Wednesday, February 17, 2010

5.3.3: Ministry document, "Celebrating Learning"

I've been a bit remiss on this one... the Ministry of Education report, "ePortfolios - Celebrating learning" was released in August 2009. It is a report that reveals much about central support for ePortfolios in New Zealand, and is rather outstanding for its clarity and, well, good sense.

The report also reveals the challenges of implementing a single ePortfolio solution across an entire formal education sector, from Primary through tertiary. I think the report makes very sound recommendations, based on its analysis of needs and existing practice. Essentially, the recommendations are:
  1. That LEAP2A be adopted as an interoperability standard (Mahara is LEAP2A compliant).
  2. An open source, LEAP2A ePortfolio option be centrally provided (though not mandated).
One interesting finding of the report is that Primary users have specific needs, needs that powerful tools such as Mahara do not cater for... all a 5 year old should be required to do is upload a digital photo of his or her latest painting for the family, not manage views or take responsibility for an individual account! So, on a national basis, it makes great sense to adopt a standard rather than an application.

The report is also an excellent introduction to ePortfolio practice, making various suggestions for practitioners. Cosnider this list of what to consider when getting started with ePortfolios:
  1. Purpose.
  2. Ownership.
  3. 'Duty of care'.
  4. Teacher capability.
  5. Time.
The report also suggests that "Simplicity is a good thing to remember. Start 'small' but think 'big'" (p.17). Nice. Based on the reports own recommendations there is one additional factor to consider when getting started with ePortfolios:
  • Application features (particularly LEAP2A compliance).
This report is a strong indication that informed high-level discussions are taking place on how ePortfolios might be best considered in a lifelong context.

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