20 years ago if you wanted to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix race, you got yourself a good car and a good driver. Today, you need a team of scores of computer scientists, engineers and mathematicians, analysing your car's computer eveyr millisecond of every lap: without this data harvesting and analysis you will not win a race.
• David Puttnam, Lord Puttnam of Queensgate, in his opening keynote at Innovating e-Learning 2011, argued for greater investment in ICT to enable UK universities, colleges and schools to deliver a world-class education. ‘Digital technology is the driving force behind change. We cannot afford not to invest in it.’ David Puttnam
Tools of the trade I was quite impressed by Joyce Seitzinger's Professional Learning Environment (PLN) model that she presented at Deakin University in Melbourne this week. The first slide on the left shows a quadrant model in which she has used a work/office metaphor to define four discrete functions of a PLN. The first, the Staffroom is quite public, calling on high levels of communication and high profile, and involves the use of microblogging tools such as Twitter. This will work provided the user subscribes to a requisite number of other relevant user accounts, and can share their ideas and converse freely. It will fail if the user does not follow or is not followed by enough other subscribers to enable the benefits of the network effect.
The primary objective of this project is to investigate how elearning applications can be more tightly integrated with virtual learning environments through the use of the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specification. A range of popular open source and commercial elearning applications (tool producers) are being used to both identify priorities for integrations with VLEs (or other tool consumers) and also to evaluate the benefits which can be derived from adopting this approach.
The project is funded by JISC (July 2010 - December 2011) as part of the Distributed VLE call
A recently released U.S. Department of Education report contains enough statistics, p-values and information about “statistical significance” to entertain even the most extreme statistician. Fortunately, the article also breaks down the information into terms that those that suffer from a statistics related phobia can still glean some useful information.
Clive Shepherd’s latest book, The New Learning Architect, starts out where many books for training professionals end. It responds to the learning dilemma of the 21st century, “There is more to know than can possibly be taught.”
He builds his thesis around the idea that instructional designers and training professionals will need to become learning architects, people who design environments for learning—similar to the way architects design environments for living and working.
In addition to the more traditional skills of understanding requirements, audience characteristics, content and learning constraints, it is crucial for the learning architect to stay current with instructional research and the latest technologies. It is this type of critical knowledge that can turn an order taker into an innovator who can fulfill any learning requirement.
Increasingly, as we ask our learners to engage with social media as a part of their study, we are also asking them to leave a trace of themselves on the Web. Whether it is writing a blog, posting a video on YouTube, working collaboratively on a wiki, or simply bookmarking a site on Diigo or Delicious, students are leaving the digital footprints - evidence of their presence - all over the internet. And there may be ethical issues attached. Digital footprints are persistent, with artefacts and traces remaining visible and searchable for many years. Should we therefore be more careful about what we ask students to do and where we ask them to go on the Web?
Over the last few years I've done a lot of work developing writing and redeveloping online courses and course materials. In the initial rush to get learning online many organisations got themselves a Moodle platform and then attached a whole load of PDFs and .docs, added some forums and the odd video clip and called it an online course. It's no surprise then that drop out rates for online learning courses have been so high.
Opening keynote: Mike Sharples, Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University, challenged delegates to distinguish between hype and reality when navigating the future of technology-enhanced learning and teaching.
Dropbox is making the transition back to school easy by giving everyone with an .edu email address double the credit for referrals. That's 500 MB per friend you invite! That goes for everyone you've already referred too.
As it happens, designing Future Interfaces For The Future used to be my line of work. I had the opportunity to design with real working prototypes, not green screens and After Effects, so there certainly are some interactions in the video which I'm a little skeptical of, given that I've actually tried them and the animators presumably haven't. But that's not my problem with the video.
My problem is the opposite, really — this vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It's a timid increment from the status quo, and the status quo, from an interaction perspective, is actually rather terrible.
This matters, because visions matter. Visions give people a direction and inspire people to act, and a group of inspired people is the most powerful force in the world. If you're a young person setting off to realize a vision, or an old person setting off to fund one, I really want it to be something worthwhile. Something that genuinely improves how we interact.
Crowdsourcing of some aspect of the creation of online learning content seems like a foregone conclusion. At some point in the not-too-distant-future, I believe that many jobs, maybe even a majority of jobs, will be performed online as we move towards a crowdsourced world. We will work with a distributed network of people, who we may never meet, to create things for other people who we may never meet.
Digital Information Fluency (DIF) is the ability to find, evaluate and use digital information effectively, efficiently and ethically. DIF involves knowing how digital information is different from print information; having the skills to use specialized tools for finding digital information; and developing the dispositions needed in the digital information environment. As teachers and librarians develop these skills and teach them to students, students will become better equipped to achieve their information needs.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran teacher or a newbie just now taking college courses — finding new ways to get students engaged in the classroom is always a great thing. One way many teachers are reaching out is with the multitude of material found on the web, allowing them to turn everyday lessons into a multimedia experience. You can find a great amount of helpful material on these sites, including videos to augment your lessons, lectures to inspire students, documentaries to show them how things work, and loads of additional videos to help you become a better, smarter teacher.
Instructional design is the process of identifying the skills, knowledge, information and attitude gaps of a targeted audience and creating or selecting learning experiences that close this gap, based on instructional theory and best practices from the field. Ideally, workplace learning improves employee productivity and value and enhances self-directed learning. As social media technologies for learning become increasingly important to organizations and to individuals, instructional designers will need to focus on broad learning events and strategies that incorporate many approaches rather than on individual courses. See A Look into the Future below for more on this.
The ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology sheds lights on how information technology affects the college experience. ECAR has conducted this annual study since 2004, and though students' ownership and utilization of technology changes from year to year, students consistently rely upon their instructors and institutions to meet their technology expectations and needs. The 2011 study differs from past studies in that the questionnaire was reengineered and responses were gathered from a nationally representative sample of 3,000 students in 1,179 colleges and universities
The flipped classroom provides avenues for teachers to become facilitators of learning and move away from the sage on a stage approach to teaching. The foundational concepts of instructors guiding students or facilitating their progress are based on the idea that the instructor is no longer at the center of the interaction and application of knowledge. The instructor remains available to students as a facilitator of resources, a resource who should frequently check students for understanding for their learning.
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