Category Archives: elearning

A plethora of elearning information.

Blending and flipping – not just for cooking

In recent years “blended delivery” has become a catch phrase with many in the VET sector saying that they are doing this, but really have no actual understanding fo what blended delivery is.

Blended delivery requires that the instructor takes time to carefully creates an instruction plan that will leverage the affordances of various technology to support and augment face-to-face training. The beauty of blended delivery is that it can incorporate “Flipped Learning” and moves the focus from teachers to student to student learning, which can form some of the most powerful learning experiences.

Though student to student interaction can form powerful learning experiences it is still critical that a teacher, who can take the form of a facilitator, is still involved to guide the learning.

In recent years I have been teaching a block of professional development that is aligned to the Certificate IV TAE unit Facilitating Online. The cohort is often distanced by location so I take great pains to ensure a face to face component (synchronous sessions) fortnightly. During this the students present on the topic of the week to their fellow students, and manage the discussion forums. This is critical as it enable peer-to-peer learning and then I cover what-ever has been left out of the students presentations. Each student suffers nerves, though each of them are seasoned professionals from the VET sector who present training daily to students.

The reason behind this methodology is to give all students the ability to use various technologies. Of course the students are heavily mentored through the whole presentation process to ensure as little stress as possible.

At the commencement of each week I post a video that provides content, in a short humorous style along with readings and activities. This is the content that all students are expected to have reviewed prior to the virtual class. I set these expectations at the start of the course and have the students complete a class code of conduct to ensure that they understand what both their peer and I want.

Due to the remoteness and connectivity issues for some of my students I have had to ensure that all the course is designed in such a way that it will display on minimum bandwidth. Also for accessibility concerns all videos are also close captioned.

I take seriously the need for students all to have a voice, even the quietest has amazing insights to offer, and this teaching approach has worked well in having our wall-flowers step up and takes charge in a non-threatening environment.

This Facilitate elearning is based around problem centered instruction and uses the first principles outlined by Merril (2002).

Designing and working with students online can often be seen (incorrectly) as an easy option that does not require much effort on behalf of the trainer. Senior management often has this skewed view of online learning. It is often hard, especially if you are using a blended option.

Recently our team in the Government agency I work for have taken the challenge that all our conferences and professional learning events will be delivered in a blended option. This means that we live stream key sessions at all events. I am not going to say it was easy at the beinginning it was horrid, however, in our third year of doing this means it is now second nature and we are able to provide valuable learning opportunities to people all over Australia who may not have been able to attend otherwise.

This is taking blended to a whole different lever as we do not just stream the sessions, but if there is small group work being done in the session then this will be replicated in the virtual classroom so that our online attendees have a full and rich learning experience.

It has meant that we now also have a fleet of laptops, professional cameras, microphones and hand held devices that are needed to run events. However that being said my sessions that I stream are run with a laptop and my webcam, simple and effective. We do stress anyone can do what we do, and you do not need a Hollywood budget either.

This approach has been flawed with some of the senior management from RTOs not fully understanding the concept. But with dedication and perseverance the joy of blended will be adopted on a wider scale by many other organisations as we now run sessions on how to run a blended event.

21st Century skills such as problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, communication and collaboration as all key and need careful scaffolding and mapping to ensure that both the digital work blends with the face-to-face work for all formal and informal activities and assessments within a course. By being flexible with the more traditional teaching course material and giving students the reason to up-skill themselves quickly to ensure they can pass on information accurately to a learning cohort means that going for the flip and using a blended approach provides  a more personalised approach to instuction, gets students buy-in and more inportantly utilises technology to augment the training (Roblyer, 2013).

References

Jonson, J. (2014). Blended learning and technology integration. YouTube. Retrieved April 29, 2014 fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD8AUfGsCKg

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instructionEducational Technology Research and Development, 50 (3), 43-59.

Michalowski, A. (2014). Planning for blended learning environments and measuring progress. Youtube. Retrieved April 29, 2014 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuak_YiZs5s

Morrison, D. (2013). Why online courses [really] need an instructional design strategy. Online learning insights. Retrieved April 29, 2014 from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/why-online-courses-really-need-an-instructional-design-strategy/

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

successI titled this post with a quote from Winston Churchill as I felt it was fitting with a review of INF532 digital artefacts.

