Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Evaluating Moodle course pages through learners

Below are a series of questions that were created using Moodle Feedback that was distributed across all course pages on the site.  The questionnaire asks learners about their experience of their Moodle course pages to make an informed judgements on how to improve them.  The results are then populated and discussed in quality reviews with departments.  The departments then develop actions from the results to make the suggested changes - so student needs should be met as well as developing the VLE.

1.  What do you think of the content of YOUR Moodle course page?

  • Poor
  • Average
  • Good
  • Excellent

2.  Any suggestions for improving the content of YOUR Moodle course page?

3.  What do YOU think of the variety and content on this Moodle page? (Video, audio, images, quizzes etc.)

  • No variety
  • Some variety
  • Wide range of variety

4.  Any comments on the variety and content of this Moodle course page?

5.  Is the content of this Moodle course page developing YOUR knowledge and understanding?

  • Not developing
  • Reinforces what I know
  • Developing more understanding

6.  You are satisfied with the materials and development of your Moodle course?

  • Disagree
  • Neither agree or disagree
  • Agree
  • Agree strongly

7.  Do you use this Moodle course outside College?

  • Yes - I do use the materials
  • No - I don’t study outside the college
  • I have some issues, please give the issues below

Monday, 1 December 2014

Developing a Learning Technologist

Since having our apprentices, I've since realised that I need to educate them in the Learning Technologist role.  They predominantly create content, however they do need to have the knowledge and experience to support others in the use of learning technology.  So, to make sure I am teaching them everything I know and more, I need to have some sort of guideline to work to develop them.  But then it got me thinking, what should a learning technologist know?  Below is a list that I will be working towards over the next few months to make sure our apprentices have a greater understanding of their wider role.  It's a broad list that can cover a wide range and it's not exhaustive.

Learning and teaching:

  • What is learning
  • Learning theories
  • What is teaching
  • What is assessment
  • What are Learning Technologies and the types of Learning Technologies
  • What is eLearning and the types of eLearning
  • Multimedia in eLearning
  • eLearning design
  • Facilitating eLearning and working with difference and inclusivity
  • Current global markets and trends in eLearning and practices

Technology:

  • Social networking
  • Online tools and resources
  • eLearning packages
  • Devices (mobiles, tablets, laptops, Interactive Whiteboard, digital cameras, lecture capture)
  • Applications
  • Emerging technologies and horizon scanning
  • Impact and evaluation of eLearning
  • Accessibility
  • Copyright

Developing individual expertise:

  • ICT skills
  • Specialist area(s)
  • Reflective practice
  • Curate resources
  • Working in an academic environment
  • Network researching in own and organisational pedagogic practice

When they are confident and competent in their roles.  I would like them to participate in the Certified Membership of the Association for Learning Technology (CMALT) scheme as it's really useful for their professional and future development.  It helped me greatly when I first did it.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Because I'm Daniel Scott

Had a little go at a poem about me...

Because I'm Daniel Scott. I speak before thinking. I may appear quiet and timid at times but I'm just contemplating.

Because I'm Daniel Scott. I bite off more than I can chew. I act mad and erratic at times more than just a few.

Because I'm Daniel Scott. I work and carry out my chores to the point of being obsessive. I can build stress and sometimes appear aggressive.

Because I'm Daniel Scott. I learn and unlearn so I can yearn for the best of me and what is yet to be.

Because I'm Daniel Scott. I am blessed and thankful for what I have, give and receive.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Digital Sharing in the Workplace

A brief introduction to using Yammer for digital sharing in the workplace. This video is for one of my projects on the Technology Enhanced Learning MSc I am currently doing. The audio is poor, so make sure your volume is high.
 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Truth About Learning Technology?

After making the following post on the ALT mailing list, which seemed to have caused a positive stir (and one of many).  I've finally got around to reading through your comments you have shared and summarised my thoughts from them.

This question will have  been asked many times I’m sure, but this is what us Learning Technologists do.  I’m really interested in this and maybe I could be directed.

Putting the theory and suggestions to one side (although the truth may be here).  I would like to know where eLearning (of all kinds) has made a real difference to a learner.

For example, let’s say from the usual Word processed assignment to a collaborative peer effort.  How has that furthered individuals more than a conventional method?

The learner may need to experience the conventional first to understand which is better between the both then review that to get a true understanding.

What I’m trying to get is the true value of eLearning to get teachers to understand what impact it will actually have on individuals.  The SAMR model helps us to make the change, but I need to see the truth that technology does further individuals.

This may be more scientific.  But maybe visuals such as ‘big data’ or actual videos of it happening may be the evidence?

Or am I just talking complete nonsense here?  Just emptying thoughts.

Many of the discussions are held on learning and teaching strategies, methods, motivation, access and resolving pedagogical problems.

As Dawn Alderson reminded me kindly, "a good place to start is with self".

