Ruth Wallace is telling us about the disenfranchised learners in the Northern Territory: they are different to the mainstream, they are strong survival tactics, they reject improsed values and truths. Engagement is a huge risk – to the individual’s identity, to learner’s membership in communities, to an individuals’ sense of self.
One project focussed on working from our strengths – using individual perspectives as a starting points. Working with students in the Kimberley region of NT to achieve a ‘my learning portfolio’ – my plan, my evidence, my study history, my units, my media files, my work history. Students decided on the ‘my’ focus.
Preference for a private space and flexibility to present their identity in the ‘shape’ of their choice.
Provision of a ‘splash screen type of view’ of their My Learning Portfolio was important to them – behind which the structure provided a series of ‘folders’ into which they could add their choice of artefacts. They felt in control of the interface – no need for intervention by IT management. They want engaging learning experiences : opportunity to learn rather than comply; engage with own and other worlds critically; share learners’ knowledge and experience. “This is me in My world” and important concept of their willingness to share. A catalyst for this project was establishing an online CoP for collaboration.
They liked: co-producing knowledge and its representations e.g. an elder presented himself in a digital story and this had impact on perceptions of himself in the CoP. – this is the identification of an identity that changes people’s perspectives.
They liked: opportunities to explore different identities safely – a notion of playfulness enabling a freer articulation of learner success and reasons.
EPs are now seen as potentials for Recognition of Prior Learning – also for M Portfolios as mobile technology provides more consistently available connectivity. An EP system that allows for cultural identities and representations for indigenous learners in the NT – becomes a complex but richer process for them.
EPs are used as a reference point to negotiate assessment – enabling a much more self owned and motivation for presenting their learning and achievements. eg. EPs and MPs can be used to discuss the identity of a successful learner – building the future learning experiences of the students.
Challenges now at Charles Darwin University include:
* prof dev for teachers
* space for listening and negotiating
* mobile learning
* providing accounts beyond a course
* focus on reliable and available software and hardware
* making space for the unexpected.
Imagine the use of a ‘painting’ to lead the viewer into their digital identity – this is a strong influencer among the students. This has given me a new perspective to ponder as I talk with other networks about digital identities and ways of presenting. Digital stories are obvious preferences for those who prefer to present their Digital Identity in multi media formats – becoming essential elements within the EP folders. The stiudents are requesting ‘how to’ guides that can be dropped into their EP folders.
Ruth has enthralled us with her rich story of success in the NT – emphasis on ease of use for software and hardware – eg. ipods were really useful. No EP system or tools were used, they preferred the use of a folder structure within their student portal. Ruth tells us stories of ’empowerment’ that have transformed the individual’s perspective of their own achievements. That is a powerful story for motivation to the use of EPs.