Sonntag, 26. Februar 2012

first eLearning conference - Moodle, Mahara and ePortfolio

Last thursday I had the opportunity to go to an eLearning conference about Moodle with my professor and one of my colleagues. We got to present Mahara and our use of it in teacher training. Even tough I had no prior experience with Moodle, it was still pretty exciting to be part of a conference and to be part of presentation.
And now I just want to give you a short summary of my experience (also you can check out some of the pictures here):
We are working with ePortfolios for almost one and a half years now, and we use Mahara as our platform. At this conference I got a little bit of taste of what Moodle is all about. On the other hand, I was kind of disappointed that there weren’t a lot of practical examples from teachers and educators. Of course I didn’t get to see all the presentations, but the ones I attended and where the title had at least something to do with teaching always ended up with way too much focus on the technical side. But since it was my first Moodle conference I can’t be certain that every one of them is like this, and I’m also sure that if you’re more familiar with it, then the things involved all become more interesting.

I was really looking forward to our presentation as it was the first I could ‘officially’ present at a conference. The template for it was a presentation my professor gave at the Online Educa in Berlin last year. But since then we made a lot of progress with our research project, so could already implement our findings.
The first part was just basic introduction about the University of Education, our teacher training and about what Mahara is and how we use it. My part was to talk about the setup and structure of a students ePortfolio, in this case I showed mine. Since the beginning of our Mahara usage, a lot has changed in the way we setup our portfolios. Part of it was that our old Mahara version wasn’t very good to look at and not that much fun to work with, but as soon as we got upgraded, whole new world opened up to us and it became real fun to build our ePortfolio.
So after I showed the students portfolio, my colleague talked about our use of it. Especially the collaboration and communication part, where we get together in groups and share materials but also send reminders regarding exams and deadlines.

The last part was about the research project and some basis statistics that outline the usage and approval of Mahara, compared between student groups (e.g. first semester students and third semester students).
After we were done there were some good questions regarding the reflections with our portfolio and how we incorporate it into our ePortfolio. It was great to know that Mahara is already in use in schools and also used actively in the classroom.
All in all I think it was a good opportunity to connect with other educators who already have experience with Mahara, and also with people who want to incorporate Mahara in their teaching.

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