July 17, 2006
Impact 2006: Final Keynote: ePortfolios: Digital Stories of Deep Learning
The final keynote was provided by Dr. Helen Barrett of the University of Alaska in Anchorage. She had a very interesting take on what an ePortfolio is. Some people see it as a way to save assignments to demonstrate work. Others see it as a way for institutions to track accreditation. But Dr. Barrett sees ePorfolios as a way for people to tell stories about their life.
See her website at http://www.electronicportfolios.org/ for more information.
The premise of this talk is that an ePortfolio is a way for a person to tell the story of his or her life. It consists of taking the raw artifacts (letters, movie clips, sound bytes, pictures, newspaper clippings, certificates, etc.), collecting them all together in one place, then adding some context to this raw information by telling stories about your life. Some of these stories may be aimed at specific audiences (like potential employers), while others may be open for the world.
The types of things that go into an ePortfolio are exactly the types of things that you want to find about your long dead ancestors when researching your family history. Facts like diplomas they had, marriage and divorce dates, etc. Stories like a series of loveletters, scrapbooks, postcard collections, etc. These are the kinds of things that our decendants will want to see in our ePortfolios.
The current state of ePortfolios has several problems:
- Portfolios currently live in silos. We have a potfolio for work, another one for hobbies, another one for education. It is very difficult to move information between portfolios. What we need is one portfolio system that keeps all the relevant artifacts, then we can build different kinds of stories around those artifacts.
- Current ePortfolios are temporary. You have an ePortfolio of your course work while in University, but as soon as you graduate it is deleted. What we really need is a permanent ePortfolio system that continues on long after you are dead. The ePortfolio starts with your birth certificate and baby book, and ends with your obituary, and stays around for people ten generations from now to see and research. Someplace safe from a fire or flood that can destroy priceless pictures, letters, and other memories.
Some people think that the curent electronic age is creating a hole in history. There will be no family photo albums to cherish through the ages because pictures (and now films) are stored online. There will be no loveletters to review at your 60th wedding anniversary because those emails will have been deleted long ago in a disk crash. Future generations won't be able to see the notes hastily written on postcards that people sent you to add to your postcard collection because now people just instant message other people on the phone.
Some useful books:
- "The World is Flat" - Friedman, 2006
- "A Whole New Mind" - Daniel Pink, 2004
- As We May Think - Vannevar Bush
- OurMedia.Org - digital archive for life
One of the most interesting quotes was written by Vannevar Bush in the article "As We May Think" in 1945.
Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name, and to coin one at random, ``memex'' will do. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.
He was describing a personal microfilm reader. But this can apply equally well to the computer, and to ePortfolios.
Posted by kvl014 at July 17, 2006 03:37 PM