Tag Archives: CMALT

ALTC 2014 Riding Giants

Getting ready for #altc

The 2014 ALT Conference is just around the corner (in more than just time – it’s being held at the University of Warwick, which is where I now work!), and I’m getting ready for it.

The theme for this year (and my first ALTC) is ‘Riding Giants: How to innovate and educate ahead of the wave’ , and the wave I’m trying to crest at the moment is planning the sessions and presentations I want to attend. It’s not helped by the fact so many of them are interesting, and that so many of them occur at the same time as each other.

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Who are the Learning Technologists?

‘Who Are The Learning Technologist?’ by @HeyWayne

Regular readers will know I have written my thoughts and experiences about ‘what is a Learning Technologist’ for a number of years. Indeed the series of posts is into double figures now and consist of my own  reflections, posts I read, research, and conversations I have with others in my ‘profession’.

In these discussions and collaborations I have also been attributed as a spark for others who have also started to question the role, and their role, in ‘learning technology’in others. This is by no small feat, but an honour in that the conversations are widening and engaging many more individuals and helping to focus and drive a deeper understanding of the roles, the individuals in the roles, and the expectations placed on the role (from ourselves, our colleagues and peers, our networks and associated organisations – like ALT or SEDA – and our employers).

One such, ongoing, conversation is with Wayne Barry (@HeyWayne) who is himself writing a series of posts on ‘Who are the Learning Technologists?’ on his blog. Now on his fifth post I thought I’d add a little to the conversation here to highlight, broaden, and engage the question(s) further.

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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

What is a Learning Technologist? eBook

I’ve been certified! #CMALT

David HopkinsAfter an awfully long time I have written, submitted, re-written, re-submitted, and finally been awarded the status of Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology (CMALT). When I say it took a long time, it’s not an understatement – here’s how and why.

  • This is the twelfth part in my series of ‘What is a Learning Technologist?’ I have collected the series to date in a downloadable eBook – an update will be submitted to the online stores very shortly.

CMALT – The beginning
I joined Bournemouth University (BU) in 2007, fresh into the role of a Learning Technologist (LT) from 10 years as a commercial web designer. In all honesty I didn’t really know much of what I’d be expected to do but I knew my experience with online communities and techniques in developing and fostering them was key to my appointment. It just goes to show the faith and vision my interviewers had to see me for my potential and offer me the job! I joined ALT shortly after starting, which is where I first heard about CMALT.  Continue reading

Badges - New Currency for Professional Credentials

Learning Providers (wk.4) #OpenBadgesMOOC

Badges - New Currency for Professional CredentialsHere we are at week four and challenge four. At the moment of writing I’ve earned three out of four badges that have been issued, with my response for the third challenge updated to take into account the feedback and comments about the lack of details I made about the competency framework and individual student ‘persona’.

You can read all my posts from this MOOC on the OpenBadgesMOOC tag, when I’ve written them!

Week 4 – Learning Providers
I can see the benefit of looking at badges for the soon-to-leave-education school leavers, and those already in work either actively looking for a new role or to up-skill themselves. But please don’t ignore higher education and both staff and students in it. Undergraduate degrees (and postgraduate degrees too) have as much to do with life skills as the specific subject of the degree award, and badges are a new and clear way to showcase these skills if, as I’ve said before, the criteria is selected and applied carefully and considerately.  Continue reading

Badges - New Currency for Professional Credentials

Another MOOC – this time #OpenBadges and Professional Credentials

Badges - New Currency for Professional CredentialsAs if my MOOC failure rate isn’t bad enough, I’ve signed up for another MOOC in the vain hope that I’ll complete it (only 1 completion out of 6 so far). This one is run through the Blackboard CourseSites environment and is run available for self-enrollment now for a September 2013 start.

The MOOC aims to expand flexible learning opportunities and authentic evidence-based assessment with the use of the Mozilla Open Badge system for “accreditation and employer recognition”. The participating organisations plan to use the MOOC to

“… convene and moderate an international discussion on the role of badges as a new currency of exchange for high value, post-secondary credentials for the new workforce … [and] will explore the ecosystem for a new credential economy based on badges and surface aspects of what would be required to adopt such an approach.”

