August 9, 2012 – Credentialing, Mobiles, Online Conferences

ePortfolio Redux
Tom Segal, in “Rethinking the Learning Experience: Part IV,” says, “Perhaps the most elemental of credentialing bodies is the e-portfolio” (Huff Post, 8.9.12). He continues, “With an e-portfolio, students can share media demonstrating leadership (perhaps film of the league championship game where they captained the team to victory) or teamwork (like video of their A.P. European History final presentation) in an easily digestible format.” He mentions Desire2Learn, Pathbrite, and Pearson as providers of eportfolio services. However, he fails to mention the simplest, most accessible, most flexible, and least expensive eportfolio platform — blogs, e.g., WordPress and Google’s Blogger.

The Dark Side of Open Online Courses
This headline from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Elite Colleges Transforming Online Higher Education” (by Terence Chea, 8.9.12), is just one of many that have been gushing over the open online courses being offered by top-tiers such as Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. We shouldn’t, however, forget that these changes have been initiated and developed by individuals, many or most of whom are classroom teachers. The administrators who have come around to supporting these innovators ought to be commended for their enlightened leadership and willingness to take risks. However, as of now, the support is apparently still tentative, judging by the conservative language of administrative policy that continues to insist on the superiority of blended approaches. The gap between the visions of innovators and administrators is huge, forcing some of the most progressive teachers to strike out on their own. The time is ripe for influential leaders to step forward and, first, declare the viability of open online courses; second, support explorations into credentialing strategies; and third, implement the development of procedures to integrate open and fully online courses into their mainstream offerings.

The Role of Mobiles in Selecting Colleges and Careers
In “Googling Across India for Education Courses and Choices,” Anubhuti Vishnoi (The Indian Express, 8.9.12) tells us that “India’s students are increasingly relying on the internet to make critical career decisions.” More specifically, they’re turning to mobiles: “There are as many as 70 million mobile internet users in India now and 54 per cent … are in the 18-35 age group.” Among students, “Over 66 per cent … said they use mobiles to access the Web.” The message seems to be clear: As smartphones and tablets erode the lines that separate computers from mobiles, higher ed institutions should be looking at ways to adapt their online info to accommodate mobiles.

A State Dept. of Ed That’s Taking Its Conference Online!
The West Virginia Statewide Technology Conference runs from August 8-9, 2012. What makes it really special is that it is completely virtual and free! Here’s a quote from their site: “You can attend and participate in the conference from the comfort of your favorite internet-connected computer. Look for an incredible collection of sessions from our presenters and demonstrations from our vendors. Yes this is a little different from what you have experienced in the past, but let’s give it a try! After all, technology is what we are about and our virtual conference will explore the limits of what can be done.” Kudos to the WV Department of Education for taking this gigantic leap for its K-12 educators. (Additional source.)

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