I have to confess I’ve been a bit out of the loop with Pebble Pad recently, what with repositories, Blackboard, and so on, so this meeting served as a useful reminder of just what Pebble Pad can offer. (Attendance was a bit disappointing though, as there were only four users present!) Still, that meant we were all able to get our questions in, and there was plenty of time for Colin & Shane from Pebble Learning to tell us all about the new developments and their future plans.
One of the most interesting developments is to do with the ability to export Pebble Pad assets to other systems. Currently Pebble Pad complies with the IMS E-portfolio specification which is very robust. They’re planning to make it compatible with the LEAP2 specification (I think that’s right!) which is much more lightweight. The outcome is that users will be able to export PP assets to other applications such as WordPress and Mahara, thus preserving the users digital identity as they move from one institution to another.
Another interesting sounding development is the Activity Log, which is designed to support CPD. (I think we already have this in our version, but users have to switch it on.) I’ll check and report back. Anyway the point is that you start your log, and note the amount of time you need to spend on CPD and every time you engage in a CPD activity you create an appropriate asset describing the activity, and how long you spent on it. Thus the log keeps track of everything you have done in terms of CPD and provides easy access to the details of what you have done. Currently it only allows you to record hours, but the next release will also be able to keep records of points (Apparently this is a requirement of some CPD schemes.)
There’s also a really interesting development in terms of mobile learning. You can now download a very lightweight version of Pebble Pad to your PDA or mobile, and complete a number of asset types offline. (They’re added to your Pebble Pad when you either sync with a PC or connect to the net.) This may have considerable potential for keeping records of field work for example. It effetively makes your PDA a little notebook, which still provides access to the structured forms – and if you’re using a PP blog you can easily add blog entries.
Finally, they gave us a brief hint about what to expect from Pebble Pad v 3.0 which isn’t due out for another 18 months or so. It sounds as though it will be much less reliant on the flash player, and be much more interoperable with other systems such as WordPress and yes, Blackboard. There was also some discussion of behind the scenes administrative stuff which I won’t bore you with, but I can reveal that I am a lot happier about user management than I was. It’s just that finding the time to work on all this stuff is so difficult.But PP really is an asset we should be making more of