Tag Archives: PLE

The Future of Higher Education in a Digital Age

If the student voice has so much power, as I keep reading that it does (when it comes to module feedback, learning resource development, pricing, etc.) then it stands to reason that the voice of students yet to reach Higher Education also have a voice that should be heard?

This is a great video, students and staff alike, saying what their ‘digital age’ education should be … note the accessible, flexible, personal, social, and collaborative  attitudes these students ‘want’ from their learning. Yes, they’re talking about what HE should be in the future, but it’s grounded in their understanding in what is currently available, and possibly what they wish they had already?

“I see technology as the accelerator, the expander, the multiplier.”

YouTube: The Future of Higher Education in a Digital Age

Thanks to Anne Hole for sharing this on G+ earlier today.


#BYOD4L Day 4: Collaboration, sharing, and ownership

Day four is upon us (going quickly, isn’t it!) and we’re looking at collaborating.

“We all need to work with other people and this is an opportunity to explore how smart devices can enable you to work with individuals and groups in a number of versatile ways so that you can maximise engagement and effectiveness when collaborating.”

For me collaboration starts with my network, my personal learning network, my learning environment … and here is how the tools I used) back in 2010: Continue reading

Classroom Sign: The Mess

10 claims about Technology and Learning #edtech

Classroom Sign: The Mess

I will not copy the whole post from Joshua Kim but strongly recommend you read his original article for the whole picture, not just my interpretation – ‘10 dubious claims about Technology and Learning‘.

Here are Joshua’s claims he wants to refute:

  1. The quality of courses has remained more or less constant over the past decade. Untrue.
  2. Campus investments on technology have been focused on equipment or software rather than teaching and learning. Misleading.
  3. People who work in academic technology are primarily technologists. Untrue.
  4. Tenured faculty are not innovative in integrating technology into their teaching. Untrue.
  5. Non-tenure track, part-time, adjunct and visiting faculty are less innovative in integrating technology into their teaching. Untrue.
  6. The demand for new methods of teaching, such as flipped classrooms and blended learning, is coming from the students. Untrue. Continue reading
Cristina Costa

Being active in many networks (@cristinacost)

Cristina CostaA post from Cristina Costa on “How I manage to keep active in so many networks” was one I read at the weekend that stopped me in my tracks and made me think “that’s it, that’s what I meant to say!”

But what was the question? Simple … when someone questions your activity on blogs, Twitter, Google+, etc., how do you respond?

“It’s actually really valuable to me, and it is only a reflection of how it has progressed. It was not always like that … it rather evolved to become what it is today!”

Cristina notes that it’s about the journey from nowhere to here, it’a about changing the way we work to get the most and best out of what is available. Whether it’s online, in the office, in the queue for a cuppa in the morning, in a meeting, etc. It’s all about making sure you have access tot the best of what’s on offer.

“[It’s] important to remember that working and participating online requires you to change the way you work… or at least, to acknowledge that the way you work is not the way your mother imagines you work. Working from 9 to 5 in academia is just unrealistic. Concentrating for long periods of time just doesn’t work for me.” [emphasis is mine]

Yes. We haven’t always been online tweeting and ‘liking’ what we read or post. Continue reading

DavidHopkins - Personal Learning Environment (PLE)

Developing your own Personal Learning Network (PLN) #edtech

One of the best examples I’ve come across, when looking at how you can utilise social media to form and develop a personal learning network is from my friends Sue Beckingham (@suebecks) and David Walker (@drdjwalker). Their presentation at the TEL-themed SEDA Conference in 2011 on “Using social media to develop your own personal learning network” is one I have referred to before, but surprisingly never blogged about.

Time to put that right – here it is:

We need to think about social media and networks in a way that removes the actual ‘tool’ from the mindset and introduces an ‘ecology’, a system for “enabling a system of people, practices, values and technologies in a particular local environment” (Suter et al, 2005). By thinking in this way we can introduce a ‘reason’ and a ‘purpose’ to it’s use that is not tied to any platform or time, that is able to be flexible and engaging (and easier to understand) so it is more readily available and adopted. Continue reading

Naughty Kids

A collection of VLE or learning ‘bad’ practices, pt.1 – Comments welcome

Naughty Kids

What are your pet-peeves about how your VLE is used – are you the culprit or is this what you see others do? Is it the technology at fault or how we / you / ‘they’ use it?

Come on, let’s have your examples of the things you’ve seen in your VLE that leave you in despair. Please leave your examples as comments below … we’ll see what we get.

Here’s a couple of examples I’ve seen over the past 5 years or so …

  • Learning resources and files loaded as simply ‘click here’ or ‘week one’ without any explanation. Try introducing the file with an appropriate name (‘Week one resources: [topic title]’) as well as some brief text about what the file is and what it contains, how the student should use it (read, discuss, activity, wider research, etc.), and what the learning outcome is – put the resource in the context of the learning and / or subject and / or timetable.
  • Well structured and detailed navigation … but empty folders. Even if you are using ‘adaptive release’ and the materials are loaded but not available yet, you could at least put a ‘holding’ message to say the materials will be available on or after specific dates – if it’s empty the student thinks you’ve either not done anything or it’s something they’ve done wrong.
  • Announcements on the home page / welcome screen … but there haven’t been any, either use it or don’t display it, an empty area can only cause confusion for students (see above).

