Category Archives: ePortfolios

Flash Films

I wrote about using Flash Fiction in the English Classroom a while back, and I thought I’d follow that post up with a few words about using very short films in the classroom. I like to call these Flash Films so that the students know they are meant to be short. Otherwise students tend to turn into mini-Steven Spielbergs.

One of the salient features of online, hybrid and flipped classrooms is the need to zero in on creating meaningful opportunities for students to exchange ideas and involve in discussion. Forums and chat rooms can only go so far. By getting students to create, and upload short video messages you can enliven discussion forums on platforms such as Moodle. The students use the web cameras we have for Skype calls at the back of the computer room, or their cell phones, to record a short message. These messages are then posted on the Moodle forum, and can be commented on by other students. The picture shows a mock-up of this, with a flash-film posted to a forum, and a text reply being made. The film was created using a web-camera captured in Movie-Maker.

Students often respond better to capturing their thoughts on camera rather than writing them out. It certainly works as a great way to kick off a conversation. The time limitation (I tell students their message must be under 30 seconds) is a good way to force brevity and precise communication. Students often record and re-record their messages to meet the time limit. It also helps avoid too many bandwidth problems.


Mahoodle – ePortfolios on Moodle and Mahara

One of the most exciting prospects opened up by the use of digital technologies in the classroom is the prospect of being able to use digital portfolios, or ePortfolios, and to extend this idea as a principle of life-long learning. There is an Open Source Platform available, called Mahara.

What one would really wish from an e-portfolio system would be the ability to create a space where students could organise their work, and present it for assessment and review, by peers as well as teachers, to create a truly collaborative working environment. 

Moodle, as an LMS does very well, but is lacking in integrating the ability to create a truly student-driven e-portfolio system as opposed to class-based assignment submission system. Mahara appears to answer some of these needs. It allows for much greater student control over how content is organised, and offers more web 2.0 tools, such as much better blogs than are offered on Moodle.

Here is a video discussing how Mahara can be integrated into Moodle.

Mahara offers options which also allow the student to transfer their portfolio across to a account created when they leave school.

At my school we have set Mahara up, but not yet really explored how it works. It would be great to hear from others who has used Mahara, especially in conjunction with Moodle.

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