Lifewide solution.

Australian Council for Educational Research
19 Prospect Hill Rd, Camberwell VIC 3124
t: 03 9277 5447
f: 03 9277 5499
UK & Europe:
The Eurospan Group
3 Henrietta Street
Covent Garden
London WC2E 8LU
T: 020 7240 0856
F: 020 7379 0609

Sunday, 11 April 2010

home-school relationships - 1

The FuturLab report, 'Developing the home-school relationship using digital technologies', published a few weeks ago, is a useful statement of the present situation, warts 'n all. Illustrated profusely throughout its 68 .pdf pages and well documented, I wonder just how brief FutureLab's message really is.

For me, I get a similar sense when reading the document as when I see other publications by Becta on Parental Engagement - 'It all seems a bit one-sided'. It all seems to be about telling parents what the school does and what the parents should be doing. Yes, there are occasional statements about listening to 'pupil voice' but generally the data-flow all seems a bit one-sided. Again, although I believe in on-line reporting in its full and wholesome potential, many fear that the term relates only to the dreaded 'REPORT' mentality which usually tends to highlight a pupil's failings (eg times late, detentions etc) rather than their merits.

Obviously, I tend to look at any report in terms of its references to e-Portfolios, again, only one brief reference in passing to something that might be implemented in the future. As regular readers will recognise, I see the e-Portfolio as being the tool par excellence for communicating to parents both the progress of their child(ren) in real time and the apposite place for formative feedback.

Photo: Grandmother and pre-school child with a workbookWhat I do not see in this report, as with other Becta publications, is any mention of the facility for TEACHERS to take notice of what learning takes place outside of school which is NOT school directed. The e-Portfolio is very much a two-way process as opposed to Becta's uni-directional approach of TELLING the parents. The e-Portfolio can resolve a very real dilema - that of parents not knowing how children are taught, but also that schools should be aware of what happens in the home, in the ballet class, the Saturday morning football fixture or the additional private tuition.

Friday, 2 April 2010

e-Assessment - some timely notes

Photo: Piles and piles of coursework to be marked and assessed.I took this photograph of the end-of-term pile of assessments to be done by a teacher some years ago. But since then not much has changed. The work is still printed out, marked and put into a folder, marks written up in a marks book and then the whole file for each student is assessed. And many teachers will now be doing this well into the Summer term!

The document produced for Becta by John Winkley offers some hope of a solution for overworked teachers, but probably not universally available in my lifetime! As I have argued eleswhere, the place for such powerful tools should be within the VLE, but some schools are still lagging behind in installing such tools or even really getting pupils and parents to access their VLEs from home!
As the blurb states:
Photograph:  John WinkleyAn authoritative survey of a technology which, perhaps like virtual reality, has not come of age as quickly as expected. A wide-ranging overview describes current and future applications of on-screen examinations, audio, text editing, adaptive assessment, games and simulations, short text answer marking, essay marking, spoken language marking, mathematics marking and voting devices. John Winkley argues that e-assessment has potential to be transformational in developing the benefits of immediate results and improved feedback, interactivity and richness of ICT for more authentic assessment, e-assessment as an enabler of better assessment and as a democratising influence on the assessment process which also encompasses diversity.

BUT, he mentions e-Portfolios only once in passing! It is surely time to start encouraging students to take the initiative in claiming what should be assessed along with their own reflections and possibly those of peers and mentors. Winkley is arguing for some future nirvana, I am arguing that e-Portfolios (and in particular eFolio) should be adopted NOW!