Some more resources on portfolios in education

[[posterous-content:ccaldCrJbtFpHFrnrCep]]Hello everyone,

I hope you are rested after your break and enjoying your teaching. No doubt you have been thinking about how portfolios can be used in your classes, and how to further develop your own portfolio.  

I am very happy to meet with you individually at your desk, with your computer to further advance your portfolio.  There is a great deal of value in learning in your work environment. Just let me know and we can arrange a time to get together.

The UK group  JISC has developed some great resources and continues to research the impact of portfolios in education. You can access their work here……

You will enjoy this video on the value of eportfolios for teachers in higher education. 

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Using eportfolios in higher education.

Here is an example from Southampton Solent University, which introduced Mahara as an eportfolio system (developed in New Zealand) into their curriculum and assessments.


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Some thoughts on using Pebblepad





Hello Monday morning group,

I thought you might be interested in hearing about our Pebblepad trial here at Unitec. Currently, we have five Unitec teachers trialling the product to see if it would work here in New Zealand. Pebblepad was designed in the UK, as an online eportfolio system, and has developed and grown until it is now something quite different, a personal learning space and a student learning management system. Pebblepad is widely used in Australia.

From a learner point of view it enables students to curate their learning. It gives students online space (in a cloud) to organise all their learning over a long period of time. It encourages students to map their learning path by blog, and to demonstrate their achievements in a Webfolio (Online).  Students can share as much or as little as they like. 

From the teacher point of view, you can run your whole course using Pebblepad ATLAS. It is a very direct way of focusing on student learning, enagement and performance. I have been playing with it and think it has fantastic potential.  I like how the tools encourage teachers to develop their courses from a student learning and performance perspective primarily. Resources that support the learning can be made available, but the focus is on not what the teacher does but what the student does.

A Pebblepad licence is for the whole institution, although individuals can purchase their own access for a small fee. I will be keeping mine once the trial is over, so that is a good recommendation. 

If you are interested in a Pebblepad demonstration, please feel free to ask, I am happy to show you around. 

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Meet Linda Guirey



It is my pleasure to introduce you to Linda Guirey. I first met her when she was involved in Shine, in Auckland, New Zealand.  I knew Linda has always wanted to have her own business and to determine her own future, so I was keen to meet her again and hereabout her story.  

In 2009, Linda became an international conference speaker.  To help her prepare for the new role she attended a three day ‘boot camp” and now she is with Speaker Mix. She reminded me that a good speech is both an art and a craft., it tells a story and takes the audience on a journey.  

It was no surprise that Linda’s goal is to make a difference to people’s lives by raising their awareness of themselves and their world.  Linda believes people are more productive when they have a positive attitude to their life and their life choices. “Happiness…”, she says, “is a choice.” She encourages her audience to make values based choices, and values based changes to their lives.  

Linda, explains that choice thinking is about how you see the world, and appreciating that others may see it differently.  The choices we make affect our health, our families, our work life, and we create the environment in which we live.  She asks a very good question. “Why choose to do nothing? Why not look for opportunities to challenge, inspire, and make a difference in the lives of those around you?” 

Linda is highly connected, with an online footprint in Facebook, LinkedIn, and her own website. She believes these tools allow her to tell her story, promote her activities and establish her credibilty. I certainly enjoy reading about her adventures, and her positive words of encourage that she shares with her online audience.  Linda says she was not that interested in Facebook before starting her new career but now sees it as an important part of her business. 

Creative Media, have helped Linda to establish her own website. The site is hosted on WordPress.   Linda finds LinkedIn a valuable tool connecting her to people with the same interests, and it is through this community that she maintains long term relationships with those she has presented to and who want to stay in touch.  She actively seeks recommendations and testimonials to build her professional profile.

Linda’s next big challenge is creating  videos of her speaking at live engagements. She believes these videos will provide a taster of what she has to offer as a conference speaker.  Key to the success of these new videos is a focus on content that is fresh and interesting. 

Linda a plenty of other great ideas percolating away, including a book about making choices and responding to unexpected events, a newsletter and guest spots on other blogs, and online resources. 

I asked Linda to share what she believes she does best, and her answer was clear and confident. “I help people respond to the major choices in their world”. She says that her personal experience when her husband told her suddenly that he wanted to make a major change in his life, has given her rich insight into choices and positive thinking. In her speaking engagements, she shares her thoughts on our thinking processes, about making decisions in an emotional space, rational thinking, how values impact on decision making and how to accept difference with grace.  She encourages her audience to think about “My life, my time”. 

Before leaving she gave me three things to think about on my way home. 

  1. Have you truly lived?
  2. Have you cared? About yourself? your people? and your environment?
  3. Do you count?

These questions gave me pause for thought, I can’t wait for my next encounter with Linda Guirey.

