The first three months of this Masters has been hard! Not just the content, which stretches the brain to capacity, but the juggling of time – time for study, work, other professional commitments, home, and family. So even though I had set out to map my journey online through this website, I have literally not had the time!
I swing between using online and more traditional tools to take and make notes, and I have discovered the best way for me to capture content and my learning from it in a cohesive way is to physically write it down, so my notes are predominantly in two notebooks. I find I can easily refer back to these when I need to.
While I understand the concept of sharing knowledge – I have been doing this since 2011 through my professional websites, Senga’s Space and Tertiary Prep – I also prefer to keep my “raw thinking” private until it is in a format I am happy to share.
When I find articles and readings I want to be able to refer back to, I not only save a digital copy to my computer, I then print it and annotate it, highlighting quotes, summarising the content and also noting my own learning because of it. This was something the synthesising activity through the postgrad taught me the value of. I have found it helps me to compare and contrast evidence from a variety of sources – alongside my own reflections and the learning connections I’m making in my own context.
I think the key here is to recognise your need for a particular tool, find out about it, test it then decide if it’s fit for the purpose you need it for. While exploring the new Pebble Pad platform I could see the benefits of using something like this during the change project part of the course and will definitely be investigating this further, once I have finalised what project I will decide to go with. Pebble Pad could also provide a platform for revalidation purposes. As a professionally registered librarian, our three-year revalidation journal requirements is currently done via a clunky spreadsheet. I am going to suggest to LIANZA that they investigate the use of Pebble Pad as a superior alternative. Of course, this will come down to cost.
What follows are my answers to the questions to prompt critical thinking about e-portfolios from this sprint:
- What are the differences between sites and blogs – as e-portfolios?
- Blogs are a very good tool for reflection and most popular blog sites now provide the platforms to create a learning e-portfolio to build on existing blog sites
- How easy is my chosen e-portfolio platform to use?
- WordPress is simple to set up and intuitive to use. Mostly I’ve been able to work out how to do things for myself, but they have a good website to provide support for using their tools and services WordPress.org
- Do I need to develop any new technical skills?
- As with any learner, the best time to develop new skills is when you have need of them. With time not being my friend, I will be unlikely to have time to just “play” with new technology. However, I will investigate simple ways of setting up a podcast channel to extend my e-portfolio
- What are the types of posts and artifacts I will create?
- As I am most comfortable in the written form, the majority of my posts won’t be videos. I tend to be less satisfied with the finished product of recording, though, time willing, I would be keen to explore podcasts as a means of reflecting on learning
- How can I share my posts, artifacts and evidence on my e-portfolio with fellow candidates, the MCE team and others?
- For this purpose, the main channel will be Slack as this is the main form of communication with all MCE members. Those who are particularly interested in following my journey can follow on the WordPress platform or subscribe to receive email notification of new posts
- How well does my chosen e-portfolio platform integrate with other platforms that I use?
- I have had no issues integrating WordPress in any circumstances to date. While this platform initially started out as solely for blogging, it has continued to develop over the years and it is easy to increase the functionality of the site to incorporate other pages and applications
- How well does my chosen platform accommodate a wide range of applications and evidence?
- On my other WordPress sites, I have been able to embed images, documents links, video and powerpoints easily
- How robust is my chosen platform- specifically with reference to longevity, authenticity, sustainability, and cost?
- I have used several platforms over the past decade for various reasons and have found WordPress has been reliable, easy to use, adaptive and has a great range with its free applications. It has also been around since 2003, so in online terms, they have been around for quite a while. They have a clear philosophy around democratising publishing, which they explain very well here
I currently use the Google Drive platform, computer bookmarking tools, Slideshare, Pinterest, Bitly and YouTube to store, retrieve and share curated information and resources. However, I also have experience using other curation tools such as Diigo, Google Keep, Livebinders, DropBox and Evernote, and over the years I have used a variety of tools based on my need of them. I have even presented and written about how to integrate these into teaching and learning.
What I have discovered is that I am happy to use an online portfolio in this particular context for some aspects of sharing my learning journey, however, I also don’t want to end up duplicating my thinking process by having to share everything publicly. Sometimes the very best way to connect and share your learning is in conversation, so I’m always open to chatting with people, either in small groups or one-on-one anytime, so if you’ve read to the end of this post and you want to connect, leave a comment or find me on Slack.