I plan to collate the responses and comments into a fuller list (that’ll be part 2) which I’ll blog about in a month or two or when there’s a good range of comments. If you’d rather remain anonymous then please email me (‘david’ at ‘this website address’) and I’ll publish it minus your name.

Image Source: Naughty Funny Kids

A new PLN?

I’ve been fascinated by the ideas of a Personal Learning Network (PLN) for ages now, pretty much ever since I first heard about it.

Perhaps this is why Steve Wheeler’s (is that @timbuckteeth or @stevewheeler? But that’s another story) latest blog post made me think long and hard about it again. The images/slides below are from Joyce Seitzinger’s (@catspyjamasnz) “Professional Learning Environment (PLN) model” presented recently in Melbourne, Australia.

Click the images above to read Steve’s original post on the sildes, as presented by Joyce.

It is important to note that the tools listed in the ‘deisgn’ slide are not the recommended tools but rather an indication of what ‘could’ be used, and that you insert your own personal preferences for each segment.

So, what do you think … does it strike a chord for you like it did for me.

PS. here is my PLN that I ‘devised’ back in December 2009:

David Hopkins: PLN

Florizel Media: http://florizelmedia.comhttp://florizelmedia.com/

Reflection on a presentation: Social Media and Social Network #SoMe

Florizel Media: http://florizelmedia.comhttp://florizelmedia.com/Earlier this week I gave the following presentation to a groups of first year Accounting and Finance students:

and was kindly asked by Pauline Randall of Florizel Media to write up a reflective account of the presentation and what kind of impact it had on the students. You can read my full account on Pauline’s website:

I hope Pauline doesn’t mind but here is a snippet for you to read, but please read the full reflection using the link above.

“What I was not prepared for, when I thought about presenting this, was the students were completely unaware that their activity online could have any bearing on their employability. It was clear from the gasps and shocked faces when I introduced the examples of people losing their jobs because of their online activity that I had hit my mark; I was changing their perception of not only social media and social networks, but also of how they are going to use them.”

I also had the event recorded by the Bournemouth University installation of the Echo360 lecture capture system. Here it is;

Social Media and Social Network Presentation

Click to view recording of the “Social Media and Social Network” Presentation

It was only after I’d finished that I’d remembered I hadn’t said the “Farmville / I Quit” story turned out to be a hoax, but I’ll remember next time!

Links and YouTube videos played in the lecture are:


WordPress Plugin #4: Creative Commons Licence

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

Much has been written recently about people having their work ripped off, word for word. It’s happened to me once or twice, and there is little bloggers can do about it. Dave Colman (@davecoleman146) had this happen as well, and wrote about it on his blog “SharePointEduTech“, and the comments were well made and sympathetic to his plight.

But what can you or I do about protecting our blog content, our intellectual property? I’ve already mentioned the copy-protect service called Tynt, in the post “What’s being copied from your blog?“.

Well, here’s another little thing you can add to your blog. It won’t stop it happening but it will give a visual identity to your awareness of the facts, and that you are covering yourself for any future action you want to take. The plugin is called “Creative Commons Configurator” and you go through a process of selecting the type of licence you want to use, and how you want it displayed.

You can add the text to the HTML meta tags too, all part of the plugin.

have you been the victim of someone copying your content (and they even use the links to your images too)? How did you deal with them and handle the situation?

Induction Activity

Induction Activity – “in 100 words or less …”

Induction week, for campus-based students is all about getting to know each other, getting to know the programme team, and socialising. This is also true for online students, although it is not always easy to forge the same kind of understanding, relationships and outcome; but it’s not impossible.

Working online is not often a natural feeling for students, whatever their age. To this end we, the facilitators, need to carefully design the Induction programme and activities to make the students feel at home, comfortable in the online environment, and able to comment in a risk- and blame-free environment.

This makes it all the more important to carefully design and implement the introduction, the learning environment, and the online activities you expect them to participate in. Last year I wrote about five such activities in my post Online Induction: Icebreaker Activities.

Here is another one, modified from  Ryan Watkins’ book “75 eLearning Activities – making online learning interactive” (Amazon link);

Objective: This gives the students the opportunity to share their thoughts on a  topic (decided by the activity moderator) in the VLE to encourage a reflective process about themselves and their colleagues.

This can be used with either a Discussion Board or a Blog, depending on the preference and confidence of the moderator and expected technical competencies of the student cohort.

Process: The moderator provides the topic, usually something topical to current news, the programme content or learning style (eLearning), and encourages the students to initially post their responses (100 words or less). Once all students have responded the moderator encourages further posts replying to at least 3 entries made by their colleagues, also in 100 words or less.

Additional Information: If students are new to the technology (blog, discussion board) then appropriate training material is needed.

Ideally the kind of Induction Activity you use ought to be a mixture of reflective and collaborative styles in order to get the students engaged and comfortable with each other, with you (the moderator), and in working online in what many may find a new and alien environment.

What kind of activity do you use, is it specifically designed for online students or one that can be used for campus-based as well as online students?