Tuesday, December 29, 2009
TEDx India presentation
Here is my proposed presentation:
Social Networks and Interactive Portfolios: Blurring the Boundaries
Electronic Portfolios have been with us for almost two decades, used primarily in education to store documents and reflect on learning, provide feedback for improvement, and showcase achievements for accountability or employment. Social networks have emerged over the last five years, used by individuals and groups to store documents and share experiences, showcase accomplishments, communicate and collaborate with friends and family, and, in some cases, facilitate employment searches. The boundaries between these two processes are gradually blurring. As we consider the potential of lifelong e-portfolios, will they resemble the structured accountability systems that are currently being implemented in many higher education institutions? Or are we beginning to see lifelong interactive portfolios emerging as mash-ups in the Web 2.0 cloud, using blogs, wikis, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, etc.? There are many similarities between these two processes; the major differences are in extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation (Dan Pink's concept of autonomy, mastery, and purpose). This presentation will draw on Pink's new book, Drive, and how blurring the boundaries between social networks and e-portfolios could motivate people to adopt the portfolio processes of collection, reflection, selection/presentation, interaction, and collaboration to support lifelong learning.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Motivation and Selecting an ePortfolio System
...the most successful websites and electronic forums have a certain Type I approach [to motivation] in their DNA. They're designed-often explicitly--to tap into intrinsic motivation. You can do the same with your online presences if you listen to Shirky and:These criteria came to mind as I recall the following e-mail message I received a week ago:
• Create an environment that makes people feel good about participating.
• Give users autonomy.
• Keep the system as open as possible.
My school district has been using a ePortfolio system for over three years now with limited success, and is currently researching ePortfolio alternatives. While I have found numerous platforms that are currently on the market, I have not found any recent articles which compare and contrast these options. We are particularly focused on adopting a system that will easily allow us to aggregate/export data surrounding student achievement of specific learning goals, primarily as they relate to gradation requirements, but also as a manner to track the consistency of learning and teaching which occurs across the school.I really wonder what he means by "limited success" but here is part of my response: [after referencing my April 22 blog entry]:
Is there a particular ePortfolio platform that you feel is especially adept at accomplishing these tasks, or an article that you might recommend?
So, you need to decide whether you want an electronic portfolio or an assessment management system. When you describe "a system that will easily allow us to aggregate/export data surrounding student achievement of specific learning goals, primarily as they relate to gradation requirements, but also as a manner to track the consistency of learning and teaching which occurs across the school" that sounds like an institution-centered assessment management system, not a student-centered ePortfolio. For what purpose of assessment? Accountability or Improvement? (see my recent blog entry and the associated White Paper). There are a variety of recommendations in that blog entry.So, in addition to the functional criteria for evaluating e-portfolio systems, what about some motivational principles for that are aligned with Shirky's three criteria, where students feel good about participating, giving them some autonomy, while keeping the system as open as possible? Can we also consider Dan Pink's motivating workplace environment that promotes autonomy, mastery, and purpose?
In a recent presentation at the Assessment Conference in Indianapolis in October, I made the following point about "Opportunity Cost" (what you give up when you make a decision). You might also be interested in an article on the Limitations of Portfolios.
I don't know what systems you have considered. Do you have a server where you could install Mahara (an open source portfolio tool created in New Zealand)? Did you look at Digication? My research is on students developing student-centered ePortfolios using a variety of free Web 2.0 tools (that they can continue to use after they graduate), primarily GoogleApps (Docs, Sites) or WordPress/EduBlogs. These systems are not used to collect quantitative data about student learning. For that purpose, you could use a data management system that allows you to link to student-centered online portfolio artifacts.
I'm not sure this answers your questions, but the tools today are very primitive, and not well balanced between accountability and improvement. Also, most of the research has been done in higher education, not in K-12. If only we could just capture the engagement of Facebook into an ePortfolio system... but I do not advocate using social networks for ePortfolios... just incorporate those strategies into ePortfolio systems. The only one I know of that tries to include those social networking strategies in a hosted system is Epsilen.com.
Friday, December 25, 2009
The New Family Album/Diary
The ability to immediately document (and also reflect) on experience, and receive immediate feedback from both peers and mentors, is what we need in the academic e-portfolio development process. I am not advocating using Facebook for academic portfolios, but I am witnessing many portfolio processes that can be supported by adding this capability to any number of available systems (already available with most blogs): a social networking app that works with a mobile device (including a camera... missing from the iPod Touch right now). The iPhone/iPod Touch also has the capability to record audio clips, important for younger learners, or those who reflect better with their voices than with their fingers. (There is Dragon Dictation on the iPhone that seems to do a fairly good job of translating spoken words to text... in a quiet place... it didn't work for me when I tried it in an airport Food Court... would that be similar to a busy classroom?).
