To keep my mind off the wait, I set about thinking around what the eportfolio might look like. My initial thoughts had been along the lines of a Powerpoint file. My thinking being that it would be the perfect host for the eportfolio. I set up a template such that boxes are ready to receive either text (via handwriting recognition) or media (photos, sound recordings or video). This presented a challenge. I wanted 'content boxes' and text boxes to be on the blank Powerpoint slides so that the practitioner could point at the children with the device, take a picture or make a recording and drop it straight into the content box. This was possible in my version of Powerpoint (2003) as I could choose Format->Slide Layout from the menu and choose a layout with a text box and content boxes for the media. I then fiddled about with the look of the page by organising and resizing the boxes until it looked like this:
There would be an unlimited number of pages like this for the ongoing record of the learning journey.
Using the same principal, my first (title page) would look like this:
The child's picture would go in the big, central content box.
I also thought it would be good to have a three point record (given that the initial idea was for this to work in the Foundation Stage) - 'On entry' (to Nursery), 'On entry to Reception' and 'on exit'. So page two would look like this:
Maybe the child just writes their name onto the screen of the umpc for the 'Picture of child's attempt to write name.' box.
A photo goes into the big box and a sound recording of the child saying "My name is..." is hyperlinked to the speech bubble.
Bob's your uncle.
This could be the ever-growing document I had in mind for the eportfolio. It would not only be a record of learning that could be used for assessment for learning purposes, but could also be the report to parents, shareable with parents in electronic form (a CDROM, via a secure area on the VLE?). This raised another issue in my mind, that of esafety. Would there be any issues for parents given that video clips and photos would include their own and other children, shareable with a wide community of parents (albeit those parents with a PC at home - in the absence of Microsoft Office, a free Powerpoint Viewer is downloadable). Would this be covered by the permission slips that are signed and returned by parents as their children enter school - regarding photos of children and internet policy?
However, a school that is very keen to try the device and the eportfolio idea had started looking into Microsoft Onenote as a possible alternative to Powerpoint as the host software for the eportfolio. This definitely needed looking at as it has similar functionality to Powerpoint, can be handwritten staight onto, will support all kinds of media files, is easily manageable and has some astonishing export functionality (including html - could the eportfolio be a webpage?).