Sunday, July 25, 2004
Home from Camp Apple
When I had an opportunity to share my professional achievements, I said, "showing learners how to use technology to tell the story of their learning, whether through e-portfolios, digital stories, or blogs." My highlighted personal achievement was working with my grandchildren to help them develop their e-portfolios.
Friday, July 23, 2004
I had downloaded iBlog last week, so I installed it today. Then I read about another tool that is an update to iBlog, not free ($20). It's called Blogwave Studio for .Mac. Both tools are integrated with some of the iLife tools, which is a good start. More experimenting ahead! I'm not sure I want to change tools so early in the process. I am pleased that we have a blog set up on the ADE Community. Maybe we can interest more ADEs in sharing their thoughts and activities using this tool. The time is late!
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Monday, July 19, 2004
Day 3 Assessment Workshop
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Day 2 Assessment Workshop
Friday, July 16, 2004
Assessment FOR Learning Workshop
I had an opportunity to make a short presentation on international perspectives on electronic portfolios. But mostly I talked about my concerns about the direction that e-portfolios are taking related to high stakes accountability and I presented my "balanced" model. It was delightful to get to know Doug again, after years ago and his work on the Scholastic Electronic Portfolio. I am so pleased that he has the same concerns that I have. I am looking forward to the next four days.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
New links on e-portfolios
An article in the Washington Post on July 6 on portfolios
A summary of a debate held in the UK in late June on e-portfolios for recording achievement
Gary Greenberg's recent article in July-August Educause Review
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Second-order tool use
But I have seen the evolution of these tools to accomplish tasks not in the original design. In the context of electronic portfolios, the tools are used within the context of building a story of learning. Hypertext linking within the Office toolset allows a variety of applications for creating links to artifacts and creating the portfolio structure. I see the same potential for blog-type activities in e-portfolio development. As a reflective journal, I think blogging can be very useful. If we can figure out how to create an inventory list of the attachments (artifacts) in the blog, and can figure out how to use those artifacts in another context, then it would be a powerful tool. But since I am not a programmer, I don't know how to make it work.
Monday, July 05, 2004
BlogTalk 2.0 Conference
My first impression of this conference:
- the participants are very young and predominantly male
- there are an unusual number of Macintosh laptops in the room and on the podium (Yeah!) - on the table next to me and in front of me, there are at least 8 G4 laptops of various sizes
An interesting statement: textual blogs are popular among adolescents and a major part of young bloggers seems to be girls.
I keep thinking about how this phenomenon can be adapted to electronic portfolios. When the two presenters from Sweden showed some examples from their moblogging at a conference last winter, including an audio entry that sounded like it was added by a cell phone, many bells started to go off in my head. Now, I need to learn more about moblogs. Another new term I learned" "vogs" (personal publishing of video or audio).
I also saw some new tools used to present on the Macintosh: Opera (which I downloaded over the slow wi-fi connection) and Mozilla's Firebird.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
Paradigms underlying e-portfolios
To my knowledge, very few teacher ed programs are addressing these philosophical perspective when they are making decisions about implementing e-portfolios. They assume that the tools are neutral, but I believe they aren't. If students must organize their artifacts around a set of standards, rather than their own choice of organization, then the portfolio follows a positivist paradigm. If the learner can truly tell a story of their own learning, and organize the portfolio around the themes of their own learning journey, then the portfolio follows a constructivist paradigm.
At the end of that article I ask questions about learner motivation to maintain the portfolio once it is no longer a requirement. I think issues of intrinsic motivation have not been addressed by the field.
I also recommended that she not restrict her literature review to just electronic portfolios but to look at the entire literature on paper-based portfolios. The electronic elements are only containers and construction tools. The purpose, process and context should be similar between electronic and paper-based portfolios. Look beyond the tools and publishing format, to the underlying issues.
I recommended a couple of Dr. Joanne Carney's articles:
http://it.wce.wwu.edu/carney/Presentations/presentations.html and click on her AERA paper, which is the beginning of a literature review and framework for research in electronic portfolios.
This graduate student responded, agreeing that tools are not neutral - they come with their affordances, which can make portfolio assessment challenging. What do you assess - the portfolio as a whole or its contents?? Can you take the contents out of the container?? Doesn't the container color the perception and therefore the evaluation of its contents? She also wondered whether creating a portfolio to address standards makes the portfolio approach positivistic. If the student is allowed the freedom to interpret the standards with the help of their portfolio, wouldn't it be a reflective, constructivist activity??
I believe the two approaches (positivist and constructivist) have more to do with how portfolios are viewed in relationship to assessment. Are portfolios assessment OF learning or assessment FOR learning? Summative or Formative assessment? There is a great deal of difference. One has a perspective of what a student has learned to date (past-to-present); the other has a perspective on what more the student needs to learn (present-to-future). One is more of an institutional focus on accountability; the other is of an individual focus on understanding. One is often treated almost as a "bean-counting" exercise (have all of the standards been covered?) whereas the other is approached as an exploration of new insights.
The concept of Assessment for Learning is discussed in detail by the QCA in the United Kingdom: http://www.qca.org.uk and click on ages 3-14 and you will see Assessment for Learning. The QCA definition: Assessment for Learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.
Don't get me wrong, in an age of accountability, both perspectives are important. I am simply calling for a balance. My fear is that our emphasis on the organization's needs has overshadowed the learners' needs. I am trying to emphasize strategies that, while difficult to quantify, lead to much deeper learning.
I am currently reading a fairly new book called The Art of Changing the Brain by James Zull (Stylus, 2002), that relates the biology of the brain to strategies that support deep learning. He relates Kolb's Experiential Learning model to the structure of the brain, and emphasizes the role of emotion and reflection in deep learning. That is why I am so excited about the role of blogging to support reflection in electronic portfolios and digital storytelling to help tell the story of learning in an emotionally engaging way.
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