The tools are slowly starting to emerge to facilitate the workspace/learning/process portfolio, or eDoL (Electronic Documentation of Learning). As we approach the end of this decade, and I reflect upon how much technology has changed in the last 10 years, it is pretty exciting to think about where it will be at the end of the next decade (an appropriate reflection for New Year's Eve?). It is an exciting time to be exploring the potential, and to help others find the relevance of these social networking processes in the service of lifelong learning. Such a gift!
Merry Christmas! (my annual Christmas letter)
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Digital Narratives in Online Class
You will create a multimedia digital narrative (digital story with voice narration), that outlines your Technology Philosophy/Creed. This project will be submitted as a URL and embedded into your blog, and the script for your narration should include the references you used to support your statement. This digital narrative will be 4-to-5 minutes (400-500 words), recorded and illustrated with digital images, and posted online, either in YouTube/TeacherTube/SchoolTube (upload a digital video created with iMovie, MovieMaker or PhotoStory), or developed in VoiceThread.com, or developed as Powerpoint adding narration using Screenr.com. Digital images should be either Creative Commons (from Flickr search) or digital photos that you have taken or Powerpoint slides you have exported to JPEG or screenshots of educational websites. No student faces should be identifiable (see Privacy statement).I provided step-by-step instructions for using one of the free video editors (iMovie, MovieMaker2 or PhotoStory), and two Web 2.0 authoring tools (VoiceThread or Screenr). Given those choices, the final projects were developed using a variety of tools:
- Screenr (7) -- many created in Powerpoint and recorded directly to Screenr website
- VoiceThread (2)
- a video editor (8) -- iMovie (3) and MovieMaker2 (5)
- Youtube (8)
- Screenr (5) (2 exported to YouTube)
- motionbox (1)
- voicethread (1) (one exported to YouTube)
- vodpod (3) (to embed video in WordPress.com blog)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
- Use separate tools for assessment management and student e-portfolios?
(Ball State’s rGrade & WSU’s Harvesting Gradebook)
- Incorporate blogging and social networking tools for interactivity and engagement
(Open Source Tools: WordPress, Movable Type, Mahara)
- Allow embedding student Web 2.0 links, including video, into their e-portfolios
- Enable exporting e-portfolio to students’ lifetime personal webspace
- Acknowledge the importance of both portfolio as workspace (process) & showcase (product)
- Support student choice and voice in e-portfolios
- Facilitate reflection for deep learning
- Provide timely and effective feedback for improvement
- Encourage student use of multimedia in portfolios for visual communication and literacy
• Digital Storytelling & Podcasting
• Picasa/Flickr slideshows
- Acknowledge/Encourage students’ Web 2.0 digital identity
Monday, December 14, 2009
Of course, all blogging tools are not created equal. I am creating this blog in Blogger, because that is the tool I started using in May 2004. Blogger allows Labels (key word tags) but not the categories available in WordPress. Blogger doesn't allow additional pages, like in WordPress. When I first started blogging, I posted duplicate entries to both a WordPress blog on my own server space (but gave it up after a few months as duplicative), and developed a portfolio using the pages and sub-pages available in WordPress.com (version 2.0+). I keep a private personal blog in WordPress because I require a password to access the blog (or any individual entry in a public WordPress blog can require a password). So if WordPress has so many more features, why am I still writing this blog in Blogger? I think it is the user interface: Blogger is clean, simple, easy to use; I find the WordPress interface to be more cluttered, complex, but I can see its advantage for institutions that want to host the system on their own servers. For me, the major difference is that I can embed audio, video and slideshare files into my Blogger blog, but WordPress.com would require me to upgrade my account with VideoPress for an annual $60 fee (not applicable for sites hosting WordPress on their own server).
I just finished reading a dissertation written by an elementary teacher who implemented an electronic portfolio to support process writing with her fourth grade students using WordPress on a server in her school... in Greek! In the school where I worked in Turkey last month, that school is implementing e-portfolios with fourth and fifth grade students, making a transition from PowerPoint to WordPress on their own server... in Turkish! It helps to have a technology support staff! The value of this open source tool that can be installed on an institution's server, and modified to be implemented in the native language of the school, provides an easily modifiable environment to facilitate the reflection that is "the heart and soul" of a portfolio. My next project will be to test out the blogging capabilities built into the Mahara open source e-portfolio tool.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
At the beginning of the day, I asked how many of them had their own e-portfolios. There was a few tentative hands that went up... but at the end of my presentation, many of them who kept a blog (most using WordPress.com) were able to say that their blogs and the associated pages really represented who they were professionally. Lisa Dawley, the program chair, raised an interesting idea: to incorporate students' blog-folios into the LinkedIn professional network site, to begin building their professional network before they graduated... an interesting approach, especially as a showcase portfolio for employment and self-marketing. The LinkedIn site appears to work well with a WordPress.com blog. I am talking with schools that are using the Ning social networking site for similar purposes, all part of embedding academic work into a larger context. More to explore!
