I wish I had a $ for everytime I was asked….. what is the best way to combine e-portfolios with e-assessment

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.


The tools are cool but it is all in the planning

All too often I go out to visit a site interested in creating e-learning courses and the focus starts with tools. Now of course, this is the fun part and if you want to get people on board this is one way to get them interested. It can also be overwhelming and be a reason they may not jump on board and embrace your ideas.

Good e-learning starts with a solid plan. This will ensure you have a sustainable approach that considers your organisation’s requirements, your teachers/facilitator’s requirements and very importantly your learners.

I recommend you take a project management approach to planning your e-design. To make this easier for you visit my Moodle e-book and login as a guest.

The e-book includes four different topics but the one I recommend you start with is Designing an e-learning strategy for your organisation.

There are a whole host of resources for you to look at but I really recommend you download the project management template and worksheets. Now don’t get confused this is not an e-learning strategy but it will help you and your team to work through some important questions and document what you learn along the way.

Completing the appendix worksheets will help you to identify your gaps and the areas you might need to explore further.

Anyway I hope they are useful.

Is Social Media a Fad?

Technology in Vocational Educaton and Training (VET)

There seems to be a lot of discussion happening around the use of social media in VET.  Almost daily teachers ask me – ‘should I use social media in my course’ or ‘how can I use social media in the course?’.  Sometimes the discussion turns ‘ I don’t think students will do their work if they have access to Twitter or Facebook’.

Before you make a decision I suggest you check your organisation’s social media policy and make sure you understand it. If your organisation doesn’t have a social media policy this is your starting point. If you need help you could check out the NSW Have your Say website for some cool tips and strategies for using Social Media.

There are so many ways you can incorporate the use of social media in your training programs and I believe if planned correctly (its more about their purpose, than it…

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QR Code reader and Video apps for effective mlearning

Great post Belinda

Using e-learning in Training

For this weeks ‘Try it yourself’ activity we have been tasked with making a video using a video creating app with a mobile device. When then need to post it to You tube or our favorite video sharing site or our own blog and generate a (quick response) QR Code. Then post the QR code to our blog or twitter.

I have cheated a little and used already prepared You Tube videos that explained the use of the video creating apps to create my QR codes from. They were really easy to make and fun to change the colours and elements. I used Unitag to do them.

Tools to create a video on your mobile device:



Explain Everything

See the article “The No. 1 App for Every Teacher

The below QR code links to a video of how to use the Explain Everything

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to video or not to video…. that is the question

We are in our second week of #IDML13 and we were asked to play around with video using our mobile devices. The choice was to download some apps and create movies of what we were doing on the screen but as I have done this many times before I chose to use the inbuilt video on my iPhone and then manipulate several videos using an app on my iPad. If you are interested in my experience please read on and hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes I did.

Step one: find a suitable subject and record some video footage

Life has been hectic so I coerced a family member to be my subject during a recent family outing. Surprisingly there were no shortage of participants willing to be part of my experiment so I have quite a bit of footage I can play with in the coming weeks.

For my first video I decided I would explore how I could work with a combination of short clips and integrate them into one short video. I would also combine text and audio to make more interesting…. well at least that was what I was hoping for.

Off we went down the Shoalhaven River and I madly recorded everything that seemed of interest. At the end of the day I felt it was a job well done.

Step two: transfer the video from my phone to my iPad

Sounds easy, well no it wasn’t. First of all when I synced my iPhone to the laptop my videos were sideways :-).

Windows movie maker could correct this so I needed to do a bit of research to find how I could do this…. for free, because this is what my learners will want. Luckily it didn’t take long and I found I could download Windows Movie maker for free.

Tip: Google windows essentials 2012 and when you install make sure you take the tick off any applications you don’t want.

Once I flipped my video correctly I realised they would be quite narrow on the screen. I do highly recommend you video with your phone horizontally, I know I will next time.

