‘Riding Giants: How to innovate and educate ahead of the wave’ is the title & theme for the 2014 ALT Conference – my first ALT conference.
With the conference themes being weaved thoughout the three days (education, innovate, communicate) the opportunities are here for all delegates to take what they need, give back (through questions, discussions, informal tweet ups, etc), and enhance not only their own ideas and practices but those around them.
I don’t want to say I’m surprised by the level of engagement, as that implies I might think that we (learning technology-type people) have such a low level of engagement or closed-door mentality at these events (which we don’t), but I am enthused and proud when I look around the room at the discussions and engagements that are taking place. From lunchtime to coffee breaks, to break-out activities to keynote speakers, this first day has been energetic and had a buzz around ‘being together’ I’ve not experienced since my first FOTE conference in 2009. There is clear symmetry in what we are all feeling as part of the Learning Technology fraternity these days; from MOOCs to student engagement, academic buy-in, digital literacy, experiences, virtual vs. real worlds, etc. as there are so many overlaps between session presentations.
Last week I was involved in the second iteration / cohort / running of the BYOD4L short course. Along with a number of colleagues we ran a series of tweet-chats each evening along the course themes – timed between 8-9pm the tweet-chats involved facilitators posing questions and ‘facilitating’ the responses and direction the chat took.
Taking is back to the beginning … what is a tweet-chat?
“A TweetChat is a virtual meeting or gathering on Twitter to discuss a common topic. The chat usually lasts one hour and will include some questions to stimulate discussion.” – BYOD4L Tweet-chat
“A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag. This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with these interests.” Social Media Examiner
I thought I’d write up my experiences of running three tweet-chats now: two for BYOD4L, and one for the Leicester Forensic Science FutureLearn MOOC. Each uses a different approach, but both very valid and engaging for the students / participants as well as the course team(s).
The 2014 IGGY Junior Commission report on Education and the Internet is an important read. I’ve not had chance to digest all of it yet, but what I have read makes for some uncomfortable reading for Higher Education – take note: children understand the technology they have access to, the understand the possibilities (and challenge them), and know how they want to use it and bring it into all aspects of their lives, including learning / classroom / education.
“The IGGY Junior Commission enables ten of the brightest young minds to collaborate with one another to achieve a global goal. These young people are the potential leaders of the future and deserve an opportunity to share their views and recommendations.”
Research and interviews from 289 school children and 109 teachers from 14 different countries helped form the conclusions of the report which include: Continue reading →
This is what they think. As I read it (and please do so yourself on the link above) I got more and more annoyed. It was less and less about classrooms or learning in 2050 and more about ‘what’s happening now you think will have an impact in 30+ years time’. Only two, Naomi Davidson and Michael Gibson, seemed to truly look beyond the here-and-now projected education 36 years forward.
students will already be used to “interactive, engaging, live classes from anywhere they may happen to be, with the only requirement being a camera, a screen, and a wi-fi connection.”
Is this a warning? If we’re going to truly support engaged learners we need to get this done at the basic level to enable further change, connection, etc. Continue reading →
After such a successful run earlier this year, the team behind BYOD4L (Sue Beckingham, Chrissi Nerantzi, Andrew Middleton, et al) are working their magic again – put the dates in your diary: BYOD4L July 14-18. I have been invited back again this time to work with Sue, Andrew, and Chrissi (and the other team members) and will be engaging course participants online.
Big Data is the new buzzword. It’s not ‘big’ enough to topple MOOC from the lips of educatros, but it is becoming a topic that is being talked about more and more.
Firstly, what’s the difference between Big Data and Learning Analytics (if there is one)?
Learning Analytics, as defined by the 2013 Horizon Report is “big data applied to education”. There, that helped yes? No?
Then what is Big data? According to Lisa Arthur it is confusing in that it isn’t just one thing or the other, it is “a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis”. Ed Dumbill says that Big Data is “data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems. The data is too big, moves too fast, or doesn’t fit the strictures of your database architectures. To gain value from this data, you must choose an alternative way to process it.“
Day one of the BYOD4L short course (we’re still discussing this: is it a short course, a course, a learning ecology? One thing we’re certain on … it’s certainly not a MOOC!) has been and gone. Well done everyone who engaged and ‘connected’ with the theme of connection.
Unfortunately, I didn’t. Part of me was busy and being pulled in different directions during the evening, and part of me was terrified of what I’d gotten myself into. A twitter chat is not for the feint of heart as it can be a full-on stressful and powerful thing (I’ve tried a few before and found myself overwhelmed and confused). I dipped in at various points and noted the quality and diversity of participation and participants, I looked at the Twitter map (thanks to Martin Hawksey again!) and was impressed at the variety of locations people were engaging and connecting from: well done!