Tag Archives: Blogging

David Hopkins / Technology Enhanced Learning Blog

I need your vote – UK Blog Awards #UKBA15

I was very surprised to find I’ve been nominated for the UK Blog Awards, 2015!

Voting is open from Monday 10th November, 2014, until Monday 1st December, 2014.

I’ve been nominated in two categories, please be sure to click on the right link below for the right category you want .. or both ;-) (PS. they won’t add them together):

David Hopkins / Technology Enhanced Learning Blog
David Hopkins / Technology Enhanced Learning Blog

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.

Thank you.

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.

12

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

21st Century Education: Thinking Creatively

Thinking Creatively

As part of my 2013 review I’ve been looking over some blogs and reports I read this year, and this one by Anthony Chivetta, whilst originally posted in 2008, still has so much impact today, some 5 years on – “21st Century Education: Thinking Creatively”

“Today’s world is no longer content with students who can simply apply the knowledge they learned in school: our generation will be asked to think and operate in ways that traditional education has not, and can not, prepare us for.” (Chivetta, 2008)

Just so you know, at the time of writing (Jan 2008) Anthony was 18 years old. We must also remember that in 2008 we didn’t have tablets like the iPad, we were still using desktops and laptops and netbooks, and we had only just received the first iPhone (June 2007). Yet this observant millennial had already seen the power and advantage a device like this could give a student, and that his teachers were lagging further and further behind their students.  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.

Top 10 Must Read eLearning Blogs

Top 10 Must Read eLearning Blogs #edtech

Top 10 Must Read eLearning BlogseLearning Industry have produced a list of ‘top 10′ must-read blogs for you – Top 10 Must Read eLearning Blogs – and yours truly has made it to the bottom of the highly respectable list along with friends Ryan Tracey, Jane Hart, Jane Bozarth, Cathy Moore, etc.

If you haven’t already checked out the list and the other entries, then please take a few moments now … !

  1. e-Learning Provocateur
    Provoking deeper Thinking, by Ryan Tracey, eLearning Manager. The e-Learning Provocateur is where Ryan shares his valuable 10+ corporate eLearning, as well as, higher education experience.
  2. The eLearning Coach
    Tips and reviews from success with online and mobile learning, by Connie Malamed, eLearning, information and visual designer. The eLearning Coach is where Connie shares actionable strategies, practical content, product reviews and resources to help you design, develop and understand online learning.  Continue reading

Reading: “Experience of developing Twitter-based communities of practice in higher education”

Research in Learning Technology

Lewis, B. and Rush, D. 2013. Experience of developing Twitter-based communities of practice in higher education. In Research in Learning Technology 2013, 21: 18598 – http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21i0.18598

“This article presents the results of a case study of the use of a microblogging tool by a university academic to increase their knowledge and experience of social media for educational purposes. The academic had the role of digital steward in a university and attempted to use microblogging (Twitter) to increase professional contacts within the framework of a community of practice. Several types of data were collected and analysed. These included the structure of the network arising from the links formed with others by microblogging, the similarity of stated interests between the academic and others in the network, and the contents of postings such as their external references. It was found that a personal network had been established, with some of the characteristics of a community of practice. The activity demonstrated the utility of social media in supporting the professional development of academic staff using technology.”

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

Essentials of Online Course Design

Book Review: “Essentials of Online Course Design”

Essentials of Online Course DesignThe book “Essentials of Online Course Design” from Majorie Vai and Kristen Sosulski is one I have heard about from a few people recently, and one I felt would be worth reading, and at a reasonable £22 from Routledge it’s a fair investment … not to mention the accompanying companion website.

The book is described as a “fresh, thoughtfully designed, step-by-step approach to online course development.” The core of the book is a set of standards that are based on ‘best’ practices (I prefer the term ‘good practice’ as ‘best practice’ implies there is no room for improvement) in the field of online learning and teaching. “Pedagogical, organizational and visual design principles are presented and modeled throughout the book and users will quickly learn from the guide’s hands-on approach. The course design process begins with the elements of a classroom syllabus which, after a series of guided steps, easily evolve into an online course outline” (this last bit was taken from the promotional text).

