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Learning about e-Portfolios

January 12th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

It is a long time since I have featured the MOSEP project on this blog. MOSEP is a European Commission funded project, developing and testing materials and programmes for teachers learning about the development and implementation of e-Portfolios. European projects are not always easy. For readers from outside Europe, they typically involve a partnership of five or more organisations from different countries who work toegther over a period of two years to research and develop innovative approaches in education and training. Developing a common understanding and approach is difficult, especially given that fuinding only allows five or so face to face meetings in the period of the project. Co-ordination can be a problem. And of course we have to overcome langauge barriers.

MOSEP is a very good project – not least due to the excellent coordination by Wolf Hilzensauer from Salzburg Research. In the first year of the project we wrote a handbook – Grab your future with an e-Portfolio. The handbook can be downloaded in PDF from the link above and there is now a printed copy which can be obtained from Salzburg Research. We have also developed on-line learning materials on the MOSEP wiki. The materials have been designed to be used flexibly – users are free to remix to suit particualr needs and contexts. And Salzburg Research has worked closely with the Mahara project who are developing an Open Source e-Portfolio product.

At present the project is piloting the MOSEP ‘course’ in different contexts and countries. Yesterday John Pallister ran the programme for tecahers at Wolsingham School in the north of England. On his blog John says: “I felt that the course concept was understood and well received. A lot of work still needs to be done with the wiki.

 

I have begun to think that if other trainers used the same approach, creating sequences of activities for a specific training purpose, and save them as ‘courses’ – the wiki, as a resource will grow.”

 

I know for many of the people who read Wales Wide Web introducing e-Portfolios and developing learning materials on a wiki will be nothing new. But for me this project is particularly satisfying – we are moving the use of Web 2 tools for learning outside the Edubloggers circle and into the mainstream of education and training and that can only be for the good.

One Response to “Learning about e-Portfolios”

  1. John Pallister says:

    Hi Graham – picking up on the ‘moving the use of Web 2 tools for learning outside the Edubloggers circle and into the mainstream of education and training’ – as a secondary school teacher MOSEP was the first European Project that I had been involved with. The project has taken me through a very steep learning curve, from knowing about Social Software and Web 2 tools to being able to employ them in my everyday practice. I regularly communicate and collaborate with teacher and lecturers across Europe.

    The project has consumed a massive quantity of my own time, however, I believe that every student I have taught during the past 18 months has benefitted from my involvement in the project, they have seen me use Skype, Blogs, Social Bookmarking and Wikis, naturally. My activities have prompted many discussions about digital identity etc. and many of my students have either communicated face-to-face or via Skype with colleagues from many European countries.

    The project has helped me to develop my thinking on ePortfolios and has forced me to develop my understanding of the relationship between the ePortfolio Process and the Learning Process. I am now even more convinced of its value and regularly contribute to online discussion about ePortfolios.

    Even though I have not managed to capitalise, for my students, on all of the opportunities that European Collaboration provided, I would recommend all teachers to get involved with project work. I will go further and suggest that it becomes a requirement, for the professional development of UK teachers, that they should all, at some stage in their career, get involved with a European Project.

    But, I am worried that we are ignoring the potential of the ePortfolio process to support learning while we engage in an every so interesting, and expensive academic and technical exploration. A lot of people are talking the talk – somehow we need more walking the walk.

    I also worry that, we becoming too obsessed with the tools and technology

    If the ePortfolio process has the potential to support learning why are we not using it (widely) now?

    The only certainty is that the tools and technology will change. If it is the process that is important to learning, would it not make sense to concentrate on the development and integration of the process?

    Have we fallen in to trap, that often snares our students, that the majority of our attention is being concentrated on the ‘nice’ bits, the technology and the tools?

    We could end up in a situation where we have all the tools and technology in place for the learners to use TODAY – then we might discover that the process does not actually support learning!

    Somehow we need to get more schools involved in the projects that will hopefully result in us finding out how we can harness technology to support both learning and the learner – but we are too busy teaching – can we trust the academics to do the job for us?

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