There’s no reason for it, I didn’t even realise I’d done it until a few tweets last night from Clare Thompson (@ClareThomsonQUB) and Sue Beckingham (@suebecks) reminded me about it. Yes, I’ve continued to write about work and wider reading of the industry we’re in, but this is Clare’s tweet that prompted me to write here again, about being a Learning Technologist:
In the last two years I thought of and collaborated on, edited and then self-published The Really Useful #EdTechBook. I’ve developed, supported, mentored, facilitated, and bled/wept over the creation of two MOOCs for the University of Warwick (Big Data and Literature and Mental Health). I’ve facilitated a total of 15 runs/presentations of all five Warwick MOOCs. I’ve two other MOOCs in development at the moment, one of which took myself and colleagues to Italy recently to interview and film important individuals for case study and ‘thought’ pieces who were attending an event in Prato Centre, Monash University, Italy. Oh, and I’ve met & interviewed Sir Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry, all part of the day job!!
And these are just the thing I can remember off the top of my head. Perhaps I should be more organised and keep better notes? Oh, and I still Sketchnote.
The great thing is that I have the interest and passion to do all this, all the time. I love being connected and in a position to collaborate or share knowledge and experience. I love that I can swap roles and identities so quickly depending on what the day brings – technical support, pedagogic support, management or administration, etc. No day is the same. No email asks for the same thing. No meeting covers the same thing (well, not very often).
Like Clare I find that IRL meetings can be awkward, conferences can be draining, events can be difficult to get everything done I want and see everyone I want to see AND still have time for the event itself. I’ve been reading the Quiet Revolution, about introverts, and engaging in their regular tweet chat. Having the time to reflect on events and conversations is important, and sometimes events can be so hectic there simply isn’t the time:
@livequiet At work I am what I need to be. At home I am what they need me to be. Alone I am who I am
So, we’ve had eLearning, e-learning, elearning, and ‘e learning’.
We’ve had mobile learning, mLearning, mlearning. But not ‘m learning’.
(We’ve also got the VLE, LMS, CMS, and many more besides, but that’s for another post).
I believe we are now at a place with web development where we should drop able all these different ways of saying ‘learning’. We should not need to be talking about the different platforms or devices students use to access their ‘learning’; they should all be scalable and accessible to accommodate students using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop (or any other device I can’t think of now). Access to learning resources should be across the board, easy, and not determined by the device. Pretty much everything the students need is now online – books, resources, notes, assignments – so the moniker of ‘e’Learning (for ‘electronic’) is void. Students have devices now which do not tether them to either a physical location or a specific IT network that I’m pretty sure we can drop the mLearning (for ‘mobile’) too.
For a few years now I’ve been spouting the same lines when it comes to planning a video for an distance learning course or MOOC: “preferably no more than 4 minutes, definitely no more than 6.” Anything more than 6 and we’d consider splitting it at a natural point in the subject, or working with the individual and their content and seeing where a natural break can be made, or other ways to shorten the video.
This has been supported by experience (from distance learning courses I’ve supported at both Bournemouth and Leicester University’s) and the MOOCs I’ve supported and developed while at Warwick, as well as articles like this.
As with everything, there is enough evidence to be found to support and to disprove it.
Yes, I agree that if you have a ‘teaching’ resource, where the academic/teacher is speaking to camera then there is an optimum length that someone will sit and be ‘talked at’, and this is where I see the 6 minute limit coming into play. These kinds of resources are often loaded to a VLE or a MOOC and as part of a set of resources for the topic or week’s subject area.
But there are other approaches to video content where I don’t see this working. What about case studies or mini-documentaries? What about a conversation, when a short 4 minute clip just isn’t enough to get in to the details? Do you still stick to the short-is-best message? In order for these to work you will often need to make it longer so the content and ‘message’ of the case study can be put across.