We need feedback to improve, but giving feedback to colleagues and peers can be a challenge. As educators we ask our students to review each other’s work to build their critical thinking skills. In Higher education peer review is an important stand point that can assist in the tenure of professional educators as well as provide useful insight into scholarly work.

Recently in INF532 the assessment task was to create a digital artefact about Knowledge Networking and to provide a self-exegesis with regards to the design and effectiveness of the digital artefact. This process was challenging and enlightening at the same time. There were moments of sheer frustration and then the light-bulb moment when clarity hit. I have worked as a designer and project manager for many online resources to support the VET sector, so I challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone of known technology and do something slightly left field that would meet the brief.

quote-chalk-think-wordsIt was hard. However, I am pleased to say that my user test group really liked my unusual idea of using a fairy-tale to tell my story. The reason it was frustrating was that music I had sourced two days before submission was no longer available to use in multimedia projects under the creative commons licence. This meant that I had to re-cut the whole audio track and reinsert that audio back into the animation; this is a skill that I have been developing since I have started this course and one that is proving to be valuable.

So back to peer feedback, below my thoughts about the fine learning artefacts that one of my peers has created. All of my peers have done an equally wonderful job but time prohibits reviewing everyone’s so I have chosen one that resonated with me and will have a look at it in-depth.

Cameron Innes INF532 Project

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FoL0Wr_iyY

Cameron designed this for his Year 9 students in the United Arab Emirates with English as a second language.

His opening screen really set the playful tone of the animation; you love football almost as much as you love your phones.

1-football-phones

 

 

 

 

The use of still photos and animated characters really supported his story.

PowToons is simple to use but sometimes it does do odd things with animations, such as floating a student in mid-air such as at the time code 00:52, but it did not distract from the narrative.

1-floating-student

 

 

 

 

Cameron made a really nice point about how students learn through talking with each other. He soft sold the idea of networking by showing students how they are already doing this by talking to each other outside of school via many mediums including via technology which he then pointed out that this is digital networking, really nice way to add this for students to understand.

The introduction of the concept of Informal Learning was very well done with the analogy between a soccer game and an assignment. It was simply done and a very powerful point especially around its importance about how much they learn from their informal learning.

3-informal-learning

 

 

 

 

Using phones for research

Cameron discusses how his students can reach out to people around the world for help and knowledge rather than just relying on the people immediately around you. But I love the slide that introduced this concept, you don’t always have time to research such as during a game but sometimes you have time to really think and research a topic such as why does Messi (football/soccer star) have blonde hair now. The use of humour really gave a lift to key points and linked well to the topic.

4-informal-learning

 

 

 

 

Excellent  introduction made by Cameron about Digital Literacy and the key points. It is such a vital and important point but is not pushed so that the students almost do not realize they have learnt something important.

4-literacy-network

 

 

 

 

Digital Curation was introduced by them moving towards to goal of going to University. I really liked the reasoning behind why the student would care. I would suggest that perhaps white writing for the Mind boggling amount of information might have been better as when it transitions down to the black block you had difficulty reading the text.

university

 

 

 

Introducing digital curation tools that can be used on the students phone and using the tag line “You are in charge of your phone and your learning” give a simple a powerful message as this group of students really use their phones in an extended manner.

digital-curation

 

 

 

 

I loved the message if you can avoid the stupid things and capitalize on the good things really resonated, especially with the accompanying image. It works on multiple levels to encourage the viewer that using networks is a good thing.

6-good-things

 

 

 

 

The point about traditional school changing and informal learning becoming integral to success is a final powerful thought that provides a solid conclusion to the animation.

7-schools-are-changing

 

 

 

I did like the animation without background music, but for the final 15 seconds of dead air, when the attributions were being shown it would have been nice to have employed some background music or maybe even some sound effects from a soccer game to link back to the topic.

Overall the animation was excellent and really engaged the learner through humour and by linking it to two things the prospective audience loves, soccer and their phones. Cameron’s voice over was excellent and he has a great voice for voiceovers and was great to listen to.

