Until our Managing E-Learning class last week, I had no idea what an e.portfolio was. As it had worked out i signed up at www.mahara.org which isn't the correct mahara we are meant to be utilising.
Since then I have been on our class website of moodle and followed the step-by-step instructions to point me in the direction of the usage of the correct e.portfolio (Central Queensland University, 2009). I found these to be really quite helpful, and only encountered one problem with the use of them, in which payment did not arise, although the account is still active.
Furthermore since creating my account, I have watched a number of Mahara online screencasts which have provided me with good detailed instructions on how to work and manage my Mahara account and settings, although the 'How to set up my individual profile' video wouldn't load.
I really like the fact that Mahara can be changed into different languages by customising the language as observed in one of the videos (Mahara Screencasts, 2008). This would be effective usage within a classroom if you had learners from overseas or different language backgrounds, which created language barriers. For example the child would create their work and have it in their language but the teacher could easily change it back to English upon viewing the finished product.
This could be a good way to manage assessment in schools and classes. For higher year levels of schooling, the Mahara system would be beneficial to students not only for now but for later on in life as they would be able to display and showcase their skills on their page views. It would be an excellent way of submitting their assessment to the classroom teacher. They could complete their ICT types of tasks and display them on here for peer comments and for marking by the teacher. It certainly would be a different experience for the children, they may find it difficult at first. However, with the best necessary guidance I think it's definitely manageable. It would be worthy of trying it out for an assessment piece which could then be evaluated upon. This Mahara site could also be accessible and/or viewable by parents, this way parents could be kept informed of the work their child is completing.
Central Queensland University. (2009). Setting up an e.Portfolio. Retrieved on 22nd July, 2009, from: http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=671
Mahara Screencasts. (2008). Options: How to adjust the e-portfolio system. Retrieved on 22nd Jul, 2009, from: http://www.mosep.org/index.php/lang-en/toolbox/maharascreencasts