I strongly agree with Marius Jugariu's contribution of John Naughton's statement; "we invariably overestimate the short-term impact of new technologies while underestimating their longer-term effects", which he classes as The First Law of Technology.  I also agree with Marius on making learning memorable.

I believe that only individually and intrinsically do we know that if technology had a benefit on our personal growth and development.  But we don't always know this until deep reflection has occurred.  It's about what it does for you as a person.  However, flexibility and personalisation does motivate personal needs and ambitions.

It's like my experience with the Open University.  I wouldn't be where I am now if I didn't build my confidence in my ability to learn on my own.  Which is what this experience gave me, choice, flexibility and distance.  Technology was only a small part but helped dramatically.  It gave me the confidence to know that I could learn anything if I challenged myself to put me in that situation.  Time really does tell if reflection on long-term learning has worked.  I would say that one truth about learning technology is what I once said before, eLearning is really independent learning in disguise.

To conclude, technology, people (teachers and learners), methods and strategies will change over time.  But impact won't change over time.  Impact is impact.  So it doesn't matter what is used and how, as long as there is a clear impact on that individual and proves over a long-term period.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Learning design in action

Back in August 2014 we employed our first set of apprentices to work in Elephant Learning Designs and to learn on the newly created Level 3 Diploma in Digital Learning Design qualification.

It’s been an exciting two months for me and others in helping get the workplace and resources ready for the learners arrival.  Everything about this has been new.  In addition to my role as a Learning Support Technologist I now manage and develop the learners and the programme, assess and lead on internal verifying.

All learners are now settled in and are progressing really well in their employment and are learning and developing learning materials for teaching staff.  Learners have just commenced the first unit of their course work which has been well received.  All learners are demonstrating unique skills and knowledge.  This is proving to be a successful and diverse team where everyone has different skill sets in different areas that contribute to the development of others.

How is the programme run?
We have decided to run this programme as an apprenticeship which offers real workplace skills and knowledge of creating highly engaging and purposeful interactive learning materials.  The apprenticeship is a year but learners can do another year and progress onto the Level 4 Diploma in Digital Learning Design.  Discussions of potential ideas will take place in the New Year of who and what is being done for the Level 4 programme.

What are the learners doing?
All learners are starting and/or midway through some projects for teachers while others are finishing off internal department projects.  These projects entail creating interactive learning materials on a range of subjects and topics, Moodle graphic/user interface designs and informative poster designs.  But there are plans to extend this work into larger projects and deeper engagement once Elephant Learning Designs is fully promoted internally.  Plus, there is a view to open Elephant Learning Designs to external businesses too.

What happens next?
Currently we are aiming to create eLearning experiences that are visually dynamic but have the impact that should be expected.  Thus, providing the underpinning understanding of what eLearning actually is and not just a ‘fun factor’.  This is research that myself (through my masters) and a colleague are currently investigating, then we will guide our learners to this outcome.  It builds on from my previous views on Flipped Instruction? and A little deeper with eLearning.

Learners will soon be planning and developing their own pathway into what they want to do with their newly gained skills and knowledge.  So I will be providing support they need to ensure they reach their goals.

Beyond
It’s been a whirlwind of positive experiences for me and I’m sure it has for our learners.  But one of the most unique elements about this is that everything is new.  So by absorbing and reflecting through this newness, we are creating our own standards and expectations and these will flow into the qualification specification and possibly beyond into future curriculum development.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Screencast Feedback

This is an actual example of a screencast feedback I gave to a learner during the pilot of the L4TLD I offered. This one is raw (and now dated (May 2013) - minus my beard) as I wanted it to be done there and then. But I did provide formal written feedback, which you can see on there too. The audio is poor, so make sure your volume is high.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Believe

The day has arrived! It's so surreal to say this. I never thought in my wildest imagination that I would be here enrolling onto an MSc. Given my slow start in education. I could cry, really!  I'm making personal history. I'm going to give it all I've got. I promise. You only live once (so it's said) and I'll probably experience this once in my lifetime. Here I go, I'm going in!

Next year marks ten years since I started my transformation to educate and make something of myself.  Ten years, can’t believe how quick it’s gone.

I remember saying in the moment:
'Underdogs', it is time to step up. You don't have to have anything. Position yourself and be sure of your intention. The rest will follow.  (I was an underdog you see haha.)

It all might seem self-centred, but I'm standing up for the people that don't believe in themselves. I got here from doing just that, even if I might not be so good. But I believe I am, and that is what it should be about right?

We teach to get others to be independent.  That’s the ultimate goal.  I taught myself this through drive and determination with the overall goal making of something of myself.
I might not know a lot, but I do know about learning and how it surrounds and binds everything.  Plus, it’s my main subject along with natural history and music haha.

Anyway, I’ll give this MSc everything I’ve got.  There will be some hard and challenging times, but isn’t that what learning is about?  If you are not challenged, you are not learning.  I have my network of believers, supporters and inspirers to help me get through this.
I am proud to get to this point, why shouldn't I be. I don’t say it as much as I should. But deep down I am.  I pushed myself to make me a better and  more rounded person as well as to know more.

