I had not had any experience with Mahara or an ‘e-portfolio’ before I began this course.
Initially, I was unsure of just what it would be used for, but after setting up my account and chatting with peers and lecturers, I began to form a clearer picture in my mind. I believe that is one of the most important aspects of understanding Mahara (or probably any other e portfolio system), developing a really good mental picture of how it is used.
Linda drew a fabulous ‘metal mud map’ for me- she described it as having various views, and items on shelves which you pull down when you want them and put them into the views. When they are not being used in the view, you don’t see the items. It really helped me to get my head around it.
I had no trouble establishing the Mahara account via Scot’s directions and I have been exploring it and I have uploaded a video.
I can see how useful it will be in the future, particularly having all the information in one location.
Applying an e-portfolio to a school based setting; I can see that senior secondary students could make excellent use of it in compiling a body of work for a prospective employer. As well as academic records, the students could include any work / voluntary or community experiences, skills etc in the document. The process of establishing and maintaining the e- portfolio is in itself developing student’s literacy skills and use of digital media as well as preparing them for the future.
According to Tosh et al (2005), e- portfolios offer the opportunity for the learner to control their learning through choices, which in turn has the potential to engage them and promote deep learning. Through the use of an e-portfolio, students are able to make connections between learning which occurs in diverse contexts ie. academic, community and workplace.
The research to date doesn’t focus on how valuable students perceive e portfolios are for their learning. Tosh et al (2005) believe that students need to view the e portfolio as a holistic means of documenting their learning across different frameworks or the e portfolio’s potential impact on learning will not be realised.
Tosh, D., Light, T., Fleming, K., Haywood, J. (2005) Engagement with Electronic Portfolios: Challenges from the Student Perspective, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology Volume 31(3).
Viewed August 8, 2009. http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/viewArticle/97/91