If you’ve been wondering what ePortfolios are all about and whether it’s the right time for you to start your own portfolio, then this blog post is for you.
Many of us still visualise portfolios as large folders that an artist carries their drawings in.
An ePortfolio is an electronic collection of evidence that showcase an individual’s skills, qualities, achievements and capabilities. The pieces of evidence are often referred to as “artefacts” and can include documents, audio and video files, as well as images. The evidence collected might include assessments, activities and achievements, plans and goals, feedback, and reflections. Dare I say it, an ePortfolio could be used as a repository.
Where ePortfolios come into their own, is when they are used as a working space, with snapshots that help the individual, mentors, and relevant contributors of feedback. Using ePortfolios is now considered a valid approach to providing structured support to teaching and learning.
There are various ePortfolio tools available, paid and free. There is a current fashion for encouraging the establishment of ePortfolios for students to evidence learning, and in some cases this has lead institutes to either provide a portfolio website to students or to make recommendations on external websites to use.
ePortfolios can be collaborative, rather than an individual’s artefacts. Many ePortfolio tools provide methods for interaction and communication between contributors or assessors.
Some ePortfolio tools provide the user with the ability to create “views” for different audiences, allowing the user to have a public view, a mentor view, an assessment view, a potential employer view, etc. This creates safe environments for the user to utilise their ePortfolio as a reflective honest learning space, whilst not compromising the use of their ePortfolio for demonstration of current competency.
Teachers’ professional ePortfolios
Teachers should be encouraged to have a professional ePortfolio as a development and reflection tool. It gives teachers a framework to model good practice to the students.
What happens in NZ?
The Ministry of Education in New Zealand is providing the MyPortfolio School website free to schools until at least 2013. Some tertiary institutes used the shared MyPortfolio Tertiary website for continuing student portfolios into higher education. Both of these websites use the open source Mahara portfolio software.
Some of the tools being used for ePortfolios are:
If you have found this blog post sparking an interest in learning more about ePortfolios, you might want to read some of these articles and resources:
- The future belongs to those who take charge of their own learning (Jane Hart, UK)
- Digital portfolios: guidelines for beginners (Ministry of Education, NZ)
Last night we setup Moodle and Mahara integration on tabitha.net.nz (single sign on, auto creates accounts on mahara from moodle), google docs and flickr repositories, and had a bit more of a play. We also did the update to 2.0.2 while we were in Moodle mode.
The Google docs, Picasa, Youtube and Wikimedia repositories were easy to setup, but it took a bit longer to get Flickr working (had to get the callback settings right).
To setup the Mahara integration we used instructions that we found on the Mahara wiki called Mahoodle. If you follow the instructions make sure you don’t skip ahead! There were quite a lot of steps and it took a while but we got there eventually. Playing with all of these now I am so glad we got it all setup, they are great! It is much easier to put images in if you can use the repositories.
This week I am going to be showing quite a few people some of the features of Moodle 2 so this setup is “just in time”.