All in education need assessment and feedback. Their progress needs to be measured.
This is the value of a comprehensive blog such as this - for its author at least.
My thoughts went into these posts. By going back through the content I can be reminded of the lessons I was learning or struggling with at the time.
It would help were I more strategic in my approach to learning - but that's not me. I like to dwell and drift. I don't know what matters so like to have it all at my fingertips.
Going through the eight OU modules I have completed is taking between one and three hours clicking through posts here. I can tap into TMAs and EMAs and feedback, much of which I have here too (on the private setting). It is revealing in two respects: how much I have covered and can now say that I know - I can speak 'E-learning' fluently; and how many links and references that I jotted down and have never gone back to - great apps, insightful papers, and moments of clarity.
To cover myself for a decade hence by which time this blog will have been wiped, I am copying, selectively, about 40% of the content of this blog into my external blog My Mind Bursts. (tagged MMB here)
Having the MAODE is one thing. Calling myself and being a 'Master' of the subject needs to be the next step. Martin Weller believes it will take a person ten years to become a 'digital scholar' - I've got another five years to go then.
|From E-Learning V|
Fig.1. The contents of your learning journal, or e-portfolio or blog could look like this
As I'm prompted to do so, or is this just a MAC thing? I now tag documents downloaded to my desktop. They can be found wherever I or the operating system has buried them.
I tag religiously here (except, since a month ago, when writing from my iPad as it crashes the page and the iPad ?!).
I tag for a number of reasons:
I jot down ideas and thoughts, facts, even grab, cut and paste stuff that may be of use later so tag it so that I can tickle it out later as the mood or need fancies.
By tagging by module, and by activity you can then regularly go back and add a further tag as you plan a TMA (tutor marked assignment) or EMA (end of module assignment). For example, L120 is my current module. I will (or should) add L120A1 perhaps or L120S1 to identify an activity or session (NOT necessarily shared at all if I am giving away answers potentially or breaching copyright too blatantly by privately 'curating' content). Potentially L120TMA1 obviously helps me pull out content pertinent to this. That's the idea anyhow. The OU used to have an e-portfolio called MyStuff, a bit clunky, but it did this and then allowed you to re-shuffled the deck as it were, to give order to the things you picked. In theory you then have a running order for an assignment.
Tag clouds, number of tags or simply the weight and size of the font, indicates the strength and frequency of certain themes and ideas. When playing with the idea of an 'A-to-Z of e-learning' it was easier for me to see, under each letter, what I ought to select ... and then immediately have a load of examples, some academic, some anecdotal, all personal to me, at hand.
I come here to find things I've lost! Amongst 20,000 saved images I know I have a set from early training as a Games Volunteer for the London Olympics. I searched here, clicked on the image and thus found the album in Picasa Web (now Google Pics). Why can't I do that in my picture/photo pages? Because I never tagged the stuff. There is no reliable search based on a visual - yet.
No one can or should do this for you.
My blog and e-portfolio is fundamentally and absolutely of greatest value to me alone. So why allow or encourage others to rummage in the cupboards of my brain? Because it tickles and stimulates me to share views, find common or opposing views and to believe that others are getting something from it.
(Butler 2006, p. 2) My view is that these tasks, or affordances, are better and well managed by a blog. During 2010 while in my first year of the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) not only were we encouraged to use the OU Student Blog platform, but we were also encourages to use the OU eportfolio MyStuff.
Fig. 2 Müllschlucker
I dutifully 'dumped' and labelled content, even sorted it in an effort to write assignment using this system. I would liken it to a Müllschlucker - a rubbish shoot in a tall appartment block (Isn't the German for it such a great word?) - it made grabbing and dumping stuff easy. What was far harder was to sift through this content and create meaning from it a a later date. It didn't have enough of me about it most of the time to trigger recollections. We got a warning that MyStuff would be killed off - I made a stab at sorting through what I'd put there, but like boxes of papers in a lock-up garage I was more relieved when it was over. I also tried a couple of external e-portfolio services: Peppblepad and Mahara for example. I tripped up quickly as the learning curve was too steep for me - and why duplicate what I was enjoying with WordPress?
I'm about to cook a lasagna, so why give me a pick-axe? Or, I want to make a toasted sandwich so why give me a MagiMix? All tools need to be carefully promoted, demonstrated then used in a sandpit with careful instruction and support. Basic scaffolding in other words.
"The overarching purpose of portfolios is to create a sense of personal ownership over one's accomplishments, because ownership engenders feelings of pride, responsibility, and dedication." (Paris and Ayres, 1994,p.10).
"The e-portfolio is the central _and common point for the student experience. It is a reflection of the student as a person undergoing continuous personal development, _not just a store of evidence." (Rebbeck, 2008) Process (a series of activities) Product (the end result of the process) Blogging and keeping an e-portfolio are synonymous
A web-log, or blog, is an online journal that encourages communication of ideas, and individual entries are usually displayed in reverse-chronological order. Barrett (2010, p6)
Blogs provide an ideal tool to construct learning journals, as discussed by Crichton and Kopp (2008) from the University of Calgary, ‘... that eJournals help to make ePortfolios more authentic and relevant to the students’ lives.’
Workspace or Working Portfolio. Washington Stage University.
John Dewey (1933) discusses both retrospective (for analysis of data) and prospective modes of reflection (for planning). Beck and Bear (2009) studied reflection in the teaching cycle, comparing how pre-service teachers rated the development of their reflection skills in both formative and summative e-folios. Fig. 3. JISC (2008) Effective Practice with E-portfolios. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of JISC. (Page 11)
Reflection is the "heart and soul" of a portfolio, and is essential to brain-based learning (Kolb, 1984; Zull, 2002). Once we have looked back over our body of work, then we have an opportunity to look forward, setting a direction for future learning through goals... reflection in the future tense. Barrett (2010, p3)
Blogs are organized in reverse chronological order; most showcase portfolios are organized thematically, around a set of learning goals, outcomes or standards. Both levels of reflection and organization are important, and require different strategies for supporting different levels of reflection.
Barrett, H. (2010). Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias, 3(1), 6-14. [Online], Available online: http://eft.educom.pt (Accessed 29 SEPT 2010) http://electronicportfolios.org/balance/ (Accessed 4 NOV 2012) Updated version http://electronicportfolios.org/balance/Balancing2.htm (Accessed 4 NOV 2012)
Beck, R. & Bear, S. (2009) "Teacher's Self-Assessment of Reflection Skills as an Outcome of E-Folios" in Adamy & Milman (2009) Evaluating Electronic Portfolios in Teacher Education. Charlotte: Information Age Publishers.
