Lately e-assessment and e-portfolios are the topics of the moment. In my role as the NSW E-Learning Advisor I am often asked, ‘which is the best tool to combine e-portfolios with e-assessment?’ That’s a really good question and one that I believe does not have a simple answer.
Let’s start by considering the tools and technologies you have available to you. If PC is your preferred device you can narrow it down, but what if you want to move across several devices? What if you want to upload on one device and instantly check it another? What if you are using PC but the learners are using smart phones…. and so it goes on.
My advice is to explore how, when and why you will use it. Consider who will own the portfolio at the end of the program and whether the contents can be downloaded, exported, integrated into other platforms (if this is what you need). As you can see the starting point is research and planning, then selecting the best tool to fit your scenario.
Having said that I do have a few favourites to help you on your way. In no particular order my hot contenders are:
Evernote: two of my colleauges used this tool to manage communications with their project teams and to share resources, but did you also know you can use it as an e-portfolio?
Evernote is great because you use it on PC, your smart devices including Android an Apple and of course your MAC. There are also a lot of blogs and help guides available on the net to get you started.
Sites like Google sites, Yahoo sites, Weebly are free hosted websites that have a number of useful templates to choose from. My advice consider the assessments tools you are using and the information the learner will need to research, submit, demonstrate etc and choose the layout that is most appropriate. For example, if your learners are creating a prototype and managing its development using project management techniques – choose a layout that includes project management tools and charting.
Voicethread is a really cool tool that allows you to combine images, documents and voice. It is really use to use and has been around for quite some now.
Pinterest is an electronic noteboard that allows your leaners to find websites on a given subject and to upload and attach their own images. This is a great tool for digital portfolios. Think carefully about its use though and make sure it aligns well with the assessment and the critical aspects of evidence.
Foliofor.me is a freely hosted e-portfolio system built on Mahara. Mahara is open source and gaining prominence in the e-learning/e-portfolio space. I use foliofor.me as my own verison of my e-portfolio however I would recommend you consider where the servers are hosted. They may not align to your own country’s privacy and copyright laws. Care should be taken when you are asking your learners to upload personal information to the cloud.
There are numerous other platforms we could consider such as blogs, wikis and I am sure you have a few of your own you would like to recommend. If so please don’t hesitate to comment.
A final tip from me: Create accounts for your students and set up the same design in each portfolio to make it easy to manage. You might also find it easier if you create step by step guides for your learners to follow.
SkillsLocker is a TAFE NSW web-based app. The great thing is it is available for students and teachers studying and working with TAFE NSW. All you need to sign in is your DET user ID and password. For those of you who are not TAFE NSW but are interested to see it I recommend you visit skillslocker.tafensw.edu.au and have a look around.While you are there try out some of the getting started videos.