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Question and answer

March 10th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

A short question from John Pallister on the ePortfolios and PLTs list server.

“It’s good to see the ‘establishment’ using the Web 2 tools that many of us think that our learners should be using to support their learning. I am worried that people have stopped talking about ePortfolios. Are they going to be too expensive to implement? Will they take up too much teacher time as the learner looks for an audience to share their reflections with? Higher Education and employers are not giving out a clear message to schools about ePortfolios. What is in it for the learner? Why should they bother with ePortfolios?

In the absence of a clear steer, are the ePortfolio enthusiasts turning their attention to the ‘nice’ bits, exploring the potential of the Web 2 tools, fiddling with the technology etc. Is the ePortfolio process, the thing that I can see could transform learning, going to be neglected and ignored because it will be quite a challenge to implement on a large scale?

Will the ePortfolio Process ever realise its potential?”

And here is my answer (although in my heart I am not sure if I am as confident as I sound).

“Will e-portfolios happen? Well – yes and no I think. We are probably not going to see a massive take off in the immediate future. It is not cost but pedagogy and understandings that are the barriers. e-Portfolios require changes to the practice of teaching and learning – and such profound change is slow.

But in the longer term – almost certainly yes. Why? Because of the changing role technology plays in our society, because of the use of computers for informal learning, because digital identities are becoming ever more important – and so on. We may not call them e-Portfolios – but the idea that we will use computers to record and reflect on our learning is going to happen. And if schools try to ignore it then they will take another step towards irrelevance in young people’s lives.”

Anyone else any opinions on this?

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