 

 

How a PLN saved the three little pigs – credit and references

How a PLN saved the three little pigs – credit and references


Music

Now (2014) DJ Smallest

https://www.jamendo.com/track/1163114/now

Energy (2014) DJ Smallest

https://www.jamendo.com/track/1163112/dj-smallest-energy

Free (2014) DJ Smallest

https://www.jamendo.com/track/1163113/dj-smallest-free

Ft. Charie – Music for life (2014) DJ Smallest

https://www.jamendo.com/track/1163115/dj-smallest-ft-charie-music-for-life

Paradise (2014) DJ Smallest

https://www.jamendo.com/track/1163116/dj-smallest-paradise

Born Free (2014) Pokki DJ

https://www.jamendo.com/track/1179546/born-free

Creativity (2015) Pokki DJ

https://www.jamendo.com/track/1295317/creativity

Website

Neilsen, L. (2011, August 12). The 5 Cs to Developing Your Personal Learning Network [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/5-cs-to-developing-your-personal.html

Green, P. (2016). Building With Sticks and Stones. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/garden/07twig.html?_r=0

Naturalhomes.org (2016). Thatched homes around the world. Retrieved from http://naturalhomes.org/thatch.htm

Elendellesonne.co(2015) Architectural Design In Germany: The Fincube Modern Architectural Simple Ideas Architectural Designs. Retrieved from http://www.elenadelledonne.co/architectual-designs/architectural-design-in-germany-the-fincube-modern-architectural-simple-ideas-architectual-designs/

Images (free)

https://morguefile.com/

https://www.pexels.com/

Images (Purchased)

http://www.shutterstock.com/home

 

 

Participatory culture, do we dare to partake?

Though personally I really like the simplicity of Scratch and how engaging it can be, without the right direction and support it can turn into a classroom nightmare and turn students off a brilliant way introduce students to coding.

Mitchel Resmick- the director of the Lifelong Kindergarten MIT Media Lab says Scratch “teaches kids to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively”. It is very important for our students to learn lessons from being able to fail in a safe and supportive environment. Game Based Learning (GBL) can support teachers in providing a safe space for students to work and learn from failure. But, this must come with a caveat attached, for students to fail and learn, teachers must at least have an idea of how to support students to succeed within the GBL environment. Prototyping methodology as outlined by Drew Davidson can be a powerful tool set in the hands of learners, especially if a teacher has taken the time to support students to develop their computational and design thinking skills. However, not all students start out on an activity with the same skill set, including problem solving, creativity and critical thinking skills so be must build their capacity first to assist them to achieve.

Support forms an important part of a GBL environment.
Support forms an important part of a GBL environment.

Recently I was invited into a classroom in Perth to watch a practicum student teacher present a session on coding to Year 8 students – the invite was from the practicum student as they know my background in mentoring technology in the classroom. Unfortunately for the practicum student teacher the lesson did not run according to their plan. Ultimately the session outcomes were not met key reasons for this were: there was only a little introduction to the topic; a very small amount of task description which was given verbally only to the students; no scaffolding; and poor support skills from the practicum student. The students in the classroom became frustrated as they really did not have a solid foundation for the task or what the teacher wanted them to achieve, this then resulted in the students becoming disengaged mid-lesson.

At the end of the session (after the students had left) I debriefed with the supervising teacher and practicum student about the session. My worry was the practicum student had become increasingly frustrated and angry with the students during the session as they became disengaged. The frustration stemmed from the students not grasping what was required of them and that they did not seem to have the skills to complete the task. I asked the practicum student about previous lessons that the students had in using the software and quickly discovered that this was the very first time it had presented to students and the practicum student was using a colleague’s lesson plan. As our conversation progressed about the topic I also realized that the key difference between how this lesson ran and her colleague’s lesson was that her colleague had taken the time to learn the software, worked up an example for the students to get an understanding of what was required and put in some solid learning outcomes.

With effort the story completed with an excellent ending.
With effort the story completed with an excellent ending.

Now from this story there is a happy ending. I was invited back to support the practicum student in presenting another session to the same group of students – this was at my suggestion. We really took the time to structure an example, demonstrated the techniques that were required to be used to create the digital output (ie. wire frame, story boarding and coding skills) gave the students a solid understanding of what was required for them to achieve. The practicum student and myself then became guides on the side for the remainder of the lesson to support the students as required. The result for the practicum student was that the class achieved all the outcomes, a complete turnaround to the previous. All the students had achieved and were excited to continue on with the next lesson. By investing the time to support and engage with learners and to demonstrate prototyping learning design.

To me this basic failure of the teacher to use effective teaching strategies just because she was using technology was the primary issue. I do believe however, that we need to support teachers in learning how to play and engage with technologies as well as support them to develop their own computational thinking and design thinking skills. By investing in our teachers we are investing in the students.

Creativity forms an important part of computational thinking and design thinking.
Creativity forms an important part of computational thinking and design thinking.

