I recently set up my account for Mahara which cost $5.00 which has given me 100mb of storage for educational artifacts I produce.
Mahara is a fully featured open source electronic portfolio, weblog, resume builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online communities. Mahara is designed to provide users with the tools to create a personal and professional learning, development and showcasing environment. Mahara reflects the intention to create a user_centred lifelong learning and development application, as well as the belief that ICT must be used to promote more collaborative, interactive, media rich and personalised learning. (Showcasing Mahara 2007)
Maraha would be a useful learning tool in schools as the learners control which items and what information other users see.
Eportfolios within a teacher education programe can place more ownership of growth in the hands of the student. In particular, the eportfolio offers more opportunity for students to highlight their strengths and growth over-time. They also offer potential for the student to document a broader range of attributes and dispositions than simply meeting learning outcomes. However, as Mahara is an online tool and today's students are 'digital natives' classroom tools such as the use of eportfolios will require a cultural and philosophical shift in the mind of the teacher to truly value reflective practice over a more traditional competitive and grade-oriented approach to performance. (Showcasing Mahara 2007)
Showcasing Mahara: A new open source eportfolio, 2007, Ascilite Sinapore viewed on 1 August 2009, http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/singapore07/procs/brown-poster.pdf