Beetham, H. (2005) e-Portfolios in post-16 learning in the UK: Developments, issues and opportunities www.jisc.ac.uk/media/ documents/themes/elearning/eportfolioped.pdf Bruce, L (1994) Self-Assessment (Last accessed 4Nov2012) http://ozpk.tripod.com/000000selfassess
Butler, P (2006) Review of the Literature on Portfolios and Eportfolios. eCDF ePortfolio Project. Massey University College of Education. Palmerston North, New Zealand Crichton, S. and Kopp, G. (2008) "The Value of eJournals to Support ePortfolio Development for Assessment in Teacher Education." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York City, March 24–28, 2008. An updated version of this paper was published by the British Columbia Ministry of Education, Innovations in Education, 2nd Edition, April 2011. Available online (PDF of book); Printable version of revised article: balancingarticle2.pdf
Dewey,J. (1933) How we think. How we think: A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process. (1971 ed.). Chicago:Regnery
JISC (2008) Effective Practice with E-portfolios. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of JISC.
Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Paris, S., & Ayres, L. (1994). Becoming reflective students and teachers. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association. Rebbeck, G (2008) e-Learning Coordinator, Thanet College, quoted in JISC, 2008). Zull, J. (2002). The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing
Things I was starting to get my head around in 2010:
Where I stand in 2012:
Where I stood in 2010 compared to 2012:
For the last 18 months extensive use of an iPad and associated Apps, so much so that it is the replacement laptop and even covers as a mobile phone as people know to email me.
Trying to do my final MAODE module on the iPad.
Proving remarkably easy to do so.
Very versatile, especially where resources can be downloaded as PDFs, even to read in Kindle version. Read from the Kindle, note take on the iPad and post online.
Books. We no longer buy them. Is a garage full of wonderful hardbacks worth anything? Glad I never bothered to put up shelves.
Magazines and newspapers. All redundant. Only kept the Guardian on Saturday to have something to line the guinea-pig hutch, when they went so did the newspaper!
TV. Rarely ever watched live. Prefer BBC iPlayer. Exception being the Olympics and Paralympics.
Pen and paper. I do. An A5 notebook and pen. Though prefer to type up notes as I go along.
Twitter Share. Reading an eBook and sharing a line or two with a note directly into Twitter. This aggregates content in an editable format and alerts 'followers' to a good read - usually on learning, education, e-learning, also on social media, story writing and the First World War. Sometimes some great out of copyright literature.
I use this blog as an e-portfolio.
It now holds notes from entire books, ad well as an assembly of key points for the H800 EMA.
This way I can pick up where I left off via desktop, laptop or iPad.
I know there are other even better ways to do this, Google Docs and Dropbox, but what I like here is the search function, tags and chronology.
On the basis that I always tag I can now assemble searches by author or topic.
I then return to these pages to edit or add.
I like having the HTML coding so that I can cut and paste into an external blog.
Images: photos, screen grabs or snips, as well as photos and charts, come from Picasa Web.
In a concerted effort to narrow down my ideas I am trying to cover the EMA in images only. As a result of all of this I believe I know my stuff, the problem, is to demonstrate that to others in a format that is academic rather than journalistic and highly visualised.
I ought to use the affordances of PowerPoint to construct this thing, using the frames like cards that I can move about and bullet points as a way to construct the treatment. Then write it up, and read it out. Better still record this and play it back to be sure of it's sense before checking further that it meets all the criteria.
With excellent planning H800 gives us this time, whereas in H807 and H808 I'm sure there was course work offered, but very few people coming out to do it.
Could the contents of this blog be put into FileMaker Pro?
Would that make it more versatile?
Because I am living with FIVE OU students it is inevitable that we talk about what we do.
I find myself explaining the difference between blogs and social networking. I used the idea of a fish tank full of water and dripping different coloured inks into this, each colour representing a blog, social networking site, twitter (microblog) .. or e-portfolio or, what we used to have, a webpage.
I find myself recommending a blog site and suggesting its value.
If I have succeeded in getting two people started who had reservations was it because of the personal rapport, that we know each other a bit after a few days, that we've have previous conversations?
How would I achieve this online?
The exchange I've just had captured on video for a start. The narrative, as it plays out of the first 100 entries of these two.
Much more of the same?
In the workplace people can be encourage to blog on and for the Intranet. Someone with contributions that appear to deserve a wider audience could, with that person's permission of course, be released.
Outside the workplace it might still require a.n.other to take the initiative. I've not tried it, but I know it can be done, and that might be to use Edublogs, pay a sub to group 50 blogs, give them all a temporary name (the person's first name probably). And perhaps have 12 titles for blogs they might write.
A workshop? A presentation?bl
The current generation will be able to begin to achieve a fraction of this if they please; all I have to go on are diaries I stared in March 1975 and efforts since then to recall all the events, feelings and dreams of my life to that point.
This alongside photoalbums, scrapbooks and sketch books, with lists of books read and films seen, maps of places visited and a complete extended family tree ought to offer a perspective of who or what I am.
Does any of it impact on how I think and behave?
Without my mind is it not simply a repository of typical memories and learning experiences of a boy growing up in the North East of England?
Blogging since 1999 there are like minds out there, though none have come back with an approximation of the same experiences (its been an odd, if not in some people's eyes, bizarre, even extraordinary roller-coaster of a ride).
It's value? To me, or others?
I could analyse it 'til the day I die. My goal is no longer to understand me, but to understand human kind. And to better understand the value of exercises such as this, not simply hoarding everything, but of consciously chosing to keep or record certain things.
For now I will exploit the tools that are offered. In theory anything already digitised on computers going back to the 1980s could now be put online and potentially shared. Can I extract material from a Floppy-disc, from an Amstrad Disc, from a zip-drive? Should I add super8mm cine-flim already digistised on betacam masters? And the books Iv'e read, beyond listing them do I add links even re-read some of them? And a handful of school exercise books (geography and maths) A'Level folders on Modern History. I kept nothing from three years of university, yet this is where the learning experience ought to have been the most intense. But I had no plans to take that forward had I?
My university learning was spent on the stage or behind a video camera.
Should I undertake such an exercise without a purpose in mind?
Do I draw on it to write fiction?
There is a TV screenplay 'The Contents of My Mind' that could be stripped down and re-written, even shared.
And all the fictoin, the millions of words.
Will this have a life if put online?
Is it not the storyteller's sole desire to be heard? To have an attentive audience?
I need them all roled into one. When it comes to a blog/e-portfolio I have to wonder if this is not it - pretty much.
I can deposit documents here as well as anywhere else, but keep the page private.
