Tag Archives: Blog

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12 ways teachers are using social media in the classroom

This resource from Vicki Davis – “A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom” on Edutopia is a good starting point for planning the inclusion of social media in learning spaces.

Vicki closes by saying something very similar to what I submitted to the Mobile Learning – “Improving Learning with Mobile Technology” eBook:

“Social media is here. It’s just another resource and doesn’t have to be a distraction from learning objectives. Social media is another tool that you can use to make your classroom more engaging, relevant and culturally diverse.”

The list consists of:

  1. Tweet or post status updates as a class.
  2. Write blog posts about what students are learning.
  3. Let your students write for the world.
  4. Connect to other classrooms through social media.
  5. Use Facebook to get feedback for your students’ online science fair projects.
  6. Use YouTube for your students to host a show or a podcast.
  7. Create Twitter accounts for a special interest projects.
  8. Ask questions to engage your students in authentic learning.
  9. Communicate with other classrooms.
  10. Create projects with other teachers.
  11. Share your learning with the world.
  12. Further a cause that you care about.

What would you add (or remove) from the list to help others utilise students and their devices?

Image source: Life on the wire (CC BY 2.0)

Year in Review / 2013

Year in Review / 2013

Welcome to a final few thoughts on and about 2013: what did I do, what did I read, what did I achieve, what did I miss, what did I not do … you get the picture. Well …

  • After thinking, planning, and talking about it for nearly two years I finally got round to planning, writing, and publishing my eBook on QR Codes in Education. (May 2013).
  • Several years in the making I finally completed my CMALT portfolio and submitted it and gained my CMALT accreditation (November 2013).
  • In October I re-read my QR Codes in Education eBook and realised it would read better with a different structure to the contents and I took the opportunity to make it available as a printed book too (November 2013). Working with the CreateSpace website I restructured the materials, redesigned the cover and worked on the 2nd edition of the book (also updating the eBook too to match).
  • Worked closely with colleagues in Leicester on aspects of mobile learning, online marking and feedback, support, course reconfiguration, and roles & responsibilities.
  • Presented a brown bag lunch seminar on “Improving the Student Experience Through Blackboard in the College of Social Science”
  • I am proud to have helped launch the East Midlands Learning Technology SIG including Twitter, blog, LinkedIn group, Google+ group, etc.

Most popular posts (by month):  Continue reading

The 10th Annual Edublog Awards Are Here! #eddies13

Nomination(s) for the 2013 Edublog Awards #eddies13

Nominations Open! The 10th Annual Edublog Awards Are Here!If it’s November, then it’s time for the annual EduBlog Awards. And this year it’s their 10th anniversary.

So, who or what has made a mark in 2013? Here’re my thoughts, why not write your own post and make your own nomination?

Follow the nominations and awards on Twitter #eddies13 hashtag and make your own nominations count.

eBook QR Codes in Education from David Hopkins

Writing an eBook: Lessons learned on how, where, and why

Those of you know me will know I published two eBooks earlier this year. This post will deal a little with the ‘how’ and ‘why’ I did it, but also I hope it’ll help you think about whether it’s something you want to do for yourself.

Self-publishing isn’t just about fiction or recipe books, it isn’t just about making lots of money or becoming a house-hold name. It’s about control over your knowledge, control and influence over availability and presentation of your work, and above all it’s about your name and your ‘brand’.

Just so you know I’m talking from experience, here are the details of my two self-published works (to date) – I have grown and strengthened my reputation based around my work as Learning Technologist and with QR Codes, and I write here on these topics frequently:

  • eBook QR Codes in Education from David HopkinsQR Codes in Education: “These black and white squares have appeared everywhere from billboards at the side of the road, roof tops, cola cans, buses, magazines, etc. So why not in your library, textbook, assignment, project, or classroom display? The ability to use them to direct students or colleagues to online resources (presentation slides, websites, video, book location, etc.) is powerful and engaging and, when well implemented, can offer a level of interaction and engagement. It’s not about what they are but about how we use them and what they can offer me in an educational setting.”
  • What is a Learning Technologist? eBookWhat is a Learning Technologist?: “My journey as a Learning Technologist started in 2007 and has taken many turns and overcome many obstacles. What has remained throughout is the question of ‘what is a Learning Technologist’? Looking at published work and personal experience I have collected my blog posts together in this eBook and added further commentary and notes to provide the background to the posts and the work I am engaged in.”

