Wednesday, October 01, 2003

More Blog/e-Portfolio Connections

James Farmer took my last post and ran with it, rightly pointing out that blogs might not fit well into traditional teaching models, but that they might help in the transition to more authentic learning experiences:
"... in this new context, where learners build their learning, where we 'facilitate' and don't 'teach' and where courses aren't assessment driven is where blogs will work."
I'm assuming he's referring to standardized tests and grading systems when he says assessment, because I think blogs could be a key part of assessment if they were properly integrated into a course or community. Will Richardson also picked up the thread and added that blogs may have their "greater use in a structured school environment as a digital portfolio." This connection between blogging and portfolios keeps coming up -- James also pointed to George's excellent post about the evolution of learning communities and networks, which tickled my brain yesterday and contained a key point for this discussion:
"We need a portfolio that allows the ability to track and manage our own learning network. This portfolio is the equivalent of what we now call a transcript. It needs to be learner owned/controlled."
I agree with everything in these posts, because they're pointing the way to a compelling networked/individualized learning culture that moves beyond our outdated industrial model. It would be total revolution if these ideas really took hold, and I sincerely hope they do...preferably sooner rather than later.

My challenge is to try to reconcile the difference or conflict between the stated needs of customers who are stuck within the current system/mindset and creating the type of tools that would work well in the new learning culture -- maybe even tools that could help facilitate that transition. If we create the ultimate portfolio tool that helps learners store their samples and information, connect to experts and peers, record their impressions and connections, but nobody can use it within the existing system because they don't understand or don't have time, then the whole project is a waste.

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