Seeking a problem for a cool tool

Attending to a class at the school we are reviewing some “emerging technologies” for teaching, learning and research. I must say the class is quite a challenge for professors since they have a huge collage of backgrounds and experience with technology. 

Also must say that some of the ideas of my fellow students look not like seeking the appropriate tool to solve a problem, but like seeking a hard problem to be solved with a not really adequate tool.


In this case we are reviewing e-portfolios, here my thoughts regarding this tool and a possible problem to address with it (am I falling on the same mistake of my fellow partners? may be!)


“In this week I was trying to come up with a teaching/learning situation and a problem to be addressed. The problem may be how to improve the mentoring and feedback of the students of a given class.

Let me describe my main supposition: students learn better if teacher give better feedback, and also if parents do proper follow up, but I think that the best way students at any age learn may be by the influence of other students, peer review feedback is very important in social behavior as we have seen from peer reviewed literature to social network communities. Therefore e-portfolios may allow the construction not only of the student’s future portfolio, or of an instrument of parental follow up, but also a social network community of scholar role modeling.

The technology (I still think that e-portfolios may not be the best approach) in this case is e-portfolios, that allow a multimedia (audio, video, text) creation of content. It may (in the case of Mahara) and should for this case study allow the construction of a social network.

The theorical part of this idea may be based upon Bloom’s theory. Basically on 2 of its domains, the affective and the cognitive (since all the domains may be related). Social networks influence values in students, they care about what others can see about them, they are aware and they may tune up their attitudes and give them different values. On the cognitive side peer reviewing may allow students to do analysis and in some cases synthesis and evaluation comparing their own works with others.”

You can take a look of my e-portfolio here (is really in scratch!)

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One Response to Seeking a problem for a cool tool

  1. Ray Tolley says:

    Hi, Carlos (?)

    I sympathise with your dilema – A solution seeking a tool, or a tool seeking a solution.

    I have spent a long time trying to understand the actual criteria that one must first understand before looking for a tool. Firstly, the tool must be ‘Lifelong’ otherwise it fails at the first step of ‘transition’. Secondly, it must be capable of meeting the needs of a whole range of scenarios. – For too long academics have thought in terms of different e-Portfolios for different purposes, whereas I see the collection of a range of artefacts being selectively displayed to differing audiences, AT THE SAME TIME.

    Another issue that academia presents is its demand for Open Source materials with little or no support. As I have said elsewhere, this might be OK for the top 10% of society but what about the young, the less able, the elderly or the vast majority that do not wish to spend all their time reinventing the wheel.

    I believe that my product resolves all of these issues but that there is a small financial cost in terms of hosting, development and on-line support. For more on my arguments and an example of my product please see:


    Kind Regards,
    Ray T.

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