Getting out on a staff meeting night is a bonus. So while my colleagues were nutting out the finer details of Maths groupings and poring over Steering Committee minutes, I was at TSOF to hear and discuss the future directions of e-Portfolios in DECS. I wasn't sure what to expect and looking back from my perspective, it was a mixed bag. There was some talk about future directions and I was glad to see that thoughts of digital space being provided for educators was highlighted - that was on my wishlist from a few posts back. There was some group sharing of the progress individuals have made on their own portfolios and there was a fair bit of talk about what should go in an e-portfolio and what tools should be used to put it together. Some of the less interesting aspects were when time was spent bringing people who didn't attend up-to-date with some of the finer points of Dr.Helen Barrett's methods. But I didn't need personally to sit through how to create a hyperlink in Excel so I ended up chatting to Jackie Miers whose e-portfolio I linked to in a post about the original conference. She said she had overlooked the fact that it had a lot of personal details that she didn't really want public so she had to take parts down off the web and adjust the whole thing. Jackie is an extremely capable educator and I doubt if there are any educators in South Australia involved in Resource and Problem Based Learning who haven't used a Jackie Miers webpage of useful links. Here's one of her latest about the Commonwealth Games. And she asked how I found the time to blog! 🙂 I'm sure that she spends many hours putting her hotlist pages together. Anyway, the session ended with Yvonne Murtagh giving everyone a quick blast of Web 2.0 which was good because even these keen to be near the cutting edge educators had not heard of many of the tools she was highlighting frantically. She even got me to show my blog which was great. I only had five mins to give them a taste of what a blog could be so I showed them my entry on Self Directed Learning and showed how comments containing responses to and resources for my idea had come in from all over the world - Minnesota, New Zealand, Glenelg (!!), Mexico City and Alaska. That got a few heads nodding - that is the real power of blogs for educators - the power to virtually tap another educator on the shoulder halfway around the world and say, "What do you think?"
So what came out of tonight's get together? I'm not too sure - except maybe a commitment to form a community of educators keen to explore this concept for ourselves and our students. Maybe a few will be inspired to take up blogging as the reflective component of their portfolio. I just get a bit worrried when words like "standardised" and "required elements" get bandied around because as Dave Cormier reflected on one of the EdTech Talk Brainstorms that never made to the web archive:
....... Dave pointed out that the last E-Portfolios needed was a government policy mandate that determined what they were for and how they were to be interpreted and crunched down so that they fitted the same cookie cutter assessment of learning that standardised tests produce.
So where are we going? Not sure but I'd better hang around and find out.