Tag Archives: Hardware

Blog task #1

key words taken from INF530 about digital learning and information technology
The content of INF530 and my readings inspired me to create a Worlde of my thoughts.

It was not a surprise to find out that I am an entrepreneurial learner, a tinkerer and a maker. I like to explore new concepts and resources with and work out new ways of using these in my work. Seely Brown, stated “We tend to underplay how important this is”, which is so very true, especially in the creative job role I have compared to others in the Government agency where I work. I want to help VET facilitators/trainers to become entrepreneurial learners as well so they can pass the traits onto their students.

The internet has become mainstream, no longer the domain for the higher education professional or researches, which allows people to connect and communicate, to share and impact on like minded individuals. Education, business and Government agencies all have to create policies around the use of digital technologies because of its prevalence in our everyday lives and as a learning mentor it is imperative that I can showcase digital technologies both at a senior management level and at trainer level for effective industry implementation.

However, I see the more critical issue being digital preservation of content. For the VET sector Registered Training Organisations (RTO) need to maintain records for up to 20 years, which is extremely problematic given both hardware and software obsolescence. This area is one that I am keen to explore further as currently it is not on the National agenda as a critical item but one that I can see will impact the VET sector in the coming years. Government funded VET colleges (TAFEs) in all likelihood do have some digital preservation strategy, my focus is the smaller private RTOs who do not have access the robust infrastructure for data recovery.

What I do find exciting is the changing dynamic of the traditional VET trainer away from being the ‘sage on the stage to a more guide on the side or meddler in the middle’ (Lukin et al., 2009). With this move away from ‘traditional’ classroom teaching means that new pedagogical styles can be explored such as ‘flipped learning’. This philosophy fits in well with the authentic learning tasks that have real world relevance (Reeves, Herrington & Oliver, 2002) that incorporate active learning experiences (Day & Kumar, 2010) which is important to VET delivery, but most importantly it helps students become lifelong learners. Marc Prensky summed this up nicely in this tweet:

Marc Prensky wrote: Today's educators' job is to show students how to teach themselves in today's and tomorrow's world, & to guide them in doing so.
Marc Prensky @marcprensky tweeted about the role of educators in a modern teaching world.

 

 

 

 

 

This space is exciting and challenging and personally I revel in the chance to change the stoic long term trainers who have been training a specific way for the past 20+ years to seeing a more flexible approach that fits both them and the students. If you think about it we need to train students in new ways for them to become successful workers in the future.

Change is something that moves slowly in the VET sector, just like any education area. The Web 3.0 is an exciting time and especially the ‘collaborative commons’ and Internet of Things. I am most excited to discover how these will impact on teaching and schools into the future.

 

References

Davies, R., Dean, D., & Ball, N. (2013). Flipping the classroom and instructional technology integration in a college-level information systems spreadsheet course. Educational Technology Research & Development, 61(4), 563-580. doi:10.1007/s11423-013-9305-6

Day, J., & Kumar, M. (2010). Using SMS Text Messaging to Create Individualized and Interactive Experiences in Large Classes: A Beer Game Example. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 8(1), 129-136. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4609.2009.00247.x

Lage, M., Platt, G., & Treglia, M. (2000). Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment. The Journal of Economic Education, 31(1), 30-43. doi:10.1080/00220480009596759

Lukin, R., Clark, W., Logan, K., Graber, R., Oliver, M., & Mee, A. (2009). Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning: practices, perceptions and profiles of 11-16 year old learners?. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439880902921949

Puentedura, R. (2014). SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy: Assembling the Puzzle. Common Sense Graphite. Retrieved from https://www.graphite.org/blog/samr-and-blooms-taxonomy-assembling-the-puzzle

Reeves, T. C., Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (2002). Authentic activities and online learning. In A.Goody, J. Herrington, & M. Northcote (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2002 Annual International Conference of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), Perth, Australia. Retrieved from: http://www.herdsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/conference/2002/papers/Reeves.pdf

The Global One Room Schoolhouse: John Seely Brown (Highlights from JSB’s Keynote at DML2012). (2012, September 18). Retrieved March 5, 2015, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiGabUBQEnM&feature=youtu.be

Affordances of Moodle – a multiplatform application

Moodle

Moodle HQ home page
Moodle HQ home page

It is always difficult as an educator to locate tools that are both simple to use as well as giving a teacher solid insight into student behaviors. As part of the online learning journey or even as part of a flipped classroom experience a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Moodle ( Moodle.org, 2015) can become a critical piece of technology.

Bowen (2008) discusses the importance of identifying the affordances of a technology to assess its suitability for particular learning situations.

Moodle includes the below affordances with a short explanation as to why.

Functional affordances

Media affordances: read-ability – students have content loaded into html pages, book and lesson modules, write-ability – students can use wiki, forums, blog, journal tools, view-ability – students are able to see and interact with images and content (where applicable), listen and speak ability – students are able to use plugin integrations for voice shat, teachers are able to post up sound bites and podcasts watch-ability – students are able to watch any video content either loaded or hyperlinked into the LMS.

