Tag Archives: technology

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.

Curation – the final frontier

Curation – where I failed to go for so long

Many are in the same boat, but won't admit it.
Many are in the same boat, but won’t admit it.

I am at nearing the end of my learning journey in the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) and I have to make a confession, I have only just finally grasped the importance of digital curation and how to do it well. Shocked, well don’t be, I suspect many of us are in the same boat.

Over the years I have stabbed at creating folders, spreadsheets, delicious lists, Evernote, Symbaloo, ScoopIt, Pearltrees, Pinterest and yes Diigo. I never really found my groove and felt it was too hard. It to be honest was very haphazard and peace meal to say the least; the reason is that I simply was trying too many different ways and not settling for one method, I had no method for stemming the flow of information and little idea how to keep track of important things I needed. Yes, no doubt about it curating done badly can be like herding cats, but trying to manage a good curated site is worth the effort.

A rich mosaic of information is at my fingertips thanks to curating.
A rich mosaic of information is at my fingertips thanks to curating.

The real trick is aggregating, using collective curation and tagging. I have limited myself down to two key curation tools and have linked with many different professionals them and have become part of an active community curating. Once I grasped this secret I was able to curate and save to my heart’s content and build a rich mosaic of knowledge that is at my fingertips. But it was not taught as part of our formal course at the beginning, my knowledge was all learnt and explored through informal learning networks. Now I am in my final two units the irony is I now understand and implore others to curate before it is too late, just to push that final point I leave you with a catch phrase :

Curate, it will help you create!

Curate, it will help you create!
Curate, it will help you create!

Editor note: I was asked in a response to this post, well what tools are you using? I have to say that I favor ScoopIt! as I’ve been using this for a very long time and have built up a good group of followers in that space, however I am also back to dabbling and am also enjoying PearlTrees, I bookmark with Delicious but am always aware that obsolescence is always just around the corner and online systems can go just as quick (for example Ning) for more information about obsolescence look at my post ‘You live, you learn, you upgrade‘. My take-away from this is that you will keep evolving, exploring and experiencing new tools to keep yourself current and relevant.

References

Crowdspoke (2011, June 7). Understand collective curation in under 90 seconds [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW775HIlVMg

You live, you learn, you upgrade

In our  throw-away society obsolescence is fast becoming a problem that we will all face. Think about when you were younger (ahh the simpler time in your life) when technology was not the driver of all work places.

viewmaster-reels
View-Master

Remember fondly a time when looking through a View-Master was the coolest thing you could do in a library,  a golf ball typewriter was a thing to be jealous of in the workplace or at home

Golf-ball typewriter
Golf-ball typewriter

 

and your portable record player meant you had to carry a box of records with you to entertain?

Record player
Record player

 

Well these things all have one thing in common, they have suffered obsolescence.

As a digital educator it is paramount that you are aware of the tools and software you are using and the interoperability with other systems in case you are required to move your content  such as has been the case in the past for example Google closing down one system and replacing it with Google+. It is useful to have your eggs not in one basket for this reason and to be familiar with multiple systems.

I have been researching for my INF537 final case study, which has involved me pulling a wealth of data from webinar systems around user interaction times, number of rooms created etc. I needed a set of data from last year, but am unable to access it, why? Simply put last year due to a DNS attack on the server  (we are all now familiar to that term thanks to the Bureau of Statistics and the Census) we had to use the USA server to access our webinar technology. This simply means that the valuable statistics is no longer available to me as we had a window of use and then all data was purged from their system. It beggars belief that this can happen in 2016, in the age of enlightenment when digital preservation of data should be in  the topic of ICT minds. But no they forgot to request this data at the time so it is gone forever.

Onto another point I was in a meeting today and thought about these in relation to a problem that the team were discussing; the need to keep backups of the online courses for compliance. It got me thinking of that old issue of is you keep a backup and the system moves how long is that backup relevant and what destroy provisions are around how long we keep these backups. This is a critical issue for the government agency I work for as we now will be servicing the 5 TAFEs and all their online course and managing backups. There is a finite amount of space so how long is too long?

Another key problem is that many of the TAFEs are moving from one LMS to another, so that then leads to questions around currency and the longevity of courses.

To me it begs the question if we have to keep these course backups for compliance why is there little or no action around this?

I work with many Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) across Western Australia with the implementation of elearning systems to support their teaching and learning cohorts.

Make sure everyone is singing the same tune..
Make sure everyone is singing the same tune..

One key part of a strategic implementation is to ensure that everyone  “is singing from the same hymn book” and understand the reason for the system.

 

 

Do not leave people behind and make sure no one is marching to the beat of their own drum, as it can be a huge problem later for organisations.

March to the same beat.
March to the same beat.