Why

I’ll deal with the first real questions about writing an eBook … whyContinue reading

EDCMOOC

Comments and Feedback #edcmooc

EDCMOOCNow the course is completed, the comments on my artefact have been made available. Many thanks to the 9 individuals who left such complementary and encouraging comments.

Before I list the comments … I have one question. I wonder what the next cohort of students will make of the MOOC? Considering the volume of discussion on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks, as well as the wealth of information and analysis on individual or team blogs, it’ll be a very different experience than we’ve had. Won’t it?

Anonymous comments and feedback are below (many thanks to the markers), and the “score from your peers” was given as a ‘2‘ indicating the artefact “achieves this fully or almost fully” (based on the marking criteria of the MOOC themes – see here for the marking criteria and submitted artefact).

  1. Wow this is GREAT. BTW I live in Manhattan about 10 min. walk to Times Square so I super-related to the visual! Love how Prezi was used to work with the “Times Square Crosswords” concept. So much was well embedded and organized the narrative. This is the best artefact I’ve seen. The author seems very comfortable in the digital environment. Thank you!

“Great! Well done. “Draws you in.” Excellent! Thanks.”

  1. #1 Yes, the artefact addresses a number of themes suggested by the course material #2 Yes, the author has shown understanding of several themes, and offered visual material as metaphors that help deliver these effectively #3 Yes, the artefact touches upon a number of themes involved with traditional and current theories in digital pedagogies #4 Yes, the choice of production tools, methods and media content from the web is appropriate to promote the authors message #5 Yes, the artefact invokes a reaction to the content, and invites a second viewing to reflect on the story.

Continue reading

Workplace Learning

Reading: “Online learning in the workplace”

Workplace Learning

Like many of my peers I read around my ‘subject’ a lot. Sometimes I print copies out and store them, other times I save to favourites (on Twitter mainly, very rarely to a browser), or to Delicious (when I remember to use it). The Australasian Journal of Educational Technology is always worth looking at as the papers are interesting and varied.

“Online learning in the workplace: A hybrid model of participation in networked, professional learning” from Mary Thorpe and Jean Gordon covers different aspects of ‘work-based’, or rather ‘work-related’ learning, with a need to understand online participation as a “hybrid concept” that is a “reflection of offline roles, opportunities and pressures, as well as the usefulness, usability and relevance of what is online.”

Do those who develop online materials for online students fully understand the importance of support, guidance, design, engagement, collaboration, assessment, timetable, social or professional pressures? Have they ever been on the receiving  end of an expected 10-15 hours per week of study, on top of their already busy life? From my own experience it wasn’t until I took an online course in 2008 that I realised the difficulty in balancing work, home, and study – once I fell behind it was near impossible to catch-up, all due to the fast-paced activities that allowed little or no time for reflection or breathing space.

Continue reading

Nominations Open – The 2012 Edublog Awards are here!

Nomination(s) for the 2012 Edublog Awards #eddies12

Nominations Open – The 2012 Edublog Awards are here!November can only mean one thing … EduBlog Awards (and you thought I was going to say “nearly Christmas”, right?). Nominations are open for the 2012 Edublog Awards, and here are mine:

There are many reasons for the choices above, and they are in no way a slight to everyone else in my network – you are all fabulous and bring so much to my day, individually and as a group, but I had to choose one of you in each category to reflect all your wonderful work.

OK folks, let’s see what & who you like this year … click here for the Edublog 2012 nomination hashtag: #eddies12 and make you own nominationnoon the following link: http://edublogawards.com/2012/11/13/nominations-open/

PS: if you feel generous and want to nominate me, how about the “Best EdTech Blog” or “Best Individual Blog”categories … please?

Blackboard Essentials for Teachers

Book Review: “Blackboard Essentials for Teachers”

Blackboard Essentials for TeachersBlackboard Essentials for Teachers” is new book written by William Rice for teachers and educators who use Blackboard. By following the examples in the book you will be guided through the process of creating your own Blackboard course, adding static material for students to view (such as pages, links, and media), adding interaction to your courses (discussion boards, blogs,  wikis, etc) and using interactions to engage students in the course through the communication channels.