Following the activities if fellow MAODErs on H807, which I did a year ago, is refreshing. Do this for a couple of years and I can keep the topic and its lesson's fresh. I can also follow H809 which I would have liked to have done. Indeed, might the OU call it a MA* if you do additional modules beyond those required for the MA?
As I prepare to up sticks, move town and job I'm hoping to compensate for some of the disruption by getting everything I may need online so that it can be accessed from anywhere.
I'm yet to break away from the OU e-portfolio My Stuff. It may be clunky, but it works and it is integrated. I've never been happy with Pebble Pad. Perhaps I just run with Dropbox? Picassa Dropbox has become indispensable. Rather than think about compressing images I take pics and grab frames/windows and post them here for later use and linking. With images feeding into several blogs and OU forums too I can't afford for this to be comprised ... or I'd lose any pics and diagrams that I've created.
Synchronous vs Asynchronous Threads
The assumption is that we don't wish to interact in real time otherwise more tools would be provided to co-ordinate synchronous meetings. My experience is that with a little co-ordination such meetings are extraordinarily valuable, to motivate pressing on with the course, let alone to resolve issues or to share learning. With retention of students such an issue it surprises me that the OU isn't more proactive.
As a tutor do I hope that all my students will stay the course, or do I expect 40% to fall by the wayside?
We seem to be in denial of obvious means of getting in touch too: email, messaging, Skype.
To start me off filling an eportfolio with EVERYTHING I've ever experienced I have a mind map in front of me that offers the following:
A picture of me age five or six in oversize green wellies that I fondly remember as I loved it when I found water deep enough for the wellies to fill with water.
The fog horn from the Lighthouse on Farnes Islands. I could here it from my bedroom window in Beadnell and like to watch the light as it appeared across the window. Not older than eight.
This is an O'Level Physics book that was sent home for me to read. I misssed an entire term of school as I had broken my leg rather badly in a skiing accident. I don't have the book, but I have it (and most others) listed. I could in theory recover a substantial number of the books I have EVER read?
In text books I kept for my favourite subject that I went on to study at Oxford.
That my 14 year old daughter was watching on YouTube. She remarked, as she sang along, how she could remember the words. So could I. We used to watch it together since she was two or three.
Which triggered this idea of recalling distant memories and what prompts it required: a photo, a taste, a book title ...
Where e-portfolios still fail ... and I have a diary of 17000 pages, is the tagging. You have to find the words. I'd prefer to tage visually, so a an image to represent every page, or every event on every page? But what about a smell, taste or sound?
How goes it?
Like a roller-coaster, merrily going along, like the C4 ident:through the loops of a roller-coaster though the shapes I see are 'H' and '800' and '807' and '808' as I pass by.
Then I switch track and venue and find myself on the Mouse-Trap. Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Here there is a rise and dip where you are convinced you will hit a girder. I just did, metaphorically speaking. (Diary entry, August 1980)
Ilness changes things
Nothing more than a rubbish cold made uncomfortable by asthma.
It is a set back of sorts. I can sleep and read. But the spark has gone (for now).
To use a different analogy, if I often think of my mind as a Catherine-wheel, this one has come off and landed in a muddy-puddle.
We're in the week of metaphors for learning.
I can draw on any notes I've taken on this here and in my eportfolio. This is more than an aide-memoire, it favours the choices I made before at the expense of anything new. So I widen my search. The OU Library offers hundreds of thousands of references in relation to 'Education' and 'Metaphor' going back to 1643.
Gathering my thoughts will take time.
There are 26 pages (nearly 12,000 words) to read (course intro, resources). Far, far more if I even start to consider ANY of the additional references or reading.
Give me three months. We have, or I have left, three days.
My approach is simple. Tackle it on the surface, drill into an author or topic that is of interest and expect to pick up on and pick through this again later this module, later this year ... or next existence. (I believe in multiple existences and flux. We are transitory and changing)
As well as tapping into the OU Blog and e-portfolio the blog I've kept since 1999 might have something to say on metaphor. If I care to I might even rummage through A'Level English Literature folders from the 1970s, just to trigger something. Engaged and enabled by Vygotsky and others in relation to memory and learning I value this ability to tap into past thoughts/studying with ease.
(Ought others to be sold the idea of a life-long blog?)
Otherwise I have gone from learn to swim in the training pool, to swimming lengths in the main pool ... to observer/coach who will participate, but has a towel over his shoulders and is looking around.
The next pool? Where is that?
I'm not the same person who set out on this journey 12 months ago.
On the other hand, having a Kindle makes me feel more like a teenager swotting for an Oxbridge examination; I like having several books on the go. I'll be through 'Educational Psychology (Vygotsky) by the end of the day and am already picking through and adding to copious notes.
Then a little kite-boarding as I head away from the swimming pool that has been an MA with the OU?!
So I blogged three months ago when considering the merits and demerits of keeping a learning journal and reflective writing.
It transpires that sleep really does sort the ‘memory wheat from the chaff’ according to a report in the Journal of Neuroscience, DOI, 10,1,1523.jneuorsci.3575-10.2011) referred to in the current New Scientist. This Week. 5 FEB 2011.
‘It turns out that during sleep the brain specifically preserves nuggets of thought it previously tagged as important.’ Ferris Jabr says.
I have always used sleep to reflect on ideas.
If I expect or wish to actively dwell on something I will go to sleep with the final thought on my mind, a pen and pad of paper by my side. Cat naps are good for this too. I will position myself with pillows and a book, or article and drift off as I finish. Waking up ten or twenty minutes later I glance straight back at the page and will feel a greater connection with it.
I wonder if there is commercial value in working from home and doing so up 'til the point you need to fall asleep? It's how my wife works when she is compiling a hefty report. It's how I work when I have an assignment, or a script to deliver ... or a producton to complete. The work never stops and it doesn't stop me sleeping.
Going back to tagging.
How does the mind do this? In curious ways. We all know how a memory can be tagged with a smell or a sound. For me how mothballs remind me of my Granny’s cupboard (an image of it immediately in my mind). A Kenwood blender will always remind me of my mother grings biscuits to put on the basae of a cheesecake. And a sherbert dip the Caravan Shop, Beadnell, Northumberland. Often when a random recollection enters my consciousness I try to think what has triggered it: the way the light falls on a tree, the exhaust from a car or even a slight discomfort in my stomach. It is random. Indeed, is a random thought not impossible?
There has to be a trigger, surely?
Can any of these be used?
Perhaps I could categorise content here, or in an eportfolio by taste. So chocolate digestive biscuits might be used to recall anecdotes. Toothpaste might be used to recall statistics. Varieties of Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts might be associated with people I have got to know (a bit) during the MAODE.
The mind boggles; or at least mine does.
Colour and images (Still or moving) is as much as we can do so far.
