Tag Archives: Learning Technologist

Progress

Progress …

It’s useful to reflect on progress, or projects, or my work in general. Seeing as this is my 6th (or 7th – see I’ve lost count already) week in my new role at Warwick Business School (WBS) I thought I’d reflect on my ‘general’ duties as a(nother) newbie … how do my new days at WBS compare with my old days at Leicester and Bournemouth?

  • Blackboard.

No more Blackboard! Well, that’s not entirely true as I’m now using Bb Collaborate to support core WBS activity and DL programmes. I’ve been learning the subtleties of how WBS work with and run Bb Collaborate sessions and how it integrates with the VLE (myWBS).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … I like(d) Blackboard and will kind of miss it. Once you understand the subtleties of what it is and how it works you can do what you want, most of the time. In my experience people who moan about it the most have spent less time trying to work with it, almost fighting against it.

  • New VLE

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Kindle MatchBook

Kindle Matchbook (or free/cheap ebook when you buy paper edition)

What is Kindle Matchbook? Announced by Amazon last year, Matchbook is (from LifeHacker) “that will allow owners of hard copies of books to purchase extremely cheap ebook versions for their Kindle collection.” If you bought a paper copy from Amazon you could be eligible to buy or download an eBook edition.

From the link above (make sure you’re logged into your Amazon account) you can click the  ‘Find your Kindle MatchBook titles’ button and the website will look through your purchase history and see if any match. Naturally, none of my purchases do – eligibility in MatchBook is determined by the publisher and whether they include their title in the scheme. There is also discrepancy as to whether this is available in the UK or not yet.

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Blackboard Teaching & Learning Conference 2014 BbTLC2014

Blackboard T&L Conference, Dublin #BbTLC2014

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

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)

SIgnpost

Know when to keep it simple

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

Twitter: hopkinsdavid / David Hopkins

Where would I be without Twitter?

[Read this next bit as though it's a well known Sinead O'Conner song]

It’s been 5 years, 30 days, and 53 minutes since my first tweet. Here is it:

Twitter: hopkinsdavid / David Hopkins

In that 5 years, 30 days, etc. I’ve made nearly 25,000 tweets. Admittedly not all of them are relevant, interesting, insightful, funny, or worth repeating, but some of them have been. Some of them have been ideas, sharing, conversations, photos, jokes, people I’ve met or places I’ve been, books or journals I’ve read, etc. Some are re-tweets (RT), mentions, replies, etc. And some are just banal observations for no other reason than Twitter was available and somewhere I can put a random thought, observation, rant, or other piece of useless information.  Continue reading

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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Are We Failing Superman?

This great little video highlights some of the themes and discussions that are going on (and have been going on for some time) around education and how ‘we’ can improve it from the ‘one size fits all’ attitude. Enjoy!

YouTube: Failing Superman

 “Are we failing Superman with a traditional one-size-fits-all curriculum? People are different, their interests are different… Why wait 11 years to truly differentiate the curriculum? In this video inspired by the worlds of Peanuts and DC Comics, I offer some of my thoughts on a solution.” Marc-Andre Lelande

Skater

Working Title: Inspiration

Last night I surfed through the list of Netflix movies looking for something different, something new, something that would engage me on a level a blockbuster or classic film wouldn’t. Thanks to whatever algorithm Netflix uses to offer me a recommendation I went from a documentary about the Le Mans 24 race (“Every Second Counts (2012)“) to a skater docu-film called ‘Bones Brigade, an autobiography‘.

Yeah, that’s what I thought too; “really?” Initially. But it appealed to me: I’d never been any good on a skateboard as a kid, even worse on roller-skates. I do enjoy watching things like the X Games and other (Red Bull) type skater/surfer/extreme sport films. I alsohave admiration for the things skaters could do, and for the things they’ve broken to try and master a trick or move. This documentary, about a group/team of skaters who redefined skating and what the ‘sport’ meant, was quite an emotional roller coaster for me: here were a bunch of misfits, goofballs, loners, outsiders, etc. who refused to give up when, in the early 1980′s, the sport and skate parks (their arenas) disappeared and were ripped up.

“When six teenage boys came together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s, they reinvented not only their chosen sport but themselves too – as they evolved from insecure outsiders to the most influential athletes in the field.” IMDB  Continue reading

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.

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