Tag Archives: Design

The Myth of Average: Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty

Designing for the average student [video]

In this TEDx talk Todd Rose compares the difficulties and issues encountered by the US Air Force in the 1950’2 and 1960’s in a severe drop in performance in it’s fighter pilots to the drop in performance in today’s education. The comparison is the design of the cockpit / classroom.

YouTube: Todd Rose, the myth of average

Guess what .. the Air Force found out the hard way that there is no such thing as the ‘average’ pilot. Todd argues that isn’t it about time that education and policy makers figured out that there is no such thing as an ‘average’ students, and that we should be more flexible in how we design learning. Continue reading

Designs on eLearning #DEL12: Cave to Cloud

Designs on eLearning #DEL12: Cave to CloudThe second day of the Designs on eLearning Conference started with the keynote from Bruce Brown, titled ‘Cave to Cloud’. Bruce highlights the technology shifts through the ages (mechanical to digital) and their fundamental impact on education.

  • There is a genuine revolutionary shift in learning and technology, highlighting the same Gutenberg printing development that Steve Molyneux talked about in the first keynote yesterday. This move is happening with or without us, so we have no choice butto recognise the new generation of technology, and how it affects knowledge acquisition and consumption?
  • “We still talk of the future but act in the past” is something everyone is still guitly of, but how do we get past this?
  • Our “old and broken” model of education is not reflecting or modifying itself in the face of the current trend and shift in modern society.
  • It’s not only about who wants content, but where that content has been ‘approved’. The current knowledge acquisition / revolution is no longer the one-to-many relationship, it is now the many-to-many and many-to-one, which we need to engage in as this is how the students are living,  therefore this is their experience … “the tyranny of one over many”.
  • The ‘cave’ in the keynote title comes from the time (20,000 years ago?) when man first started using tools of sorts to paint on cave walls… and then on each other. Is this the first form of learning and subsequent mobile learning – those who ‘read’ the pictures took away their own interpretation of the message (hunting, gathering, etc) and passed it on through their own pictorial artwork.
  • “Embodied knowledge” – not just taught but caught, the knowledge that changes behaviour. Learning is “the embodiment of knowledge and experience to create permanent changes in behaviour”. How many still think of learning as the exchange of ideas with this definition in the room?
  • “Transmission Teaching” is designed to control content and to conquer distance via development of means for distance ‘teaching’, not distance ‘ learning’ – image making, typographic printing (mechanical age), electronic transmission, cloud computing (digital age). Image making and electronic transmission are just intermediary ages for the movement from mechanical to digital ages.
  • The escalating need for content helped drive the development of printing technologies, and enabled the knowledge transfer of one-to-many information dissemination techniques – e.g. books. Electronic transmission (not just the written word – dont forget the development of radio and then television!). This also vanquished time (delay) in the transmission of content. All development of content dissemination has tried to rid the delay in getting this information to the people
  • Mechanical technologies have passed into borderless transmission techniques – e.g. personal computing and the World Wide Web – again based on the need for the consumption of content, not broadcast of content.
  • “If you want to learn rather than be taught, how an you use technologies to enable collaboration” good question for everyone here …
  •  ‘Gene Sharp: How to start a Revolution‘ illustrates the real power of how new digital technologies transforms many independent communities into one based around a desire or need that harnesses technological developments into the conquering of scale and interaction.

Designs on eLearning #DEL12: Cave to Cloud

  • Have we now moved from the one-to-many content creation direction to many-to-one? With everyone having somewhere to go to have their say (blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc) who’s listening anymore?
  • 1971: “Education to furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known” Ivan Illich quote to showcase not teaching, but learning, as the centre for education.
  • MOOCs are described as the “future of online education” (EdX) and students can expect to be connected 24/7 … For “anyone, anywheres, anytime”. Question: is this learning based on the many-to-one relationship? There is still evidence that MOOCs are being delivered as transmission teaching using the one-to-many relationships, using existing techniques and are not utilising the changes in content transmission technologies.
  • “Students are getting access to lifetime of embodied knowledge” – this SHOULD be our answer to the questions from students about what they get for their £9,000 tuition fee. Bruce left us with this statement, and also that “Universities will have to move from control of content to co-production of knowledge” in order to compete in modern education.

