Next week is the 2014 Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference in Dublin. The programme looks very comprehensive and has 6 streams in motion, which means it’s going to be very difficult to attend and cover all the sessions I want to attend – which means I’m going to have to be very selective about what, and who, I see.
Here’s my first impressions of what I will try and see -
Wednesday, April 30.
- Keynote / Prof Stephen Heppell. I have met and talked with Prof Heppell on numerous occasions (at Learning Without Frontiers in 2011 and during my time working at Bournemouth University) and know that his unique perspective and style will make this keynote both interesting and hugely profound on the issues affecting education today. This is one session you do not want to miss. Continue reading
Whilst reading the excellent JISC Inform newsletter (I’ve not paid this enough attention in the past – I will from now on!) I read the article on ‘social media for engagement’. Go read it now!
“The role of social media has the potential to extend beyond learning and teaching to support student engagement in the broadest sense. It offers a new way to develop relationships between the student or learner and their institution, as well as an alternative means to raise awareness of an institution’s engagement efforts.” Continue reading
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:
- Tweet or post status updates as a class.
- Write blog posts about what students are learning.
- Let your students write for the world.
- Connect to other classrooms through social media.
- Use Facebook to get feedback for your students’ online science fair projects.
- Use YouTube for your students to host a show or a podcast.
- Create Twitter accounts for a special interest projects.
- Ask questions to engage your students in authentic learning.
- Communicate with other classrooms.
- Create projects with other teachers.
- Share your learning with the world.
- 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)
The ‘mobile learning’ toolkit from JISC is excellent, go take a look. I’ve brought this one aspect to the fore … ’10 steps to mobile learning adoption’
“The generic 10-step process outlined in the image above has been adapted from Gary Woodill’s very detailed mLearning Road Map and is a useful overview as to how to successfully implement a mobile learning initiative:”
JISC InfoNet: 10 steps to mobile learning adoption
- Write mobile learning vision statement
- Gather stakeholder requirements
- Agree on scope
- Obtain senior manager buy-in
- Identify required content
- Decide in-house or external development
- Identify champions
- Create and test beta content
- Gain feedback and iterate offering
- Roll out to wider group
What do you think? Would you add anything, or take anything away?
JISC InfoNet. 2011. Mobile Learning. Available from: http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/mobile-learning/ [Accessed: 20 March, 2014].
When it comes to developing materials and learning resources for your course, I think it’s important to know when to keep it simple.
We have all seen examples, or know of some, where every possible bell-and-whistle has been applied, in good intention, but the final result has made the course complicated and heavy.
Here are a few tips on how, and why, to keep it simple, which apply as much to online distance learning courses as well as campus courses:
- Signpost: provide little ‘signposts’ to learning resources, assignment details, marking criteria, timetables, etc. to help the student. The larger the course or course materials then the more complicated the course structure could be, and the more lost a students will find themselves in your course. Continue reading
Late last year (2013) I started reading the latest offering from Rob Hubbard, “The Really Useful eLearning Instruction Manual”. A collection of chapters from leading and respected authors and educators this book offers the reader a “broad base of knowledge and the tools you need to navigate the eLearning terrain.”
The book is structured with well-defined chapters written by respected educators who lead their field, covering aspects of eLearning for synchronous and asynchronous delivery, internal- and externally-provided learning opportunities, and the differing platform and approaches to online / eLearning, including:
- Jane Hart – informal and social learning
- Charles Jennings – learning management
- Ben Betts – games-based learning
- Clive Shepherd – what is eLearning?
- Julie Wedgewood – blended learning
- Colin Steed – facilitating live online learning
- Jane Bozarth – in-house, off-the-shelf, or outsourced eLearning?
- Clark Quinn – mobile learning Continue reading
So many of us are connected and/or using our connected devices regularly. Some might say we / you are addicted to them and suffer withdrawal symptoms when we forget them or leave home home without them.
So then, how do we stay focused in this “age of distraction”? Jane Genovese writes on the Learning Fundamentals website on ‘how to focus in the age of distraction‘ and produced this excellent mind-map of Leo Babauta’s eBook “Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction”.
Genovese highlights her analysis of the book and the changes she’s making to sharpen her focus, including: Continue reading
I am pleased to be involved in a project with Geraldine Murphy and Rachel Challen from Loughborough College which looks to explore the identity of a Learning Technologist through the “analysis of language”.
According to the Association of Learning Technology the definition of Learning Technology is defined as this; “Learning technology is the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching, and assessment.” Learning Technologists are then “the people who are actively involved in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology.”(ALT 2010)
However, to those working in eLearning, on a daily or ad hoc basis, the explanation doesn’t seem to be as clear cut and there has to be a continual explanation of the job role and the skills, experience and knowledge the role of a Learning Technologist demands. Continue reading
Many of us have talked and written about the benefits of part-time learning, either online and at a distance or in the classroom. Now we have something to reference that can give our own views credibility, or something to argue against (whichever your standpoint).
“This report has been developed as part of Flexible pedagogies research project. Part-time learners and learning is one of five main focus strands embedded within the theme of flexible learning.”
Authored by Michael McLinden the report focuses on the types of flexibility that can enhance part-time study, including:
- identifying drivers for an increase in part-time learning,
- literature review to highlight the challenges and opportunities created by part-time learning,
- current activities, relating to pedagogical theory and practice, are surveyed, collated and evaluated with the focus on part-time learners,
- relevant pedagogies and approaches identified and analysed within the context of flexible learning and delivery for part-time learning,
- a selection of case studies presented which illustrate and support part-time learning pedagogies, and
- recommendations made about why, and how, institutions “might work towards the implementation of these pedagogies and approaches within the context of flexible delivery.”
Read the full report here: Flexible pedagogies: part-time learners and learning in higher education
While searching for articles and papers on the return on investment on eLearning in Higher Education I came across the work or Ormond Simpson. Simpson has made many of his papers and book chapters available on his website, and this one - E-Learning and the Future of Distance Education - was especially interesting to me.
“The paper explores the economic concepts of ‘return on investment’, ‘willing to pay’, ‘resale value of an education’ and ‘investment risk’ as they apply to distance education. In particular it will suggest that distance education, both as it stands today and in terms of current trends towards e-learning, may be either too inaccessible or too risky an investment for most potential students, and that distance education will fail to reach its potential unless it can increase its availability in the market and its rate of student success.”
Have a read for yourself and think, as I did, as to whether we are, or should be, addressing the learners pedagogic or financial needs? In Higher Education and especially when considering Masters-level distance learning, the students are more likely to be mature and have a better understanding of the financial implication to one or two years of further full- or part-time study (and be able to fund it). Continue reading