I’m intrigued by memory games. I like the journey around a familiar setting where you place objects you need to remember in familiar places so that you can recall a list of things. Here the tag is somewhere familiar juxtaposed with the fresh information.
Are there better ways to tag?
Look at my ridiculously long list of tags here. Am I being obtuse? When I think of a tag do I come up with a word I've not yet used? How conducive is that to recalling this entry, or grouping similar entries to do the job?
I like the way some blogs (Wordpress/EduBlogs) prompt you to use a tag you’ve applied before; it offers some order to it all. I long ago lost track of the 17000 entries in my blog. Would I want to categorise them all anyhow? I think I managed 37. I prefer the 'enter@random' button I installed.
Going back to this idea of tagging by taste/smell, might a word (the category) be given division by taste/smell, texture and colour? How though would such categories work in a digital form? Am all I doing here recreating a person’s shed, stuff shoved under their bed or stacked in a garage, or put in a trunk or tuck box in the attic?
In the test reported in the Neuroscientist those who went to bed in the knowledge that they would be tested on the information they had looked at that day had a 12% better recall.
It doesn’t happen in MAODE, if at all. When are we put on the spot? When are we expected ever to playback a definition under ‘duress’?
‘There is an active memory process during sleep that selects certain memories and puts them in long-term storage.’
Like an e-portfolio?
Is the amount of sleep I've had, the 350 or so nights since I started the MAODE ... part of the learning environment required?
Sleep Selectively Enhances Memory Expected to Be of Future Relevance
Wilhelm et al. J. Neurosci..2011; 31: 1563-1569
I've just read the introduction to H800.
This is a gentle, caring, thoughtful 'laying out of the OU stall.' No jargon, clearly written in a reassuring and friendly tone. Even the lay out is more magazine article than academic abstract, I like this. Don't scare new folks on day one. Or me. And old hand now.
Were we gathered in the real world this is the equivalent of tea and cake with the course team and future student colleagues.
Even though this is now my third module towards the MA in Open & Distance Education I begin with trepidation as pressures on my time mount; professionally I am now incorporating the contents of H807 and H808 into my daily life and activities - evangelising about all things to do with e-learning (and the OU), while developing projects and talking to prospective clients and sponsors, employers and potential employees.
Personal Development Planning wrapped up the H808 ECA and is now, along with reflective blogging and use of MyStuff (the OU e-portfolio) very much part of my weekly routine.
I struggled through H807 on an old iBook, succumbing to printing off far too often. With H808 I acquired a new laptop and barely printed off a thing (the ECA and evidence being the exception). Everything went into MyStuff.
(I tried Pebbelpad for several weeks then gave up. Having paid an annual sub of £20 for this I will give it a more thorough try in H800. I sense a need to have an alternative e-portfolio as the OU abandons or replaces MyStuff).
With H800 I feel the need, professionally, for a Smart Phone.
Returning from Learning Technologies 2011 I came away with one conviction - mobile learning and a number of trends (more video, less text; more chunking, easy create software and platforms; the creative/planning/production process being brought inhouse; shake up in higher education; significant investment/development in learning & development departments/functions; thorogh, comprehensive evidence of effectiveness with detailed analytics a key driver ... a list I will continue to develop this week as I finish going through my notes. See below for my take on Learning Technologies 2011)
Going mobile doesn't simply mean learning on the commute, or during a lunch break or riding a chairlift in a ski resort if only), but using the device at a desk, around the house, in corridors. Think of is this way, why do so many of us work from Laptops at a desk, when surely a desktop computer would do a better job. I feel a Smart Phone will simply offer an alternative way to work, as if on a micro-computer ... on a bench overlooking the English Channel. Stuck in traffic (as a passenger) .. even while making supper.
We will see.
Perhaps a Smart Phone and the next peice of business will go hand in hand.
I'll no doubt often using sports related analogies, so I'll treat week one and two as a warm up, rather than a sprint. In previous modules I've been like a pace setter at the start of the four minute mile, dashing off quickly only to retire before the end.
My key thought for H800? Pace.
In any case, I've got a self-assessment tax form to submit, more job interviews, client meetings too - even seeing a Venture Capital organisation. This and some swim coaching and quite a bit of swim club managing/organising (internal training, submission to a national audit, final assessment for the Senior Club Coach certificate). As well as time with family, children, our dog and the guinea-pigs 'E', 'C' & 'A'.
I had an interview in London that by fortuitous timing ties directly into the H808 ECA (end of course assessement) that I have to complete and upload in the next 13 hours. What is more, every part of the MA in Open in Distance Education with the OU would have some application to the role for which I'd applied. Personal Development Planning (PDP), the subject of the ECA, would be imporant too, indeed it is a vital component of 'learner-driven' or 'learner-centred' education. Successful, engaged, pumping PDP is at the heart of e-learning - people must be motivated to take the initiative, to drive their learning while others support them in every way they can with appropriate resources, many of which will be 'electronically enabled,' i.e. 'e-learning'.
I have a draft of the ECA written, the choices of evidence have been made, collated and labelled.
I've already uploaded a draft so feel confident that the ETA system will handle whatever else I do.
I had the file, rather more chunky printed out and clipped into an Arch-Lever Folder than on a memory stick or zipped on the laptop so that I could review it on the train journey in and out of London. I like paper; things need to be expressed in other ways that via a QWERTY keyboard. It helps to talk, to discuss, to animate your thoughts with your hands even ... as we shall see.
On the way into town I find myself sitting with a friend who is 18 months into the Creative Writing course at Sussex Univeristy and was having a second interview with a literary agent; our respective career paths were shared. He is a professional photographer who has an online resource of stock photos targeted at UK Councils. I don't look at the ECA.
The interview, like so much I now do, is duly reflected upon, though for reasons of privacy not here as an open blog. This debrief, this self-assesment, served a dual purpose, at the front of my mind, of course, is the possible outcome and responses to the interview. And notes on how and where I felt it went well, or not so well, for future reference and to judge what improvements I might make when attending such interviews in future and how to compose my written thanks when I reply.
I recognise the purpose and value of reflection and make the time to do so
At the back of my mind, of course, as we talk, is the ECA.
Coming to the end of the interview process I felt compelled to share this sketch to add conviction to my belief that Personal Development Planning is 'at the heart of things'.
I did this earlier today to get a handle on how in one shot I now see PDP, not as a self-contained 'do it and move on unit' at the start of a course, but at the heart of what you do: at the beginning, the end, everything in between ... and beyond. (And yes, you should hear Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) saying it!).
It was somewhat evangelical of me, but I feel passionate about it. I believe it as a consequence of my own personal experience and from others who take this approach.
