Tom puts a bit of a spin on the idea of Web logs as portfolios:
For a few years, Zope’s content management system has allowed you to generate an RSS feed describing the items in a folder, so that in a school you could have a RSS feed for each child, each listing the last 5 items published to the child’s portfolio. I don’t know if Manila does that out of the box or not. There are lots of applications of RSS syndication, like this one, that wouldn’t be used by more than a handful of actual parents for about five years, but will eventually become valuable and common.
My biggest struggle with this idea has been in how to prevent all the great work that students would post to their portfolios from being plagiarized by those less than motivated who might follow. (And, as usual, I feel compelled to say that good teaching and attention to process would alleviate much of that potential.) But Tom frames the discussion a bit differently, and makes me think that maybe the Web log portfolio doesn’t need to be open to all, just to a select few. Perhaps the Web log portfolio as a closed space would be a nice complement to the open spaces teachers can create for their students. Maybe those best practices should only be made available to the main stakeholders in a child’s education; parents, counselors, mentors…
This is a bigger discussion for another day, this whole idea of making the educational process transparent and whether or not that would be a good thing. The idea that parents could monitor their child’s progress can be a good or bad thing, but ultimately, it’s something the parents should have the choice to do. I know I would want that ability. Imagine teachers AND administrators with Web log portfolios, classrooms with online portal sites, students with Web logs that feed their work to parents or counselors or mentors… Tom’s right in that not many people would be inclined to read along, at first. But ultimately, I think, it could make everyone more accountable for the work they do. That would seem to be a good, yet scary, thing…right?