I Linda’s recommended resources:

BRENDON BURCHARD is the #1 New York Times bestselling author ofThe Millionaire Messenger and the #1 bestseller Life’s Golden Ticket. He is also founder of High Performance Academy, the legendary personal development program for achievers, and Experts Academy, the world’s most comprehensive marketing training program for aspiring authors, speakers, coaches, and online thought leaders. For these works, Brendon has become the highest paid trainer in the world on the topics of both motivation and marketing. Read more here…

Champions’ Edge

The Eight Traits of a champion are as important to a champion Golfer as they are to a champion Mother. Both need Focus, Abstract Thinking, Emotional Stability, Dominance, Tough Mindedness, Confidence, Self Sufficiency, and Tension Management.

How do we find these traits in us and how do we use them?
The answers are here at Champions Edge. Read more here…


Lady and the Champs speaker conference. Read more here…

Wayne Dyer


WAYNE W. DYER, PH.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He’s the author of over 30 books, has created many audio programs and videos, and has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows.

His books Manifest Your Destiny, Wisdom of the AgesThere’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, and the New York Times bestsellers 10 Secrets for Success and Inner PeaceThe Power of IntentionInspirationChange Your Thoughts—Change Your LifeExcuses Begone, and now Wishes Fulfilled have all been featured as National Public Television specials.

Dyer holds a Doctorate in Educational Counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York.

Dr. Wayne Dyer is affectionately called the “father of motivation” by his fans. Despite his childhood spent in orphanages and foster homes, Dr. Dyer has overcome many obstacles to make his dreams come true. Today he spends much of his time showing others how to do the same.

When he’s not traveling the globe delivering his uplifting message, Wayne is writing from his home in Maui.








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My Disconnected Learning


Recently, I attended a two day training workshop.  The subject of the workshop was improved performance in managing projects at work.  The facilitator was interesting and knowledgable, the content relevant, and well explained. I met some really interesting and talented people on the course. The room was pleasant and the learning environment great. The food was lovely. So why was I so frustrated and restricted for two days?

I was disconnected from the web… and it really hurt.

Over the last four years I have become increasingly connected. All my work is in a cloud, I use Zoho Project, Dropbox, Evernote, Ning, Posterous, Flavorsme, Tungle, Gmail, Google docs, Facebook and Twitter, and all of these applications need me to be online and connected. When I do not have connection to the Internet I have lost my knowledge base, my tools and my ability to perform my role.

But even more interesting to me, is that I use all of these tools to learn. I create my own knowledge base for each topic of interest.  I add in tools that support my performance in the topic area. I connect with people who use the same tools, or who have free resources and tools to share.  I watch video.  I listen to podcasts. I read blogs and resources. I connect with fellow learners in online communities and groups. My learning takes place online. So when these tools are taken away I am back to learning not as an active and independent learner, but as a passive recipient of content knowledge.  I am no longer active and in control of my own learning experience.  I am no longer practicing the skills I need.

As a teacher of teachers, I am very conscious that we must ensure learning fits the learner. I am also conscious of the  10:20:70 rule. In this ratio, 10% is devoted to concepts, ideas, principles, and theories. 20% to discussion and reflection on the content. These discussions are usually best structured around real or simulated case studies. However, by far the greatest time, 70% should be given to practicing skills, using the knowledge and the learning from shared meanings and understandings. Even more important is feedback from teachers and trainers on learners’ performance as learners practice and improve their skills and understanding.

Before I attend any further training, I am going to be asking some questions:

1. Will I have access to the Internet throughout the course?

2. Can I bring and use my own device and connect it to the Internet? Will I have a power socket?

3. How much time in the course will be spent learning concepts, and principles?

4. How much course time will be devoted to group work? Discussion? Case studies?

5. How much time will I have to practice and apply the knowledge, skills and values I have learnt?

6. Who will provide me with feedback on my performance?

7. Will I have a clear guide to measure my performance against?

8. How many times will I receive feedback on my performance?

9. Will I have access to the resources from the training when the course is completed, and will I be connected to other learners in the course?

If you think about the courses, workshops or training that you deliver, what would be your answers to these questions be?  As a result of my two day workshop, I am creating an online resource for each of my workshop sessions, so that have a place to share, practice their skills and connect with each other. The tool I am using at present to achieve this is Posterous, however, there are a range of other tools that would achieve the same outcome. What we as teachers and learners have to remember is that people learn differently, the gather their knowledge, practice their skills and connect with each other in an increasingly smaller world.  Thanks to technology learning is not longer passive, it is active, personal and shared.

I value your thoughts and feedback. 












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Annual Economic Update

I attended the Chartered Secretaries New Zealand to the Annual Economic Update Lecture by Dominick Stephens.

Dominick gave an interesting and very personal analysis of the New Zealand economy post election. the impact of European and USA economies, productivity, savings, partial sale of SOE’s, the redevelopment of Canterbury, and interest and exchange rates in 2012.