Reflection with a second person can help; it is natural that my wife would take an interest in the day's events. This is invaluable, and is a form a assessment. However, where I find I become increasingly animated regarding PDP is that I felt I still hadn't got it right, that had I seen myself in that meeting what was I doing with my hands? What else was I trying to express? Sometimes recording an interview to look over it afterwards has advantages. You need to be winkling away to find ideas and inspiration.
I'd mentioned life-long learning, that PDP can benefit both your career, how you organise a hobby, even family life.
And then I remembered this:
My interpreation, visualised, of what life-long means from H807.
The problem I have with my sketch of 'PDP at the heart of things' is that it loops back on itself, there is no suggestion of improvement, of advancement.
I toss around further ideas like a board game, the PDP process being, for example, what happens every time you 'Pass Go' in Monopoly. Then I imagined climbing up a helter-skelter, or fairy-lights around a tree. I thought too about Kolb's cycle of development ... and then, as I was standing up waving my hands about I got it ... a great analogy would be of a glider catching a thermal and rising in a series of circles.
'A load of hot air.' My wife remarked, laughing.
And yes, I could imagine giving a presentation and a heckler saying exactly that - so I'd have to have a reply prepared. (Be prepared for anything)
With this in mind I set to work.
Earlier this week I threatened to photograph myself standing next to the family washing-line with my evidence pegged out. This is how I said I would make my choices and write the assignment. As it was raining instead I got a roll of wall-paper backing paper and stuck it to the bedroom wall with masking tape; I would draw my washing line. I have just taken this down and taped it virtically.
At the bottom I draw this.
Then I go for this.
In a live presentation I would draw this from scratch on the largest sheet I could find, talking my way through it, seeking input, offering explanations.
As a video-asset I would lock off an overhead camera and draw it onto a sheet of A3 paper, possibly over a lightbox, and then use EFX to speed it up. I would then add a voice over.
There are many other ways to play with it to varying degrees of simplicity (authenticity) or ellaboration. Not least by using stock footage of a glider or Condor or some such catching a thermal with labels tagged onto the video archive footage as it played out. Indeed, going from the basic sketch it might be better still to invite course particpants to create their own expression of this PDP as an ascending cycle - say playfully spinning around in front of camera with a balsa-wood model glider with the person's name on it! Fun is good. Originality is good. Personalisation is good. This makes it memorable without needing it as an APP or an electronic alert.
The conclusion I find as convincing as the process.
The process here includes reflection, blogging, collaboration ... and could in due course include video, podcasting, presentation and moderation.
As I was able with ease to add every aspect of H808 onto this simple diagram I felt I had reached an important point, not least vindicating my methodology that might look as if it is depends on technology, but does not. Often the route to get an idea from the mind into the public domain is via face-to-face discourse, a few movements of the arms, then reaching for pen and paper.
This diagram can be draw it up differently depending on the context.
This implied versatily suggests it effectiveness.
PDP as indicated here suggests a set period to repeat or revist the process ... this ought to be expressed to occur every quarter, rather than after every cycle as suggested here with loops that might represent a typical OU unit of two weeks and the activites one engages with along the way.
A productive day then.
Writing is everything.
I'd master it now. Keeping a blog is a sure darned way to do that. Handwritten is fine; find yourself the perfect pen.
Writing, or rather the ability to write.
It is the key to communication, to learning and to e-learning, and a great deal else besides.
On my passport it says 'writer, director.'
I like that, though I think of my skill as a visualiser and the writing and directing is rarely TV, but corporate and classroom training, desk-top learning, and product launches, change brand and change management. Still there can be drama in it, and tears, and death, and love, and life, and music and dance. We go underwater and scale mountains, enter shear caves of nuclear power plants and wade through sewers, track super-models along catwalks in Paris and record the last words of a man dying of cancer in Carlisle.
I see things in pictures.
Perhaps the MA in Fine Art IS what I should have started a year ago ... though I fear I may have missed out.
It's easy enough I find to get my 'hand back in' if I want to draw something as it is rather like riding a bike, or skiing in deep powder snow, or racing a Fireball, or pushing off a wall in Breaststroke and emerging from a legal transition half way down a 25m pool ... once you've put in the days, months, years (even decades) learning to do these things, barring ill-health and great age, you ought to be able to do them for some time to come.
Which reminds me, I want to crack written French in 2011.
Clients think of me as something in addition to writing and directing (I produce), but no. that's not it; there are words, voices, images, cut together and linked in various ways that form linear and non-linear assemblages, but to them I am 'a problem solved', a job delivered, with passion, on time, on budget (of course), sometimes as a team of one, but sometimes in a team of a few or many more. I do wonder if sometimes an email with the finally agreed Creative Brief is the end of the process, rather than beginning.
Today, once you've solved that you can invite everyone to come up with their own creative execution.
Now there's a thought I'd not heard coming.
All of this takes words, expressing and solving the problem and sharing this requires words. A fast, reliable typing speed helps too. So perhaps my Mum was right to get me a typewriter when I was 13 when I wanted an electric guitar.
Sometimes I find the problem for the client and share it with them in all its beautiful ghastliness.
This is what good writing means. And experience. And judgment. And belief. And your approach and thoroughness. And the write people around you. And sometimes conviction that £60,000 will deliver the job, but £600 will not.
Good writing is less about the words chosen and put on the page (unless you are a novelist or poet, and I am neither), no, good writing is a good idea, clearly expressed, in as few words as possible. (Which in due course requires editing something like this).
Who is it who said the selling is a good idea?
That all it takes to sell something, is to have a good idea.
Good writing has a purpose and the author knows how to put the words to work by addressing a problem, because you know your audience and whether you or someone else is the subject matter expert, it is your responsibility, even if the words are hidden by a creative brief, a synopsis, treatments and scripts, to get the message across ... like, with some or many images (photos, graphics, cartoons), or with the spoken words and/or similar images that move ...
A swimming club session plan written on a whiteboard to take a squad of swimmers can be beautifully written if it is magically composed, and serves its immediate purpose. The good swimming coach rarely leaves such things in the head. It is thought-out, it is planned, it fits into the scheme of things, it is the right session for that hour or two.
Good writing hits a chord; it too is of the moment.
I conclude that a good teacher, a good tutor, educator, practitioner of e-learning ... all have this ability to write well at the core of their being. They are confident with words, words that are as carefully chosen even if spoken on the fly, as a result of their experience and all the lesson plans or scripts, or class programmes, they have written in the past that bubble up to the surface when faced with a problem - a fresh student.
(My only caveat is the from the podcasts I've heard before an educator is interviewed they should at least have the wisdom to do some media training).
Does your e-portfolio get in the way or support what you do?
Whoever you are?
Whoever has a stake in it.
