“The size of a small cauliflower, the human brain is the most complex organ in your body. It squeezes out 70,000 thoughts a day. But where does it store information? And how does it generate flights of fancy? Explore the inner workings of your personal ideas factory.”
This video posted to The Guardian ‘extreme learning’ section is a great introduction to “how your brain works” (and therefore learns).
Sorry, the video isn’t embedded but if you click it it will take you to The Guardian website where you watch the short video.
Whilst searching for some resources on planning and designing online courses I came across this excellent brainstorming ‘sketchnote’ (I’ll write more about these another time) from Giulia Forsythe called ‘planning your online course’.
Take some time to look at this in detail, there’s a lot here for you (click to enlarge it).
Image source: Planning your online course (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Another infographic, this time looking into how we can tap into mobile learning. Some figures from the infographic for you:
- Only 17% of surveyed schools state that children are required to use mobile or portable devices in the classroom, and only 16% allow BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Whether this is 16% of the previous 17% who allow the use of mobile devices or 16% of everyone surveyed is not clear.
- Parents view the use of the use of mobile devices are used more effectively in early years classrooms to promote curiosity than in later years, but it is still significantly higher than for other uses, e.g. to foster creativity, to teach languages or reading.
- Parents of children who are being encouraged to use mobile devices are more positive about the learning and educational potential of mobile learning. Notable differences in how parents view their child’s performance between those classrooms where mobile learning is required, to those where it is not, shows the biggest divide.
- 2/3 or parents think schools should help students use devices safely.
- 2/3 also agree that the very same mobile devices can distract children from learning.
- Continue reading
When I read this article – “Invest in Your Customers More Than Your Brand” – from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) I couldn’t help but make similarities between ‘brand’ and ‘learning’, between ‘customers’ and ‘students’. That is why this post is called “Invest in your ‘students’ more than your ‘learning’.”
I know we shouldn’t see students as customers but the simple truth is that many of them think of themselves that way and, since students are paying up to £9,000 per year for their University degrees now, Universities are competing for students numbers in similar ways to companies competing for High Street or online shoppers.
There are some incredibly recognisable brands in the world today, but why are they so big and so memorable? When someone mentions a big brand what do you think? If I mention Nike do you think about the ‘tick’ logo, the quality of product, or the sports personality wearing it? If I ask about Marks & Spencers do you again think green and gold logo or the ease of parking at their stores? There is a difference here between what the organisation wants their brand to be, and what their customers think their brand is. Brand is not necessarily what you want it to be, but what your customers thinks it is. Continue reading
Date: July 3rd, 2013
Location: Loughborough University
Details: “Pedagogy, policy and support: taking lecture capture to the next level”
Twitter hashtag: #lborolc13
With discussions taking place around the College and University about the merits and technicalities of providing students with recorded materials, the timing couldn’t have been better for this workshop.
Hosted by Loughborough University with keynotes and sessions from leading users and supporters of lecture capture technology, the event was a good introduction to what experienced users are doing with he established technology, and how these enhancements are being vowed and used by students.
What do I want to get from today? I’ve used and been a supporter of lecture capture for many years now, and am enthusiastic for its introduction at Leicester. I want to build on my existing knowledge and understanding, how this has changed in the year or so since I moved to Leicester, and how established users of lecture capture technology are taking things forward and developing the techniques and pedagogy surrounding the technology.
We also need to be careful we do not ignore the ‘other’ questions that need asking: it’s not only about the students and pedagogic use of the technology, it’s also about how it’s implemented. We need to be sure to address the resources and resourcing, the implementation, the strategy surrounding its installation and use, the pedagogy, the support, etc. It is not about how we use it, it’s about how well we use it.
Read the full report on the College’s TEL blog: staffblogs.le.ac.uk/telsocsci/report/report-pedagogy-policy-and-support-taking-lecture-capture-to-the-next-level/
Regular readers will know I’ve been writing about what I think it is to be a Learning Technologist in a series of posts I’ve been calling ‘What is a Learning Technologist?’. Welcome to part 10 in that series.
Part of my journey is the continuing exploration of the technology and of the role itself, and how it is received and perceived by people I come into contact with (academic, administrative, etc.). I made it clear in 2011, once I completed my PG Cert course, that I wanted to take my learning and teaching more seriously and gain a qualification that would reflect my abilities.
I have considered several Masters level courses since then but have finally settled on the MSc in Learning Innovation from the Institute of Learning Innovation here, at the University of Leicester.
From my weekly email digest from Academia.edu I was made aware of the following paper by Nick Sturkenboom, Ehsan Baha, Yuan Lu, and Gabriele Tempesta: “Using Social Media for Asynchronous Collaboration within Collaborative Networks”.
