Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Telling stories

The Plenary panel: Julie Hughes, Lisa Grey, Emma Purnell, Sarah Chesney, Shane Sutherland

This post is a summary of some of the sessions and my thoughts on the recent Telling Stories conference which ran last week at the University of Wolverhampton.

It was the latest conference celebrating the impact and potential uses of "eportfolios". I helped run a live DimDim webinar by Kathi Yancy (Florida, USA) who opened the conference with a fascinating keynote speech describing how we are at the precipice of a new era of learning pedagogies. Listen to Kathi's Keynote here (45 mins).

The seismic shifts in the educations system she describes are just being understood by eportfolio pioneers (such as Emma Purnell & Julie Hughes who organised the conference). Kathi describes the way eportfolio systems are challenging the established norms of HE and are helping to weave the formal and informal learning into a holistic picture of modern students learning experiences. Shane Sutherland gave an interesting talk on the second day about "what is not an e-portfolio" , although all this did was to confuse most, and perpetuate the needless debate about tools, features, and types! But Shane did redeem himself by spelling out the need for an eportfolio system/process/assessment method . etc.. etc, to be very purposeful, and indeed to tell a story. To "storyboard our lives" he said. Shane even advocated a move towards a new language to encompass all the possible variations of such eportfolios by adopting the phrase "personal learning spaces". Which makes some sense, but is no less confusing for those new to the arena.

That would certainly help move the debate on, and help us focus on spreading effective practice rather than the semantics of the word eportfolio, like we get with VLE or e-learning! Anyhoo, Shane has a massive wealth of knowledge and experience with eportfolios, and we were happy to receive his wisdom. I was lucky enough to be asked to join the plenary panel with Shane & Lisa Grey (see picture above) :OD

Now what I'd like to do is to put down some bullet points I picked up from attending some of the parallel sessions to help others piloting or trying to embed e-portfolios in their organisations. Download the document from my e-portfolio wiki page which contains other evidence of best practice.

Two points I've taken out of the document I want to share with you now are;

  1. the first pertains to the new interoperability e-portfolio standards LEAP 2A. Promote interoperability and standards driven tools to all transportation of user data freely between institutions. The new LEAP 2a e-portfolio standard which is out in August 2009 will assist this.

  2. The second point was raised about teaching staff and students to reflect. Most of the room were unanimous in directing us to use Andrea Duncan’s NUPAD reflective frameworks to help scaffold staff and student learning.

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