Thinking out loud, started on 12th October 2010, picked up again and rolled around my mind on 13th January 2011.
Wherein lies the beauty of a blog, or in this case an ECA that requires reflection on the mind games of the past four months.
There’s a picture in the New Scientist of how ants, in their hunger for a sweet that has been dropped in the gutter have gathered in, or moved away some forty or more leaves which now form a circle around the fallen sweet.
This is what I am doing as I reflect on the activities of H808, each e-tivity, each note, paper, report, forum entry, blog or e-portfolio asset is a leaf that until now has been scattered somewhere, online, offline, some in a heap, some laid out, some yet to blow down from a tree.
My mind, its little and large pathways, the synapses that run between the left and the right hemispheres, are busy with a thousand ants moving these leaves aside, while gathering some of them up to make a pattern.
|From Essay Style Visualised|
And then, for a moment I saw that six petalled flower I have drawn before, the shape of the A’ Level essay, but somehow I see also a podcast and the analogy fails and without even the politeness of animated transformation my flower becomes a Christmas Tree.
|From Essay Style Visualised|
On this tree, the structure of the ECA, I will hand 10 or more ‘things.’ No good my just thinking about it though.
Time to move on.
I recommend the use of eportfolios, whether or not they are packaged as such. Often the affordances are there anyway. I’d like digital building blogs as simple and as versatile as Lego bricks so that I could have a button away, on my homepage, depositories and repositories, that do the jobs of blogs, wikis and eportfolios without any need to feel they are separate entities, rather the words I think, and images I take or draw, or recordings I make are like a rain shower (with the occasional deluge or drought) that is taken care by the system, MySystem.
Is this a homepage? All those toolbars? Mine's a mess. I dream of a computer screen A1 size, two of them preferably and a homepage as busy as a photomosaic coverpop.
Currently it looks like this. Could someone offer some advice on how to get my head around this before my entire home page is a Venetian Blind of unwanted toolbars and browsers?
|From Drop Box|
MySystem would be an assemblage of tools and services to store, collate, elaborate upon, develop, select and share all that can be digitised. Text for the most part, but images too, still and moving. And numbers, as stats or formulae. Assets in polite society, 'stuff’; for a Saxon word and something in Latin for anyone trying to pull rank.
Whatever definition we come up with for ‘e-portfolios’, someone else has another one.
And why not, this is but functional flotsam-and-jetsam on the Digital Ocean?
My first blog in September 1999 covered this. Perhaps I should shift my thinking and take in ideas of both oceans and clouds, the binary code the water molecules the form the water cycle? Now there’s an idea: the Internet as something fluid, changing, responsive ... predictable to a degree ... its shifting patterns advancing relentlessly rather than recycling, the apocryphal butterfly in one part of the system beating its wings and having a profound effect elsewhere, the Twitter-effect. This analogy of oceans and clouds hasn’t changed in a decade, perhaps it is the Geographer in me?
|From Drop Box|
I am still looking at a year 8 geography exercise book featuring the water cycle.
‘Analogies taught man to think.’
Now who said this?
I have it on a sheet of motivational quotes given out at the School of Communication Arts by John Gillard. This sheet and some other papers, a portfolio of ideas, is in a portfolio (the physical kind). There’s a storyboard for a couple of commercials: I could shoot these on my phone. Indeed, given that one takes place up a cliff face the phone might be the best camera for the job. No amount of Googling has located it for me. Proust perhaps? Shakespeare … or a commentator on Shakespeare?
All e-portfolios are squirts of ink into this ocean.
All content is drips, drops and an occasional multi-coloured deluge. Though pre-empting bespoke consultative decision making on behalf of a client, real or imaginary, my simple advice regarding e-portfolios is - do it all.
1) Your own - that does the business and ought to be the final repository for e-materials that are being shared or assessed, that is easy-peasy to link or upload for those who are expert in these things or have a system that they play well and with which they can 'sing.'
2) A smorgasbord of off the shelf e-portfolios that people may get free, or as part of their trade or other association, or be happy to subscribe for (after all, there's a good deal that can be done with them that is personal, off-campus and away from work).
3) Their own. The end result, the content and where and how it is finally presented is all that matters. In any case, there is every chance that your students are more e-literate than you are, speak the code like their Mother Tongue and will do what so many students have done before them and re-invent the digital wheel. The content is its own subject matter expert – it is out there being freely exchanged and wikified to the ‘nth’ degree of finality.
4) With institutional, administrative, management and support from academics and tutors that also encourages peer support and so enables 1, 2 & 3.
Everyone will have their own idea of what an e-portfolio is … if it ‘is’ anything at all in the physical sense, because of course it isn’t until you print it off, or play the asset. It isn’t a trunk, it isn’t a filing system.
Perhaps in truth it would look as bland as the grey matter of your brain?
Why and how does this help anyone?
By visualising something you give it powers.
The problem lies where your visualisation doesn’t match with mine, but as the designer it is my world that you have to live within in. I suppose we each of us require a bespoke website and a team of people working on it to forge this link between what enters and leaves our heads.
So why do I hear the voice of Dr Angela Smallwood?
It was a workshop on e-portfolios. ‘I was a baby’ (quoting Neytiri from Avatar talking to Jake).
But I bought into the idea of ‘deeper thinking’ and how it is achieved. Wasn’t the computer in Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy called ‘Deep Thought’ ?
Food for thought?
Bacon, toast and a fried-egg.
Only blog for the day, I promise.
Work to do!
Rather than feeling that I am entering the blog domain to write this I ought to be able to cyndicate/allocate or aggregate this as or after I have wrote it by clicking on one of three buttons:
At my behest I am therefore deciding that this is a moment to be shared (but not tampered with), evidence or information that I wish to store/collate (ideally by themes of my choosing), and/or a chunk of information (or offering) as wiki content (initiated or an edit insert).
Simplified and disengenious, but a starting point.
And on reflection, perhaps, how good learning works: it starts with simple ideas that can be grasped and works outwards. E-learning doesn't simply work outwards though, it spreads in directions of the learner's choosing (ideally), like fractals, like a mind-map, as a result of, enabled and speeded up through myelination.
Were I writing a video script on eportfolios, wiki and blogs this might be how I begin, either animating this or going out and filming various traffic lights. I may paint this with water-paints onto laminate card and drop it into an aquarium and film it. My enduring analogy being that whatever we do online are but zeros and ones in a digital ocean, all programming does is remove the chaos and worthlessness of trillions of unconnected binary numbers.
Perhaps I've just convinced myself too of the value of Open Source.
And this is only the first idea of the morning. Something must have been breing in my sleep.