Spatial affordances: resize-ability –using a mobility option within the LMS configuration for theme setup you are able to set a mobile theme which will resize the LMS interface, move-ability – interactive and non-interactive (text) elements can be loaded into a Moodle course and placed according to the learning design.

Moodle page on desktop computer.
Moodle page on desktop computer.
Moodle course on mobile device
Moodle page on mobile device

Temporal affordances: accessibility – as long as the students have access to the internet then they can access the LMS anywhere/anytime, , synchronicity versus asynchronicity – this is predominately an asynchronous software, but also has the ability for some synchronous work such as through live chat or through a virtual conference software plugin.

Navigation affordances: browse-ability – the content, once loaded by the teacher remains constant so can be browsed, search-ability –students are able to search content within the LMS, data-manipulation – the teacher is able to manipulate sort and sequence content and results.

Emphasis affordances: highlight-ability – the teacher can highlight sections of the content using inbuilt tools and course layout tools, focus-ability – similar to highlight-ability the teacher can give a focus on specific tools using the block area to focus students to a new point.

Synthesis affordances: combine-ability – multiple tools can be embedded, uploaded or created in a Moodle course to create a mixed media learning environment, integration-ability – other tools and systems can be integrated into the Moodle course.

Access-control affordances: permission-ability – a Moodle course site has many levels of permissions from the high end Moodle Administrator (effectively the owner of the site, this role can add users, content modify course site and themes) down to guest access where the site is similar to a website and interactivity does not work. Authenticated users on a Moodle site means that all activity can be tracked and reported on about that user on the whole Moodle site, share-ability –within a Moodle space more than one teacher can be added to a course site, also students have the ability to share content through forums, blogs and wiki assignments.

Non-functional affordances

Technical affordances: this software is multi-platform; depending on the level of interactive content or video links it can use relatively low bandwidth and speed required. For organisations that do not have a LAN to be accessed by all students (such as a prison) Moodle can be loaded on a stand-alone computer that does not point to the internet. Backup of a course created can be reloaded into the system by visiting teachers. The course can be backed up upon leaving which can include users, results and coursework. This can then be re-installed on a LAN enabled system for storage.

Usability: Teachers need to learn to create, manage and teach in a Moodle course. It is a fairly simple tool to use with the edit interface being the same for every resource being added. Students will have access to the resources and activities which are intuitive to use, however, it is recommended that a simple step by step screen grab guide is used for students unfamiliar with the system.

Example Moodle site design
Example Moodle site design

Aesthetics: clean and simple user interface and design. Themes within Moodle give the Administrator and possibly teachers (depending on how the system has been setup for teacher permissions) the ability to contextualize and mimic a website look and feel that will make the experience intuitive for end users.

Reliability: The software itself is robust, however, as it is a web tool internet connection via Ethernet cable, 3/4G or WiFi is critical and if dropouts are experienced this could cause issues. Firewalls of organisations could also cause issues on the initial use if ICT has not opened the port to allow this software to be accessed.

Issues and key considerations

Accessibility – the Government of Australian requires that all websites and web material meet at least level A WCAG3 requirements. The Moodle software is currently rated at a level AA. With the accessibility options enabled it also means that support software , such as screen readers can be used by end users on this site

The outlined affordances demonstrate the possibilities of Moodle in a VET or corporate setting. It allows teacher and presenters to push content out, provide avenues for synchronous sessions and enables the teacher to assess students via a wide range of assessment methods. This is then stored within the Moodle course site and can form part of the backup of the course for archival purposes..

Through the use of plugins this too can be a simple ‘vanilla’ out of the box version or a complex system that fully reports against many key performance indicators.

As this is software can be used across multi-platform, it is an ideal option to use within a VET classroom context.

 

References

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

Morgan, M., Butler, M., & Power, M. (2007). Evaluating ICT in education: A comparison of the affordances of the iPod, DS and Wii. Paper presented at the ASCILITE, Singapore.

Moodle.org,. (2015). Moodle – Open-source learning platform | Moodle.org. Retrieved 12 January 2015, from https://moodle.org/

Hardware in the classroom

It is interesting to reflect on what hardware I use in my classroom. As I present professional development to the whole of the Western Australian VET sector I train both face-to-face an in an online space. I will focus on the face-to-face training room for this blog post and will cover the variety of software in another post.

Technology old and new for the classroom.
Technology old and new for the classroom.

Face to face classroom

  • Interactive White Board
  • Data projector
  • Instructor computer (networked)
  • 24 networked laptops
  • WiFi hub for authenticated external users
  • iPad
  • Smart phones
  • Apple TV
  • Samsung tablet
  • Webcam
  • Microphone hub
  • Presenter clicker

Changes in the past 12 months

In the past 12 months the WiFi for external client use has been made available. This has made the teaching environment more flexible. This offers a BYOD option for all our face-to-face sessions and was done as a result of client feedback from sessions.