E-Portfolios & Web Tools

Why use blogs as e-portfolios?

My colleague Colin McKenzie and I are running a short PD session on why blogs are great, especially as e-portfolios. I created the short video below to go through some reasons so we could focus on the technical aspects on the day. This video was a great chance to try out some programs I’ve been wanting to try: Camtasia and Mozilla Popcorn.

Camtasia is simply a program that allows you to record what you’re doing on the screen while talking about it. It has a whole lot of editing functions, and I found its functionality similar to imovie. Apart from hating the sound of my own voice (Don’t we all! It never sounds they way we think it will!), it was easy to use and great.

After exporting the recording out of Camtasia I uploaded it to YouTube. Unfortunately you have to put the video on YouTube to be able to use it in Mozilla Popcorn. While I hated the idea of unfinished videos sitting in my YouTube account, I just made the video private. In Popcorn I added all the little pop ups, so there are active links viewers can click on while watching my video. I like that it put the video on pause and the links in a new window. This was also easy to use.

Guest Speakers

Last week I had three guest speakers come and speak to my Year 10 English class about literacy in their workplace, to give the students a ‘reality check’ on how important what they learn is. The first was a PE Teacher because five students are interested in that as a career, and he did a fantastic job dispelling the myth PE Teachers just play games all day. When he mentioned a 12,000 word uni essay there was an audible gasp. The second was a principal planner from a council, and the highly specialised language he used so easily certainly highlighted that the literacy students gain in secondary school was just the beginning. The last was a retired lawyer. He told a lot of great horror stories where the finer points of literacy matter, such as a comma that cost a company $23 million! It was a fantastic series of speakers, and I recommend doing it. The most common points running through all three talks were:

  • Everything in writing can come back to haunt you, so write as though your enemy will read it to use it against you.
  • You become a better writer by writing, and the earlier you start concentrating on it the better.

Professional Learning Network

I read a short article from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning that spoke to what I’m trying to achieve at the moment, and I’ll just quote a bit here:
“As social media become more and more predominant as platforms of connection and collaboration, the need for creating and maintaining a PLN ( Personal/Professional Learning Network ) becomes more pressing. As teachers and educators we are expected to be on top of the latest trends that can inform and enhance our classroom teaching as well as our professional growth.We are also expected to know the web tools that our students use and the new ones we can use with them in the future;  but this is not always possible … It is at times  like these that you can call upon your PLN.”

That is exactly what I’m hoping to achieve by having this blog, following others, and having a Twitter account. We cannot keep up on our own, we need to be connected. I also hope that some of what I put on my blog helps others with their own teaching and learning. There’s certainly a lot of amazing educators out there, such as Judy O’Connell whose recent post about student tools is a great resource.

So that’s my resource, story, and idea for this week! I hope you’re all enjoying the world of blogging as much as I am.