Helen Barrett has been busy trying out various Weblog platforms to see how they fare as online portfolios. Interesting to see the variations, but I think most of the differences are primarily cosmetic.
Tom doesn’t think that blogs are the right medium for this experiment anyway:
Let’s cut to the chase, you can’t really make an e-portfolio with weblog software, they’re just not built for it, and wikis will only be useful if you neuter them. What you need is an open source, enterprise-class content management system. The main things Helen can borrow from blogs is the idea that people shouldn’t be screwing around with DreamWeaver to create web pages any more and e-portfolios should be using RSS, RDF, XML and web standards.
But really, how many decades is it going to take before more technical acumen is necessary to become an authority in educational technology? The lack thereof is really tiresome, and it is much more of a problem today than it would have been eight or ten years ago, because so much power is at our disposal, if we only have the capacity to reach out and grasp it.
His last point makes me wonder if he thinks only programmers can be experts at ed tech. I know he sees the landscape through very different eyes than Helen and I do, and his vision is pretty amazing. But authorities at ed tech also need the acumen to deal with educators who have very little energy or interest in the toys, and I think what Helen is trying to do is take a first step for a lot of those folks who have no clue what open-source is even about.
I noted to my superintendent the other day that another good thing about Weblogs is that they open a door to technology use for the timid and uninitiated. It’s a pretty low bar to jump over, and if they can hurdle this one, who knows what might be next. I think Helen’s work is giving some people a reason to try to make the jump.