Students still find it difficult to creating new technologies and expressing themselves with technology. We need to support students to develop design thinking skills to support them in creating in new and different ways. Students will become familiar in technologies without a teacher always standing over them to make sure that they are using the technology exactly the same way the teacher would.

Recently I have encouraged a peer to reform a Community of Practice for the Adult Literacy and Numeracy area of the WA VET sector, which has been launched because of my support. This is exactly what peerography represents for me.

I think Samuel Beckett sums up the need to build resilience and safe failure into our teaching with his thoughts on the necessity of failing to eventually achieve:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Are we there yet?

Pip Cleaves presented recently to the CSU MEd INF537 cohort about her journey leading learning and she mentioned the Diffusion of Innovation (Rogers, 2003). Tom Fishburn from Skydeckcartoons.com captures the Diffusion of Innovation cycle perfectly in his cartoon that primarily deals with the cycle of new product adoption, but the same cycle works for the adoption of technology in the classroom environment.

Diffusion of innovations - this model can be adopted by many sectors from marketing through to education.
Diffusion of innovations – this model can be adopted by many sectors from marketing through to education.

This made me reflect on what category I naturally fall into and I would say possibly the early majority group is where I fit best. However, the challenge for me is that I’m in a job role where I have to be an innovator and early adopter so that I can mentor others in the uptake. To be honest when I first started I felt like a fish out of water having to take risks, learn rapidly and eventually share widely. But I can say the more that I have been challenged in my role the more comfortable I am.

This is the difficulty and the challenge that I face when I am training VET practitioners from all around Australia in the ways technology can support and augment their training. Through the wide variety of programs that I have put together we now cater for people from early adopters all the way through to laggards.

Resrouces, Infrastructure, Poeple, Policies, Learning, Evaluation, Support.
The RIPPLES Model (Surry and Ensminger, 2005)

The RIPPLES model that  Surry, Ensminger and Haab (2005) created and Jaskinski (2006) used as the basis for the VET sector research project Innovate and integrate: Embedding innovative practices, has formed the basis for much of the professional learning series of sessions around elearning implementation and modelling of a champion model that I develop for organisations and for the Department of Training and Workforce Development. RIPPLES is the acronym for the seven components of the model: resources, infrastructure, people, policies, learning, evaluation and support.

The champion model picks up the innovators and early adopters and encourages these individuals or groups to share their stories with others. The E-learning Quality Model developed by the National VET E-Learning Strategy in 2014 and helps our champions by defining quality expectations of elearning more clearly. It is designed to help RTOs and to give them a competitive advantage. But it does assist practitioners in aligning their resources to a framework.

Review and reflection should become commonplace as best practice to improve teaching.
Review and reflection should become commonplace as best practice to improve teaching.

In my dynamic and technology rich life it is interesting to reflect on my teaching to see how I am tracking against my peers with integration of technology to support my pedagogical practice. This personal reflection is something that we as teachers need to do often to ensure that we are still meeting the needs of our clients (the students), to ensure that they are going to have the lifelong skills to succeed in this New World.

References

Jasinski, M. (2006). Innovate and integrate: Embedding innovative practices. 1st ed. [pdf] Canberra: DEST, Commonwealth of Australia. Available at: http://tle.westone.wa.gov.au/content/file/b2abda95-f95b-4366-afb6-7e3e401fdf72/1/Innovate_and_Integrate_Report1.pdf

Fishburne T. (2007, Februaru, 26). Brand Camp [Image]. Marketoonist. Retrieved from https://marketoonist.com/2007/02/new-product-adoption.html

NVELS (2014). E-learning Quality Model. Accessed from: http://webarchive.nla.gov.au/gov/20141215081514/http://www.flag.natese.gov.au/quality_model

Rogers E.M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press

Surry, DW, Ensminger, DC and Haab, M (2005), ‘A model for integrating instructional technology into higher education’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 36 (2), pp.327–329.

Learning Analytics – who is watching the watchers?

We leave footprints where ever we go online.
We leave footprints where ever we go online.

The digital footprint of our students/users gives a better picture of how people are using the systems and the content held in those systems.
Internally for the government department that I work for this means that we are able to see how well content presented in mandatory training is put into practice. Managers can access how long team members have been working through content prior to attempting the tests, which could have impacted on the scores that team members received.
My concern about this is how soon will the length of time someone has spent learning within mandatory course work be used as a measure in performance development meetings by a crackpot manager who does not have the capacity or capability to understand learning styles and the simple point that people learn at many different rates.
Upon saying this I do not feel that learning analytics are bad, but they do need to be used with caution. It would also help if organisations developed strategies around learning analytics to be able to use them in the best to support achieving improved outcomes for students and clients. The Charles Sturt University Learning Analytics Code of Practice  is a good example of documents that bound an organisation to how this valuable data set will be used.
Another exceptional use is an example from the Western Australian TAFE sector. Recently I was discussing learning analytics internally with our ICT department, especially the LMS that we supply the WA TAFEs and how users are enrolled into online courses. From this discussion a new building block was created by out ICT team which I was discussing with a client from a TAFE. He had used this new building block (as well as other reporting functionality) to view how staff were using the various tools within the LMS. The client discovered that staff seemed to be enrolling students individually more than by class rolls. There could be a wide number of factors including rolling enrolments where a cohort could have new people added adhoc over the course of the study period. But what this has highlighted for the TAFE team is that they can tailor training for staff better as they are able to watch the watches and support them to become better online trainers.

Digital users be aware.
Digital users be aware.

This does beg the question, who exactly are watching the watchers?
Recently in the agency that I work one of our mandatory courses grade books had been tampered with by a member of HR staff. Corporate Leadership team requested an independent review by a team external to HR who knew how to interrogate the system logs to determine who had access and tampered with the course grade book (as it is a mandatory regulatory course that all staff must complete and pass to maintain employment). I was able to track back through the logs that the HR team were unaware of, locate how the issue came about and reported back to Corporate Executive with recommendations regarding restrictions to the higher level access functions to ensure that this issue did not happen again as well as rolling the course back to the last backup date as no members of staff had been employed in the period that was impacted, which removed the problem. For the future I noted in the system the issue and why the reset had happened so there was a reason to my wiping a month of course logs. As part of my final report I also suggested further training of the HR team was required which has occurred.
In this instance the watchers were completely unaware that they were being watched and monitored until after the fact. I personally feel that this is not the way morally that we should be using this technology. It should be above board and everyone aware that they can be tracked, no matter what.

Simply a Code of Conduct policy around the use learner analytics is so very important for any organisation.

References

Charles Sturt University (2015). Code of Practice. Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/2160484/2016_CSU_LearningAnalyticsCodePractice.pdf

Welsh S. (2016). INF537, Colloquium 1, Learning Analytics [PowerPoint Slides and Connect recording]. Retrieved from https://connect.csu.edu.au/p65jlka06d6/

INF532 – Information environments

Trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Morguefile image by impure_with_memory http://mrg.bz/5387c4

Is there too much of a good thing with the amount of content that you can find on the internet? Not only is there an overabundance of good content but it is fast becoming like the proverbial “needle in a haystack” for a user to locate quality information quickly and efficiently amongst the bad, tragic or just mediocre content on offer in our digital smorgasbord.

With the fast approaching world of Web 3.0 and the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) means that the internet and its horizon is an ever-changing and evolving landscape that can provide personalised information to the user and about the user. You do have to question if this is always a good thing.

2016 NMC Technology Outlook.
2016 NMC Technology Outlook.

The 2016 NMC Technology Outlook – Australian Tertiary Education noted that learner analytics and location intelligence, which information is a form of big data, are areas that will have an impact in the next few years.

Big Data and meta data (data about data) have become a key focus with regards to who is creating, storing, using and most importantly selling data about you and what you look at. Think about the last time you searched for anything and you will have been prompted with possible fee-for-service products that might be similar to what you have been looking at.

We live in a social world.
We live in a social world.
Morguefile Image by lauramusikanski http://mrg.bz/89b2a7

Another form that this takes is when you are on social media sites such as Facebook™ you will notice based on your searches, friends and groups that “sponsored” sites appear as suggestions you might like to follow. You will also be aware (if you are using a desktop that there is an advertisement stream that is tailored for you. How does it know what you have been looking at while you are not on Facebook, simply it is from the cache in your computer or smart device and your browser history.

But when you consider the importance of how you can use learner analytics and learner actions within your site to track what they have been reviewing to ensure that the content of the course is meeting their needs then bib data is not seen quite so much in a horrible tracking light – stalking your movements around the internet, but a useful tool to support and help students.