YouTube: Badges for Lifelong Learning: An Open Conversation

Starting on September 9th this will run for 6 weeks, so hopefully I’ve done what I need to before I start on my Masters degree with Grainne Conole at the University of Leicester. I do however see one very large downside to this MOOC – there are regular synchronous online sessions planned each week and, being on the other side of the Atlantic, means they will running at an awkward time for those in the UK or Europe.


eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC #edcmooc

EDCMOOCOK, after all the fuss and blog posts written about MOOCs and how they’ll take over HE I’ve decided to take one, and the eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC provided by University of Edinburgh and Coursera looks a good start (it’s also a January ’13 start date so I’ve time to prepare!).

“E-learning and Digital Cultures is aimed at teachers, learning technologists, and people with a general interest in education who want to deepen their understanding of what it means to teach and learn in the digital age. The course is about how digital cultures intersect with learning cultures online, and how our ideas about online education are shaped through “narratives”, or big stories, about the relationship between people and technology. We’ll explore some of the most engaging perspectives on digital culture in its popular and academic forms, and we’ll consider how our practices as teachers and learners are informed by the difference of the digital. We’ll look at how learning and literacy is represented in popular digital-, (or cyber-) culture. For example, how is ‘learning’ represented in the film The Matrix, and how does this representation influence our understanding of the nature of e-learning? “

As a student I’ll be “invited to think critically and creatively about e-learning, to try out new ideas in a supportive environment, and to gain fresh perspectives on your own experiences of teaching and learning.” Starting with a “film festival” (i.e. YouTube) to review how the clips might relate to themes that emerge from the course materials, and then progressing to the “consideration of multimodal literacies and digital media, and you’ll be encouraged you to think about visual methods for presenting knowledge and conveying understanding.”

YouTube: E-learning and Digital Cultures

As with most MOOCs at the moment you don’t get any formal qualification or commendation from completion of the MOOC but ‘successful’ candidates do get a certificate.

For me this is as much about the topic (eLearning and Digital Culture) as attending a ‘profesisonal’ MOOC, to find out more about both areas. What about you – will you, have you, did you .. ??

PS. only three of the team are on Twitter, and I cannot see a hashtag for it yet.

I’ll also use this as evidence of CMALT application, if I still haven’t finished it by then. But if i have, then it can be used as evidence of continued development … there’s a thought!

Update: (yes, an update before I’ve even published the post!) I’ve just heard about this MOOC – the ‘Monstrous Open Online Courses‘ that is the MOOC about MOOCs … “beginning on August 12 [2012]. Over the course of one week, MOOC MOOC will explore the pedagogical approach, the sustainability of the form, and alternatives to MOOCs. “

What is a MOOC? #edtech

A MOOC is a ‘Massive Open Online Course’ and, as the video from Dave Cormier below introduces it as a

“response to the challenges faced by organisations and distributed disciplines at a time of information overload.”

A MOOC is not for credit, it’s for (networked) learning. You participate in a MOOC because you want to learn about a particular topic or subject. A MOOC is an alternative (attractive?) mode of learning in a flat, technologically interconnected world  and supports life-long networked learning.

A MOOC is similar to the traditional courses that we think about when looking at learning and education: it has facilitators, students, resources, start and end date, etc, but it’s about connecting and collaborating.

Watch the video and have David explain better, and fully.

“It used to be that if you wanted to know about something you could do a few things: you could ask someone, you could buy a book, you could try to figure it out for yourself, or you could call a school.  If that school offered that course in that thing you were trying to figure out, you could go there and take it. You could get access.”

Other resources you ought to look into, when thinking about this kind of learning, include the “Explore a New Learning Frontier” post from Learning Solutions Magazine, “Is it or is it not a MOOC?” from Rebecca Hogue, and “”Change MOOC” from Doug Belshaw.

Does the idea of a MOOC work (for you)? Have you participated in one, or have you organised one even? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below. At the moment I am interested in furthering my experience and qualifications (see my posts on CMALT and PG Certificate) but I would certainly participate in a MOOC … in fact, I already am – the Codecademy, even if I haven’t started yet!



