Tuesday, November 24, 2009

 

Keynote in Spain and Motivation

After an exhausting trip from Istanbul, we arrived in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) last night. Just finished keynote address at ePortfolio conference for a national group working on ePortfolios in Spain. Great translation in the morning... none in the afternoon. My Spanish (from a short course over a year ago) isn't up to listening to presentations, but enjoying conversations during breaks and formal dinner. I hope that I can get their publications in digital format, so that I can read translated versions, because many of the ideas expressed in the meeting were very exciting. Some mentioned their use of social networking strategies; others recognized that faculty need to change their teaching and assessment strategies for ePortfolios to best support student learning. I was on a panel where a student teacher talked with great enthusiasm about her ePortfolio... I just wish I had her remarks in English to study further.

The wonders of the Internet! At dinner, one of the participants came up to me and said he didn't speak English, but he followed my blog through RSS (and translated it)! That's motivation (for me to continue writing this blog... and not spend as much time on Twitter)! Speaking of Motivation, I just watched Dan Pink's TED speech and found out about his new book, Drive (about Motivation in business). From his website:
The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
How do these principles of Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose, as he discusses in relationship to motivation in business, apply to EDUCATION? Could the appropriate development of an ePortfolio be part of that process? Could an ePortfolio process be developed using these principles? Anxious for the book to come out in January, to see if there are some applications of his analysis to my field. I have gained so much from A Whole New Mind, his book about "the six essential [right-brained] aptitudes on which professional success and personal fulfillment now depend" (Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, Purpose).

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

 

A Wonderful Week in Istanbul

We just finished a wonderful four days at Enka Schools in Istanbul, working with 4th & 5th grade teachers on ePortfolios, and a few of their students developing digital stories... in English, their second language! They were wonderful, very short stories about themselves or their best friends, and their enthusiasm was energizing. They have new skills to enrich their ePortfolios, now in Powerpoint, but soon they will explore more interactive tools, on their own WordPress server.

It was an interesting experience having all of my presentations translated... forcing me to slow down, reduce my content to the most critical elements. An interesting insight: There is no word for REFLECTION in Turkish, so they had to use a version of "thinking about your thinking/learning."

On Saturday, we had a tour of the historical center of Istabul. Now we are getting ready to leave for Spain. More later... with photos!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

 

mPortfolios (m=mobile)

Nick Rate, an educator from New Zealand (and fellow ADE) who published a paper last year for the Ministry of Education on Assessment for Learning and ePortfolios, has just written a few blog posts about using mobile devices to maintain student-centered mPortfolios using the iPod Touch. As he said in a previous post last year:
I see a huge potential in how mobile technologies can contribute to this area and it relates closely to some of the core beliefs I have about ePortfolios. The ability to share, for the purpose of receiving relevant and constructive feedback to improve learning, can only really happen if the learning is shared or made available almost immediately.

The web can make his happen. A blog post with embedded media takes minutes and then it’s there, ready to share. But a web based portfolio does not necessarily mean that parents will view it and share in the learning. And if they do, will they leave a comment? Will they view the learning with their child?
The physical presence of a portable device, like an iPod touch, could significantly change this. A child bringing home an iPod containing their learning gives an opportunity for sharing, not dependent on a broadband connection, taking only on a few minutes of time with mum or dad. Feedback is instant. Praise here and a suggestion here. Done.
His most recent blog posts focus on some of the software available for the iPod Touch that could be used to support mPortfolios:
I learned about a few new apps available for the iPod Touch/iPhone, and his discussion raises a lot of possibilities for developing mPortfolios. The challenge is in the interactivity: a web browser is needed to add comments and provide feedback. It looks like these tools can support the presentation but not necessarily the conversation about learning. Still, these developments are in the right direction, especially when combined with web-based solutions that provide the interactivity.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

 