“Societal challenges of today (e.g. aging) are complex and often require systemic solutions to be addressed. To address these challenges, various expertise and knowledge are required; in this sense, collaborative network projects have a lot of potential in offering a systemic solution. Design workshops (synchronous collaboration) are often used to achieve progress in such projects. In this paper we introduce asynchronous collaboration, which can occur anytime, anywhere through the use of social media. We have probed Instagram as a ‘ready-made’ social media platform within two collaborative network project case studies. This was done to experiment with asynchronous collaboration and knowledge sharing in addition to design workshops. Both cases were evaluated through focus groups that indicated how social media has the potential to enable actors to cross-field boundaries, inspire each other, and in this way enrich the design process within asynchronous collaboration. Our contribution with this work is two-fold: on the one hand, we aim to inspire and show how collaborative network projects can benefit from asynchronous collaboration in addition to synchronous collaboration. On the other hand, we hope to contribute to the creation of specific social media platforms as tools for supporting asynchronous collaboration within collaborative networks.”
What piqued my interest here was the use of an established (if you can call a social network that’s been around for only 2 years ‘established’) social network from which to run and maintain asynchronous collaboration. Continue reading
I’m a Learning Technologist. Regular readers will know I have an interest in using, and understanding how we can use, Social Media and Social Networks with students and learning. It’s not just about helping students understand their ‘digital footprint’, or improving their digital literacy, or how their actions online can affect their employability. It is also about using the different tools and techniques for learning and Social Media and Social Networks are a valuable source of learning materials from many different cultures and backgrounds.
Which is why this book is of interest to me – ‘Using Social Media in the Classroom‘ by Megan Poore. Billed as a book that provides “an overview of different types of digital technologies” it is more important to me and how I work that it also covers more contextual and “constructive guidance on how to safely and intelligently use them as tools for learning”. All good stuff I hope you’ll agree.
This quote from Megan is key to the understanding of the benefits for communication, collaboration, participation and socialisation of, and in, education:
“One of the most exciting features of social media for education is precisely their socialness. They allow us to break out of the paradigm of the monolithic learner into the more intricate and complex world of constructivist, active, and situated pedagogies.” (p. 8)
“Poor use of technology is a significant waster of time and money in the public sector. UK Higher Education is not exempt from this problem. This course will help those planning and delivering teaching in HE to make the best use of technology in their work and avoid pitfalls and hiccups.”
I’ve just signed up for yet another MOOC, this one provided by ALT (the Association for Learning Technology) called the “Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning”.
Starting in April 2013, and running for 10 weeks, the online course will “help those planning and delivering teaching in HE to make the best use of technology in their work and avoid pitfalls and hiccups”.
- You can follow the course, and the run up to it, on Twitter with the hashtag #ocTEL and Twitter account @ALTocTEL
The course will cover aspects of (and is not limited to … nor is it finalised yet either):
- Induction: how this course works, who can help
- Openness and standards
- Options for the material, sizing effort, lead times, hardware and software needs, costs
- On line assessment
- Students in transition between sectors
- Environments and administration
- Using social media and games
- Continue reading
While we may think we know ‘how students learn’, do we?
This post called “The virtues of daydreaming and 30 other surprising (and controversial) research findings about how students learn“, from Julie DeNeen, has some interesting findings, of which the following are interesting (to me – read the full list on the link above to see what gets your interested):
- Scary/violent video games … “can be an alternate way to release negative emotion, and help children alleviate their innate desire for risk and adventure.” I’ll sit on the fence on this one: while there may be some positive benefits to these kinds of games I’m not sure if they outweigh the negative?
- Science practicals … “isn’t always as effective as it may appear on the surface.” This statement says that science or lab practical work isn’t working – is it the actual time spent in a practical or the actual experiment itself that isn’t working? I enjoyed my science lab work, even more so when it didn’t work, but (and this was more down to the way it was taught and not the subject, I think) I was not given the opportunity to ‘try’ out different things.
- Chess … “forces students to slow down, concentrate, use precise thinking, active both inductive and deductive reasoning, as well as recognizing difficult and complex patterns.” Yes, but so do lots of other ‘games’ in different and equally beneficial ways. Let’s not single out a specific game, we should be able to advocate all game-based learning, especially when there is scope for the student to “understand that ‘losing’ the game is as valuable as winning.”
- Building blocks … “one of the simplest and longstanding toys, teach geometry, patterns, shapes, colors, and physics” not to mention spatial awareness and dexterity?
- Music and movement … help children to “learn to appreciate the pacing of words and how to speak more clearly” through rhyme. “Children who engage in music from a young age have a more finely tuned ability to speak and communicate” therefore are more articulate when it comes to reflection and critical thinking in later life?
- Drama and comedy … induce a “vibrancy of emotion that shows a student’s entire mind and feelings are engaged in the activity” and learning, in various ways, is a result from an engaged child – “one who is more likely to absorb information, retain it, and make real-life associations with the knowledge.”
These are just a few of the interesting ‘findings’ on how students learn, so be sure to read the full article on the link above to read more about these and:-
- “Children who construct their own video games experience increased cognitive and social growth”
- “Engaging children in planning and reflection enhance their predictive and analytic capabilities”
- “Children are not blank slates on which adults imprint knowledge”
- “Children learn more when they initiate an activity and are actively engaged in it”
- “Children behave better when parents are involved in their education at home and at school”