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Using Blogs as ePortfolios

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by benrothwell, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. We are in a very priviledged position in my school that each student has a MacBook which they can use in any lesson (obviously dependent on teacher preference)
    During ICT lessons, we complete all work on the Macs and I am happy to have work submitted electronically - mark it electronically etc.
    However, a lot of teachers in other subjects are still getting students to produce work electronically and print it out and stick it in to textbooks. The reasons for doing this are normally given as
    a) Too difficult to create a continuous portfolio (we use Moodle extensively here - but I can see there point)
    b) Fear of technology - fear that work might be lost (this isnt a problem if work is submitted on Moodle, as we have a backup policy in place...)
    c) Teachers like to have everything in front of them.

    What I have envisaged doing is setting up a school wide Wordpress blog with each student given their own blog (studentXXX.domain.com). Within this they can have categories that would match their subjects (i.e. Geography, History) and they could then create a chronological record of their class work and their homework. We could hopefully create a system which would give teachers access to class lists and then the teachers could go to studentXXX.domain.com/geography and have a virtual classwork book in front of them.
    Has anyone any experience of doing something like this?
    Any pitfalls anyone can see?
  2. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    Have you thought of using Mahara?
    It integrates well with Moodle - single sign on etc and Moodle even has an assignment type called "Mahara View" which allows students to submit their Mahara eportfolio pages as assignemnts into Moodle.

  3. I have looked a little at Mahara.

    In all honesty I think perhaps it is overkill. A big problem is that teachers dont buy into the technology because it is too complicated.

    At the moment, a Wordpress blog seems like a more logical step, and certainly easier to maintain.
  4. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    A big problem is that teachers dont buy into the technology because it is too complicated.
    Well done, you got it in one.
    The whole point of using technology is to make life easier/simpler, not more complicated.
    I (and from your post) a whole lot of your staff don't give a damn about how cool, 21st C, web 2.0 whatever your solution is
    What they want to know is - does it save them time; does it make their life simpler etc. If it does not then they, quite rightly, are simply not interested.
    Trying to shoehorn in some type of quick fix is simply a non starter and will probably generate even more negative feelings amongst those your are trying to winover

  5. The problem with the attitude above is that, while it exists with good reason, if you give in to it then you'll never make any progress.

    I agree that quicker and simpler has to be the key. So by all means set up a blog, have students use it FOR YOU and then show other people what you've done, how easy it was and how much quicker it has made things for you. Model good practice, or innovative practice. If it works, you will start to get others to join in slowly, and if it works really well then the momentum of takeup will carry it even further.
  6. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    The problem with the attitude above is that, while it exists with good
    reason, if you give in to it then you'll never make any progress.

    What this attitude should do is to make you (the inovator, the instigator) work harder on a solution that works better or is more appropriate.
    The 'net and this forum in particular is full of lazy, poorly thought out, ill conceived, much vaunted technical geegaws which we are supposed to use simply because they are 'of the now'
    Come up with something fantastic and you won't have to persuade anyone.

  7. I genuinely believe that the proposal I am offering does make teachers lives easier.

    * No more carrying books home to mark
    * Use of comments section on Wordpress to quickly critique students work
    * Allows students to make their interactive media available (why create a PowerPoint with effects, only to print it out in handout - and therefore not be of any use?)
  8. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    Personally I think the Mahara solution would be far better in the long term than the WordPress solution as this solution contradicts reasons a, b AND c as far as I can see.
    However I'd be really interested in the solution if it works and would love to make a meal from my words.

    Just a side thought - One way of giving students an ePortfolio in Moodle I've heard of is to give them teacher rights to their own, individual course. They can then enroll teachers as students onto their courses. This gets round your continuous eportfolio issue with Moodle.
    I heard of one school doing it this way.

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