So long, and thanks for all the fish!

So long, and thanks for all the fish

“So long, and thanks for all the fish” – immortal words from Douglas Adams and ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’, a parting comment from the dolphins leaving Earth.

What has this to do with me? Well, I’m off, so … “thanks for all the fish”. After 5 years at Bournemouth University I am going to join the College of Social Science at the University of Leicester. I will still be a Learning Technologist, I will still be on Twitter and Facebook, I will continue my interests and research in and around eLearning, mLearning, ALT/CMALT, blogging, social media, networking, student experience, Blackboard, VLEs, Blogging, etc. I am looking forward to working with new colleagues in a new environment, finding out how other people manage and arrange their skills and materials, as well as seeing what opportunities for research, publications, and further study are available.

I know that Leicester is a big user of BlackBoard so I am among ‘friends’ and will be using a system I am familiar and confident with. The College is large with upwards of 11,500 students spread around 8 Schools and +50 programmes delivered in a fully online distance learning  approach (under-graduate, post-graduate, and PhD levels) – plenty of work to do there then! This is not to say that it’ll be all-guns-blazing and change-the-world stuff, oh no! First I will need to spend time getting to know the people and their styles, what is already being done and what, if anything can be done to empower and engage the College teams with technology.

For me and my family, exciting times. It’ll be hard to leave but I am so happy about the change.

So, to my colleagues and friends at Bournemouth, “so long … ” – Leicester is not a million miles away, come and visit and, as I have family in Bournemouth, I’ll be back every now and then so if you’re interested in a cuppa-and-a-cake let me know and we’ll meet up. For those I know in and around the Leicester area … put the kettle on!

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We are all Rock Stars! #edtech

As I find myself getting closer to a ‘big’ birthday (thankfully not this year) I have realised that I am reminiscing just as much as I am reflecting (good for CMALT!), and not just about work. This post helped me with a thought process I’d been struggling to complete for a while:

The most emotional time of our lives (so far?) are when we are growing into adults, the late teens, and the music we listen to then will always be associated with the emotions we had and continue to have. This stands to reason as

“our relationships with music really gets going when we enter puberty, and becomes most intense from then through to early adulthood. This is no coincidence. It is music that plays when we fall in love, when our hearts break, when we discover sex and learn the meaning of true friendship.”

In my late teens I, like so many others, thought/dreamed of being a musical genius of the likes of Freddie Mercury, Robert Plant, or Eddie Van Halen (there, you know my musical tastes now). It didn’t matter that I had no musical ability at all, but it did matter that I couldn’t work out if I was going to sing/shout (Dave Grohl, Freddie Mercury, David Coverdale, James Hetfield et al), thump some drums (Roger Taylor, Mick Fleetwood, Lars Ulrich, Dave Grohl again, etc) or strum the gee-tar (Joe Satriani, Slash, Eric Clapton, Brian May, Michael Schenker, etc). These were my heroes, not because they were famous or rich, but because they used a talent to bring me happiness, put a smile on my face during all the usual teenage troubles.

What I know now is that I am passed the (st)age of rock stardom, and many other kinds of stardom for that matter. BUT, and this is important, the age of self-publishing has given each of us the ability to put ourselves out there on the Internet, and bare our passion or interest for all to see, much the same as the song/lyric writers did in the songs I head-banged to as a spotty teenager.

The bands I grew up to were doing much the same I am doing now – they wrote their songs because they wanted to, just like many of us are writing our blogs because we want to. The likes of Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Queen, and Whitesnake are Rock Stars to me, just like people like Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth), Stephen Heppell (@stephenheppell), and Sir Ken Robinson (@sirkenrobinson) are held in such high esteem to many of us involved in learning today.

If you didn’t see this post last year, then please check out the video “Obvious to you, amazing to others“. When I read the article on music I immediately thought of this video – the people I looked up to musically, and still do, are doing the same as I’m doing here, we are all writing about experiences, passions, interests, life. Whether you have a recording contract and a number one hit single or write a blog about your passion (coffee, learning, technology, poetry, swimming, etc) doesn’t matter – to someone you are their Rock Star, just like you have people you look to and think of as your Rock Stars.

Rock On!

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