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Seven lessons from 40 years of change in training

Posted by Martin Addison in Learning technologies on Wed, 02/15/2012 – 09:30

In the last of three articles to commemorate the ruby anniversary of Video Arts, Martin Addison looks at seven lessons that organisations have learned from the changes in learning technology over the past 40 years.

The first two articles in this series looked at the fundamental changes that have taken place in three key areas of training, over the past 40 years: the way that learning is delivered, the role of the trainer and the nature of training itself. They also charted the evolution of how technology has been used to support training, from 16mm film to m-learning.

While many lessons will have been learned from these changes, I’d like to focus on seven that I think are of particular interest. These are:

Technology is merely an enabler in the learning process

Over the past 40 years, several technology-led developments – such as computer-based training, elearning and online learning – resulted in an over-emphasis on technology and an under-emphasis on the realities of learning and the learner in organisations. The key lesson here is that technology is only an enabler in the process; the real focus should always be on the learning. To construct a worthwhile experience for learners, the important questions to ask are: What skills do people need to learn in the organisation? What are their preferences for learning? What are the circumstances under which they will willingly wish to acquire the necessary skills and how can technology assist in that process?

Technology will continue to advance

Technological shifts are inevitable both in society and in business. The lesson here is that it’s impossible to ‘future-proof’ your learning. Anyone involved in learning and development will have to get used to technological change. However, one way to ‘protect’ yourself against technological shifts in the future is to open up lines of communication with the people who are responsible for your organisation’s IT. Ask them what they are working towards and what technology platforms are likely to be in place in the coming years. You’ll then have an idea about what technology you’ll be able to utilise for learning. However, even the techies can be taken by surprise. Who would have guessed we’d be talking about mobile learning apps or augmented reality simulations five years ago.

“Anyone involved in learning and development will have to get used to technological change. However, one way to ‘protect’ yourself against technological shifts in the future is to open up lines of communication with the people who are responsible for your organisation’s IT.”

The underlying truths of management haven’t changed

Although technology has evolved over the past 40 years, it is interesting to note that the essential management skills – such as how to run meetings, make sales and give presentations – haven’t changed that much. Every year, new managers need to learn these skills. However, there have been cultural and other changes. For example, organisational leadership models used to be based on military command and control, whereas today’s leaders need to facilitate networks of people. Increasingly, they also need to be adept at virtual working, which is becoming increasingly prevalent. The day-to-day aspects of management may be different but, fundamentally, the skills are same.

Learning has to be engaging

The basic principle here is that people learn nothing when they’re asleep and very little when they’re bored. To learn, we have to be engaged. When learning is fun and interesting, we become emotionally involved. As you’d expect from a company co-founded by John Cleese, we believe that learning ought to have some humour and some personality to it. Humour helps learners to see the impact of their behaviour in a light-hearted way and, as such, it can make learning much more memorable. However, the humour has to support the learning. You can’t just shoe-horn gags in, for the sake of it.

Video remains a popular and effective means of training

Although training technologies have come and gone over the past 40 years, one common denominator that they have all utilised is video. Video has a central role in storytelling. It allows complex ideas, particularly ones around soft skills behaviour, to be put across in a short space of time. It stimulates and entertains people, triggering them to think, feel and do things differently. The lesson here is that video and stories are proven ways to engage learners. Video can highlight behaviour, impart knowledge and act as a catalyst for discussion. It gets people thinking and it makes the learning points more palatable for learners and more memorable. A video clip won’t change someone’s personality but it may influence them to change their behaviour and video can certainly develop knowledge, attitude and skills.

Content may be king but context is the kingdom

Today’s learning content often comprises short, bite-sized resources that can be pieced together to make the learning better suited to an individual’s needs. This enables organisations to create differentiated, personalised learning experiences. Having the right content is, of course, fundamental to effective learning. However, a key lesson is that learners will always need to understand ‘why’ they are doing whatever they’re doing (ie the context of the learning) as well as ‘how’ they should do it. The right approach will always be very context-specific.

Learning needs to be supported

40 years ago, training was primarily delivered face-to-face by trainers, often in structured, residential training courses. Computer-based training and elearning courses saw the trainer’s role change from ‘the sage on the stage’ to ‘the guide on the side’. With the advent of online learning, the role became less about providing learning at specific times and more about pushing out content to people and enabling them to access and use it on-demand. The shift from seeing ‘training as an event’ to ‘learning as a journey’ has made the title ‘Trainer’ almost obsolete.

It has been superseded by ‘Learning and Development Professional’, in recognition of the fact that the role involves helping individuals to take responsibility for their own ‘lifelong learning’. However, a key lesson here is that even with the adoption of talent and learning management platforms to manage and control organisational learning, it will always be necessary to appropriately present and adequately resource the learning. In other words, there will always be a role for L&D. Simply making learning available to unprepared and unsupported learners will not work.


Today’s L&D professionals, who are in the business of changing knowledge, attitudes and skills, have to find new ways of maximising the level of engagement and the memorability of organisational learning. It will be interesting to see what developments lie in store over the next 40 years.

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