Last week, the German MoodleMoot 2012 took place in Münster. Sigi Jakob-Kühn organized the session entitled “Mahara-Netzwerk – Austauschworkshop für Akteure und Neugierige”.

I was honored to have been asked by her to give a virtual presentation and be available for Q&A afterwards. Thankfully, Sigi could get a time slot that was not too bad for NZ time. Thus, I could stay for the entire session and learn how Mahara is being used in Germany and in Austria by schools and universities through mini presentations.

This event showed me that I should practice presenting in German more as I stumbled through some of the words and sentences more than I would have wished for. Being used to speaking English all day, I am a bit rusty in German. Following the presentations of members of the audience was much easier. 🙂

There’s also a recording of my presentation which includes the 2 minutes that I could not be heard in Germany due to Skype losing its connection and me not realizing it as I was in presentation mode.

Oskar-von-Miller Schule Kassel

Claudia Schmidt reported how the Oskar-von-Miller Schule in Kassel uses Mahara. The students keep their electronic portfolio in Mahara and use it as basis for face-to-face discussions with their teachers. They have certain activities to fulfill that they post on their pages.

The students also keep an application portfolio with which they school has had great success (after a great deal of convincing of potential employers to consider them).

Pädagogische Hochschule Wien

Thomas Strasser showcased how his students use Mahara to document their experience of their student teaching for their practical studies. They do not only use one type of portfolio, but depending on the purpose, there are three types that are important:

  • showcase / presentation portfolio
  • reflection portfolio
  • process portfolio

They experiment with a number of ideas from the Mahara 1.4 Cookbook to make the portfolio work more relevant for the students. The portfolio is not seen as assessment portfolio but rather as vehicle for giving constructive feedback and discuss it with peers instead of just with an instructor. They also emphasize social interaction and encourage their students to publish hobbies and special interests on their profile pages for others to discover and connect with them.

Language Center of the University of Leipzig

Kátia Aiko Murata Arend outlined how she uses Mahara with her Portuguese language students. She uses it with her students to collect and reflect on texts for media and text analysis thus keeping all her teaching and learning material in Mahara. The students add to that throughout the semester and are highly motivated using this medium in their studies.

KAMahara in Karlsruhe

Norman Mewes and Sigi provided some examples of how they use Mahara in the school context. KAMahara is a Mahara installation for a project which is used by a number of schools to explore its potential.

Students use the ePortfolio to apply for jobs, for example. They also do not wait to make their pages available to their teachers until they have finished their portfolio, but give them access throughout the development process to invite feedback and improve their showcase portfolio which they are going to use for their job application along the way.

Sigi showed us a couple of examples highlighting students who use Mahara to document and reflect upon their internships in the real world. She showed how different the portfolios of the students can be depending on the preference of the students and how they wanted to express themselves.

During the MoodleMoot, a number of presenters had another presentation slot in which they went into more detail regarding their use of Mahara. But already these brief showcases allowed me a glimpse into how Mahara is being used in German schools and German and Austrian universities. The variety of uses is fantastic and also the getting together of the practitioners to share their ideas and discuss them with each other.

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3 thoughts on “Mahara at 2012

  1. Dear Kristina,
    as always, you were much faster than I could have hoped for!!! After the moot I have not found the time to write a blogpost as I immediately left for skiing … and we do have snow!
    It was not only a good experience for you to join us virtually in German but the German-Austrian Mahara community very much appreciated this first hand information you gave us in your presentation. For me personally it was a great satisfaction to see that Mahara has been gaining ground with real practical projects and I was amazed to see the results presented by my German and Austrian colleagues. I managed to make it to Claudia’s presentation (Oskar-von Miller School, Kassel) where they showed in great detail their concept of student directed learning. I especially liked the concept of not starting off with MAhara but with a pedagogical learning idea which was set into practice by using Mahara. This team gave a great example how change can be made possible if there is the will, the energy and creativity of teachers and students.
    I then went to see Kátia Aiko Murata Arend presenting in detail what she and her students had achieved using Mahara for language learning. It was amazing how she had managed to get her students involved in group work with Mahara and seeing the many creative outcomes and the enthusiasm of these students.
    I missed Thomas Strassers presentation on using Mahara in teacher training, but Thomas has published all of his presentations and he’s become the Austrian Mahara Man No1 !!!!
    Thank you again Kristina for being with us, I will take over the task to get the German Mahara community more connected and will post on the various channels.
    I don’t know whether you realized, there were not only Mahara experts present but quite a number of curious guests and I was very glad that we could show them Mahara in use.
    For next year’s moot which will take place in the Bavarian capital Munich we are planning an even bigger part for Mahara: Moodle+Mahara+Mobile+Munich+Mojito = rocks!

  2. Thank you Kristina for telling us about how Mahara is used in Germany and Austria. Upon reading your account and Sigi’s comments, I would be very interested in contacting Claudia and ask her if she would kindly make her presentation available. While my German is non existant, I read from her profile that she is a fluent French speaker, so we may have a common communication ground there 🙂 . Would you mind emailing her my email address please?
    Student directed learning is at the core of our curriculum here in New Zealand and I would be interested to have in insight into her approach as well as understand more about her context (age group, role of literacy, etc)
    Thank you again for narrating your experience.

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