I have spent the last week looking at Mahara which is an e.portfolio tool. This has been time-consuming which I have found frustrating. I still have quite a bit still to "try" before attempting Assignment 3. Again I used the create-relate-donate components from Kearsley and Shneiderman's Learning Engagement Theory when learning how to use this new tool.
With regards to implementing Mahara into the classroom, I can see some benefits including students:
1. Having a portfolio prepared before leaving school.
2. Presenting projects/assignments
Students will definitely find Mahara and useful tool, however, they will need to be computer 'savvy'. This would probably be better suited to students who are in year 5 and above. There are too many complex functions I do not feel younger children would be able to grasp. It is difficult enough for teachers to teach children, from Prep to year 2, how to log in and basic navigation in a one hour per week computing lesson, without them learning something like Mahara.
I can see Mahara being useful for Primary school teachers for preparing their student's portfolios. My son came home last week with a large A5 book detailing all he had done in first term of Prep. It was wonderful sitting on the lounge room floor and looking throught it as a family. I do like having a visual copy in front of me for those special moments. However, while this was happening, all I could think of was how are we going to keep this book 'safe' over the holidays (needs to be returned for Term 2 additions)and for future years???? Having a digital copy would be wonderful. Most of the information was computer generated, so it may not be too much extra work for the teachers to upload each child's portfolio into Mahara????? Staff of DayCare centres may also find it a useful tool.
My one major concern is Mahara not being in existence in years to come??? What would we do then????
I am glad I have been exposed to Mahara as I feel it will be very beneficial for me when looking for employment and also possibly use in the classroom.
Kearsley, G, and Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning.