Apr 082009

If you google this you are showered with loads of articles – I stumbled across this blog post which I just had to share. Very optimistic video – the pessimistic side of me kept wondeing how much of it was scripted – but I love some of the qoutes by the students for example:

“I never get sleepy in class when we use technology”

“Paper learning is boring”

So no pressure then!?!? 

Apr 072009

On reflection there are three areas that stand-out for me from the “Review of Learning 2.0 Practices” report, about which I blogged on institutional imperatives yesterday.

  1. Whilst barriers to engagement are noted in the report, there seems to be a very deterministic view of the power and role “of social computing contributing to the development of new learning processes and outcomes” (p.75). The author recognises the fact that the role of the tutor is key in enabling the three critical building blocks of multimedia, collaboration and learner-as-producer to be crystallised by students. However, unless I have missed it there is no analysis of new or possible or emergent pedagogies other than citing the core properties of peer learning that are web-based, and there is limited analysis of the impact on learning and engagement of personal barriers like self-esteem, self-worth, marginalisation, low self-efficacy, poverty etc.. This tends to present a uni-directional, overly positivist view of the value of social computing with limited counter-factual evidence or recognition that the examples cited as research evidence are not, in themselves, experimental and are case studies of specific implementations. How often do we see negative experiences properly reported in journals?
  2. Issues like participation and personalisation are used too readily with no [referenced ] critique of what those terms actually mean in context. This makes the identification of individual barriers to participation, or strategies for moving from therapeutic intervention and cajoling [awarding marks for posting to a wiki] to partnership and ownership [e.g. community learning projects], problematic. Availability, familiarity, attitude, background and scaffolding are rightly raised as issues but need much deeper understanding if we are not simply to replicate or transplant what works in the current classroom for select groups of students and call it pedagogic innovation. What is too often described as pedagogic innovation is change in curriculum delivery. When it comes to digital divides the author recognises issues around learning differences, and also [on pp.83-8] the hugely important inclusion projects like notschool.net, the Rete G2 seconde generazioni, the Dunhill Multi-Education Centre, the Digital Live Moisling projects etc.. These projects link into issues to do with immigrant experiences, and economic, social and personal reasons for exclusion. However, these issues sit in the context of educational aspiration and inclusion and generate questions about social engagement and inclusion, and how social computing tools can overcome barriers of income, exclusion and expectation. For me these require a radical re-think of curricula [context, design and delivery, and informal-formal learning], the networks that are involved in curriculum management and delivery [families, peers, mentors, apprentices, communities, libraries], individual, fused learning tool-sets [owned and integrated by the learner] and learning spaces [libraries and zones], so that we can properly focus on personal ownership and personal value. Social learning is nothing without personal value, and this demands a reappraisal of what participation and personalisation actually mean in context, and how education can be re-shaped to empower people.
  3. I quite like the “innovative lands for Learning”, or iLANDS model presented by the author. It flags innovation in learning 2.0 around: (LA) Learning and Achieving; (N) Networking; (D) Embracing Diversity; and, (S) Opening up to Society. More work to be done on that methinks, but I do like the inclusion of diversity and openness. It is a shame that the author links didactic tools to achievement in (LA) – a radical pedagogy would stand against didacticism and focus upon negotiation and ownership leading to empowerment.
Apr 072009

The above three ‘R’s popped into my head on reading the articles below – technology enhanced learning allows students to engage in those three ‘Rs’ which can suit different learning styles.  Having resources accessible online allows for reflection on concepts and materials presented; being able to go back (reiterative) as appropraite to aid understanding and responding (reactive) and contributiong to online tasks allows for the learning experience to be more engaging and enjoyable!

One thing we should not presume though is that all students will know how they should be using the technological component as part of their learning, guidance should be clear.

Using technology to direct learning in higher education 

The iPod as learning technology 

Apr 062009

I’m reading and thinking about the European Commission-funded, Review of Learning 2.0 Practices: Study on the Impact of Web 2.0 Innovations on Education and Training in Europe. In particular I am taken by the evidence presented for New Millenium Learners, alongside the outcomes from the recent Horizon Report [see our Horizon review] and HEFCE revised approach/strategy for technology-enhanced learning. The emergent outcomes from this research impact the development of”Benefits and Opportunities of Learning 2.0″ as outlined in the report.

It is our ability to engage with these opportunities that will frame how Universities move forward in the next decade. The report highlights:

  • societal imperatives;
  • engagement with creativity and innovation and knowledge-sharing;
  • developing individual capacity for networking, collaborating and connecting;
  • personalisation and changing [power] roles in learning and its management;
  • lowered barriers to engagement in on-line societies and associations.

Barriers are emphasised: digital divide; learning literacy; the impact of external controls [terms and conditions, educational environments]; poor social skills; copyright and IPR; teacher-training.

However, the report accords with the issues that we are grappling with at DMU.

  • How can technology-enhanced learning [TEL] reinforce and extend our distinctive brand?
  • How do we monitor and manage the impact of the learner of the future, personalised learning and flexibility on the HE curriculum and learning services provision? How do we extend our TEL  baseline [with benchmarks], blueprint and vision for TEL to enhance our Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy and learning services?
  • How do we engage with the investment and professional development implications of a transformative approach to TEL?
Apr 032009

There may have been few things that protesters, politicians and activists share, but during the G20 meeting, they were united by their use of Twitter.

Read More…

[Source: BBC News]

Posted by Mohamed using ScribeFire

Apr 032009

A school in Northumberland is encouraging pupils to take their games consoles into school. Liam, a student at Bedlingtonshire Community High School, investigates whether games consoles can have a place in the classroom.

Read More…

[Source: BBC]

Posted by Mohamed using ScribeFire

Apr 022009

Printing presses will fall silent in brave new Twitter-based future. Photograph: Sarah Lee

[Most popular item on the Guradian today!  No wonder, it was an April Fool prank.  Well spotted by  Louisa Hibble International Partnerships Co-ordinator, DMU]

Consolidating its position at the cutting edge of new media technology, the Guardian today announces that it will become the first newspaper in the world to be published exclusively via Twitter, the sensationally popular social networking service that has transformed online communication.

Read More…

Posted by Mohamed using ScribeFire

Apr 012009

Students are campaigning to stop fans of Facebook and Twitter from hogging university computers.

They say users of these and other social networking websites take up so much time on the shared PCs that little is left for those who have genuine work to do – especially undergraduates preparing for exams in their final year.

Read More… [erm this one is linked to Daily Mail…sorry!]

Posted by Mohamed using ScribeFire