Tuesday, May 20, 2008

 

Workshop in Durango, Mexico

I am really excited. I am currently doing a workshop with English language teachers in Durango, and we are using a variety of Web 2.0 tools to facilitate the process over three full days; our agenda and the hands-on activities.

Yesterday, we began the workshop with Blogger and also Google Groups so that we could carry on a dialogue after the workshop is over (we will continue the dialogue online through December). I also showed them RSS feeds this morning (using GoogleReader), so that they can keep track of changes in blogs and other documents that have RSS feeds, like GoogleDocs, which we also covered this morning. Tonight we started to adapt the European Language Portfolio Word documents into GoogleDocs. We also looked at pulling together a presentation portfolio with the GoogleDocs Presentation tool, and then embedding the presentation into our blogs. Most of them were able to create a quick presentation, publish it, copy the code and embed it into their blogs (much as I did earlier in this blog).

Tomorrow morning, I will introduce them to online storage, where they will store audio clips and video clips of students' English speaking skills. We will learn how to store those files online in a free file storage website, and how to embed those links both into a blog and into a GoogleDoc or a Google Page document. I will be introducing them to Google Pages later, so that they can see a web page authoring tool.

This was a very ambitious schedule for these three days. The workshop day was different. We worked 9 AM to 1 PM, took the afternoon off, and came back for a 6-8 PM shift. It was nice to take off the hot part of the day, eating my heavy meal in the afternoon, but it still makes a long day! I am really impressed with the participants in this workshop. They are participating in a fast-paced workshop, learning a lot of new technology skills in their second language, staying past the end of the workshop to keep exploring new things. This is my second workshop in Mexico, and I am very impressed! I'm also able to practice my Spanish, reinforcing the class I have been taking this spring.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

 

Friday Live featuring WSU

During yesterday's Friday Live sponsored by the TLT group, the presentation focused on the work of Washington State University and their work on ePortfolios (official title: Using Outside Experts to Assess Program Outcomes Online; Experiences at Washington State University). Their presentation, and the discussion in the chat, focused on the power of an e-portfolio to document the process of learning, something that I have been emphasizing in many entries recently in this blog.

WSU's ePortfolio contest brought in outside experts to judge student projects, which were documented in these ePortfolios, and there were several comments about the importance of documenting the process as much as the outcomes, normally shown in a poster. Here is another example where keeping a reflective journal is perhaps the most powerful part of the ePortfolio journey, revealing to the learners and their audiences, their construction of knowledge.

WSU uses Microsoft's SharePoint platform to support their students' ePortfolio development, based on a philosophy that they should be learning to use tools that they would use in their professional lives after they leave the university. They also believe that the students should structure their own electronic portfolios. I agree with both of those viewpoints.

The TLT Group has posted a web page on Electronic Portfolios: Formative Evaluation, Planning that provides some valuable insights on planning for planning to implement ePortfolios in a higher education institution.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

 

Blogs and ePortfolios

After the recent ePortfolio conference in Montreal, where I met Stephen Downes, his blog entry discussed the following entries about using blogs in the ePortfolio process:
This ain’t yo mama’s e-portfolio, part 1
This ain’t yo mama’s e-portfolio, part 2
This ain’t yo mama’s e-portfolio, part 3

Alan Levine had discussed these issues in 2004, around the time I began this blog: Two Rivers Mix: RSS and e-Portfolios.

Penn State University switched over to the Movable Type blogging tool at the beginning of this year, and here are several weblinks that provide more information.
WHEN IS A BLOG NOT A BLOG?
ePortfolios at Penn State

I have already blogged about the research on blogs at the University of Calgary. It is important to emphasize that blogging tools facilitate personal publishing and reflection, which make this type of tool an essential part of any comprehensive ePortfolio system.

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Using GoogleDocs in the Classroom

In the link above, Google has put together a very nice guide to help teachers use GoogleDocs in the classroom. This multipage GoogleDoc document includes the following sections:
Here is a video about Google Apps for Education that was recently added to YouTube by Google.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

 

Follow up on WSU ePortfolio work

The comment on my blog entry earlier this week, made by Nils Peterson at Washington State University, encouraged me to revisit some other entries that have come to my attention over the last six months:

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Monday, May 05, 2008

 

Harvesting Gradebook

I am at the ePortfolio conference in Montreal, and thought I would add an entry to my blog about an article that I am referencing entitled, "The Future of Web 2.0" which was published in Campus Technology on February 27, 2008. This was an interview with Gary Brown, Director of Washington State University's Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. This quote is especially appropriate for using Web 2.0 tools within the context of assessment.
Right now at WSU, one of the things we're developing in collaboration with Microsoft is a "harvesting" gradebook. So as an instructor in an environment like this, my gradebook for you as a student has links to all the different things that are required of you in order for me to credit you for completing the work in my class. But you may have worked up one of the assignments in Flickr, another in Google Groups, another in Picasa, and another in a wiki. Maybe you've also made some significant contributions to Wikipedia. So, I need a gradebook where I have the link you've provided me, rather than a copy of the work, and the gradebook should be capable of pulling in all of these various sources.

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