Scroll down to find out how you can win a complementary copy of the paper or eBook edition of the book from the publishers …

What the book hopes to do is to get a novice or first-time Blackboard user familiar with the interface and features in a manner that they can (a) understand, and (b) use in relation to a taught course site. With the help of the book the reader should be able to:

  • create web pages using Blackboard’s test editor (note: the new content editor is not featured, therefore the book is already a little out of date),
  • organise courses using pages and modules,
  • upload files and learning materials
  • set up discussion boards, blogs, and wikis for student engagement and interaction
  • build and administer online tests
  • online assignment submission
  • manage groups
  • use announcements effectively for student information

I was one of the technical reviewers of the book while it was being written by the author, and provided feedback on the content as well as the presentation style. I’ll say now that I received a complimentary copy of the book for my time and trouble in reviewing the submitted chapters, but received no other payment for my work on the book (i.e. I don’t have to do this review, I wanted to). There, now that’s out of the way.

This review is as much about the book as the process of being involved in the reviewing process, one that I enjoyed and would happily be involved in again (given the chance).

What do I think of the book?
It’s a basic introduction to Blackboard that non-Blackboard users will welcome. There is enough here for more advanced users too but it lacks explanation (for my liking) of the more pedagogical implications and applications of the tools and features of Blackboard. I do, however, agree that the approach used in the book is appropriate for the target audience. The book is effective in its approach and the way it introduces the various features and tools, and goes further than other guides I have read on the administration tools that can help academic and support staff engage the students online.

The downside of the paper book is, as ever, the black-and-white images. I am a very visual learner and like to see examples of what the author was trying to explain – so why not put more images in? Trying to describe a web page is best done with an image of the web page (in colour)! This kind of book subject would do well in an expanded eBook format with more dynamic images (video even) showing in much more detail the process or pages in question. Even if the paper copy is black and white, could they not have created the eBook with colour images?

How is the book structured?
Each chapter is well structured and written from the authors experience, but is based on the open CourseSites and may be subject to discrepancies if the Blackboard installation you have is set up differently from the one described in the book.

With different elements of Blackboard highlighted in the book it’s easy to find your way around the often complicated processes for creating materials or assessments, bold text boxes break the content up and bring new terms, features, or ‘quick tips’ to the fore make it a good reference book.

The structure is good, starting with the basics of organising your Blackboard course and setting up/loading materials before getting into the newer tools like wikis or blogs. My personal preference would have been to leave these kinds of tools until later (after handling the assignments, tests, groups, and Grade Centre) as wikis and blogs are good collaborative and reflective tools that are underpinned from concepts dealt with in those (earlier) chapters. Putting the Announcements and communication chapter so late in the book is a mistake, and I would have this nearer the front and this is still the more underutilised area of Blackboard I see on a regular basis.

One aspect of Blackboard that the book did not cover in enough detail for me is a ‘good’ structure for a Blackboard course site – I know this will always be subjective to the individual or Institution where we/you work but a demonstration of a good structure (and why it’s good) could have made it easier to explain why some of the other features are used, when, and where (contextual).

Did my revisions/suggestions make the final edition?
I think there are a few instances where I can see my comments had an influence on the final edit, but it could easily have been a comment made by the other reviewers too. The difficulty when reviewing a book (I have done a couple now) is that I only see one-chapter-at-a-time, and not always in the order they appear in the final edition. I also had no knowledge of the chapter list so therefore no knowledge of where the chapter I was reading would appear, and what came before or was to come after it. This made it difficult to review as much of what I wanted to know in each chapter may be dealt with later, or not, I didn’t know.

What would I include that the author didn’t?
I have already said, for me, it’s the presentation of the book that is mainly at fault, and to this I can’t blame the author – he’s only working according to the publisher guidelines and requirements. When dealing with a visual topic and/or software that needs explaining and demonstrating why try and describe or explain it in words when an image or video is far easier to understand?

The use of links (even QR Codes?) could have directed the reader off to a YouTube channel with supporting screencasts of some of the more trickier set up tools ro techniques, which would have helped with explanations.

