‘Riding Giants: How to innovate and educate ahead of the wave’ is the title & theme for the 2014 ALT Conference – my first ALT conference.
With the conference themes being weaved thoughout the three days (education, innovate, communicate) the opportunities are here for all delegates to take what they need, give back (through questions, discussions, informal tweet ups, etc), and enhance not only their own ideas and practices but those around them.
I don’t want to say I’m surprised by the level of engagement, as that implies I might think that we (learning technology-type people) have such a low level of engagement or closed-door mentality at these events (which we don’t), but I am enthused and proud when I look around the room at the discussions and engagements that are taking place. From lunchtime to coffee breaks, to break-out activities to keynote speakers, this first day has been energetic and had a buzz around ‘being together’ I’ve not experienced since my first FOTE conference in 2009. There is clear symmetry in what we are all feeling as part of the Learning Technology fraternity these days; from MOOCs to student engagement, academic buy-in, digital literacy, experiences, virtual vs. real worlds, etc. as there are so many overlaps between session presentations.
My thoughts on courses and training, as I mentioned above, as just this: courses tend to fit the organisational structure of the issuing body and don’t always fit the ‘need’ of the learner. You join (example) a specific school or faculty to start and complete your degree in Business Management or Economics or Sociology. But what if the specific subjects you really want to study are only loosely based around the course structure that the institution wants to teach? Continue reading →
Last week I was involved in the second iteration / cohort / running of the BYOD4L short course. Along with a number of colleagues we ran a series of tweet-chats each evening along the course themes – timed between 8-9pm the tweet-chats involved facilitators posing questions and ‘facilitating’ the responses and direction the chat took.
Taking is back to the beginning … what is a tweet-chat?
“A TweetChat is a virtual meeting or gathering on Twitter to discuss a common topic. The chat usually lasts one hour and will include some questions to stimulate discussion.” – BYOD4L Tweet-chat
“A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag. This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with these interests.” Social Media Examiner
I thought I’d write up my experiences of running three tweet-chats now: two for BYOD4L, and one for the Leicester Forensic Science FutureLearn MOOC. Each uses a different approach, but both very valid and engaging for the students / participants as well as the course team(s).
“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.”
It’s useful to reflect on progress, or projects, or my work in general. Seeing as this is my 6th (or 7th – see I’ve lost count already) week in my new role at Warwick Business School (WBS) I thought I’d reflect on my ‘general’ duties as a(nother) newbie … how do my new days at WBS compare with my old days at Leicester and Bournemouth?
No more Blackboard! Well, that’s not entirely true as I’m now using Bb Collaborate to support core WBS activity and DL programmes. I’ve been learning the subtleties of how WBS work with and run Bb Collaborate sessions and how it integrates with the VLE (myWBS).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … I like(d) Blackboard and will kind of miss it. Once you understand the subtleties of what it is and how it works you can do what you want, most of the time. In my experience people who moan about it the most have spent less time trying to work with it, almost fighting against it.
These are not my words (although I may agree with them)!
In February I wrote about my experience of Twitter and how it has changed the way I work, think, and look at myself – Where would I be without Twitter. In it I looked back over 5 years, 24,000 tweets, +7000 followers, etc. I acknowledge it’s impact on my personal and professional outlook, some good and some not so good.
Dan Snow, the presenter and historian has gone further than me and pinned his thoughts on the use of Twitter in The Guardian article ‘Anyone who doesn’t love Twitter is an idiot’. Dan explains that, for him, the use of the Internet (including Twitter and other social tools) has brought otherwise lengthy or geographically inaccessible primary sources into easy access:
“Digitisation of archives means we can search records and primary source material from the comfort of our own offices … a perk of the job used to be that you could travel abroad and work in an archive somewhere quite glamorous for weeks on end. Now we stay at home and do it online. For me, though, even more exciting is how it has allowed us to reach out to people. It’s made history collaborative and accessible. I can tweet about what I’m working on, and people will suggest ideas or come up with documents. It has opened a pipeline between geeky history people like me and the rest of the world. We used to just publish in academic journals, now we can share our research with huge numbers of people.”
After such a successful run earlier this year, the team behind BYOD4L (Sue Beckingham, Chrissi Nerantzi, Andrew Middleton, et al) are working their magic again – put the dates in your diary: BYOD4L July 14-18. I have been invited back again this time to work with Sue, Andrew, and Chrissi (and the other team members) and will be engaging course participants online.
We all love infographics (well, I do. Well, decent ones anyway) which is why this one is really interesting. Instead of being a static “this is what happens in an Internet-minute” like this one and this one) you can see the number of posts, likes, tweets, pins, emails, views, downloads, clicks, saves, etc. build over the time it takes you to view the details of the infographic.
A couple of months ago I had one of those ‘ah ha’ moments I should have had 25+ years ago at school. I have never been good at taking notes. Never.
At school I was always behind and struggling because I couldn’t keep up with my teachers and their dictated notes. I wasn’t alone with this, but it was still hard. At University it was the same, but it felt worse because everyone else wrote and kept amazing notes from lectures, demonstrations, field-trips, etc. I survived and gained my degree because I had generous friends who helped me when I needed it.
Now, with nearly 18+ years since graduation I’ve finally realised why I am still making rubbish notes in meetings, conferences, etc. (apart from the obvious reason that I suck at it). It’s the wrong medium for me. It’s not that my handwriting is so awful I can’t read it (which, unfortunately, it is) it’s that I don’t respond to those kinds of notes. Therefore I shouldn’t be trying to take notes like that.
“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?