Thursday, November 4, 2010

Portfolio of Questions

Reflecting on day 1 of the thought provoking #AEC2010 - Australian ePortfolio Conference...

Several speakers noted that ePortfolios are another 'disruptive technology' challenging and sometimes transforming existing learning, teaching and assessment.

I also wonder how they are challenging ICT service provision and support.
Learners and teachers can now find ICT services beyond institution walls and with the increasing availability of 3G wireless access and broadband at home they are choosing from a wide range of ePortfolio options.

In addition ePortfolio systems themselves are evolving as learners and educators look for new features that support user control and customisation. Some learners are also opting for solutions used by professionals in their chosen career area - particularly when seeking feedback from external audiences or establishing a professional online identity.

These rapidly changing technology and educational landscapes (including ePortfolios) are leading some institutions to a 'perpetual beta' culture - particularly in ICT service provision. This can be very positive if it promotes agility leading to increased responsiveness to educational needs. But it is also very challenging and sometimes disruptive to established ways of delivering ICT services within educational institutions.

A few speakers noted the successful use of - or need for - ICT sandpits for innovation. We need to think about sustainable frameworks and processes to deal with the emergent perpetual beta culture.

Because I'm preparing for a presentation ('Wicked' NBN Services for Education) for a Broadband in Society Summit I'm also wondering what the ePortfolio space might look like after the NBN & VEN has rolled out in Tasmania, and then nationally. Perhaps ePortfolio provision is another wicked problem?

What will be the impact on ePortfolios of ubiquitous high-speed connectivity? Will it mean

  • less concern about storage?
  • higher resolutions for photos, audio, video?
  • easier upload of any video format?
  • much greater use of video streaming from on and off campus?
  • video journals and comments - speech converted to text and searchable?
  • integration with immersive environments - 3D virtual worlds?
  • learners set up virtual world galleries, workplaces, offices, simulations?
  • intelligent agents take visitors on tours of ePortfolios 24/7?

I think perpetual beta is here to stay - no use putting our heads in the sandpit :-)

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