To look back on…  I did this recorded interview back in Summer 2012.  How I have changed in direction and grown in confidence!  How many ‘erms’ can you count?!
Passionate Teachers (I'm on at 15 mins 30 secs).

 
It’s not about where I am, but how I got here.  And I’ll keep on sharing the experiences.  Thank you for the opportunity.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Panel of experience

Yesterday and on Friday 12 September, I was asked to be a part of an interview panel. It was very similar to what happened back in January.

Last Friday I was on a panel looking at presentations of candidates for a course leader on teacher training courses.  It was a great experience to see what each candidate came up with and have discussions with them and other staff on the panel.  It helped me to understand what to look for and what to ask candidates further.  As well as seeing what enthusiasm and energy they could potentially bring to Barnsley College.

The candidates were asked to do a presentation on strategies to deliver outstanding teaching, learning and assessment for the Education and Training qualifications.

All four candidates for this presented or discussed something different.  Which was great, but I suppose I was looking for pure passion and enthusiasm for this subject.  Because I fell in love with it back in 2011 after doing the former PTLLS course and so on.  I just love these courses and they can change your life.  Just like it did with me.  I didn't even want to do it, I just naturally stumbled upon it and thought it would be good for me to understand more about learning and teaching.

One candidate absolutely captured the above.  They were very passionate and enthusuastic about the subject and the way they talked about it made me want to do the course again!  They talked about their future plans for the course and how they currently run it.  I just wanted to get involved with it and bounce of their energy.  Plus, in the presentation I got a little pack of their teaching examples.  This is always good as you can take something away with you and use straight away!

The week after, it was announced that this person got the post.  Very pleased and happy for them.  I hope to work with them more closely.  It sounds like it could be a good match for educational fireworks!

Yesterday was a presentation and discussion for a new HE teacher to support and deliver sessions on the CertEd and PGCE courses for both pre-service and in-service.

There was only one candidate.  They had to disucss the challenges and implications of the teaching profession in terms of the Lord Lingfield report.  They showed great depth of their knowledge and concerns they had about political, economical and technological aspects of teaching. They came across really warm and humble.  I felt a sense of balance from them and I thought they would be good to support learners on these courses.

This was a lot different to other presentations and interviews as it felt more prestigious.  A great experience though.

I'm really grateful to be asked to be on these panels.  I learn so much from them and it's always a real pleasure to see what others show and demonstrate.

Monday, 1 September 2014

New Year - 2014/2015

I had a beautiful and much needed rest in Sidari!  Well, an all round rested Summer!  I think I've got too comfortable with it this time as I was desperately needing this break!

Well, today brings a new academic year at Barnsley College!  Although I've been back at work since beginning of August.  How different a year makes from last year!

There's been lots of change in my job.  And it's started with getting the apprentices that I mentioned at the bottom of this post.

Last week was the first week of having the apprentices.  We started off with a team building day out in the beautiful Derbyshire.  We did caving in the morning and orienteering in the afternoon.

I generally felt a bit like a fish out of water last week.  I went through many emotions and feelings.  I'be been here before, I know what I need to do.  It's just new and I'm a bit nervous.  But the main thing is that the apprentices said they are enjoying it so far and feel good with what they are and will be doing.  I will be doing a big reflection on this and forming a plan that can be used for next year.  I will be responsible for managing and developing them.  So I need to be on top form for this!

Actually, next year marks ten years since I was an apprentice.  So it's a lovely kind of strange that I have come full circle sort of thing.

This year is going to be very interesting and probably my most hard worked.  I will be fulfilling my new role, starting the Technology Enhanced Learning MSc, starting the quality assurance qualification and doing my Governor role.  So there's plenty to be doing.  But I need to look after my health during this.  It looks like it could be quite stressful.  So I need to ENJOY these and not see them as just tasks.

I've got so much to do, it begins again!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Ocean

I had an absolute awesome time at Sidari in Corfu, Greece. Lots of lovely memories!  Really wish I was there back in the sun and being in the sea!  Until next time...

Whilst I was there I started writing my first album.  Although I can't sing or play any instrument, doesn't mean I can't be an artist of some sort.  Actually, back in June I said; just because I don't draw, paint or play an instrument doesn't mean I'm not an artist. Work is in progress.  But that was based on a new kind of artist.

This album is just a collection of thoughts and reflections, but suppose they will be built around being songs.  But it's a journey of myself, but themed around the ocean.  Which I have always loved and been drawn to.

When I was in my apartment room, this came to me...

I swam through the depths of the ocean in my heart to find everything I needed. On the journey back I let all the things I didn't need sink.  I can imagine it having a William Orbit and Guy Sigsworth production.

It's kind of weird, but I started to become really obsessed with Madonna's Ray Of Light album just before I went away.  And when I was on holiday, I kept listening to it and the song Swim.  So I used this and my love for the ocean for inspiration.

