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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

ePortfolios and Market Traction

I recently came across this interesting blog - well, interesting in that the author appears to have opinions on so many different subjects.

However, he (she?) does raise some interesting points concerning ePortfolios that I felt I should respond to:

You say, “how many of the players of traditional portfolios were wondering why e-portfolios hadn’t had better market traction. I commented that it has been broadly accepted but it just isn’t called e-portfolios, it was simply people creating an online identity (not always positive unfortunately) with social media.”

Have you not in your statement summed up several of the reasons why the takeup of ePortfolios has been so slow?

Firstly “players of traditional portfolios” are certainly not the ones likely to extol the benefits of innovative digital systems. The driver for ePortfolios is certainly not traditional didactics but starts with a hunger within teachers and students alike for collaborative approaches to teaching and learning.

I fail to see that ePortfolios have been “broadly accepted”. I do agree that some institutions have established internal ‘Portfolios’ embedded within their VLE, but these hardly come under such criteria as ‘portability’, ‘ownership’, ‘Longevity’ or ‘Lifewide Learning’. Quite simply, these manifestations do not come under an enlightened view of what an ePortfolio can do. But more significantly, “most” teachers or Faculty that I speak to do not have a clue about what an ePortfolio can really do for their students or for their own delivery.

Thirdly, of course, just creating an on-line digital identity is hardly what an ePortfolio is about. As much as some social media might claim to be secure and can be presented to different audiences for different purposes, such sites lack the self-image or self-representation that a true ePortfolio can offer as part of a ‘digital identity’. And again, I cannot see solutions such as FaceBook providing the ability to ‘transmogrify’ from one persona to another in the same way as a good ePortfolio such as eFolio can offer.

I really feel that old assumptions about ePortfolios should be discarded and that we should come up with a clear set of ePortfolio definitions. Several years ago I published the following set of 10 criteria. Since then no-one has disagreed with them: (best read in FullScreen mode)

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