Would I buy the book?
The book is impressive and a comprehensive guide to using Blackboard, and there is something for everyone here, even advanced users.

I can see there will need to be some fairly( major?) revisions in future, or indeed another book, when Blackboard has another update or new release, but the majority of the elementary features (Announcements, Groups, etc) have not changed over the last release or so, much!

Book Review: Blackboard Essentials for Teachers

The book is available in either paper or eBook format, ‘Blackboard Essentials for Teachers’ is available online from PacktPub.


Book Give Away!

The publishers are kind enough to let me copies of the book to give away – two paper and two electronic editions. All you have to do is leave a comment below about how the book will change how you work with Blackboard (and your preference of paper or eBook).

Only comments made to this blog – www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk – will count as an entry to the raffle and my decision on the winners is final. I will contact the winners and get the required details from you and pass these across to PacktPub where you receive your prize. Please note that paper copies can only be sent to UK, US, and European addresses.

Edublog Awards 2011

Nomination(s) for the 2011 Edublog Awards #eddies11

We are here again, that lovely time of year when we get to say something nice about each other and help us get the recognition that money can’t buy (?).

Nominations for the 2011 Edublog Awards are open, and here are mine.

OK folks, let’s see what & who you like this year … click here for the Edublog 2011 nomination hashtag: #eddies11 and make you own nominations here: http://edublogawards.com/nominations/

‘ePortfolios’ are out, ‘bPortfolios’ are in (apparently)

Whilst waiting for my iOS5 update to proceed I did quite a bit of reading, and one item that caught my eye was this post called “At Last – Recognition for Blog-based Portfolios” by Jim Shimabukuru, which reported on an academic paper written by a group of 6 US professors – “bPortfolios: Blogging for Reflective Practice“.

The abstract for the academic paper is:

“Web 2.0 technology, such as blogging, allows for locally developed, cost effective, and holistic alternative portfolio assessment systems. By enhancing critical reflection and fostering social interaction, blogging portfolios are seen as an integral learning tool for all students enrolled in a university program.”

Quite what the difference is, for the student’s final portfolio, between the blog and portfolio edition is still not clear yet, but it is obviously an alternative solution, and one that ought to be considered.

Many will know that I’ve long been a champion of electronic-based portfolio systems, and have tested and used a few of them (PebblePad, Mahara, etc). While the process of getting them used more widely than as part of a reflective writing element in a single Unit/Course is still on-going, I am now thinking that we have the basis here, with blog-based portfolios,

The highlights of using a blogging system (like WordPress) as the portfolio system are:

  • WordPress.com hosted blogs are free.
  • Students can use the portfolios across their entire study for numerous on-campus and online courses experiences.
  • The portfolios promote and support ‘social interaction’, (i.e., ‘Students share their learning reflections in an open format’).
  • Students can ‘continue to maintain their site upon completion of the program as their individual accounts are not registered on a university server’.
  • The portfolio is ‘stored’ in the cloud (e.g. WordPress.com) if an Institutional system is not implemented.
  • The portfolios are ‘highly cost effective’ and sustainable: “The university can focus its time and efforts on improving instruction and student support for the bPortfolio rather than allocate funds and personnel to web-hosting, software upgrades, and software support, etc. in the bPortfolio project”.

Jim closes his piece by saying that the use …

“… of WordPress and Blogger for teacher and student publications and portfolios is a highly sustainable, cost-effective, and educative practice. It expands the students’ e-learning environment beyond the walls of the college to include the worldwide web. Sloan-C, and especially SPU, are to be congratulated for taking this bold step toward re-empowering teachers for the 21st century classroom.”

While his use of a blogging system was not sanctioned or supported officially (something he is glad of, in fear of opposition to his implementation) he recognises that there are implications regarding student support, both pedagogically and from the technical viewpoint. Both Blogger and WordPress have extensive resources online for just about every eventuality, this is not always the ‘cleanest’ method of support.

So, the big question … are ePortfolios on their way out before they’ve really gained traction, or is the subect of bPortfolios just going to dilute the discussion about the engagement of students, faculty, and employers? I welcome your comments.