As part of a series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this sixth post I talk to Sheila MacNeill (Senior Lecturer, Glasgow Caledonian University) and David Walker (Head of Technology Enhanced Learning, Sussex University), who have chosen to co-author a chapter for the book on Learning Technologists as ‘digital pedagogues’.
DH – Hi David and Sheila. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?
SM – Good question. In reality, without using technology I wouldn’t be able to do my work. Almost everything I do at work relies on technology. Face to face communication is still very important, but I do all my “stuff” via technology, be that my desktop computer, my iPad or phone. If the “t’internet” is down at work I’m a bit stuffed! I would probably use up a months data allowance on my phone in a morning – or go home and work there. Luckily that doesn’t happen very often. Continue reading
Over two years ago I wrote about a few experiences I’d had with some online courses / MOOCs, and why I ‘failed’ (according to the general headline figures of engagement, attendance, etc. that are used in mainstream press).
I want to revisit this, in light of more experience in both designing MOOCs and being a student on them.
Disclaimer: This is based on courses I’ve taken on the FutureLearn, Coursera, Cloudworks, EdX, and WordPress (OcTEL) platforms. I also highlight whether is was a student on the course, or part of the development team.
1. Comments and Engagement: For the most part I’ve been a silent students. This is both deliberate and accidental. Where it’s been a deliberate choice to not engage in the comments and discussion it’s been because I knew I didn’t have the time or inclination to trawl through the hundreds of fairly uninteresting posts to add my two-pennies worth or find the one nugget of insight that is worth anything. It’s also because, for some courses, I didn’t have enough interest to take my engagement further.
As part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this second post I talk to Wayne Barry, Education and Social Technologist at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent.
DH – Hi Wayne. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?
WB – Hi David. That’s an interesting question and one I hadn’t considered before as technology is so much a part of our lives that we don’t always stop to consider it’s role and impact.
As part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this first post I talk to Sue Beckingham, Educational Developer at Sheffield Hallam University.
DH – Hi Sue. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?
SB – It’s an integral part of my daily routine. By this I mean that I make use of the affordances of my mobile phone to access a wide range of apps to help organise my day, provide me with news, information as part of my research and of course social networking places where I keep abreast of what’s happening out in the field via my personal learning network (PLN). Continue reading
I have commented, negatively, on the accessibility of supposed academic eBook platforms before, so it is a welcome relief to read the JISC post today – Accessible ebook platforms – seven honest dealers (and a few non responders) – whose findings support my claims – until recently many of them were not accessible, or even should be called ‘eBooks’.
My complaint is, and has been (and may continue to be), that they are not eBooks in the sense of an ePub or MOBI file, i.e. scalable, accessible, etc. Academic eBooks are files, often PDFs, loaded to a proprietary piece of software that controls access, printing, searching, etc. In this software you can view the whole book page inside their ‘skin’ which enables searches, thumbnails, chapter links, etc. When viewed on a desktop this is clunky, at best, but workable. Continue reading
It’s been a while since my last book review, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been keeping up to date with my reading list – if anything the list is getting longer (and the days shorter).
My latest addition to the list is from Brian Chen – “Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future – and Locked Us In“.
It is clear to see all around us just what impact smartphones have had on society and, in my area of interest, learning. It has enabled truly mobile learning to take place – in the sense of mobile materials as well as mobile individuals – as well as interactions when we, the learner, wants it, not just when the course director wants it. Apple has taken something, developed it, marketed it, and let it loose on the world. You could argue about Apple and Steve Jobs’ intent and whether they knew what they had when it was first released, but it is the inclusion of the App Store and the developments the global community made that have helped steer and mould the direction the iPhone and subsequent smartphones took. Continue reading
“The mere presence of a cell or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy, according to a new Virginia Tech study that finds your attention is divided even if you’re not actively looking at your phone.”
The article ‘Your smartphone could be turning you into a lousy friend – even when you’re not using it‘ is as much about the social impact of the always-on connections we have through our mobile devices as it is about how we manage them.
“For many, digital distraction involves the “constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” the authors write.”
Continuing my interest in data and how it can be used, this project and associated video is a very useful indication of how data from one App (called ‘Human’) can show us how we move.
Do you walk, run, cycle? Continue reading
Mobile learning is a relatively new phenomenon and the theoretical basis is currently under development. The paper presents a pedagogical perspective of mobile learning which highlights three central features of mobile learning: authenticity, collaboration and personalisation, embedded in the unique timespace contexts of mobile learning. A pedagogical framework was developed and tested through activities in two mobile learning projects located in teacher education communities: Mobagogy, a project in which faculty staff in an Australian university developed understanding of mobile learning; and The Bird in the Hand Project, which explored the use of smartphones by student teachers and their mentors in the United Kingdom. The framework is used to critique the pedagogy in a selection of reported mobile learning scenarios, enabling an assessment of mobile activities and pedagogical approaches, and consideration of their contributions to learning from a socio-cultural perspective.
Kearney, M., Schuck, S., Burden, K., Aubusson, P.. Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective. Research in Learning Technology, North America, 20, feb. 2012. Available at: http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/14406. Date accessed: 08 May. 2014.
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