Sunday, October 18, 2009

eportfolios for VET - 16/10 morning sessions

welcome by Howard Errey from the Australian Flexible Learning framework.
Followed by welcome to country from the Wurundjeri Council.
Opening address was from Rodney Spark, Victorian Flexible Learning Advisory Group (FLAG).
He also set the scene by reading a case study example of 'lifelong pathways to empower learners' as the VET visions for eportfolios.

Allison Miller from the Australian Flexible learning network then updated on current VET initiatives & eportfolio national directions. Also the blog which accompanies this conference
She drew attention to the eportfolio roadmap & resources availablewhich are excellent resources contextualised to provide information on eportfolios for learners, teachers /trainers, CEOs / managers, IT & teaching & learning support staff, employers, prof bodies & career services and employee.

Morning keynote from Ruth Wallace (Charles Darwin University, Darwin) on eportfolios supporting learner identity & re-engagement. Detailed research undertaken with disenfranchised learners living in areas with very little infrastructure for use of technology. Interest in using eportfolios to reengage learners in exploring the ways in which they learn which may not be similar to the recognised forms of learning 'accepted' by the mainstream. Learner identity was found to be important especially the development of an active learner identity rather thatn learners who' were passive & waiting for things to happen. eportfolios provide opportunities for the exploration of learner identity - are they active or passive. How can they enhance their own learning? Also allow the way in which people connect and how people represent their conceptions of the world.

eportfolios should not necessarily be linear but be like a 'bramble' where various aspects of someone's knowledge are 'collected' and the connections between the different ways in which this knowledge becomes applied. Therefore eportfolios & learning need to be learner-led. trying to fit disenfranchised learners in to the current framework only leads to frustration both of the part of the learner & the provider :) Also inportant for learners to own their own knowledge even if it is a mportfolio on a memory stick. They are then able to make the decision to share their knowledge at the time/place and with people that they are ready to share.

Second morning keynote from Hazel Owen (Unitec, NZ) eportfolios and web 2.0. summarised the projects at Unitec including work with Thom Cochrane.
Provides examples from her work in Dubai & the work at Unitec to bring together some strategies to enhance eportfolios development.
Handout of links & photos. Future possibilities summarised with the mindmap which detailed the learner eportfolio of a fictional learner - Chan Sook.
Need to ensure there are no barriers to learners developing their own ways to describe how they learn, what they have learned & how they will recieve feedback, what you do with the feedback & then who & how you showcase your eportfolio.

Again, needs to be learner led. They need to set up their private, public spaces and which parts they make visible & share. Call to educators to develop their own eportfolios so that they are themselves more confident with using technology and also for them to then become of the possibilities of eportfolios within their subject area & with their students. They are then better placed to evaluate suitability, set up of support structures and use of eportfolios.

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