eFolio and Innovation
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eFolio and Innovation

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An attempt to explain how innovation has influenced the desigh of eFolio

An attempt to explain how innovation has influenced the desigh of eFolio

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eFolio and Innovation eFolio and Innovation Presentation Transcript

  • he following slides present something of my approach to innovation. For many years people have declared my efforts to be ‘innovative’. However, I just think of myself as ‘ thinking of the obvious - first.’ I illustrate a typical practical example of innovation in relation to e-Portfolios. Secondly, I list some of my conclusions about innovation after some 50-odd years of ‘thinking of the obvious – first.’ Thirdly, I describe my three innovative features of eFolio. T
  • hilst researching the VLEs market I soon discovered a big ‘hole’ in VLE thinking, that of the e-Portfolio. Becta had announced that all pupils should have one and yet here in the UK the VLE suppliers were significantly silent about the functionality or teaching & learning benefits of their e-Portfolios. W
  • hilst researching the VLEs market I soon discovered a big ‘hole’ in VLE thinking, that of the e-Portfolio. Becta had announced that all pupils should have one and yet here in the UK the VLE suppliers were significantly silent about the functionality or teaching & learning benefits of their e-Portfolios. Every supplier appeared to have gone away and ‘done their own thing’ with apparently little reference to any educational thinking. However, I soon discovered that in the UK there was very little educational thinking about e-Portfolios at all. W View slide
  • It soon became obvious that I had a major task on my hand to discover what information had been published and what software was available. Most published thinking and associated software was principally designed for the HE market with some applications being used in European industries. View slide
  • It soon became obvious that I had a major task on my hand to discover what information had been published and what software was available. Most published thinking and associated software was principally designed for the HE market with some applications being used in European industries. After many hundreds of hours evaluating existing packages and reading the writings of many academics it became obvious that I had to define my own set of criteria, eventually developing a marketable product – eFolio.
  • However, I hasten to add that I did not therefore go out and re-invent the wheel! I found one application, by eFolioWorld, that appeared to meet my requirements, although it was primarily being used effectively by some 80,000 students in FE/HE in Minnesota.
  • However, I hasten to add that I did not therefore go out and re-invent the wheel! I found one application, by eFolioWorld, that appeared to meet my requirements, although it was primarily being used effectively by some 80,000 students in FE/HE in Minnesota. I spent some time in acquiring a demo-account and learning their system – and soon got to like it. Despite being ‘an outsider’ it was easy to develop a good relationship with the developers and soon we were talking!
  • The conversation went something like this: “ I understand that your eFolioWorld is hosted by yourselves within the institution. Is it possible that it could be hosted externally?” The answer came back, “Yes, but why would you want to?”
  • The conversation went something like this: “ I understand that your eFolioWorld is hosted by yourselves within the institution. Is it possible that it could be hosted externally?” The answer came back, “Yes, but why would you want to?” Recognising the formal presentations styles appropriate to US academic work, I therefore asked a second question: “Is it possible that we could develop templates for different age groups?” Again, the answer came back, “Yes, but why would you want to?”
  • Armed with those two encouraging responses, I was able to go back to my research and re-evaluate every single document on e-Portfolios (and even pre-electronic ones) in terms of a ‘free-standing’ and ‘all-age’ application. In every case, the limitations of previous efforts of institutional systems became obvious – that of ‘portability’.
  • Armed with those two encouraging responses, I was able to go back to my research and re-evaluate every single document on e-Portfolios (and even pre-electronic ones) in terms of a ‘free-standing’ and ‘all-age’ application. In every case, the limitations of previous efforts of institutional systems became obvious – that of ‘portability’. Again, why should the use of e-Portfolios be limited to HE and FE. What about Secondary schools, Primary schools, Home-learning, Travellers’ Children, Adult Education, Lifelong, Lifewide Learning and Leisure, Every Child Matters, Leitch, Gilbert, etc?
    • An interlude before my eFolio solution is revealed:
    • Some conditions for Innovation:
    • A questioning mind is not always sufficient – innovation requires vision, resources (including time, money etc), tenacity and patience along with a wisdom that comes with experience.
    • Innovators often need the ‘clout’ of qualifications or authority to push the right buttons in order to get the co-operation of others.
    • Observation of an immediate problem still needs tenacity, technical skill, adequate resources and encouragement to reach an acceptable solution.
    • Serendipity may have a place, but grabbing the bull by the horns and doing something about it, systematically and over the years, is where the real value then becomes obvious.
    • Innovators need the ‘language’ skills of an intermediary to mediate appropriate solutions particularly when third-parties such as industrialists or sponsors are involved.
    • Vision is the essential driving force – it keeps the developer working towards a solution – whether or not the profit margins are realistic.
    • Sometimes an innovation might be short-lived – but the establishment of a principle may lead on to the acceptance of a norm applicable to other developments.
    • Innovators require not only vision, leadership, motivation but also tact, diplomacy and patience if a majority are to be convinced.
    • Innovators must have a clear perception of the goal to be achieved, the strategy to get there and the sensibility to know whether to stop or go further.
    • Innovation can often work better when one individual does not have the sole control of an outcome. An innovator can get valuable support from kindred spirits. Innovators need to be ready for their ‘discovery’ to lead into new areas of application and to recognise and build upon the contributions of others.
    • Innovation can occur when we least expect it, but rather than being ‘serendipitous’, it starts with an enquiring mind. It is the nature of an innovator to recognise and promote any such discovery using the skills as listed above.
    • Innovation might require looking beyond so-called received wisdom. Sometimes it is necessary to look beyond current practice and, by adding potential technologies to what one might consider a ‘wish list’, it is possible to produce that which to others is innovation but to the visionary is a statement of the obvious.
    • Firstly, the principle of ‘remote access’:
    • By hosting an e-Portfolio externally it is free to be accessed by the owner from any location without having to go via any VLE.
    • The illustration shows a number of activities in which a Primary pupil might be involved
    • Similarly, any number of permitted ‘audiences’ can access a variety of the owner’s pages as defined by the owner as they get more experienced.
    • Secondly, the principle of ‘transition’:
    • By hosting an e-Portfolio externally to any institution it is free to be accessed by the owner as he/she moves from one school to another.
    • A second aspect of transition is that of ‘customisation’ or the ability to change the whole appearance of the portfolio according to the age and style of the user – or the expectations of any permitted viewer.
    • Thirdly, the principle of ‘longevity’:
    • Not only does the e-Portfolio remain with the owner throughout school-life and on to employment, it can also remain in use throughout one’s lifetime – even into retirement.
    • The principle of Lifelong, Lifewide Learning and Leisure (LLLL) allows the e‑Portfolio to be used for a whole variety of purposes, ‘5-95’.
    • See http:www.maximise-ict.co.uk/eFolio-03b.htm
    ‘ The Seven Ages of Man’
  • Here is an attempt to combine many of the features of the previous slides
  • E: [email_address]