A month later, I came up with a final tracklist.  This is the result of uncovering, accepting and fulfilling who I am and meant to be. This is my album, Ocean.

1. Water
2. Swim/Sink
3. Dive
4. Surf
5. Orca
6. Jellyfish
7. Tide
8. Shore
9. Grown
10. Quantity Is Not Power

Today I had the idea of a second album called Making Waves.  This one would be more about relationships and my career.  But I need to finish this one first!  Let's see how this goes!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

2013/2014 in summary

This year has been my most busiest and hard worked so far!  But it's nearly that time of year again to summarise my efforts in the last year.  There seems to be more here than last year's, which is a great thing!  So here goes...

My Blog

I started my blog nearly a year ago, August 2013.  This was my first post!  I have shared and talked about many things which I am proud of.  So I wouldn't be writing this summary if I didn't have my blog as a space to share widely!

First aid

I did a level 3 first aid course back in November 2013.  I'm still learning about it and dealing with calls.  Not as confident as I'd like to be with it, but I'm sure that will grow.  I wrote a little bit about it here.

Events

In the last few months I have presented at three events:


I've wrote my experience of the first two.  But I in the last three, I have been promoting this which I feel really passionate about in looking into more.  It may lay some foundations for my masters.

Second cohort of L4TLD

I have delivered and managed a second cohort of the Level 4 Certificate in Technology in Learning Delivery.  I think this may be the last time I do it.  I'm not going to be proactively promoting it.  There;s changes in my job role and there are some new qualifications that may take it's place.  But it has been a great experience for myself and hopefully for the people who did it with me.  When planning the second one I got really excited and then I got really reflective when I was just finishing off the first one.  I received the NIACE Finalist: Digital Practitioner of the Year 2013 from doing what I did with this.

Carpe Diem

This was the first proper MOOC I had participated in.  It was a really great experience in many kinds, which I shared here and here about it.

Governor

I was appointed as an Authority Governor back in April 2014 at Shawlands Primary School in Barnsley. I will be taking care of Special Educational Needs of the school as well as decisons on the general functions of the School.  Quite an exciting role to be doing actually!  Not done any work in this area before.  I talked a little bit about being a Governor in this video.

Managing People

This was my second proper MOOC I participated in, at the same time with finishing off the two courses below.  This was with FutureLearn.  I squeezed this in because my job role is changing and I needed to know more about this.  I mention this a bit further down.

Completed DTLLS

After two years of doing the Level 5 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector, I have now completed it and awaiting hopefully a great result!  To date, this is my most proud and highest qualification I have done.  I have exceeded myself in many ways from doing what I have done and the experience I have made myself with it.

I could be attending a graduation ceremony for this. The whole cap and gown thing. If so it would really mean a lot to me to be in that moment. But if I achieve my masters, then I would get another opportunity at this.

Completed AVA

I started the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement in September 2013 alongside my DTLLS.  It made sense as I was fully assessing on my L4TLD course.

It's been very stressful finishing off two qualifications at the same time.  But I hope it proves to be rewarding!

Developing the Technology Enabled Educator curriculum

I have recently been involved in developing a new qualification, quite like the L4TLD but hopefully better in that it is more focussed on pedagogy.  I have been sharing my wisdom from my L4TLD experiences and putting forward my use of project based learning which has worked well on the second cohort I did.

Job evolution

My job is evolving right now.  Exactly what is still uncertain.  But the change in our department direction of having apprentices and running an learning design company, it has been said I would be managing the apprentices.  But I would like to get invovled in the quality assurance of the learning products and the courses as well.  It's all very exciting!

Next...

I will be starting my masters in Technology Enhanced Learning with the University of Huddersfield.  I signed the acceptance straight away when I got my letter.  This is my biggest challenge yet!  Alongside the masters I will be doing the Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice too.

Overall, this year I have gained so much more independence than I have ever before.  It's like I have really have proved to myself this with these activities and more.  I should have nothing to prove any more, but I feel like I have.

I'm off on holiday next week to the gorgeous Sidari in Corfu, Greece.  I am so desperate for this holiday.  It's been over two years since my last beach holiday!  Here's looking forward to what the next year brings!  It's going to be exciting!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A little deeper with eLearning

This is a short video of part of a presentation of some research and new thinking I have showcased at Barnsley College and some external events during 2014.


Monday, 30 June 2014

A new kind of artist

I'm really buzzing at the moment, so to capture the moment I thought I'd write about it right now!

I don't know why, but tonight I am just excited!  I have been trying something out for about two weeks now and it's like my mind has happily exploded with new ideas and thinking, just now, randomly!

What I decided to do a few weeks back was to use Padlet like an artist's blank canvas.  I started collecting images and links that I really like and maybe writing some questions, all to do with personal growth and the future of eLearning; what I would like it to be and look like.

