Thursday 15 April 2010

Learners should use Web2.0 portfolios to showcase their best-works.

I'm not singing Kodachrome, but; "When I think back to all the data I lost at high school, it's a shame I lost completely all". Back in the 80's and 90's, every time my computer was upgraded, I lost all my files. These simply went to the scrap heap with my old computer's hard-disk :(. Although I could have backed them up, the cost was prohibitive and I simply did not think that my work had value outside the marks I got for it. Stupid me.

While there's not a significant amount I'd like to have kept, wouldn't it be nice to at least have a portfolio of one's best school essays and artworks readily accessible? Seeing how far one's progressed, identifying recurring themes or just a new memory aid, would be some of the personal benefits to this.

Educationally, there are also benefits to schools encouraging students to showcase their best work online. These include: 
- Highlighting practical achievement... and by implication, teacher achievement, too,
- Showcasing the potential value of an educational investment,
- Supporting collaboration with partner schools on outcomes of mutual interest,
- Assisting benchmarking by your students, moderators and other schools.

Before the advent of web2.0, the cost of providing students with the ability to digitise their works, upload them and make them publicly accessible would be prohibitive for almost every school. However, the prospect of an abundant digital media in South Africa by 2013 (we hope!) should make this affordable to most.

Individual students should be encouraged to take a long term view on the personal value their best works may hold and to store them with cloud computing. While it will be interesting to see how the Department of Education, school principals, educators and others facilitate this, the adoption of web2.0 technologies by schools will inevitably be slow. Given this, I would suggest to any learner that the responsibility of creating a best works portfolio starts with you. If you want to benefit from an online showcase of your talents; take the opportunity afforded by today's technologies to create best works online portfolios in your favourite subject(s). You might even find that your example motivates your peers and even your teachers!

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