While I was in Movie maker I took advantage of the cool media formats available for title pages and credits. I liked these better than the ones I had available in Pinnacle Studio for the iPad. Now if you don’t want to edit on your ipad you could continue to trim (start and finish of your video) and split your video into frames here. It was quite easy to do but I found I needed to continually split frames to get close to the content I wanted to delete. This part was much easier in Pinnacle Studio.

You can also download royalty free music from the iTunes store and attach it to your video. The great thing about Movie maker is it will automatically stop the music at the end of the movie. Pinnacle Studio didn’t do that and the music kept playing unti the end (you can manually delete it but that will take some effort).

Step three: Getting your movie onto your iPad

If you save your file in the Windows Movie player format you won’t be able to get it onto your iPad even by dragging and dropping via Windows Explorer. You need to save it in an iPad format. When you go to save your movie take the time to have a look at all the save formats (it is quite a long list) and as you scroll down you will see an iPad format.

Hint: save the file to your video library so it is easy to find
The next thing you need to do is to get the movie into your iTunes account on your pc. This was quite simple, go to the library and open the video while in iTunes. After that it should appear in your list.

Next sync your iPad with your iTunes account on your PC
Once you have done this you can begin to work off your iPad. Open Pinnacle studio and when it requests access to your pics and videos simply say yes. This will allow you to find your video and drag it onto your storyboard for editing.

Pinnacle studio is quite easy to use. It is also very easy to cut segments out using the razor blade. I suggest you have a go and make great use of the undo button if you need to. With some of your changes and insertions (such as title pages) you may also need to render the frame – use the first two options – they work really well.

Finally you will need to export your video to Youtube. You will need an account and your own YouTube channel. If you are unsure of how to do this there are plenty of online tutorials that can help.

Now for my finished product. As you can see it is quite amateurish but I learnt a lot and I have a deeper understanding of video editing on the iPad…. exactly what I was after!

Every wondered where technology will take you?

Honestly, technology is the most dazzling thing. I just read an article from Mashable about an app developed for the iPad that allows you to take an image of your face and then try on virtual glasses to see how they will look on your face.  How awesome is that!!!

One of the reasons I haven’t fully embraced shopping online is because … well I am a bit vain, there are just some things you need to try on.  The mobile app world and virtual technologies seem to get this and now it seems we can try things on. How cool!

Years ago there was a department store in the UK that allowed you to pick a model and put in your body measurements and your model would then try your outfits on…. so the technology has there for a while but it is somewhat lacking……  I want to see how the outfit will look with me in it rather than a virtual model (haha I did say I was vain but I bet you too would prefer to buy an outfit with the confidence it will fit and look the way you hope).

Anyone know of a cool app that allows the purchaser to try outfits on virtually? I would love to hear about it.

Back in the days when I used to teach Internet technology to new computer users they loved playing with a virtual model, how much more would they love the experience using their smartphones and iPads 🙂

Yes, you read right, I have started another MOOC

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while, you see I have been busying MOOCing.  My last MOOC was through canvas.net and I was studying learner analytics.  This was a well organised course, with lots of information, activities and directions.  I did find it just a little overwhelming though.  I decided to glean what I could (time was short) and forget the assessments.  I asked myself the question, do I really need this piece of paper and my answer was NO!

I have realised that this is the great thing about MOOCs.  You can choose how you participate, what you participate in and what you want to learn.  I don’t know if you are like me but if I pay for a course and I don’t complete, I feel a bit disappointed with myself.

MOOCs are free, there are no costs associated and there is no real disappointment.  I choose upfront what I want to gain from my involvement.  I like this approach.  So even though I didn’t do the assignments I learnt a lot and I have some great references for future use.  If you want to see the links I have saved them in a pearl tree for quick access http://pear.ly/bXmNj.

My current MOOC is also through canvas.net and it started yesterday.  I am really excited about this one as we will be exploring instructional design techniques for mobile learning.  I can’t wait to see where this MOOC will take me.  To keep track of the web resources I will access through this course I will also use pearl trees.  If you are interested you can keep track at http://pear.ly/b5YC1.

image represents the current layout of Gail's Pearltree

Gail’s pearl trees

Okay back in touch soon, wish me luck.