I did this with no real reason, just a space to place inspiring material for me to gaze at.  I had no thought of what I was going to do with it all, just to simply reflect on this beautiful space from day to day.  I didn't want to pressure myself into any creative task.  Because I believe that is not the way to invoke and encourage creativity.  Tonight, it helped me say; just because I don't draw, paint or play an instrument doesn't mean I'm not an artist. Work is in progress.

So now I have my picture, I should 'frame it' to complete it and make it real.

It's like this has made me a new kind of artist, all about learning!

Friday, 13 June 2014

A festival of sharing

A little bit from my experience yesterday at the Jisc Festival of Teaching and Learning!  It was great to see lots of familiar faces again and to have a little catch up of what everyone has been doing.

My first session was alternative approaches to assessing and providing feedback.  This was a really good session about using video, audio and visuals in general for assessment and feedback.  It is something I already know about, but it did get me thinking again about it.  The presenter said that there was no written evidence involved, just video feedback.  I have used screencasts before to give feedback, but did provide a written part too.  So I think I will capture more by video through creating activities and discussions.  As I said to the group, through talking you can get deeper knowledge than just by written.  Suppose it’s become a tradition in writing evidence when really it’s naturally around us.  We just need to capture that.  By the end of the session I said; written evidence has evolved into visual evidence. Assessment practices need to evolve.

My second session was The Green Trail.  Again, I have seen this before with QR codes, but it was good see another way of using them.  Plus I was curious of the environmental bit, as nature and the environment is important to me.  It was a QR code trail that was linked to an induction booklet.  It was a really good example.  I suggested to the presenters on how they could promote this resource to teachers to evaluate their carbon footprint in the classroom, to encourage recycling and better use of a VLE to cut printing etc.

The third session I went to was teaching in adult and community learning.  This was a good session about the presenter’s experience of teaching in this sector and their activities they do.

For my session in the tent, I talked about the Display, Engage and Participation model that I helped create.  I had three people come along to this and we had a nice little chat about it.  I saw this as a little trial as I will be doing a full presentation of it at two other upcoming events.  I’m very proud of this model actually, it really is a good driver and thought provoking piece.  I may talk about it more on here soon.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Flipped Instruction?

This afternoon we had one of our creative meetings, where we just share what we are doing in an informal way.

We had a chat about some developments we are making with learning design in an eLearning product and using presenters.  It got me thinking. What if we flipped the instruction in an eLearning product?!  In a reply I said, "what about flipping the instruction of the delivery in eLearning products"?

Basically, using a presenter like a real person or avatar that usually gives you instructions.  But what about flipping this and allowing the learner to be the presenter.  It would be like a role play situation, building on from my last post; Games, the main driver of learning?  The learner is the presenter or character in the eLearning product.  The learner is not sat there being a passive individual, which is the usual case.  The learner is driving the eLearning product and achieving or collecting the learning objectives as they go through it.

I think this would be a great strategy to motivate, engage and get people involved when participating in eLearning products.  There's not enough in them.  Most are just commercial products that have little impact or meaning to users, just quick fix solutions.  That is not quality eLearning.

I've got a great plan for developing highly interactive eLearning products that is going to be different.  This is just one strategy that's in there that I am going to try.

This idea just came from a conversation.  It just shows true evidence from meaningful conversations you can have that invokes ideas and development!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Games, the main driver of learning?

I've been seeing and reading lots about games in education, more than I have before.  Games have always had a significant part of the learning process.  But recently I have seen games have more emphasis and prominence on education as a main driver.

Nolan Bushnell said that if you want a permanent memory, you just have to repeat games by:

  • Review learning made today (after a good sleep)
  • Review the learning in a week
  • Review the learning in a month

And apparently, you will never forget anything.

I'm not a big gamer or lover.  However, I do LOVE Pokémon!  I have since I was younger.

A few weeks ago I introduced my partner to Pokémon for the first time.  It was lovely to observe this!  Apart from him being totally consumed by it all day haha, we did have a chat about the actual game.  Like me, he likes the role playing games, where you play a character through a journey as such.  When we had a chat and he said he likes role playing games as you start off with a basic character and build it up throughout the game.  Pokémon is all about this and you have to interact with people to receive and access things, as well as training the sprites up and developing strategies to win battles and gym badges, as the sprites have different qualities and types that are good and bad against other ones.

You do all this without realising it.  Building up skills and knowledge as you go along.  It kind of reflects real life; building yourself up for the real world, so to speak.

I mean I used to be obsessed with Theme Hospital too when I was younger.  Managing my own hospital through medical services and staffing.  For a kid, this is pretty advanced, but I enjoyed it.  Emphasis on the fun element!

Games incorporate interaction, peer collaboration and competition.  And as I said above, games should be FUN!  It helps get people motivated to learn and learn with passion; exciting people with what they are doing.