Google storage changes

Yesterday I received a notice from Google that my online storage of GMail and Picasa photos was being changed from $20 to $5 per year, or my storage allocation was increased to 80 GB for the same $20. Needless to say, I reduced my service until I find out what might be on the horizon in terms of Google storage. Might I soon be able to store more than just email and photos? Does this mean that Google's long-rumored web drive is about to appear? 80 GB would be well worth $20/year, and there were additional levels for additional fees, up to 16 terabytes (for over $4,000/year). The possibilities are exciting for my work in lifelong portfolios. Hmmmm....
Sent from my iPhone
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

 

CIC CAO Presentation

Here are my slides for the Council of Independent College' Chief Academic Officers Institute, held in Sante Fe, New Mexico over this last weekend. I found it interesting that there was no Internet access provided by this conference, although the hotel charged a daily fee. I ended up just using my iPhone, and found a cafe with free wifi (to clean out my Inbox). I am now in the Albuquerque airport with slow but free wifi.

I will be developing a guided tour to my part of the Teach21 website that was developed as part of CIC's project developed under a Microsoft U.S. Partners in Learning grant. As part of that tour, I will be creating a narrated version of this slide presentation, which will also be posted to the CIC website. The narrated version should be available by the end of the year.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

 

CIC Website: Teachers for the 21st Century


I have been working on this new website for the last five months, and it will be announced and showcased at The Council of Independent Colleges annual Institute for Chief Academic Officers, to be held in Santa Fe on November 7-10, 2009. The website includes the ten webinars that I did for CIC under a Partners in Education program funded by Microsoft (seven on electronic portfolios, three on digital storytelling). I also helped the faculty members develop the digital stories that are embedded in this site.  I learned a lot about converting WMV-to-Flash video and discovered Motionbox as a website to store videos online. I also published a simplified version of the content on my website.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

 

[Portfolios] Here, There, & Everywhere

Campus Technology just published another article about ePortfolios (where I am quoted extensively). I'm not sure if she quoted my blog, or the ePortfolio Track keynote that I did last week, when I said I thought that universities should be getting out of the portfolio storage business, giving students control of their own web space to store their portfolio documents, using Web 2.0-based storage systems. My response to the article:
Thanks for quoting some of my work. There are some standards under development in the U.K. (LEAP2A) which resemble blogging standards for interoperability. There is a student side and an institution side to the e-portfolio process. The student side is the Personal Learning Environment (as indicated in the article); the institution side is more of an assessment management system. We need to be careful that the standards don't over-structure the PLE side of the e-portfolio so that personalization and creativity are diminished... that is the situation today with most of the commercial and open source e-portfolio tools. The article didn't mention WSU's Harvesting Gradebook which keeps track of assessment data, letting the student use a variety of Web 2.0-based portfolio artifacts. We need more R&D on better tools that keep the portfolio development and assessment processes distinct but interconnected. At the Assessment Institute in Indianapolis last week, I proposed that there is an Opportunity Cost in the way we implement portfolios for accountability vs. portfolios for learning/improvement. Student engagement supporting lifelong learning strategies should be as important as collecting data for accreditation. Finding balance in the process is the challenge.
 The article mentions the Gartner Hype Cycle for Education, 2009, and ePortfolios were listed in the stage of "Sliding Into the Trough" (...of disillusionment, where we say "woah, we were sold down the river"). To move to the next stage of the cycle (Climbing the Slope... of Enlightenment, where we say, "no, come to think of it, used in the right way, this can be good") will be a challenge: figuring out "the right way" from which philosophical perspective? Accountability or Learning/Improvement?

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Monday, November 02, 2009

 

E-portfolios in formative & summative assessment in UK

The final report, plus case studies (34 in total) from the "Study on the role of e-portfolios in formative and summative assessment practices" by a team led by the Centre of Recording Achievement (U.K.), are now available from JISC:
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/eportfolios/studyontheroleofeportfolios.aspx
Interesting reading from higher education in U.K.

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