Saturday, 13 October 2012

Recording and Recognition - systems to record your learning

You've done a MOOC, you've studied a topic online and blogged about it, you've done a tree-climbing course, you've studied a topic on Khan Academy....
How do you bring these all together in one place to demonstrate what you have done?
I have seen some teacher candidates for posts at my school create their own portfolios - usually showing websites they have developed for teaching or a photo and document collection of learning in action. These are unverified accounts - a personal brochure for obtaining another job.
I have seen systems such as RebelMouse which aggregate digital content into one location, enabling ones online "work" to be exhibited in one place. This particular site has some social features as well and seems to pick up material from people who have re-tweeted you.
But these are unverified and do not link well or automatically with the traditional paper-trail of school and university diplomas, degrees and certificates.
Pathbrite seems to offer itself as an online portfolio system, allowing employer searches, with some verification of certification. Apart from a birthday portfolio, the intuitively designed site allows you to set portfolios for different audiences:
Not all is active - noted that Twitter and Blogger were not available when I tried it, but it was simple to add YouTube and other media onto your page.
You act as your own curator and so need to have access to the certificates you want to refer to as well as the links to all your media.
It seems a sophisticated certification tool and one to play with for #oped12.
Robert Scoble interviewed Heather Hiles, CEO of Pathbrite, who does an excellent job of explaining the features; Scoble calls the site the "quantified self of life-long learning":

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Austerity schools - a step backwards in school building

The UK government has scaled back the building plans for schools - now dubbed "austerity schools" - making them smaller, cheaper and modular.
Robert Booth, writing in The Guardian, reports that there will be no curves in the buildings, and the plans "also prohibit folding internal partitions to subdivide classrooms, roof terraces that can be used as play areas, glazed walls and translucent plastic roofs".
"The templates tell architects new schools should have "no curves or 'faceted' curves", corners should be square, ceilings should be left bare and buildings should be clad in nothing more expensive than render or metal panels above head height".
The article quotes Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove as saying: "We won't be getting Richard Rogers to design your school, we won't be getting any award-winning architects to design it, because no one in this room is here to make architects richer."
How short sighted.
Let us not examine the pathetic statement about not making architects richer - just the lost opportunity to make school spaces which contribute to learning.
How short sighted indeed.
Contrast this with this video on "Designing schools for the 21st Century" by Randall Fielding: