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 →
I didn’t want to leave my journey into #BYOD4L without one final reflective ‘thought’. I wanted it to be different, graphical, interesting, and fun. From the Foldify avatar I produced for the final day of ‘creating’ I had the spark of an idea … and here it is!
The final day for the short BYOD4L framework is here – creating! With the guidance and preparation of the below, we knew we were in for an interesting time:
“We want to encourage you to explore learning through ‘making’ – meaning how you can use smart devices and applications to develop original and meaningful outputs as an individual or within groups. An opportunity to find ways to express yourself creatively and develop personal learning activities that are relevant and meaningful to your needs.”
The first thing I saw on the final day of BYLD4L was Chrissi Nerantzi saying we needed to check we could tweet pictures. So I did. 8:31 this picture was tweeted as I waited for my day to start (a rare peaceful moment before the students arrived and made some noise): Continue reading →
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.”
Firstly, and before we get into the Twitter chat from last night .. curation can be defined as “maintaining, preserving and adding value to digital research data throughout its lifecycle.” (Digital Curation Centre).
The storify archive from the tweet chat last night is already available (thanks Sue and Chrissi again) and include some great chat and interesting questions on curation, including: Continue reading →
Communication is big news. Unless you’re in the same room as the person you’re talking to you will be using some form of technology, whether it’s a home phone, mobile phone, computer (Skype, Instant Messenger or Chat, Google Hangouts, etc.) or a ‘new’ device like a tablet or smartphone(FaceTime, Skype, IM, etc.). But communication is now enhanced, and sometimes replaced, by social tools like Facebook, Twitter, blogging, commenting, even Instagram or Vine. What you use says as much about you as the tools you don’t.
So here, on day two of BYOD4L, the theme/topic makes us consider these different tools or techniques and our personal preferences for communicating. The Twitter chat posed some serious questions which was tweeted and discussed at length. How do we engage, how we want others to engage with us, and how we use these interactions is paramount to making those interactions matter.
We asked the following questions. Remember, each one was being tweeted to we were limited to 140 characters … well, more like 126 after you remove the ‘#BYOD4Lchat’ hashtag and ‘Q1′ and spaces, then drop another 30 or so for the ‘please use A1 and hashtag in your reply’ … so we only had about 80-90 characters to play with. Here’s what we asked: Continue reading →
The advance of mobile devices into our everyday lives continues, and doesn’t look to falter any time soon (if at all).
As educators and facilitators we talk and plan and design and write about implementing and using these devices (phones, tablets, etc.) as either part of the learning process or as an ancillary device, something additional, to where we want the learning to take place. But are we taking the students’ needs and hopes and desires into account when we do this, or do we think we already know and plough ahead regardless?
As I said in the ‘Improving Learning with Mobile Technology’ eBook “If children are spending more and more time connected online, then it stands to reason that some of this time will be in class. In your class? What are you doing about it?”. This is why the article in Research in Learning Technology - ‘‘I don’t think I would be where I am right now’’. Pupil perspectives on using mobile devices for learning – is relevant and important … it highlights the students’ perspective in a comparison bet ween two academies where mobile devices are encouraged in one and banned in the other.
Here’s the question … has anyone designed a Blackboard course purely from the perspective of working from the Mobile Learn App? Is it a mobile-friendly Bb course, or is it in fact a mobile-first approach to course design?
In my very unscientific approach I have seen differences between content I have loaded to a Blackboard (Bb) course and how it is displayed in the browser and in the App, but I’ve not seen what a Bb course looks like if it’s been designed purely for access and interactions through the App. Here’s why i’m asking:
I suspect that no one has built one yet.
I suspect that the course, designed for mobile, would not work well for a desktop learner.
I suspect that some elements, like tables and other “customization” approaches (as Bb refers to them), will not work pedagogically when we follow the Bb guide and the “suggest adding these content types as a PDF file” advice.
Can you create a good ‘design’ that allows for good pedagogy in the restrictions imposed by the App (images, files, layout, screen real-estate, etc.)?
I see plenty of resources that mimic the Bb help pages and resources, but none that actually explain and/or showcase good ‘design’. If you have examples, or links, or screenshots, or reports, or journal articles you can share with the rest of us then please leave them in comments below.
Another infographic, this time looking into how we can tap into mobile learning. Some figures from the infographic for you:
Only 17% of surveyed schools state that children are required to use mobile or portable devices in the classroom, and only 16% allow BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Whether this is 16% of the previous 17% who allow the use of mobile devices or 16% of everyone surveyed is not clear.
Parents view the use of the use of mobile devices are used more effectively in early years classrooms to promote curiosity than in later years, but it is still significantly higher than for other uses, e.g. to foster creativity, to teach languages or reading.
Parents of children who are being encouraged to use mobile devices are more positive about the learning and educational potential of mobile learning. Notable differences in how parents view their child’s performance between those classrooms where mobile learning is required, to those where it is not, shows the biggest divide.
2/3 or parents think schools should help students use devices safely.
2/3 also agree that the very same mobile devices can distract children from learning.
If, like me, you like to watch your films or listen to music on more than one device (in more than one location) then you’ll have had to copy/digitise/rip it, which is not always legal.
But it can be done. For your CDs you need to just put them in your computer and iTunes or other music library software will offer to rip it for you. Connect your digital audio device and copy the file across and you can listen to your CD in the car, gym, bus, or at work or walking the dog. It’s slightly more difficult for your DVDs but there is software that can rip it into an MP4/M4V or MOV or WMV file which will play on your laptop, tablet, etc. and you can watch on the train, bus, plane, or in the shed or bath (wherever you want).
But what about your extensive library of books you’ve been collecting. If, like me, you also want to be able to read these electronically then it’s a lot tougher to digitise. So why can’t you get the electronic copy at the same time as the physical one? You can do this with your DVDs and with some CDs now (some DVDs come with the Ultraviolet digital copy), so why not books? Continue reading →