Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Web 2.0 & eportfolios

Over the last month or so, Helen Barrett has been exploring and evaluating some newer eportfolio tools. She has started to assess the use of Web 2.0 type applications as generic platforms for the collection and collation of eportfolios. On her last two blogs this month, she has been looking at WIKIs and the concept of elearning 2.0. Her blog for August the 5th looks specifically at the use of Web 2.0 tools for eportfolios.

It will be interesting to keep an eye on her work as she starts using Web. 2.0 applications to build eportfolios. The number of tools available for aggregating various digital items has been growing. At the moment, I am trialing Windows Live Spaces which is in beta at the moment. I am able to transfer photos from my PC on to my own customised Windows Live page quite easily. It is also possible to sent photos in using a mobile phone. The Window’s live page also allows you to build up a blog, store contact details for your friends, archive your music, online games and book list.

At the moment, the page does not download well on to my Treo, I am hoping that it might not be too long before a mobile accessible version is available. The interface is relatively easy to use & there is space for the collection of visual evidence. The blog area provides an area to enter text, so overall, a good example of what is possible for a eportfolio user interface.

The European Institute of eLearning site provides good resources about eportfolios. A good link to eportfolios tools including commercial and open source tools is porvided. I have only had a brief look at the open source ones, some of them are dated but there are many that have ideas that we can work on at CPIT. Some of these ideas will need to be put together when we sort out a Moodle test site as a customised eportfolio site for our students to use.

I am therefore keen to move forward into the next step of our trials. Collecting evidence on a mobile phone & archiving the evidence on various mobile accessible applications like flickr & filemobile seems to be straight forward. We have also experimented with audio & video files from Springdoo. The next step of the trial is to see how we can now collate the evidence collected into a eportfolio. Then apprentices can access their own eportfolio, using their mobile phones to check on the amount of evidence they have collected.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Organising myself for conferences

July has been a busy month. At the beginning of July, I attended (& presented) at the Australian annual National Centre for Vocational Education Research ‘no frills’ conference. The conference was held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland at Mooloolaba TAFE. It’s my yearly opportunity to catch up with several other TAFE tutors who have embarked on a similar journey that I have taken. They are often trades based tutors who have worked their way gradually through formal academic qualifications in education and who currently research in the adult learning / vocational education field. My paper was a distillation of the main threads from my interviews of first year apprentices titled – Falling into a trade: Apprentices’ perceptions of becoming a baker.

On returning from the conference, I had a block course with third year apprentices. Two weeks of wonderful teaching & learning. It was good to see how well these young people have become acculturated into the baking trade. The third year apprentices were a mature, conscientious, inquiring and demanding group. Almost all of them have come to the realisation that their apprenticeship is only the beginning of their careers as bakers. A couple wanted to have a break from the long hours and heavy labour. The majority had a career path to work with and 2 were moving into bakery management already.

Added to this all, papers I submitted for two conferences were approved late last week & early this week. So I have been busy submitting conference grant approvals to see if I can get to them. So far, CPIT has been generous, so I should be off to both of them.

In September, there is efest. This is the NZ polytechnic elearning conference. Steven Downes is a keynote & ‘moving learning’ is this year’s theme. It will be a good opportunity to network, keep up with the play with regards to NZ government policy and to learn more from everyone. My paper is on mLearning and the workplace learner:- trials, tribulations and triumphs and based on a report of our trials to deliver mlearning to apprentices.

In October, the international mlearn2006 conference will be held in Banff, Canada. A long way to go but I am really excited about the opportunity to be part of the international mlearning community. I am presenting a short paper on mLearning for workplace based apprentices: a report on trials undertaken to establish mobile portfolios. It will have to be a very quick overview. I have started writing the paper for this and I plan to concentrate more on the eportfolio bit as it is an area that mlearning has not got into very much.

At present, I am also running trials with apprentices over the next month or so to obtain data for the above conference presentations. So a busy few months coming up but things are starting to make more sense, the links are starting to be form and bits of the puzzle are coming together.