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Using open source in over 1,100 schools in New Zealand

Project: MyPortfolio.school.nz

MyPortfolio.school.nz is a national portfolio service offered to all schools in New Zealand. It is based on the open source ePortfolio system Mahara. Established in 2008, MyPortfolio has grown from a trial to a fully embedded system in the New Zealand school sector. There are already more than 1,100 schools connected with over 64,000 accounts (July 2012) making it the largest Mahara instance in the world.

On MyPortfolio, students and teachers can create electronic portfolios to showcase and reflect on their learning. Portfolios can also be used as an alternative form of assessment in which authentic learning evidence is evaluated and viewed in context. In addition to the creation of portfolios, learners can collaborate on group portfolios, work on team projects and discuss topics in online forums.

This presentation outlines the process from the inception of MyPortfolio to an established system within the Managed Learning Environment of New Zealand schools. It especially looks at the time from 2010 to 2012 in which the growth has been more rapid, aided by workshops, email and increasingly online forum support. We will detail examples within this community of ePortfolio users that indicate avenues for sustainable support and growth. In addition, we will outline ways in which community members can and already have influenced further development of the underlying software, how new ideas become part of core Mahara and how this community is linked back to the wider Mahara community.

Kristina Hoeppner

Living in windy Wellington in New Zealand, Kristina works with the Mahara development team at Catalyst IT, the largest independent open source technology specialist in Australasia. She often answers questions in the Mahara community forums and supports users. On MyPortfolio she acts in a similar support role. Recently, Kristina was responsible for writing the Mahara user manual at http://manual.mahara.org

In other things she is a project manager in the Catalyst IT E-Learning Team and facilitator for Mahara and Moodle workshops.