Sunday, July 28, 2013

Finally bitten by the Mahara e-portfolio Bug

That's the Mahara 1.7.1 website that I set up this week. I really dig (like) the Primary School theme. I've had an epipheny. I've finally understood the significance, importance and usefulness of Mahara in an educational setting. Prior to this week, my knowledge of Mahara was that it was a repository of student work that sounded like a North African desert. I did know that Moodle is where a teacher stores her lecture and tutorial resources, and that Mahara was where a student would store his or her work. However, I didn't really appreciate Mahara then.

All that has changed. My eyes have now opened to the greatness and wonders of Mahara. In fact, Mahara is more than just a place for students to store their work. It's a place where they can electronically store their reflections, Youtube collection, and it's a whole mini-universe of social networking. Creating an e-portfolio is really fun and engaging! Mahara's drag-and-drop interface makes it really easy to use. The power of Mahara shines through when the student shares his work with the world, or at least with his or her instructor. The instructor is able to give valuable feedback within the student's e-portfolio. Mahara is a digital native's dream come true. Teachers will also love it.

As a Mahara newbie, I've found three Youtube videos that helped me to understand the basics of Mahara.

Mahara from a Student's perspective.

Mahara from a Teacher's perspective.

Here's a short video that shows you how to share a Mahara e-portfolio with others.

Here's a page from my e-Portfolio that I've shared with the world.

I'm amazed at the versatility and flexibility of Mahara. It's really useful for students to keep and to show evidence of work done. This week, I've had a whale of a time installing Mahara plugins that extend its functionality.

I was also curious to know if Mahara is widely-used in Malaysia. A quick Google search on the keywords "Mahara Malaysia" showed up only one Malaysian university websites - University of Nottingham. Very odd indeed. Sad actually. My guess is that many schools in Malaysia are still using paper-based portfolios. But Mahara is cool, and it's even cooler and hip when it is combined with Moodle. I guess not many educators in Malaysia are aware of Mahara's e-portfolio strength. How many educational institutes besides UON, have a Moodle-Mahara setuo - Mahoodle? I have no idea. This probably means that there is a big market out there for Mahara installations since there are many Moodle educational sites in Malaysia! :-)

Lastly, if you are an avid Mahara user or fan, whether in Malaysia or overseas, I'd love to hear your experience in using Mahara.

Frankie Kam

Postscript. Check out this uber-cool video on Moodle and Mahara!

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