The issue of teacher pay, pension, and working conditions is in the public arena again today as UK teachers go out on strike: “Thousands of pupils in England and Wales will miss lessons on Thursday as members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) walk out on strike.” – BBC News
And again the thorny issue of parents being fined when they take their children on holiday during term time is linked to the lost day(s) of teaching from the strike action -beautifully summed up in this News Thump (spoof news site) article: “As it is, when my child misses school I’m endangering their education and liable to a significant fine, but when they miss school due to a teacher’s strike it’s ‘in their best interests and helping their long-term future’.”
As someone who works in education, and a parent with children in early years schooling, I sympathise with both sides. But what I want to comment on is the issue of parents being able to take their children out of school for a family holiday during term time. I am sure that there are instances when it is not a good idea, e.g. before exams. But surely there’s something both the parents and the school can agree on for the benefit of the kids? Continue reading
A good article on education and technology, on the Chattanoogan website – ‘Technology In Education: The Future Is Now‘:
“Because we now live in a technology-based world, we believe in the smart use of technology in the classroom to facilitate student engagement is no longer optional. The use of online education and technology can also effectively address the age-old problem of having students on various levels in the same classroom and allow for the simplified creation of personalized learning plans.”
“As educators, and as an association, we understand that questioning basic assumptions and asking difficult questions are what education leaders are expected to do. We should regularly analyze advantages and disadvantages of the benefits and growing dependence on technology in the classroom, workplace and society as a whole.”
“However, technology can act as an impediment to education as well. All is not equal with technology. Some students have unlimited access to computers and internet at school and home while others have very little to none … technology infrastructure varies widely from urban to rural areas. How can you create a technologically-based curriculum for all if all do not have access to computers / software / broadband? How do you make sure the teachers are trained on the ever changing apps and software that are available? And if you have a school where most every student has a device, how do you make sure each student stays on task and their data is safe?”
Image source: The Bookcase (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
This resource from Vicki Davis – “A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom” on Edutopia is a good starting point for planning the inclusion of social media in learning spaces.
Vicki closes by saying something very similar to what I submitted to the Mobile Learning – “Improving Learning with Mobile Technology” eBook:
“Social media is here. It’s just another resource and doesn’t have to be a distraction from learning objectives. Social media is another tool that you can use to make your classroom more engaging, relevant and culturally diverse.”
The list consists of:
- Tweet or post status updates as a class.
- Write blog posts about what students are learning.
- Let your students write for the world.
- Connect to other classrooms through social media.
- Use Facebook to get feedback for your students’ online science fair projects.
- Use YouTube for your students to host a show or a podcast.
- Create Twitter accounts for a special interest projects.
- Ask questions to engage your students in authentic learning.
- Communicate with other classrooms.
- Create projects with other teachers.
- Share your learning with the world.
- Further a cause that you care about.
What would you add (or remove) from the list to help others utilise students and their devices?
Image source: Life on the wire (CC BY 2.0)
A few months ago I was trying to decide on whether to spend £100 on an Apple TV or £30 on a Google Chromecast. I opted for the cheaper, newer, untried, unknown Chromecast.
Here are my thoughts, so far … it’s not there yet, but it has potential.
It is easy to set up and easy to use. Simply plug it into an HDMI slot on the back or your TV. If’ you’ve a USB port on the TV too then use this for power, if not you’ll have another cable trailing on the floor to a plug. Follow the short, simple instructions to set Chromecast up on your wifi, either through your laptop or iPad browser, and that’s it. It took about 3 minutes in all and then I was away.
Last night I surfed through the list of Netflix movies looking for something different, something new, something that would engage me on a level a blockbuster or classic film wouldn’t. Thanks to whatever algorithm Netflix uses to offer me a recommendation I went from a documentary about the Le Mans 24 race (“Every Second Counts (2012)“) to a skater docu-film called ‘Bones Brigade, an autobiography‘.
Yeah, that’s what I thought too; “really?” Initially. But it appealed to me: I’d never been any good on a skateboard as a kid, even worse on roller-skates. I do enjoy watching things like the X Games and other (Red Bull) type skater/surfer/extreme sport films. I alsohave admiration for the things skaters could do, and for the things they’ve broken to try and master a trick or move. This documentary, about a group/team of skaters who redefined skating and what the ‘sport’ meant, was quite an emotional roller coaster for me: here were a bunch of misfits, goofballs, loners, outsiders, etc. who refused to give up when, in the early 1980′s, the sport and skate parks (their arenas) disappeared and were ripped up.
“When six teenage boys came together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s, they reinvented not only their chosen sport but themselves too – as they evolved from insecure outsiders to the most influential athletes in the field.” IMDB Continue reading
New Year, new challenges, new opportunities. That’s as much happy-stuff I can muster at the moment – it’s the 3rd day back to work after a wonderful, but tiring, 2 week festive break and I’ve got a stinker of a cold (not that you wanted to hear that).
So, to start the year on a positive note this course, ‘Bring Your Own Device for Learning’, not only attracted my attention but I was also invited to help create and facilitate it. Running from January 27th to 31st, the ‘Bring Your Own Device for Learning’ (BYOD4L) short (open) course, is from the Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group. Participants will be able to immerse themselves (students or teachers) in a range of opportunities to explore the use of smart devices for learning and teaching in their professional context in an immersive, open and collaborative environment.
Welcome to a final few thoughts on and about 2013: what did I do, what did I read, what did I achieve, what did I miss, what did I not do … you get the picture. Well …
- After thinking, planning, and talking about it for nearly two years I finally got round to planning, writing, and publishing my eBook on QR Codes in Education. (May 2013).
- Several years in the making I finally completed my CMALT portfolio and submitted it and gained my CMALT accreditation (November 2013).
- In October I re-read my QR Codes in Education eBook and realised it would read better with a different structure to the contents and I took the opportunity to make it available as a printed book too (November 2013). Working with the CreateSpace website I restructured the materials, redesigned the cover and worked on the 2nd edition of the book (also updating the eBook too to match).
- Worked closely with colleagues in Leicester on aspects of mobile learning, online marking and feedback, support, course reconfiguration, and roles & responsibilities.
- Presented a brown bag lunch seminar on “Improving the Student Experience Through Blackboard in the College of Social Science”
- I am proud to have helped launch the East Midlands Learning Technology SIG including Twitter, blog, LinkedIn group, Google+ group, etc.
Most popular posts (by month): Continue reading
If it’s November, then it’s time for the annual EduBlog Awards. And this year it’s their 10th anniversary.
So, who or what has made a mark in 2013? Here’re my thoughts, why not write your own post and make your own nomination?
Follow the nominations and awards on Twitter #eddies13 hashtag and make your own nominations count.
ALT has produced a series of short films to give you an inside view of who we are (learning Technologists), who they are (ALT), what we do, and why members enjoy being part of our community. Announced on the ALT website earlier this week the videos are of, from, and about the ALT membership who are “making innovative use of learning technology in education about what it means to be part of the community.”
The three videos, embedded below, are:
- Using Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching
- The Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning (ocTEL)
- Seeing the Connections: Twitter Community Exploration with TAGSExplorer Continue reading
The Educause Centre for Applied Research (ECAR) has recently published their “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013” report.
The report summary has the following key points and recommendations:
- Students recognize the value of technology but still need guidance when it comes to better using it for academics.
- Students prefer blended learning environments while beginning to experiment with MOOCs.
- Students are ready to use their mobile devices more for academics, and they look to institutions and instructors for opportunities and encouragement to do so.
- Students value their privacy, and using technology to connect with them has its limits.