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 →
Tagged as a report “exploring new forms of teaching, learning and assessment, to guide educators and policy makers” the Innovating Pedagogy 2013 from the Open University is intended for teachers, policy makers, academics and anyone interested in how education may change over the next ten years.
The 2013 report highlights, for the coming 10 years according to timescale and impact:
Following on from my own work on the impact of employability and (y)our online reputation (and the collaboration with Sue Beckingham in 2012) the following video will not come as a surprise. Sidneyeve Matrix, from Queens University Canada, is an Associate Professor and researches the digital environment(s) and their impact on us professionally and personally, as well as how we allow them impact our lives.
This is Sidneyeve’s keynote from the 2013 AACE Educational Media and Technology (EdMedia) conference back in June. What is good here is the flip side of the work I’ve done before – this is about how we as the worker, employee, and employer, view ourselves online, and what we can do to enhance our personal brand and encourage collaboration.
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.
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)
We’re off … not quite! The Coursera and University of Edinburgh MOOC on “E-learning and Digital Cultures” starts next week, although with all the chatter surrounding it you’d think it’s well under way already (good publicity?).
The contact we’ve had from the organisers in the run up to the start of the MOOC (and I was able to speak to Jeremy Knox briefly at the Durham Blackbord Users’ Conference) has been really good, via emails and Twitter (my main two channels of contact) and I’ve had the ability to interact with the organisers and fellow students on the various social network platforms that have had areas set up (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Google Maps) – to be honest I’d prefer to choose just one to concentrate on, I already feel like I’m being pulled in different directions.
I will not be joining the Facebook group as I use Facebook purely for family & friends – I keep work and Ed Tech passion to Google+, Twitter, and here on my blog.
Considering the fact I hear that the MOOC has upwards of 36,000 people signed up for it I think it’s be prudent and very sensible to concentrate on your preferred platform (Twitter, Google+, etc) as well as the Coursera platform, and stick there otherwise it’ll be too difficult to keep up to date with what is going on.
This video, “Academic Excellence in 140 Characters”, follows the research of Ray Junco (@reyjunco) and his students on the effects of Twitter on student engagement and grades:
“Despite the widespread use of social media by students and its increased use by instructors, very little empirical evidence is available concerning the impact of social media use on student learning and engagement. This study provides experimental evidence that Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students and to mobilize faculty into a more active and participatory role.”
“Why should someone stop their conversation because they’re missing a tiny piece of information that you need to take that conversation further?” said Mr Singhal. “You have to pull out your phone. You have to unlock the phone. You have to type. Already you have lost valuable seconds and the conversation has become unnatural and awkward.”
And this is where Google thinks computing, and the power/operation of ‘searching’ for content, is heading – that the devices in our pockets, lives, even glasses (Google Glasses?) will be able to follow our conversations and be in a position to provide answer to our questions as we ask them, not after we perform the time consuming search.
Why am I sharing it … because it is the student voice, or lack of it, that I found most interesting. Jackie was getting frustrated at their inability to ‘reflect’ until
“a major AHA struck me … They are products of a standardized system where they were asked to memorize standardized information and spit that information out on standardized tests. When finished with one unit of information, they were asked to quickly move onto the next unit. They were not given the time, skills, and opportunities to extract personalized meanings from their studies. Reflection was not part of their curriculum as it cannot be measured nor tested.”
Jackie continues to discuss her work as well as that of Stephen Brookfield and the realisation that, in order to encourage reflection in our students, we (educators and/or facilitators) also need to be able to reflect:
“The only way that educators can teach and promote reflective practice by their students (of all ages) in their own classrooms is to engage in, embrace, and fully understand this process themselves.”
I am also in this process of reflection, needed for my PG Cert last year and for the (ongoing) CMALT application. I do not find it easy, especially when critical reflection is needed on something that occurred a while ago, but it is a worthwhile exercise and it does improve how I view and review my role as a Learning Technologist.
Today I confirmed the abstract of my presentation to the eAssessment Scotland Conference, hosted by the University of Dundee, on August 25/26, 2011 – www.e-assessment-scotland.org.
Here is what I will be delivering to the distinguished delegates:
Title: “24-hour Papers: the Open-Book Alternative to Exams for Online Assessment”
Abstract: “Common unit specifications covering delivery of subject-identical units across different courses, often with different delivery methods, are increasingly being implemented. The inclusion of a ‘coursework’ element of assessment allows for flexibility. This is different when an ‘exam’ is required; with students on a fully-online course, unable to attend an exam centre, due to differences in time zones and/or locations, the concept of an open-book exam is used. The exam paper is released to students through our VLE (Blackboard) at a time that is agreed and broadcast to students in advance. Submission of their work is required within a 24-hour window via an upload of their files to the VLE (using either the standard submission tool or Turnitin).”
“This presentation will draw upon the Bournemouth University’s substantial experience of presenting ‘Time-Constrained Papers’ to students studying at a distance and will consider the issues surrounding this approach. Particular consideration will be given to the importance of question design to limit scope for academic dishonesty and the University’s plans to modify this approach in the forthcoming academic year.”
I will be following Dr. Sharon Flynn on Friday morning (Parallel session A), where I will also talk about the use of Turnitin with distant learners within the scope of Time-Constrained Papers. I hope you can join us there.