But, we should be addicted to learning, not the game itself!  So how can we do this?  Let the critical thinking begin!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Observing ILT

From my previous post on Online Observing, I said I would create a set of guidelines to observe learning taking place outside of the classroom.

Well, my idea evolved during it's making.  I thought to myself, well it's not just outside of the classroom, it's inside the classroom as well.  So I decided to approach the use of Information Learning Technologies use as a whole and not just one area.  The guidelines are and reflect on what should be observed in the traditional physical teacher delivery in the classroom.

Below is the guidelines and brief I produced:

Below is a set of questions which can act as a set of guidelines when observing ILT within and outside of the classroom.

It will help to make informed observations of teaching practice embedding the use of Information Learning Technologies (ILT).

The feedback generated will help capture good practice as well as improvements to move forward the creative use of ILT.

This can also be used as a reflective tool to enhance own practices in the use of technology.

Current observation question of ILT:
Was ILT used to support learning?

Current responses:
“Effective use of a video clip.”
“Yes by the use of PowerPoint.”
“Moodle used effectively with resources to support learning.”

The feedback would benefit from saying what is actually being done with learners using ILT. The following questions will help you to achieve this. It will help identify good practice and developments to increase quality of ILT use in learning delivery.

Aim:
Observe and examine the use of learning technology in the learning activity/ies that occur within and outside the classroom.

Objective:
Recognise the difference between IT and ILT use to encourage active participation and enjoyment to enhance the learning experience. Below are questions to act as guidelines when observing ILT activities:

  • Identify the technology and/or eLearning approach used.
  • Explain the learning activity/ies that are being used with the technology.
  • Describe if and how all learners are engaged.
  • Identify how all learners are fully participating in the activity/ies.
  • Describe how learners are set challenging tasks that build on and extend their learning with the technology.
  • Describe differentiation approaches with the use of technology.
  • Describe how learners are given frequent feedback during the activity/ies within the technology.
  • Describe any supporting resources used with the technology.
  • Identify how learners were given the opportunity to evaluate their learning experience of the technology.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Employability, Professional and Personal Development

From my last post Demonstrating employability, I said I just needed to capture myself teaching employability skills.  Well, I've just had an idea, literally just in the last few moments!

So...  I am going to plan and run an employability skills session with our current University placements.  It makes great sense to do it with them and round off their placement nicely.  Quite nervous of the thought as their expectations will be high!  So I'll try to motivate and encourage them as much as I can give!  This is going to be really fun and exciting actually.  Especially for me.

It will be great to teach them and share lots of skills and developmental ideas.  I suppose it's really going to be a mix of employability, professional and personal development, plus promoting themselves as individuals.  Obviously I am going to include what I ahve learned and observed during this unit for my DTLLS, but go above and beyond and integrate my personal knowledge and experience of what I have achieved in embracing motivation and personal development.

So now I know what I am going to do, let's get creative with the planning and running it!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Carpe Diem: My Experience

I've come to the end on the 6 week long Carpe Diem MOOC!

From my first Carpe Diem post, I'm going to give a brief run down of my experience in participating in my first proper MOOC.

Content
I really love the content and this method of learning design.  It's simple, straight to the point and best of all fun!  I just CLICK with it!

The e-tivities were engaging and easy to participate and contribute to.  I found them very light hearted but had meaning.  This is what you want for online learning, nothing too heavy, especially as a starter.  The layout of the course was very clear too.  You knew what you were expected to do.  Each week was opened up with a little summary of what each week was about.  Then broken down into each activity to be done that week.

Participation
There were quite a few people in our group.  The first activity was very collaborative with everyone introducing themselves and their backgrounds.  But as with most MOOCs, some people enrol but don't participate or they just disappear from the MOOC itself.  In our group, the collaborating quietened down.  But me and another chap just carried on working with each other through the course and made it a great experience for ourselves.  I learned quite a bit from our conversations.  It's a shame everyone in the group didn't partcipate, but positviely, it worked out best as you're not constantly reading each other's posts and feeling like your playing catch up.

I watched all of Gilly's mini lectures for each week.  I found them really informative and great to listen to!  But, I didn't watch any of the live sessions or the recordings of them.  I just wanted to focus on what I was doing each week and in our group.

I didn't visit the whole MOOC community much, I will look at these after the course, but again I just wanted to give focus on myself and in my group.  Because in MOOCs you can get overwhelmed really quickly of all the other happenings in the online environment.  It becomes a distration then an inner pressure.

Motivation
I found myself trying to get through everything quickly, rather than taking my time and really abosrbing what is happening.  I was skimming through contributions and replying promptly so that I could get straight into the e-tivities.  But this is the issue with online learning.  We all do and feel this' quickly passing through the activities and content when it should be abosrbed and understood.  It's something I am exploring further; human interaction with online learning.

I'm not really interested about getting badges.  I find them of a materialistic value.  It's the content that needs to be collected and understood that's most important.  But for some badges do prove to be a great motivational strategy.  I didn't collect my badges after each task.  I kind of forgot about them.  So I collected them at the end of the MOOC, plus to officially complete the course.