Often with the implementation of new systems the baby is thrown out with the bath water with the need to everyone to be working in the same system as soon as practicable.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

Trainers are often the ones who have to do the migration work on an already full workload. But at the outset a set of rules around the course development and final archiving need to be considered at length so that a proper preservation schedule is put into place to ensure that the organisation meets the compliance levels required.

This can happen in a few different ways

Online storage: materials stored on fileservers or other hardware which is immediately accessible to the enquirer via a PC or smart device that is connected to the internet.  Companies offer free storage, sufficient for personal files but you must be mindful that if it is stored on the internet then it could become accessible to anyone.  Commercial and government organizations are also looking closely at the option – but there considerable risks involved for organizations concerned with long term preservation – after all, you are placing your data into the hands of another organization and trusting them to do the right thing. This could outweigh the cost savings for organizations.

Offline and near-line or near-online storage is where materials are stored on devices that are not continuously connected to the computer network or internet. Data can be stored on magnetic tape and might be stored off site in secure storage for long term safety.

Removable media are such things as flash drives (USB sticks) DVD or CDs, removable hard disk drives these are often be removed from the network and stored either locally for easy availability. As these are ‘offline’ devices the content is not available for multiple users.

Consider storage, it is vital in preservation.
Consider storage, it is vital in preservation.

Tips for storage

Conduct regular integrity checks of your digital resources to avoid inadvertent change, deterioration or data loss. Use a checksum for this (will be outlined later).

Refresh you storage devices because of obsolescence.

Store your stage devices in an appropriate location, such as somewhere low in dust and humidity with very little temperature variation.

Points to consider:

  1. It is extremely important to preserve your files in formats that will be robust to survive obsolescence. Consider restricting types of files you are archiving and think about open source, portable and high quality.
  2. File transfer/exchange to others needs to be considered. It is wise to choose file formats that are supported by a wide range of software across a variety of platforms.
  3. Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a meta-language that lets you design your own markup language. XML tags are not predefined unlike in HTML.

A really simple strategy is IDOS

Identify: What do you want to save? Locate the files and identify EVRYTHING that you want to collect.

Decide: what is most important to you as it is not practical to try and save everything.

Organise: The content

Save copies: Save them in different places.

In a nutshell to help preserve the now for later (rule of thumb not just for the online courses I started talking about) it is helpful to think about the following:

  • Build your knowledge about preservation and storage requirements;
  • Talk to others about your preservation needs;
  • Plan your strategy for digital preservation;
  • Identify what you want to save;
  • Decide how you are going to save;
  • Organise what you are saving and build appropriate metadata or information around it; and
  • Save copies in different locations.

No matter what type of file you want to save they all require the same essential preservation strategy. We can preserve our digital possessions to keep them accessible for years to come, but we have to archive and actively manage them and work through upgrades and migrations sensibly to we can ALL survive.

References

Library of Congress (2016). Digital Preservation. Retrieved 1, October, 2016, from http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/

Stuart, Katherine and Banks, Lauren (2012) Making ducks walk in a line – the road to digital continuity, Retrieved 1 October, 2014 from http://members.rimpa.com.au/lib/StaticContent/StaticPages/pubs/nat/inForum2011/JohnstonBanksPaper.pdf

Technology  obsolescence. (2014). In: Business glossary, 1st ed. [online] New York: All Business. Available at: http://www.allbusiness.com/glossaries/technological-obsolescence/4945098-1.html [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

Case Study – the beginning INF537

It is always exciting and daunting to be doing a body of research on the organisation where you work.

Webinars - connecting the world.
Webinars – connecting the world.

For my final assessment for my Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) – INF537 Digital Futures Colloquium I have decided to focus on how webinar technology is impacting on the State Government Department where I work. The Case Study will be used to decide future directions and needs for both my agency and the VET sector in WA, which is exciting and daunting at the same time.

For research I have access to all of the records within the system, so am working through a data cull currently. The trick (and key problem for me) is going to be paring the amount of information available to me down to  a useful size. I’ll also be sending out a short survey to gather feedback from my colleagues who are using the systems.

Approved proposal below –

Proposed topic: How webinar technology has impacted on the way DTWD now performs core business functions.
Research focus question: How and to what extent has webinar technology impacted on DTWD business?
Brief description:
Since 2012 there has been a contraction of funding in the WA VET sector and within the Department of Training and Workforce Development. This reduction has seen sector wide severances (internally DTWD saw 900 staff down to 450). This reduction in both staff and funding has seen DTWD staff having to engage with teams, stakeholders and clients over wide distances in innovative ways. There has been both an interest and uptake in webinar technology. I would like to explore how effective use of webinar technology is impacting on business and allowing DTWD to meet  KPI whilst on reduce funding and lower staffing ratios.
I  have DTWD  management keenly interested in my pursuing this topic as it will help to inform future directions for the department and the WA TAFE sector, especially after the huge reformations that have happened this year.

