down to earth portfolios

By robynjay On February 27th, 2011

On day 2 of DEHub I enjoyed a workshop by Debra Hoven (now at Athabasca) on e-portfolios. Although plagued by internet problems (will conference venues EVER get it right!) that meant we were unable to build ideas in Debra’s wikispace (some great resources here) it was an engaging conversation across a very diverse group. Debra’s approach was very much one of student choice/ownership and a focus on narrative/ digital storytelling.

Here’s a few notes I took during the session:

  • E-portfolios are about the development of personal ‘brand’ not about proving something
  • A purposeful and cumulative aggregation of digital items/ artefacts – ideas, reflections, evidence, feedback
  • How to select? – choose 5 artefacts and justify selection
  • The repurposing of content has implications for use in recognition/RPL
  • We must be careful of validity – what is actually being assessed? the ability to reflect? technical skills?
  • Attempts to implement an e-portfolio system that is scalable and manageable assume something being DONE TO students
  • The benefits of being electronic (discussion) – portability, varied voice, connections, multimodality, updating anywhere/anytime, easier, variable access, sorting/categorisation potential
  • Avoid showcasing (as opposed to assessment) which tends to only highlight the best aspects – encourage discussion of things that didn’t work
  • How can we scaffold reflection? – this is particularly of interest to me as I continue to experience teachers, let alone students, who lack the ability to engage in critical reflection around their practice

Debra’s students shared the following pointers for supporting the use of e-portfolios:

  • Provide top 10 tips and best practices
  • Give examples of model e-portfolios
  • provide examples of artefacts
  • develop tutorials
  • provide access to one person who has completed a portfolio
  • offer videos of past students discussing how they used their portfolio to gain employment
  • set up facilitator/student discussion forums
  • record podcasts from staff explaining uses and how assignments are relevant to the portfolio

[CC FlickR image shared by nickrate]


By robynjay On November 6th, 2010

I ran a digital storytelling workshop this week for the first time in several years.

I have to say I spent time pondering whether a) the emergence of easy to capture and distribute video had superseded the digital story medium (largely still images + voice over) and b) the extent to which the digital story methodology had reached mainstream in a learning facilitator’s toolkit.

I remember clearly my first exposure to the concept. I was sitting at an ACAL conference keynote by Glynda Hull with adult literacy/ESL colleagues late 2001. For 10 years I’d been experimenting with the means to engage learners the education system had failed and to give them a voice in a world of written text. It was one of those aha moments. Exploration of the concept was pivotal in my 2003 FLL research and travels (including visits to Daniel Meadows and the Capture Wales project). Despite early frustrations with the lack of easy to use non-MAC software, we’ve seen technology increasingly become more accessible and supportive of multimodal user-generated content. In this weeks workshop, being in a Windows environment, we were using Photo Story 3 (with recommendations to progress to Premiere Elements). I continue to find PS3 very clunky and limiting but it remains a good entry point for non-techies.

The 15 participants yesterday came from all areas of VET- hospitality, business studies, adult basic ed, English language, child studies etc. The broad mix enabled some fruitful brainstorming around potential uses.

DST in VET mindmap

In addition to my planned agenda (largely hands on in PS3) a few things arose and were covered. I’ll build these into future sessions:

  • how to identify image size
  • how to resize images in Photoshop
  • how to create plain coloured title slides/images
  • how to find creative commons images in Flickr using FlickR CC
  • how to document image attributions

It was a great session. The digital storytelling methodology has not lost its appeal;it still has a place in an engaging learning design.

Thanks to SWSI and the group for making it possible. My slides used are available in slideshare.