Designs on eLearning #DEL12: The printer, the book, and the cloud

This week I am attending the ‘Designs on eLearning: Crowd and Cloud‘ conference hosted by the University of Arts, London. With presentation on a mixture of eLearning techniques based around the inclusion on cloud technologies, the delegates can listen to experienced innovators to gain knowledge of (good) practice and experience from those utilising different aspects of technology in their teaching and learning.

Whilst obviously aimed towards those who are involved in teaching the arts or design in some shape or other, there is a whole host of experience and knowledge that everyone can take away with them if (like me) they’re not from this type of background.

I am not going to cover each and ever session I attend, the list and this post will be too long. This is the first in a series of posts that highlight what I  liked and what struck a chord with me. Please feel free to leave a comment if anything here interests you or, if you attended the conference, to add to the report if I missed anything?

Keynote: Steve Molyneux (@ProfSMolyneux): “The printer, the ‘book’, and the cloud.”

Points that Steve makes includes:

  •  Mobile learning – mLearning – began with invention of the printing press and the first textbook. Books are mobile, personal, have granular content, structured (chapters), meta-tagged data (index, footnotes, glossary, etc), and collaborative (margin notes). New tech (e.g. tablets) add the following to this list: connected, adaptive, communicative, location aware, touch sensitive. What Steve didn’t say here is that new technology like tablets are also (currently) more desirable?
  • New tech is out of date within hours of its release as the companies involved continue to out-do themselves and each other. It’s not only the hardware that’s out of date so quickly, it’s the content, information, and approach we have to this information, and how we produce it, changes just as quickly.
  • Students have more power in their own devices that we can provide them with in the computer labs. Question: why provide these costly labs instead of providing a sturdy and secure infrastructure to support their own equipment? Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) works?
  • Best video to showcase what’s wrong with classrooms and learning is still this clip from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (amazing that some in the audience hadn’t seen it before – the clip not the film):

  • Neo-Millennials: creating and mixing existing content and ideas … when and where they want!
  • Ages of education… Control of education is no longer in the hands of the state, the teacher, or the institution. The power of education is now in the hands of the learner, in a 24/7 connected way that we have never seen before and still don’t fully understand the implications (discuss?).
  • Knowledge is power
  • iTunesU – a lengthy video clip but a good one to demonstrate the latest (2012) ‘iTunesU App Demo

  • Remove the projector to truly make the learning spaces mobile by using NearPod – lecture without a ‘front’. Steve showcased the following video demonstrating NearPod:

To close the keynote Steve explained that without a concerted and considered approach (my words) to implementation of this technology and these devices (see the above video, even using NearPod the students are still sat in rows and single seats! They should be able to move and group themselves, to aid collaboration and engagement), and the advantages that this new tech offers, we still suffer from “all the gear, no idea” mentality!


WordPress Plugin #3: Themes

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

This isn’t technically a plugin, rather a feature of WordPress that is what makes the system so incredibly versatile and flexible … the ability to upload and use a theme that you have designed, or bought, or found online through the search or websites that are available.

WordPress comes pre-installed with a couple of simple themes, but the power is in your ability to control these, update them, install new versions with new features, etc.

Below are some images taken from the Admin area of the WordPress Appearance section (theme management);

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You can browse the list of themes that are on the WordPress site through the ‘Install theme’ option in the ‘Appearance’ section, or you can upload your own or one you’ve downloaded from a third-party website.

Using a theme you can take your ordinary looking blog and make it into anything you want, like a photo-blog, photo-archive, magazine or news website, or use it to power a full website (pages) with a blog element? There really is no limit on what WordPress can do!

Here are some independent websites that offer themes for download and use (some free, some you will need to purchase);

And if you’re feeling confident and capable, you can generate your own;

So, what theme are you using?