Final thoughts
This MOOC was a great experience for me.  I took a lot from it which I will use for my own planning and desgining activites and share with my oraganisation.  It's gave me a creative visual which has not been present in my planning activities.  I tend to plan in a linear way which is not always good!  We all need to feel colourful and visual when designing, as it reflects on the end product.

MOOCs have a long way to go yet before everyone gets immersed in them.  But as long as you have learned something, that's all that matters.  That is why everyone joins a course.

Finally, a MOOC should be about what you want to get out of it.  Put in as much as you'd like to get out of it.  And I did just that, but maybe not enough!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Online Observing

Just over a year later, I've come back to online observing after postponing it.

I'm creating a set of guidelines that teachers, managers and quality staff can use to observe learning taking place outside of the classroom. It's the same as a normal lesson observation, but looking at learning activities outside the classroom. A lot of people don't actually get the meaning of eLearning and what it looks like.

I've wanted to do this for a while to help make the quality of learning online better. When teaching staff are prompted in placing learning outside of the classroom, the majority just use static documents or a standard quiz. This is not eLearning.

I don't want this to be another pointless paperwork task to tick boxes. But to increase eLearning quality as well as supporting individuals in observing what is actually happening online. It's not going to be a separate or bolt-on document, but to be included in the physical lesson observation documentation where the teacher can link this in to be clearly seen.

Are all learners engaged, included and most of all learning in the technology used? These guidelines will just do that.

I am using my own current delivery practice as a reflective driver to know what we are actually looking for with eLearning.

It's only a matter of time before observation documentation will need to include this, so I’m making a proper start with it now.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Festival of thinking

Today I went to the Jisc Digital Festival 2014 in Birmingham.  I intended to have a super collaborative day!  And I did just that.

I met up with faces I have not seen for a while and having a little catch up.  Plus, being stopped to be recorded for an interview on my plans for the day and some other questions.  But, it was the usual Jisc event as such, but it had a festival theme to it.  Lots of stalls and festival like things happening.  I got a few things to think about from the sessions I went to. But I didn't come across anything new, but the thinking.  Which is just as important.

In summary:

  • In the morning I was dipping in and out of sessions trying to get the most from everything.  Some of which I have heard before, so I decided to move on and peek into other sessions to make the best use of my time.  These sessions were understanding students' expectations and experiences, ePortfolios into the mainstream and social media best practice.
  • Late morning I attended a session on video conferencing by on enabling learning opportunities and learner progression through video conferencing.  This is where my next initiative has been given another boost of enthusiasm.  A really good session this was!
  • In the afternoon, I attended the session on the changing face of assessment and feedback: how technology can make a difference.  I got a lot from this too, which made me say to the group; we encourage learning to be social. But why not assessment and feedback? We do in our personal lives and in the workplace.  I want to explore this a bit more and see what I come up with.  I do want to encourage and experiment more with peer practice myself.
  • Then I watched the live stream of Sugata Mitra's inspirational talk.  This was very interesting to listen to.  Some nice educational stories backed with some video examples.

Also, at the festival, they had this dream wall where I was asked to contribute a statement and for people to paint it on the wall in a nice art form.  There was so many things I could ask to be drawn on it.  But I decided to settle with a statement I made yesterday; it's time I voiced this. My approach to education is linking learning to a spiritual self; projecting positive proactive #LifelongLearning.

But, it did not make the dream wall.  Maybe a bit too deep for the wall!

A good day.  But like most events I go to, I ask myself what have I got from today?  Was it worth it?  What impact did it have on me and for my organisation?  But, as in most events I attend, I feel I have heard it before.  But then I asked myself, well if I have heard it before, why am I or the organisation not doing this or done it?  I think. :-)

Carpe Diem

This week I started Gilly Salmon's Carpe Diem MOOC.  It's a 6 week distance and online learning course, about how to design for active and interactive learning with technology.

When I first heard about this, I knew I had to do it!  I'm a big fan of Gilly's e-tivities, e-moderating and the 5 Stage Model.  I just click instantly with her work.  As I said; I have just started @gillysalmon's #CDMOOC. Excited right now! Potentially the best and most meaningful. Been anticipating it for a while.

I briefly participated in the Learning Design for a 21st Century Curriculum MOOC in January 2013 by the Open University.  But I didn't fully participate in it due to time.  But who does fully participate in MOOCs?!  But I did get a little bit from this for what I did.  I'll not go fully into MOOCs here, but simply I do like the idea of MOOCs and what you can do with them.  But there is still a lot of work to be done with them!

I do feel very committed and excited to do this MOOC as I am actively teaching now and I know I can make good progress and development with it and apply my learning instantly.  I'm determined to give the work and participating a really good go.  I feel I have to too as I am a real fan of Gilly's work.  So I need to dive straight into it and get involved and work, work, work at it!  I am actually really buzzing about it.  Have I become an education geek of some sort?!  If there's such a thing.  But who cares, I LOVE this stuff!