Though yet to do justice here to the Opinion piece in the New Scientist something struck me about the Cover Story on epigentic changes and their relevance to evolution.
Q. What is Myelin?
I'll have had 3,000 words out of the New Scientist article, 'Dear, E-Diary' before I'm finished. (New Scientist 23 December / 1 January).
I can think of little else, how pointless it would be to record all that you do and see and hear all day. And then, taking a swimming group this morning, armed with a digital recorder and headset I wondered if recording my instructions and tips to the swimmers over 2 hours +, if done every week for a few months, at least following through all the strokes, progressions and skills, if this could become the basis of a podcast series reduced to 4-6 mins each? The kids would initially say something about the headset and mouthpiece ... and probably offer some commentary, most of which I could now lift out having mastered WavePad.
I have become habitualised to storing what I do in MyStuff.
Even if I work offline.
In it goes.
This is where I know I will find things. The laptop stays at home. This way it won't get lost, stolen or broken. If it moves it is around the house - to the garden in summer, in bed with an electric blanket in winter.
When I need to get online I have always found it easy to do so. Everyone is online, right? Guess I haven't ventured very far. Frankly, if I couldn't get a signal it would because I didn't need or want one.
I do not keep my mobile on. I do leave it at home. I let the battery run flat. I leave it in the car. I choose when I wish to be open to calls.
(I get this from working in a five star hotel as a runner/gofer in my gap year. The pager had to be in my pocket on on 16 hours a day, seven days a week. I eventually through it in the hotel swimming pool after a particularly stressful shift).
People can do without me.
WE can do without each other. We respect personal space in the flesh ... how about creating some personal space online too? Like a force-field that rejects all efforts to reach you when you feel so inclined. Or is this called going on holiday?
I hate eating in a restaurant where anyone takes mobile calls. I hate being in a cinema where people are texting. I hate driving with someone who insists on chatting to the world as the drive along
What contribution will this make to the way I do things in the future?
I'm doing a course on Core Anatomy with Spaced Ed
I'm learning new songs with Music Notes.
Could an Avatar of me deal with stuff on my behalf?
Or is this what a personal assistance is for in 2010 where a secretary would have been the thing in 1970 and 'the wife' any decade before that?
What were the limitations to its implementation?
·Need to be tailored.
·Doesn’t suit all curricula.
A cultural shift and challenge.
·The role of the teacher changes to coach and facilitator of learning processes.
·The need for management to change – ‘a form of change management in which the university can work out its specific form of ‘Folio Thinking’.
·Teachers and students need to buy into it.
·A new, IT, commercial, business-like approach required. An approach requiring a blueprint for a study - an approach that is common practice in the IT world but not so much at this university.
·Teamwork and stakeholder involvement.
·Support by management is crucial.
·Different partners in the educational sector in the Netherlands establish links and develop initiatives beyond educational boundaries.
IT infrastructure must work unnoticed and without fail.
·Not an easy to implement. A technical challenge: how to create functional workflows in an integrated technical infrastructure?
How can you create and store evidence of your engagement with different media in the following types of activity on H808?
Contributions to online discussion
Personal blog postings or comments on others’ blogs
Contributions to the course wiki
Notes and informal reflections written by hand
But why on earth keep all of this stuff?! At what point deos the storing and collating of assets become a neurosis or obsession? What matters is the end result (though not apparently in learning). Once was a time you teacher or tutor knew you were doing the work a) you turned up b) you wrote the essays c) you could talk intelligently on the topic in class and tutorials d) you passed exams e) you submitted a thesis. Do we know need a webcam grab to prove we are sitting at the coputer? An image of us in a library taking out a book?
Examples of formal writing (TMAs, reports, etc.)
Extracts from PowerPoint presentations
Extracts from audio presentations
Extracts or screen dumps from websites or video presentations
Link to YouTube favourites
Comments from peers and tutors
Extracts from published sources (images, newspaper/magazine stories etc.).
E-portfolios, good or bad thing?
Could they not become unduly burdensome? I have this image of us turning into snails with this vast aggregations of information on our backs (even if it is digital).
Are they for everyone?
New Scientist this week (16 OCT 2010, vol 208. No. 2782) puts 'Life Logging' into its '50 Ideas that will change science forever'list.
It all started with Vannevar Bursh in 1945 with something he called 'an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.' Fifty years on Bill Gates is quites as saying 'someday computer will store everything a person has ever seen and heard.' Somewhat over ambitiouisly (especially as it went nowhere), in 2000 I registered domain names 'The Contents of My Brain' and 'TMCB' thinking that there could be a place for an electronic diary, scrap-book, journal, album thingey.
I lacked the wherewithal or ambition to develop this further, in any case, I recall meeting the folk from Digitalbrain who seemed to be doing a good job of it.
Does there need to be a market leader?
Using a variety of platforms are not e-portfolios being achieved?
Some people look forwards, some look back.
Which kind person succeeds? A sparsely filled e-portfolio might be a good sign - they are getting on with doing.
And whilst I'm a fervent Futurist, is there not a place for real portfolios (artwork), albums (photos, including those framed and on the wall in a real gallery), books on shelves and files in trunks.
I recently found my H801 file, March 2001. Course work printed out, the few articles sourced online printed off, even a painfully thin listserve thread forum message thingey. And an assignment on DCode a CD-rom for schools that won national and international awards including a Palm D'or for Multimedia at Canne in 1998).
Had I put this online would I have referred to it over the last decade? Instead serendipty leads me to finding in in a box in the garage. Does an eportfolio facilitate serendipty, or is the process of loading it with 'stuff' going to be too prescriptive so that ultimately it narrows minds, rather than opens them up?
Old news keeps like fish.
Where does this expression come from?
Does it apply to course work too?
Even if I had an e-portfolio of what value would my old History, Geography and English A' levels essays be? Do they have more value digitised and online than in a file in a box in garage by the sea?
The brain does something e-portfolios are yet able to do well, which is to forget stuff, to abandon content yet be prepared to re-link if required to do so.
Time to quiz the neuroscientist me thinks.
A decade ago creating a commercial website generally required you to buy in the services of a specialist agency; this was certainly the case 15 years ago. Gradually however businesses found they could do it themselves, indeed the development of internal and external communications was so integral to a company's activities that it had to be in some cases. An internationally successful TV production company used outside suppliers initially to build its website. However, as the creative drive for this site needed to be part of the business and as the site become a TV channel of sorts, it was necessary to bring control in-house.
1999-2002 was an interesting period as some organisations let their IT department go, not considering it one of their 'core activities,' while others brought the process in-house, sometimes buying up their web-agency for the purpose.
Creating a website, developing software, communications and business function merged. Specialist functions developed internally may have found a market elsewhere and products could be bought in 'off the shelf.'