It is well structured with chapters organised in a nice ‘progressive’ way enabling you to build on previous concepts and content (not to mention contexts), with chapters like:

  • Engaging the Online Learner
  • Activities and Tools: Working Collaboratively and Independently
  • Assessment & Feedback
  • Building the course Foundation: Outcomes, Syllabus, and Course Outline
  • Creating the Course Structure: Online Lessons

The authors are at pains with this book to describe what works in an online learning and teaching environment without using the same tired, complicated, and often dense formats, and they have successfully simplified the processes required when applying a ‘standards-based’ approach enabling you to think more clearly on the “challenging task of rethinking your content for online study”. I know from experience that the recording of a face-to-face lecture does not work for online students: they just won’t sit for 45+ minutes to watch or listen to it. However, if you break down the recordings to an optimum 10-15 minute chunk they’re more manageable and digestible, therefore it should be recorded in this way and properly structured in the first place, with the online student in mind (the recordings are still valuable and applicable to campus-based students as well).

The companion website is also a valuable resource in its own right, but with the book targeting what and when you should use it the examples and references it contains should help you with the initial course build as well as being a good reference guide for course review and redesign.

Essentials of Online Course Design

So, what have I got from the book, either as something new or some existing knowledge or ideas reaffirmed?

  • Course design: careful consideration is needed when developing a course from scratch, especially to the structure you use and the technologies you implement – each element will need an introduction and explanation according to your target audience/student. If you think your student audience is likely to need more hand-holding when dealing with new technologies then get the appropriate support and/or resources in pace for them before they realise they need it.
  • Multimedia: images, video, and audio presentation/narration can improve the ‘clarity’ of presentation and understanding and can, where used appropriately, enhance the learning. Where they are used badly it can be an unwanted distraction, so use wisely.
  • Context – often overlooked in course design is the simple step of introducing yourself to your students. It’s not just about “this is me and this is how you can get in contact’, it’s also about giving the students the background as to why you are qualified to be leading them in this course/subject area. Tell them about your professional self, your research, your publications, what qualifications you bring to the subject speciality … only those that are relevant to the topic (not your full CV, they’re not that interested!).
  • Sign-post it and Use it – whatever you design, make sure you sign-post it, explain why you’re doing it, and use it yourself. If you have a discursive activity explain the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’ and be the first person to post – introduce your expectations. Don’t forget to close the discussion as well, bringing the different strands of the activity into your conclusion and highlight concepts and individual contributions, not necessarily as good/bad examples, but just posts that led the discussion in certain directions.
  • Consistency – use the same font, font size, colours, etc., as well as the same type of headings in different places – if you swap and change throughout the course you’ll confuse and disorientate your students. You also need to consider the consistency of the jargon and style of your words, find your style and stick to it, it’ll be easier for the student to read.
  • Structure – what works in your classroom does not translate directly to the online world. Online resources for learning does not mean a ‘document repository’ of PDF and PPT files. If this is what you have and insist on using then at least provide a meaningful introduction to the file, what it contains/what it’s about, why the student needs it, and an activity for the student to engage in a a result of reading the file.
  • Orientation – thankfully this book does include orientation. Too many students are dumped in at the deep end with their online course with little explanation as to what or why they’re doing it (other than to ‘learn’ and ‘pass’) and hardly ever have the ‘intended learning outcome’ (ILO as I know it) explained. Include and explain the outcome and syllabus in relation to the assessment and any related knowledge needed for subsequent courses.
  • Learning Outcome – ever needed to write a learning outcome for your course and struggled? There’s an appendix to the book that covers this, and is a really useful guide including outcome vs. objective, rationale, and writing the outcome.

I know I can’t include all the best bits of the book, I’d have to reproduce a vast quantity of the book to do that, but I hope I’ve given you an idea why I like it and will be using it for reference in the future.

Have you read this book, do you agree with me and/or the authors? Please leave a comment below and join in the discussion.