Friday, July 9, 2010

Purpose and Evidence of Learning

I have been trying really hard to get more involved with social media. Hence the effort that I have put into breathing a little life into this blog as well as other less obvious efforts. I have also been making an effort to get my head wrapped around the Twitter phenomenon. Now I am not a person who enjoys (or is even interested in) stalking celebrities or moving my mouth simply to feel like I've been heard and noticed. But I have been trying my very best to find folks with similar interests and are at similar places in their careers. I have been checking the Twitter Stream (sometimes fanatically it seems) and when I find something that interests me, I mark it as a favourite to be followed up in my "spare" time. I must admit that it is eating up a lot more of my time than it should but it has also been paying some dividends. I have been reading a lot of other blogs which have been shouted out via twitter and I have found some fantastic resources.

One instance of synchronicity is the personal crisis of conviction that I have been plagued with over motivation in the last several months. I am a strong proponent of intrinsic motivation yet I have no idea about the best ways to engender it so I end up following the lead of my knowledgeable others and let the carrot and stick maintain status quo. But throughout this year I have been hearing this name over and over again. Daniel Pink. Right brain thinking. Motivation. Innovation. Now believe it or not, I still have not had a chance to read his books yet but they are on my summer reading list. I'm starting to think that if I wait long enough, I will be able to glean all of the salient knowledge that he has to offer from the plethora of people that are bearing his torch these days. Don't worry, I'll read it for myself sooner or later.

As I have been linking about motivation and trying to get on the Twitter train, I found this wonderful video about Daniel Pink and the principles behind his book Drive. Thanks to @TeachaKidd for this gem.

Now I'm thinking "Holy crackers! This guy has got it right on the mark. But what can I do in my classroom that will allow for Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy? What would this look like in my room next year?" So, as with many things in life, an answer that leads to more questions. Wonderful. Now I know that there is a road.

So I let it stew for a few days and I am still trying to be twitterific and along comes this link suggestion for a talk that Helen Barrett gave. I'm so sorry to my tweep that sent me this one but I didn't keep track of this one.

Helen takes her extensive knowledge of e-portfolios (they call her the grandmother of e-portfolios I believe) and applies Daniel's three driving principles behind Drive: Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy. I was like "Yeah!!! Those two things totally go together like peas and carrots. Uh oh. What does an e-portfolio look like? What should be included? Where do we starts?" Again, an answer which leads to more questions but now I'm standing on the road. Which way do I go?

A few more days go by and I am twittering away, much to my wife's chagrin, and I find this little beauty via @ShellTerrell. It is a wonderfully annotated and descriptive road map for everything e-portfolio by a guy named Mike Fisher. His site that he has created for the boon of all of us is Evidence of Learning 2.0. Of course I still have a ton of questions but I have wonderful resources to help me find more answers. One of the things that I am having the most trouble deciding on is which platform, out the dozens that are available, that should I proceed with. I want something that will be under our control rather than some provider. Something that we can decide who we want to share it with. Something that will still be accessible well into the foreseeable future. Something that is not going to cost us anything extra. I like Notebook a lot but I don't know that many people have it downloaded onto their home computers. It might have to be PowerPoint even though I am not a fan of its limited capacity. Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions if you happen to come across this tangent.


  1. Hi Blaine,

    You could try Prezi or having the students add a portfolio via a wiki, which you can make have privacy options. You can also check out Glogster or Live Binder. I haven't tried Mahara yet but have seen it at a conference so it might be a good option, too!

    I think getting students started on a digital footprint is a great idea! E-portfolios will help them to realize how important making a good digital imprint is and motivate them to be publishers and have ownership!

  2. Brilliant post! I am currently doing some research on the implementation of ePortfolios in a 5th grade classroom. One of my problems is that, as an international school, we have a very transient community. So, while I'm still fiddling with format ideas, I'm leaning towards blogs. I found your post to be remarkable, and plan to take a peek at some of the resources mentioned. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    Shelly - I totally agree with you. My main concern is whether or not these Web 2.0 services will be around for very long or if they will become obsolete in short order as we move on to the next wave of technology. I'll have to play around with some of these things myself but I wonder if you can export artefacts from these services to be compiled and stored a little more locally. Something for my To Do list.

    @tcash - I have similar issues. I work with mostly Low German speaking Mexican Mennonite kids. As of late, their lifestyles have become a little less transient, I still have families that leave Canada for 3 or 4 months at a time. Computers and technology are a tough sell when they live here in Canada. All bets are off when they are back in Mexico! I'm finding that technology is a blessing in its ability to provide meaningful differentiation opportunities but it is a curse in its inconsistent accessibility by many of my students. I refuse to play to the middle even though I’m still not sure how I'll accommodate everyone but I'm sure going to try. Please keep me posted on your progress when you can!