donderdag, december 21, 2006

New kid on the Blog

I am new on this Sakai NL blog. My name is Jan van den Berge and I am one of two founders of Portfolio4u. Portfolio4u has translated Sakai to the Dutch Lanquage in cooperation with the UvA (University of Amsterdam).
We are specializing in the Digital Portfolio part of Sakai by using the OSP inside Sakai. Our main customers are educational institutes in the Netherlands starting with student from the age of 12 to adults. At this moment we have more than 16 Sakai implementations and more are on there way.
I visited the last Sakai conference a few weeks ago in Atlanta and I was surprised by all the work that already has been done all around the world.
For me as a sales person of our company I found it hard to believe we can make business with free software. But now, after 1,5 years working with Sakai and the community, I am convinced about the power of Open Source Software and how to make a business of it.
We have contributed our translation to the community and got a lot of things in return from other members of the community, so...it works. It's a new way of thinking, new ways of telling our customers about Open Source Software and news ways of developing the tools and setting up our infrastructure. It's a great feeling to know people all around the world that are doing the same thing.
What I learned in Atlanta is how things are changing at the moment. Big players like BlackBoard seem to going out of business or have to change doing business in a complete other business model. I don't know if they are capable in doing that, so.. time will learn.
Ofcourse not everything is sunshine and lots of work has to be done, but what matters to our company, we believe in it. By specialising in the Portfolio part of Sakai we are one of the few people that are doing that in the world.
We believe that it is a good idea for a school to start working with portfolio's and after that slowly let the application grow to a bigger thing thats supports the complete educational process.
Working with e-portfolio's needs a real serious implementation. You need to look very carefully to the needs of the school and most importantly, what are the skills of the teachers and students. Students are mostly not the problem, but we learned in the last years that lots of teachers have problems or even fear working with digital tools and let go some of their power on groups of students.
So it is not a matter that teacher's dont want to change but lots of them are afraid of losing something. Something that they cannot explain, but it is the way the are working now for centuries. I don't think this New learning is a small change. This is something bigger, it seems to be like a learning or knowledge revolution like many years ago happened during the industrial revolution. So this will be not a easy process but finally people will be learning in an other way then they are used to now.
I believe the future of teachers will be much more interesting then it is now. They are changing from the teacher to coach. Someone thats helps the student how to learn instead of telling him/here exactly what to learn. This wil take still lots of years but you can see the change and the growing believe in this New way of learning.
Tools like Sakai will help teachers in learning to work in new ways. So it's not only a matter of developing this great tool but it is also a matter of learning how we can learn our teachers in using this new tools and finding new way's of working with students.
It seems that the use of the e-portfolio part in Sakai is very strong in the Netherlands and maybe we can tell the community more about what the developments are in The Netherlands during the next Sakai conference in June 2007, Amsterdam.
For the near future we have to develop more and new tools for connecting Sakai to other applications like administration tools and goal registration applications. That shall be a lot of work but I think we can do lots of devellpment within the community.
For now this is my first contribution to this blog and I hope you liked it. I am looking forward of meeting you at the next meeting in januari 2007. I wish you all a great Christmas time and lets make 2007 a real Sakai year.

1 opmerking:

  1. You are welcome, Jan! Good to see that you are interested in pedagogy and the changing role of the teacher/faculty! This might be our biggest challenge for the future!

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