Word of the day – Eporticulture


Reading around the topic of ePortfolios, I came across the work of Kevin Kelly and Ruth Cox who define Eporticulture as follows:

Eporticulture (n.) the act or custom of learning, developing intellectually and professionally, and transmitting knowledge through the creation, review, and assessment of authentic, reflective, and integrative student work that is shared over time via electronic portfolios.

Etymology: e (electronic) + portfolio (a selection of a student’s work compiled over a period of time and used for assessing performance or progress) + culture (the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations).

Kelly and Cox argue that ePortfolios should be an integral teaching and learning tool. Taking the example of the evolution of horticultural testing into a complex science, they make the case for using the new tools and technology at our disposal to assess or ‘harvest’ students’ work in new and exciting ways.

Writing strategies

It’s been a busy week gathering all the data for inclusion in my ePortfolio. As usual, it will be a case of what to leave out and hoping that what stays in is of a good enough standard. As someone who struggles sometimes to commit thoughts to paper, I found Dr Pat Thomson‘s post on writing strategies made great reading. She argues that it’s not a bad thing to write in long chunks of time or to write in short bursts, or as she refers to it ‘snacking and bingeing’. I constantly wonder if my ‘method’ of writing is correct. Sometimes I get absorbed in research and will write for hours, while there are other times when I just need to step away from the laptop and clear my head. Usually, I’m more productive when I’ve had a break and managed to ‘unclog’ an idea. Could there be a better way?

When I was given my first writing assignments, I found it difficult to commit my ideas to paper, wanting a ‘finished’ draft with my first attempt. However, I’ve found that this is impossible. There is never a perfect first draft. I just need to put something down on paper and banish that blank screen. Each assignment is reworked until I have something I can bear to submit. Academic and instructional design bloggers note that it is usually better to get something finished than to keep trying to get it perfect. Certainly, in the instructional design arena, there won’t be the luxury of unlimited time to get a product out to a client, so it’s a matter of structuring my time in order to meet the deadline set.

My strategy is always to compile a daily list of tasks, no matter how small, and set myself a short deadline for completion. That way, I have the satisfaction of striking each task through and getting on with the next list! This was essential while I was completing my development proposal. Doing this helps me feel in control of a project and I prefer to give myself bit of breathing room by bringing an assignment deadline forward by a few days. That way, I can step away from the ‘finished’ product for a day or two, then read it with fresh eyes just before submission.


Having fallen victim to the dreaded ‘lurgy’ I wasn’t able to record my podcast last weekend so that is on my task list for this weekend. I’ve also chosen my song snippets and hope I remember how to put it all together on Audacity!



Kelly, Kevin and Ruth Cox. “ePorticulture: Growing A New Culture of Assessment.” E-Portfolios and Global Diffusion: Solutions for Collaborative Education. IGI Global, 2012. 56-69. Web. 9 Apr. 2017. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-0143-7.ch005


The RDS is alive with the sound of music

It’s Feis Ceoil week and I spent this afternoon listening to the under 17’s clarinet competitors as they played two very demanding pieces, Glick’s Circle Dance from Suite hébraique no. 1 and Lefèbre’s Allegro moderato from sonata no. 6 in B flat. Having only a superficial knowledge of what is required to play the clarinet, I marvelled at how each competitor interpreted each piece in their own unique way. In addition to this competition, these teenagers will also be entering for practical exams in the next month. As anyone who studies music will tell you, this time of the year is the most hectic in terms of exams, competitions and performances. It was a welcome respite from compiling my ePortfolio artefacts and writing my reflection pieces. My own students will be taking their musical theatre exams next week, and they have been compiling their own ‘artefacts’ in the form of background information on the characters and the musicals from which their songs are taken.

While reading around the topic of social media, I came across this post by Peter Timms, who addresses what he calls ‘The Curriculum of Chaos’. This is essentially about using social media as a jumping-off point for finding information and harnessing it for learning opportunities. Certainly, I have found it invaluable to have so many methods of obtaining information at my disposal, and there is an energy and immediacy to this type of learning. I will admit that I was sceptical about any benefits that would accrue to joining Twitter or Instagram, but I’ve been converted (although I still need to curate much of what is in my news feed).

As this module draws to a close, I decided to revisit a paper written by Edith Achermann, Piaget’s Constructivism, Papert’s Constructionism: What’s the difference? that I had read earlier in the term. Papert’s constructionism centred around externalising our inner feelings. He wrote that in expressing ideas and giving them form and sharing those ideas with others, we help ourselves to shape and sharpen those ideas. I think this is key to educational blogs. In my educational reflective blog, I have to say what I think or don’t think about something. I have to commit to a point of view, but I may revisit this later and readjust my position. I think I may continue to blog even after this module ends as I find the process of reflection through writing helpful in synthesising my ideas.

And in case you were wondering about those clarinet pieces, here is the YouTube link to John Moses playing Glick’s Circle Dance from Suite hébraique no. 1.



Images: www.pixabay.com