Let’s not forget, the video is nothing on it’s own. It must always be put into context for the student – why are you presenting the video for them to watch, what do you expect them to think about when they watch it, is there something they need to question as a result of the video (and/or linking it to other resources to build their wider knowledge about the subject area), can they critique the resource and present their findings back to the group, etc.? Continue reading →
So much of what I do these days, and what I produce, is digital. Tweets, status updates, audio & video files, documents, reports, etc. Less than 1% gets to where it needs to get to in any other way than by electronic transfer – money to friends (bank transfer), documents to colleagues (emails, networks, Dropbox), sharing (tweets, blog posts, status updates, etc.). Hell, even a message home to say I’ll be late will be a Facebook message instead of a phone call!
For my 40th birthday my brother bought my a USB turntable (Denon DP-200USB), something I (we) could use to rip our extensive collection of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s vinyl collection of rock, metal, and various dubious listening pleasures. So, the past few winter’s I’ve been holed up in the spare room with 300+ vinyl records (I’m sure we had more) and the turntable, ripping them, adding to iTunes, loading cover art and track listings, transferring to my iPod and listening to my childhood and teenage years in the car during the daily commute.
Even my two boys (ages 4 and 5) are getting in on it, asking for certain tracks or bands in the car with me, looking over the vinyl covers, reading the lyrics, laughing at the band photos (it’s the hair!), and not quite understanding just ‘how’ the sound works! Continue reading →
The next stage in the voting/judging process involves 20 finalists will be chosen to face an expert judging panel, with the winners being announced at an award ceremony in April 2015.
Please spend a minute voting for me (name and email needed), see if we can get recognition for a non-commercial, private, passionate, professional (motivational?), and self-hosted eLearning blog. Please also share this post and your vote on social media using the #UKBA15 and #BeBold tags.
Background – I started this blog in October 2008 more for my own interest, as somewhere I can write my own thoughts on things I find and read, and as somewhere I can refer back to. I had no notion of blogging itself, the community at large, and the world it opens up at that time, nor did I realise how influential I would find it in my professional development, reflection, or for other people who shared my love of all things ‘gadget technology + learning’. Whilst my interest and work takes up all aspects of eLearning, Learning Technolgoy, Education Technology, Technology Enhanced Learning, Mobile Learning, Personal Learning, Social Learning, etc. this blog is where I can explore more than just what I need for my day-to-day work – I can explore wider reading and journal activities, I can report on events, I can critique approaches and ideas that others propose. I can also just have a bit of fun and share something relevant but not necessarily ‘core’ to my role as a Learning Technologist or eLearning Consultant.
As part of a series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this fifth post I talk to Sharon Flynn, Assistant Director at the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, National University of Ireland, Galway.
DH – Hi Sharon. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?
SF – Almost everything I do, on a daily basis, is affected by technology. From the radio alarm waking me in the morning, the coffee machine that provides the kick to get me started, the always-on aspect of my mobile phone, the constant expectation of availability by email/phone during (and outwith) office hours, my almost constant presence on twitter, my new slow cooker that allows me plan family meals, through to the glorious availability of anything I want to watch on sky+, my day is mostly ruled by technology. And that’s before I get into the proper work aspects of technology for teaching and learning! Continue reading →
While some of us look to the skills, some to the technology, and maybe even some to the individual, it is clear that somewhere there needs to be a generic and ‘global’ view of the learner, the (learning) climate, Continue reading →
As part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this second post I talk to Wayne Barry, Education and Social Technologist at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent.
DH – Hi Wayne. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?
WB – Hi David. That’s an interesting question and one I hadn’t considered before as technology is so much a part of our lives that we don’t always stop to consider it’s role and impact.
As part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this first post I talk to Sue Beckingham, Educational Developer at Sheffield Hallam University.
DH – Hi Sue. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?
SB – It’s an integral part of my daily routine. By this I mean that I make use of the affordances of my mobile phone to access a wide range of apps to help organise my day, provide me with news, information as part of my research and of course social networking places where I keep abreast of what’s happening out in the field via my personal learning network (PLN). Continue reading →