Wednesday, June 03, 2009

 

Digital Identity and EIFEL's new direction

EIFEL is moving from a focus on interoperability of ePortfolio data (document export/import, data structures) to a more flexible approach of an ePortfolio interoperability framework "where individuals are free to choose the components of their own ePortfolio system while being capable of interacting with a number of different institutions across time (diachronic interoperability) and space (synchronic interoperability)."

In response to that posting, there was some interesting discussion on the ePortfolios-and-PLTs Google Group (mostly in the U.K.) about the development of Digital Identity. I was especially impressed by some lessons on Digital Identity, "This is Me" that were developed by the University of Reading in the U.K. and can be downloaded for free. My favority response to the issue of "digital identity" was posted by Roger Neilson, where he insightfully compared it to a teenager's bedroom:
There is probably a spectrum here, at one end is the protocol driven 'me' page that an organisation will seek to control, in the interests of child safety, personal data protection etc - and at the other end the 'vanity' page where everything is permitted and the entries are a mish mash of design, font, layout, with a lot of random (to us) material. some of which will be decidely not a good idea for data protection etc.

The problem is that any web presence that is purely prescribed by a bureaucracy will have no soul or personal 'declaration' and therefore especially for the teenage user, no interest whatsoever.

When we establish our own 'digital presence' we make choices as to what we put in the 'footprint' - there are probably some absolutes that need to be there, there will be some stuff that is very inadvisable to include - and there will be a lot of 'clutter' that for us will be very meaningful, but actually a waste of time for a reader.

A very necessary part of learning is to understand that we all have this digital footprint and that we need to manage it... so there has to be both guidance, and freedom to 'decorate it as they desire.

It's their teenage bedroom, we own the house and we can say there are key things that need to be in there, but we can only stand back and watch as they decorate it in a manner that they find wonderful, and we may find hideous.
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And what you are doing Helen, by advocating for the use of digital stories in ePortfolios, is ensuring that they have soul.
 
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