Also, I've even been assigned to the Dolphin group. How apt is that for me as I am a cetacean and ocean lover!

I will update on my progress throughout the duration of the course!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Demonstrating employability

Thought I'd give an up date on my progress on delivering employability from my post, Exploring and learning employability.  I've come to start demonstrating and finishing off my evidence for DTLLS on the Delivering Employability Skills unit.  I didn't quite get creative with this unit as I mentioned I would.  I think time got the better of me on this.  But, creativity is best done with the teaching of it!

Just after Christmas I arranged to sit in some employability lessons with the Skills for Jobs department, who deliver programmes for the unemployed.  They have been very interesting from the people who are enrolled to the programmes to the content that is being delivered.  It's widened my understanding of the need for employability skills for adults as well as young adults.  I've had to refresh my knowledge on employability skills.  Topics I am invovled in are CV building, interview techniques, responsible work practice and recognising and respecting diversity in the workplace.

For this unit, I just need to capture evidence of me demonstrating this subject, meaning teaching it.  So I have been building myself up by shadowing other teachers if you like, then I will do my effort with it.  I still love this subject as employability is and encapsulates education.  I hope to do more on this in the future!

To Masters degree or not to Masters degree. Masters degree!

Well, I have decided to do a Masters degree!

I started looking and exploring at some Masters in Summer 2013.  But the time didn't seem right, until now.  There are lots of educational and learning technology Masters out there, so it was hard to decide which one was best for me.  I've decided to do the Technology Enhanced Learning MSc with the University of Huddersfield.  This one sits well with me as it's project based and the content is what I am looking for.  I've officially registered for the course after being accepted to do it.  I've been feeling nervously happy!  I want to start it in September 2014.  I want to try and complete it in 2 years part-time and hopefully successfully achieve it on the year I turn 30.  So 2016 could be a massive year for me!

I won't stop doing any qualifications after this, but this would be like the icing on the cake for me, of my educational journey.  This will be my biggest educational challenge yet.  I believe in myself that I can do it.  It will be a lot of hard work and determination, which I have always had.  That's why I am here now.  I just need to go a lot deeper this time around.  Which I cannot wait for!  This is what I feel I need right now.  To be educationally challenged even further to understand and learn new skills at this level.

I am happy not to do a Masters, but as always I push myself further.  I'm not doing it to gain a new job.  But doing it personally for myself to know that I can study at this level and know that I have educated myself independently, as I have throughout my entire life.  Doing this Masters is what I stand for.  Education.  And better still, in a subject that I work in and know a lot about and that can push the boundaries of education and develop it further.  It will help me discover the truth about learning technologies!  Something I have wanted to find out for a very long time!

I just need to find a grant/funding for it now.  So I need to get cracking with that now.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Great Expectations

An update on what was a potential role, personal development and expectations!


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

An Inner Learning Experience?

A little update on current happenings, including L4TLD, a hopeful role and a personal project I'm going to start.


Thursday, 9 January 2014

A surprise of inspiration

It's an exciting time for Barnsley College, as a new department is being created. Finally, a dedicated department for learning and teaching! It's about time! Learning and teaching can now get extended focus and development through this new department.

Our department, Learning Technologies Unit will now come under this. No major changes for us (yet), but just to be suitably aligned in the right area. But I'm sure some great changes will come soon.

The candidates for the post were tasked with deliveirng a session around 'practical strategies for achieving excellence in teaching and learning'.  Yesterday and today, myself and a range of Advanced Practioners in teaching and ILT were invited to watch the sessions by the candidates.

These sessions were ideas and innovations to support learning and teaching at Barnsley College.  After the sessions, we had a group chat on our feelings of the sessions delivery and such. Then we had to 'rate' them in relation to the interview process on various area such as knowledge, communication, content, innovation, credibility and motivation.

It was very interesting, I tell you. It was really good to see what and how others had planned for the task.  I came out some of these sessions totally inspired.  It was immense.  I left with some new ideas and developments to think about!  It was a surprise to feel the way I did from some of these sessions.  I was a powerhouse of exploding ideas for changing my ways.

I am hoping for a particular candidate to get this post.  Their session was absolutely incredible.  They delivered a highly engaging and thoroughly interesting session.  I was left thinking about new ways of improving and developing my teaching practices and with some resources too.  This post is about having someone as excellent as this to lead, inpsire and develop learning and teaching with myself and the best Advanced Practioners to sail the ship that is education further, beyond the horizon.

One of the candidates drew me to Carol Dweck's mindset work.  I have never heard about her till now.  But I was really engaged in learning about this.  It's like they were talking about how I developed my growth mindset. Which is what I have been doing over the years, without knowing.  I will be doing further research on it!

Now, I have to compile the heavy notetaking I did and the resources I have gathered for my educational development absorbtion!