Big data is as important for education as it is for business.
Big data is as important for education as it is for business.
Morguefile Image by Prawny http://mrg.bz/b2f87d

With the increase in the cost of creating print products and the speed that these products become redundant saw the rise of Web 2.0 technologies that enabled user-generated content simply easily and cheaply. This power to the masses revolution of technology has meant that often we do forget that the internet is ‘forever’. Need proof that this is the case, then please feel free to review the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

It is interesting that with the increase of the individual’s ability to have a voice on the internet has seen many companies fall-by-the-wayside as they have not adapted and changed their business structures to compensate for the new market place. Some may argue that if you do not adapt to the market place to survive then you do not have the right to survive.

Educators need to think if they are going to continue as a sage on the stage or move to a guide on the side facilitator role.
Educators need to think if they are going to continue as a sage on the stage or move to a guide on the side facilitator role.
Morguefile Image by pippalou http://mrg.bz/8afa17

So with that thought where does this leave educators? In this brand new world are we expecting teachers to become technology experts to guide students to some mythical promised land of better understanding? I would say that at best we need to encourage our teachers to become the facilitators of tomorrow. This means that we must move away from the “sage on the stage” mentality to perhaps taking up the guide on the side role where technology plays a helpful hand in supporting and augmenting learning for students. Technology can support student outcomes but should never dictate or drive the learning.

So the future is looking bright, but is it looking as bright as it once was or are we seeing it through a binary code induced haze? Time will tell.

References

De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In Information 2.0: New models of information production, distribution and consumption (pp. 13-35). London: Facet.

Kellmereit, D. and Obodovski, D. (2013). The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things. DnD Ventures 1st edition, California.

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

The New Media Consortium. (2016). 2016 NMC Technology Outlook Australian Tertiary Education. Retrieved 7 July 2016, from http://www.nmc.org/publication/2016-nmc-technology-outlook-australian-tertiary-education/

INF532 – Knowledge Networking for Educators

I am excited and barely can contain how much I have been looking forward to this unit.

Onions have layers
Onions have layers.
Image by svklimkin #2504c7ce70bcb5e91c30bec56aa397962 http://www.morguefile.com

To me you can say that this unit will have many layers, just like onions or parfaits (which ever you prefer).

Parfait
Parfait flickr photo shared by song zhen under a Creative Commons (BY) licence

 

 

 

 

I have a keen interest in instructional design and training VET sector lecturers the key principles of design and how to implement them specifically for online enhanced learning (blended delivery).

Check back to see my thoughts as I move through this unit.

Social media in the VET classroom

VET inclass example of a twitter back-channel.
VET in class example of a twitter back-channel.

Social media for many means catching up with what friends are doing via Facebook or following the latest celebrity on Twitter. But is can be so much more than that for an educator who is prepared to put in some extra work to effectively use to Social Media within a class environment.

It is important to consider the affordances in relation to the learning program to determine if there will be of benefit to the students (Bower, 2008). There will always be resistance from some students when social media for a variety of reasons. Due to this resistance it is important to ensure that any learning done through this mechanism is duplicated elsewhere.

One crucial issue is of course age, with many social media requiring the user to be over a certain age to agree to the terms and conditions. For use in a VET classroom, as outlined by Roblyer (2013) it is crucial that appropriate social media site are chosen that will create a professional learning avenue for students. It is also important for students to understand this is a professional site and should not be linked to their personal activities. By utilizing the affordances outlined by Bower (2008) and the taxonomy of learning, teaching and assessing created by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) a teacher can provide supported pedagogical reasoning behind why they are choosing a specific social media platform in their classroom.

One interesting piece of research by McCorkle D.E, and McCorkle Y.L., (2012) focussed on the use of LinkedIn in a marketing class room. The article outlined the assessment program that stepped students through the very basic setting up a profile to building a professional network.

This strategy has been reflected in current practice in the 2014 Article in Training Matters which focused on the use of LinkedIn in a VET Certificate III in Pathology qualification. The lecturer used LinkedIn in a variety of ways; the initial use was a discussion forum between students and industry but then it branched out as a mentoring forum for alumni students; a employment and job placement area; industry announcement. The heavy ties with industry through LinkedIn gave currency to the course.

