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Photo courtesy of Flickr. Retreived 11th April 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mahara Reflection

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.


  1. Hi Emma

    Really interesting point you make about Prep to Year 2 students maybe not having the ability to use this software themselves. I too can see it being more applicable for Year 5 and up. I have a friend who takes photos of all her children's art work and writing etc and makes a book every year of what they done which takes up a lot less space. Maybe something like this could be uploaded into Mahara as a record of these younger years. Have to say I think I'm going to be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to saving things of my daughters, so far she is only 10 months old and I've saved her 'first ribbon', 'first outfit' etc. Can't imagine what I'll be like by the time she's at school!!

    All the best

  2. Hi Emma,

    You definitely have great points in regards to students needing to be computer savvy before they have any hope of using an e-portfolio like Mahara. I have had many discussion about the use of it in primary schools and I will continue to feel that in the lower primary schools it is not a useful tool to teach the children. Wait until they get older and can introduce it to them then.
    Teachers should try and make full use of it - for a number of reasons 1) it is a way of sharing ideas with fellow teaching staff and 2) it is a way of keeping information about students - however we must consider the time restraints of already heavy workloads of teaching staff.
    I don't have the answers - still just lots of questions!
    thanks for your thoughts


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