Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

ePortfolios and Web 2.0

I am at a conference in Salzburg, sponsored by Salzburg Research providing a keynote address at a conference on Social Skills and Social Software. Most of the conference is conducted in German, but with simultaneous translation. The keynote speaker before me talked about the differences between Web 1.0 (mostly static web pages) and Web 2.0. According to Wikipedia, Web 2.0 is defined as follows:
Web 2.0 generally refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that lets people collaborate and share information online. In contrast to the first generation, Web 2.0 gives users an experience closer to desktop applications than the traditional static Web pages... Web 2.0 applications often use a combination of techniques devised in the late 1990s, including public web service APIs (dating from 1998), Ajax (1998), and web syndication (1997). They often allow for mass publishing (web-based social software). The term may include blogs and wikis. To some extent Web 2.0 is a buzzword, incorporating whatever is newly popular on the Web (such as tags and podcasts), and its meaning is still in flux.
My keynote address was entitled, "Electronic Portfolios: Digital Stories of Lifelong and Life Wide Learning." In addition to some of my new thinking on the multiple purposes of digital stories in ePortfolios, one of the ideas that I presented was the concept of the "Lifetime Personal Web Space" (LPWS) introduced by Cohn & Hibbitts in Educause Quarterly, 2004. Following my presentation, Lee Bryant (CEO of a leading social software company in the UK) talked about Social Software and the opportunities for linking together a lot of free or low cost "low threshold" applications, or "small pieces, loosely joined" which is David Weinberger's unified theory of the web. I am intrigued about the potential for using a variety Web 2.0 applications to build ePortfolios: blogs, wikis, photo blogs (like Flickr), podcasts, RSS feeds, social bookmarking (i.e., del.icio.us).

I am intrigued by the potential for allowing learners to incorporate a variety of Web 2.0 services into their portfolios. The challenge is ease-of-use of these various tools. When I conducted my own "Online Portfolio Adventure" in 2004, I did not upload many artifacts; instead, I used URL links to documents that I had already stored on one of my own web spaces (LPWS). I can see a lot of potential for taking the next step, incorporating Web 2.0 technologies, both as the organizer as well as access to portfolio content.

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Comments:
Hi Helen good to see you're not letting "retirement" slow you down! Yesterday I discovered OurStory which is worth a look. It's a social networking application for storytellers--MySpace for genealogists?! A collaborative media archive built around a timeline interface which could be useful for building portfolios--afterall they're stories too! IT Conversations' interview with OurStory founder Andy Halliday provides a good rundown of current and planned features.
 
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