Year in Review / 2013

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.

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So, what about 2014 … what am I looking forward to? Well …

  • I was due to start the MSc in Learning Innovation in October 2013 but the start was deferred until February 2014. It is still my plan to start (and complete) it.
  • Working within the College of Social Science at the University of Leicester offers a variety of challenges and opportunities in applying learning technology and aligning them to pedagogic and learning outcomes. This remains a focus for me in 2014, with a view to improving and enhancing the knowledge and understanding of what is available, and to increase awareness of the support available.
  • I am looking forward to attending ALT-C in 2014, my first ALT conference.
  • From my CMALT accreditation I have joined the ALT CMALT Development SIG as well as becoming an assessor for other CMALT portfolio submissions. I am really looking forward to being able to give something back to the community that has helped me develop in my role as a Learning Technologist.
  • The Blackboard Teaching & Learning Conference was reported to be a very good conference in 2013, so I’m keeping my eyes open for details of the 2014 one in the plan of attending.
  • I have been invited to present at my first European Conference (Madrid) in May 2014 on the subject of ‘strategies for engaging students with learning technology’. Keep an eye out on the blog for my presentation and progress here.
  • Continue reading and researching ‘what is a Learning Technologist‘ in light of my involvement with ALT and SEDA.
  • Open Badges remain on my radar an I hope to make more of them in 2014.
  • Keep the creative juices flowing and work on my other ideas on paper- and e-books and publishing / self-publishing in general – I have more ideas than time so this will be tough, especially when/if the MSc starts.
  • “Less talking, more doing.”

And what of developments and/or changes for 2014 – I’m not making predictions, this is just what I’ll be looking out for and interested in?

  • Blackboard – of course – making a cleaner and more integrated product suite, utilising other established technologies to enhance the learning environment (social media, etc.). It’s too clunky at the moment to make a coherent or seamless ‘link’ to anything outside the VLE so being able to incorporate external sources / resources / systems will become a deal-breaker for some looking at their VLE provider.
  • Wearable tech will get more attention in 2014. How these are used (ethically or not) in education will also become news worthy (I’m thinking Google Glass in classrooms or healthcare, smart watches in exam halls, etc.).
  • Big data and how it is collected, used, stored, and manipulated will, or rather should be, discussed more openly. What do our devices store and say about us (where we are, how we use them, etc.) and the systems or networks we interact with (knowingly or not).
  • MOOCs – I think the backlash on MOOCs has already started, but what I see growing from this is better quality online short courses. Using techniques learned from producing MOOCs, paid-for short courses will grow, become more competitive, and gain recognition (if not accreditation).
  • Will apps continue to dominate or will native/responsive websites gain momentum? I know which I prefer, but the requirement of always-on isn’t the same as always-connected.

What about you? What are you proud of in 2013, and what are your plans for 2014?

Image source: 4th July by Bill Dickinson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)