Case study information sources:
1. Raw data on session creation and usage to be accessed from the SAS for all directorates.
2. Interviews with team leaders using the system effectively.
3. Raw data from Event 360 regarding use from external people engaging in training via webinar.
4. Informal comments from Event 360 – participants that have attended training via webinar.

Projected timeline:
12 Aug – Submission of proposal and approval
12 Aug – 26 Aug gather raw data from the systems
22 Aug – 12 September Interview users of the system
12 Sept – 24 September Interrogate information and locate supporting information to support how webinar technology has impacted on core business (either positively or negatively).
24 Sept – 9 Oct write up the case study and critical reflection
10 Oct – submit assessment

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/

The hype and trends of technology

With technology becoming more pervasive in our everyday lives and being prevalent in classrooms it is interesting to stop and take stock and reflect on technology trends from the past to inform us on what worked well and what didn’t. By reflecting on this I believe that I can fix my sight on the future and move forward with knowledge.

Let’s look at the facts that not that long ago it was standard modern practice to use acetate overhead project sheets and Gestetner copies.

It is always the risk, should you be an early adopter of a technology on the forefront trying to work out how to fit it into a class, or should you sit back and wait for it to become mainstream and are forced to use it because your organisation has created a user policy. The key question to ask, as an educator is; Why should we use technology in the classroom? (Drager, 1, 2015)

As a teacher it is always important to think about the affordances to technology that you are considering implementing in the class. Bower (2008) outlined an affordance classification system, that is incredible useful to work through when deciding on technology for the classroom, a process I went through for the Moodle Learning Management System (Drager, 2, 2015).

As a trainer when I go to use a new technology I will put it through an affordance review and also reflect on my own TPACK (Drager,3, 2015) with the technology to ensure that I am not just using a trendy new technology for the sake of it but there are solid links to curriculum.

Reflecting on technology trends from the past 10 years has been an interesting undertaking, especially in relation to what I personally used in education. It is interesting that though LMSs have been around for over 15 years that they still remain a critical part of the e-learning landscape, but the question is for how long (Conole, 2012)? I can map how I have taught by the technology that I used personally. Some key highlights from the years include:

  • 2006 learning to develop web content for my Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) which opened up an awareness of digital creation and curation.
  • 2007 the year of Virtual Worlds and social networks, with exciting projects such as ‘Virtual World’s – Real Learning’ from the then Australian Flexible Learning Framework inspiring people from the VET sector which opened up a huge new realm for me.
  • 2010, mobile media tablets changed workplace training due to the simplicity of use and ease of integration.

Gartner every year puts out a Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. 2014 shows types of technology that have been around for a while but appear simply because they’ve gained mainstream attention, such as gamification.

Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2014 (Gartner, 2014)
Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2014 (Gartner, 2014)
Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2012 (Gartner, 2012)
Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2012 (Gartner, 2012)

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies should be studied with a critical eye own in relation to education but linked to other important reports such as the Horizon Report to identify critical trends that will indeed support teaching and learning. When you compare 2012 to 2014 Hype Cycles you are able to see that BYOD was at its zenith in 2012, but does not even rate a mention in 2014. What does this mean to us in education and the trends in technology? Simply if there’s enough ‘hype’ around technology it can very quickly be adopted into mainstream and education.

 

References

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

Conole, G. (2015). Designing for Learning in an Open World (1st ed., pp. 47-63). Dordrecht: Springer. Retrieved from http://csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1030803&echo=1&userid=Kw3jR%2bAhgEwAdjjiAfq0LQ%3d%3d&tstamp=1427684336&id=99B29BF9A978474F0ED16153A21450DBF7961F02

Drager, Y. 1, (2015). Affordances of Moodle – a multiplatform application. Yvette’s Reflective journal – A site of Discovery. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/yvette/2015/01/19/affordances-of-moodle-a-multiplatform-application/

Drager, Y. (2015). TPACK framework. Yvette’s Reflective Blog : A site of Discovery. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/yvette/2015/01/12/tpack-framework/

Drager, Y. (2015). Why should we use technology in the classroom?. Yvette’s Reflective Journal – A site of discovery. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/yvette/2015/01/12/why-we-should-use-technology-in-the-classroom/

Gartner,. (2014). Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2012. Retrieved from http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2124315

Gartner,. (2014). Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2014. Retrieved from http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2819918

The New Media Consortium,. (2014). NMC Horizon. Retrieved 30 March 2015, from http://www.nmc.org/nmc-horizon/

Web.archive.org,. (2007). Australian Flexible Learning Framework – Virtual Worlds – Real Learning!. Retrieved 30 March 2015, from http://web.archive.org/web/20070613001430/http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/flx/go/home/projects/2006/newpractices2006/pid/368

Wikipedia,. (2015). Transparency (projection). Retrieved 30 March 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparency_(projection)

Wikipedia,. (2014). Gestetner. Retrieved 30 March 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestetner

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.