With any social media it is important for students to understand why they are being asked to participate. Twitter as a back channel for on topic discussion by students during a lecture or presentation can vie valuable insight into the understanding by the students. This can simply be as easy as putting together a hashtag for the class group to respond to. In Hew & Cheung (2013) article they outlined how one institution saw an increase in GPA’s in the test group using twitter which was put down to students engaging with lecturers and content discussions via this social medium. Being able to access this application through a mobile device or desktop meant that the students were able to continue to learn and reflect of critical points 24/7.

The implementation of social media in a VET classroom does warrant investigation as an avenue to support students who are often in the workplace or studying through a blended delivery approach.

References

Anderson, L., & Krathwohl, D., (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies.Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi:10.1080/09523980701847115

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4). doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Hew, K., & Cheung, W. (2013). Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice. Educational Research Review, 9, 47-64. doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001

Jelfs, A., & Richardson, J. (2013). The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2). doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01308.x

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1). doi:10.1007/s11412-008-9056-2

McCorkle, D., & McCorkle, Y. (2012). Using Linkedin in the Marketing Classroom: Exploratory Insights and Recommendations for Teaching Social Media/Networking. Marketing Education Review, 22(2), 157-166. doi:10.2753/mer1052-8008220205

Passion for teaching. (2014). Training Matters, (20), 17. Retrieved from http://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/employeesandstudents/training/otherinformation/trainingmatters/previousversions/Documents/April%202014/Training%20Matters%20April%202014%2017.pdf

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Digital Citizenship – the starting point for personal discovery

As a professional presenter for a government agency I must be extremely careful about my digital footprint or digital tattoo (Sullivan, 2013) as it is my reputation that is on the line. What surprises me is that I could be standing in front of a group of professional trainers who work in the VET sector and I ask what they are doing about digital literacy I get the blank looks.

Digital trail
Digital trail Image Y Drager

In almost a whisper I will then ask “How many of you have actually ‘Googled’ yourself to see your digital trail?” The scary part is that most of these educated people have never even considered searching themselves on the internet (Rheingold, 2010).

I guess I could be seen as being in the ‘Worried by the Wayside’ group (Madden, Fox, Smith and Vitak, 2007) mainly as my job as an elearning presenter I must be across a wide variety of technologies. Which means that this increases the potential for issues in the future with my digital footprint.

I am admitting now that whenever I go to post or respond to something I freely self-censor. The internal dialogue that I have will often cause me to stop and reflect. I will ask myself what prospective employers will think, will this reflect badly on my current workplace and will this impact on my family. If I can see I am in the clear then I will post.

Now let me be brutally honest  and say not always have my colleagues put any filter to use. As I write and rewrite this blog post I again pause and reflect on what I am writing, I just can’t help it. Let me ask if you look back on your life (and if you are of a certain age and over) how many of you might have made a telephone call and left messages on an answering machine, then tried to get the tape before the person heard the message? Well imagine that but the tapes never going away, can never be erased and you have the digital tattoo that sticks forever.

Digital Citizenship: It’s More Than a Poster! http://venspired.com/giving-back-day-6-all-about-digital-citizenship/
Digital Citizenship: It’s More Than a Poster!
http://venspired.com/giving-back-day-6-all-about-digital-citizenship/

I  remember at a place a I worked a colleague sent out a site wide email with an embedded joke image which was not appropriate for the workplace. Immediately the colleague recalled the email. However, the recall of Outlook does not necessarily recall the actual email from people it just sends everyone on the sender list a notification that the email has been recalled. What that recall email triggered was a point where everyone at the work site clicked on the email and were horrified en mass.

Access to many media empowers only those who know how to use them (Rheingold, 2010). This truism is important for everyone. Think about it now days if a student or peer makes a gaff it follows as a constant reminder. Being a good digital citizen will not absolve you from your folly, however, it will make you stop and think a little before hitting the post or send button, and that has to be a good thing.

 

 

Greenhow, C. (2010). New concept of citizenship for the digital age. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 24-25.

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention and other 21st century social media literacies. Educause Review 45(5). Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/attention-and-other-21st-century-social-media-literacies

Ribble, M. (2016). Nine Elements. digitalcitizenship. Retrieved 5 March 2016, from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/

Sullivan, A. (2013). Digital tattoo: Helping students build their digital image [Slideshow]. Retreived from http://www.slideshare.net/adinasullivan/iste-2013-d-igital-tattoo-061613-w-o-movie-24148830

Venspired. Digital Citizenship: It’s More Than a Poster! [Poster]. Retrieved 18 March 2016, from http://venspired.com/giving-back-day-6-all-about-digital-citizenship/