New Zealand open source software now used by 1,000 NZ schools on MyPortfolio

Mahara, an open source ePortfolio system, is now being used by over 1,000 schools in NZ. Students, teachers and parents all benefit from this ePortfolio software that allows learners to collect, reflect on and present their educational progress. Students' progress can be viewed by teachers and parents.

MyPortfolio is the name given to the Mahara SaaS offering made available to all NZ Schools. The service is supported by the Ministry of Education, open source specialists Catalyst IT and Kineo Pacific.

MyPortfolio was established four years ago and has evolved into a nationally available ePortfolio service. Mark Osborne, Deputy Principal at Albany Senior High School says “MyPortfolio, which we have been using since 2008, helps our students and teachers gather evidence of learning and showcase that learning so easily and effectively that is simply not possible using other tools.”

Uptake of schools using MyPortfolio has accelerated since MyPortfolio 'Taster Sessions' started in October 2010. The taster sessions, sponsored by the Ministry of Education, explain the ways MyPortfolio can be used in schools and provide initial professional development for teachers keen to use it. Over the last 18 months, the Ministry has also invested in the development of many new features, including the Māori translation.

Using MyPortfolio, students and teachers can create multiple electronic portfolios for various uses, receive feedback on them and engage in groups to discuss topics, build group portfolios and share files. They can also use a number of social media and networking features to connect with each other, form communities and publish content they have created on other web sites. An important feature allows parents to view their child's learning journey.

Carolyn Stuart, Principal at Tawa Intermediate School, explains that “Tawa Intermediate has been using MyPortfolio for the past two years with both adult and student learners. It enables us to scaffold and showcase learning in an authentic 21st-century way. We are looking forward to using MyPortfolio to provide parents and caregivers with real time updates about their child's learning.”

Year 13 students from Mt Roskill Grammar School had this to say about the impact of MyPortfolio:

Mike O'Connor, a director of Catalyst IT, the lead developers of Mahara and MyPortfolio, says “Mahara has been a remarkable success worldwide; there are thousands of organisations using it, including many outside of the education sector. The 1,000 NZ schools using MyPortfolio are a real tribute to the focus from the Ministry to contribute to its evolution and uptake.”