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Dragon Dictate for iPhone
I'm not sure this will replace my laptop, but I am impressed with how little I miss my laptop. And when I discovered that DragonDictate was available for the iPhone. I immediately downloaded it. I recorded 95% of this message using the software on my iPhone. Only needed to make minor changes and it has a keyboard for that purpose. I am still not comfortable dictating but I could really get used to this. Writers and researchers say there is a distinct difference between typed text, hand written text, and spoken text. It will be interesting to analyze my writing done in this format.
Sent from my iPhone
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age
- Day 1: Opening Panel: Recapturing Our Innovation Edge: America’s Urgent Education Challenge - Linda Darling-Hammond, Joel I. Klein, Mitchell Kapor, Jonathan F. Miller, Kavitark Shriram
- Day 1: Dinner keynote: Geoff Canada
- Day 2: Session I. The Next Revolution in Learning: How Digital Culture is Shaping Where and How Children Learn - Gary E. Knell, Mizuko Ito, James Steyer, Reed Hastings
- Day 2: Session II. Literacy 2.0: Creative Strategies to Prepare 21st Century Learners - Nichole Pinkard, Benjamin Bederson, Allison Druin, Karen Cator, Marissa Mayer, Daniel Russell
- Day 2: Session III. New Learning Designs: Scaling Innovation to Reverse the Dropout Crisis - Jason Levy, Larry Rosenstock, Katie Salen, Rey Ramsey
- Day 2: Session IV: Teachers for a Digital Age: New Strategies to Transform Practice - Anthony S. Bryk, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Marshall (Mike) S. Smith, Ellen Moir, Esther Wojcicki
- Day 2: Closing Panel: Breakthrough Ideas to Drive Student Success: Action Steps for the Nation - Blair Levin, Jim Shelton, Barbara Chow, Susan Gendron, Elliot Schrage, Kathy Hurley
I also discovered the blog that different participants contributed entries. A really interesting enry: Using Alternative Assessment Models to Empower Youth-directed Learning Including a high school senior's Digital Media Portfolio created using VoiceThread developed as part of Global Kids, Inc.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Google is probably the leading provider of mashup services and software for the creation of e-portfolios. The search giant isn't yet offering an e-portfolio product, per se, but in 2007 it began publishing a step-by-step process for combining its Google Apps software into e-portfolio mashups. On its "Google Apps E-Portfolios Mashup" web page, the company has published a series of documents describing how to mash up such applications as Google Docs, Gmail, Google Notebook, Blogger, and the iGoogle portal to, essentially, create an e-portfolio.
Google is also providing guidance specifically aimed at K-12 education. The company has published descriptions of three levels of K-12 e-portfolios: e-portfolio as storage; e-portfolio as workspace; and e-portfolio as showcase.
Lowendahl [Garner Group] is pleased to see Google getting into the e-portfolio business. He says interest from companies of such stature is necessary to secure the application's future.I agree, it would be nice if Google was getting into the e-portfolio business, but they aren't. What the author is referencing is MY website. Here is the comment that I added to the article:
This article provides interesting information about e-portfolios, although some of it is inaccurate and incomplete. It is true that most of the research and implementation of electronic portfolios has been in higher education. My reading of the Gartner Hype Cycle for Education, 2009, noted that ePortfolios were listed in the stage of "Sliding Into the Trough" (...of Disillusionment). To move to the next stage of the cycle (Climbing the Slope... of Enlightenment) we will need to have more research on the most appropriate strategies and "best practices" to support student learning, especially at the K-12 level.
Your reference to Google's support of ePortfolios was actually posted on MY website (http://electronicportfolios.org/google/ ). I wrote the K-12 support materials for both GoogleApps (and WordPress), linked from my web page (http://electronicportfolios.org/ and published using Google Sites). I developed the three-level model, based on my collaboration with both Washington State University and several school districts in California and Texas:
1. portfolio as storage (collection of artifacts)
2. portfolio as workspace (collection plus reflection/metacognition)
3. portfolio as showcase (selection, summative reflection and presentation)
It is also important to recognize that reflection is the "heart and soul" of a portfolio... not the technology or collection of artifacts. The real value of an e-portfolio is in the reflection and learning that is documented therein, not just the collection of work.My note to the author: To whom at Google do I send the bill for all my development work over the last two years? ;-)
UPDATE: After having a nice conversation with the author, the online article was corrected to read:
Google is probably the leading provider of mashup services and software for the creation of e-portfolios. The search giant isn't yet offering an e-portfolio product, per se, but in 2007 educator Helen Barrett, who has been researching strategies and technologies for e-portfolios since 1991, began publishing a step-by-step process for combining Google Apps software into e-portfolio mashups. On her "Google Apps E-Portfolios Mashup" web page, she describes how to join such applications as Google Docs, Gmail, Google Notebook, Blogger, and the iGoogle portal to create an e-portfolio.
Barrett also provides guidance specifically aimed at K-12 education. She has published descriptions of three levels of K-12 e-portfolios: e-portfolio as storage; e-portfolio as workspace; and e-portfolio as showcase.
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