ePortfolio Conference sports pace makers
For the first time, I contributed together with Petra Oberhuemer to the ePortfolio conference with a paper on scaffolding learners when they are learning with process portfolios for the first time (we were not focusing on showcase or assessment portfolios). What we found was that a lot of times learners feel overwhelmed by the task of writing down their thoughts and feelings regarding learning processes (for instance, look at the case study by Tosh, Light, Fleming and Haywood in 2005). Many of these kinds of studies mentioned that more guidance from the tutor would have been helpful to the students. In this paper, we propose using a scaffolding guide derived from the IMS Learning Design specification to provide structure in the early uses of process portfolios.
The presentations at the conference were quite inspiring, as seeing all these examples from ambitious practice made me feel like being at the forefront of learning technologies. It seems that increasingly more people are starting to think outside the classical instructional realm of "we say what's right, you take the test" (see my adjustment of the picture of the Nuremburg funnel to the right, where I took the learner out of there!). The tenor among the presenters was, however, that the currently available tools do not live up to the needs of the users. There seems to be much room for improvement. Some universities, like the Open University UK, develop own portfolio software (in this case "My Stuff"), where they are experimenting with new arrangements for all the content: there are no folders anymore, just tags. The only way to find your stuff again is by tagging it.