If the functionality of the software and web-pages are integral to an institution's competitiveness and development it is understandable if some things they develop in-house, while others they buy in.
ITC is highly fluid, progressive, aggressive and organic. You want control of the beast. Do you have the personnel and department as part of your institution, or do you hire in the specialists? Or do you split your loyalties and commitments across several suppliers, buying products off the shelf? How do you achieve your goals? How do you control costs? How do you differentiate yourself from others if you're all shopping from the same place? And in education, where there is a political, ethical and moral inclination to want to do it all for free - how is it paid for?
In relation to recommending an e-portfolio set-up or package or system to an institution there are a myriad of deciding factors which could result in the valid choice being any one of:
The latter happens whatever you provide.
As a result of using the OU's MyStuff and trying PebblePad, as well as reviewing the reviews of several other packages, whilst it is possible to recommend what a particular client's e-portfolio should be able to do - it is less easy without understanding the institution's financial position, commercial requirements, staff and student development, professional and academic needs and ambitions.
To what degree are people storing and collating material in a loose collection of files and platforms, some online, some off, some linked in to several folios, each with a different outlook.
Once we lived in a more linear world and we would logically take in then draw from the academic institutions where we studied and the places where we worked. To a significant degree, even if we possessed portfolios as physical entities containing art work or assignments, our achievements and potential were locked in our being ... our experiences, accreditations, behaviours and potential were entirely contained in our heads and enabled by our bodies. Increasingly it is the case that the sum total of our achievements, our record, our actions, can be collated, shared and given an existence beyond us. If we think of the ultimate eportfolio as 'the contents of our brains' in a cloud, like a geostationary satellite, forever 'out there' do we not begin to mutate and duplicate, especially if some, or many parts or all of this is shared?
Will we not, in a cyber-world of hundreds of millions, not only find like minds, but aggregate to think alike in some instances? Where then is the copyright and plagiarism? And here's a dilemma for the inventive or creative mind. Do you pool you thinking for others to exploit, share the process by which you draw your conclusions which may fast track another to a similar, different or better result?
I appreciate that I am drifting into la-la-land and the realms of science-fiction, that I am feeling my way, that I am letting my own stream of consciousness take me wherever it will. If this finds resonance with others, if others comment and build on this ... or reflect it, then it is as if those collection of neurones and synapses that are creating this are connecting beyond my being.
If there is commercial worth in 'the contents of my brain,' an e-portfolio that might contain everything I have ever done, who benefits if they use this to create something original?
1) The e-literate will already, whether they know it or not, have the makings of an eportfolio through content they have generated about themselves, their ambitions and friends, the work they would like to do and the work they have done. A link to discrete parts of this can quickly generate a number of e-portfolios, just as it could generate a number of bespoke CVs. The less e-literate by dint of their presence at the doors of an institution, enrolement or employment, or if freelance, their contract or engagement, will have wittingly shared components of a potential eportfolio it only paper through letters, CVs and evidence.
2) Institutions, academic or business, may offer portfolios that are wedded to that organisation's culture. If designed, to look and function within this context it will be easier to compile, share, access and assess while there. No longer, if ever it were necessary, to print off, duplicate or photocopy reams of paper to have back-ups, let alone to apply simultaneously to more than one place. However, is not these ease of sharing problematic? Could not a multitude of people claim something to be their’s ? Or is that the point. We become a name on one of those credit lists that runs and runs after a CGI-rich film plays out.
3) There is no definitive answer, no panacea, when it comes to an eportfolio: create your own, buy off the shelf or let staff and students bring along what they have or don’t have. As a consultant e-professional (sounds far grander than it is), it is the requirements of the organisation you are working for that dictates the answer. Is the problem financial? Is it retention? Is it attracting students in the first place? Or holding on to staff? Is it assessement? Is it learning? Is it departmental? Is it a cohort or a group? Is is driven by your trustees? Government? Or a current fashion in pedagogy? Is it political? Does it put the student first, at the centre of things? If they have 20 years to pay off their student loan, do they carry the same e-portfolio with them for the duration, Sage accounting an add-on to whatever other functions their e-portfolio offers?
Do you want the way my mind works, or the conclusion? Is there one? If one thing defines e-technology it is that it is always in a state of flux, indeed like Macbeth clutching at that dagger before his eyes, you can never quite get your hands on it. An IT specialise shared her thinking with me in Linked In. A thought I have come across before. Whilst her role is to ‘speed things up’ for businesses, she can never say what it is that will speed up ... or that what is achieved was predictable. The important thing is to move on, progress, don’t stagnate, don’t over think a thing ... nor over-commit.
My recommendation to an institution questioning its use of eportfolios would be to be in all camps simultaneously, to have an inhouse eportfolio, to engage with external suppliers and permit individuals to have their own. What matters is the required functionality and outcomes. My recommendation to an individual is to have in their control anything they are placing elsewhere.
Is not the choice, when it comes down to it, one of selecting this handbag over that one? This satchel over that one? However it functions, whatever it looks like, only the contents matter. If you drop your one and only portfolio of photographs or drawings on the way to an interview, you can pick up the pieces and make do with cardboard and a roll of duct-tape. If your one and only eportfolio fails you lose the lot. Or do you? These assets, this ‘stuff’ what is it anyway? Text, images, programming (which is text) ... If you are digitally-savvy and have an online presence how easy is it to reassemble such a portfolio? Very, I’d suggest.
So, yes, as I suggest, you have a version for work, a version where you are studying, a version embedded in your website or Facebook page, a version on the hard-drive or you computer, and one on a zip or flash driver.
I shall go and sleep on it. Always the right approach after this middle-of-the-night brainstorm.
What kind of e-portfolio would you recommend to the following?
Why not come up with your own. The trickier the better.
Is an e-portfolio the next web page?
You've got to have one, even if you don't know why? At least you don't have to by a domain name.
And what brought this on?
Other than the requirements of H808 ...
The launch of a platform for swimming teachers and coaches across competitive swimming, water polo, diving and synchro.
The new Institute of Swimming (www.theiosonline.com) website not only streamlines the course booking process and offers some courses online, but embedded in the new platform in a way that is even more integrated the the OU's add-on MyStuff, is an eportfolio.
You complete your details and find in so doing that you have begun your profile in something called My IoS.
It will contain a CV, evidence of qualifications, assets that can specifically include video ... and the word 'e-portfolio' is not mentioned anywhere. Yet this is what is. And as for interoperability and transfer ... all of that is just a cut and paste, or link away is it not, as ever? And being a 'portfolio worker' in any case, the last thing I want to do is to merge one of my two (or is is three) other lives with this or any of the others.
It simply is.
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