OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

Understanding the Digital Student Experience

Visible to anyone in the world

jgYXmovrwLbc15Qe5TG82MhJaIRP7iE9cYBRZ1nRlFe_SCPDUJnIAERKmdWGjGC_MGrSWrhv5gXd19tU0cWux0uXllbYsNNYiIFIbTFG5lNikXZmx_5pZ_LhvlArAUz7uWlppwxN

Josh Fleming, Head of Strategy and Oversight, Office for Students (with Sir Michael Barber).

(This is a preliminary review of a report that will be published next year). 

Triggered by the pandemic response while looking ahead. Digital poverty, definition: 

Six elements that make up digital poverty. 

  1. Hardware > having the appropriate device for the work you are doing. 

  2. Software > having the right software for what you are learning. 

  3. Connectivity > having the connection to get online 

  4. Having response TECH support when the student needs it

  5. Having a trained facilitator/teacher with the necessary skills to deliver learning online and to support the learning. 

  6. Having the space to learn.

Anecdotally the above are live issues and students are struggling. 

Emerging themes:

  1. Training for staff. There is a correlation between student engagement and the better trained the staff are and the better that staff feel that they are supported.

  2. Asynchronous learning is vital for anyone needing to be able to work around their studies especially if they are having to negotiate over who uses the one computer in the house and can do so on the kitchen table and not be disturbed.

  3. Surveys to quickly provide devices and connectivity where it is needed. 

  4. All institutions should be listening to students. THEY are best placed to tell institutions what they should be doing.

  5. Regular, clear communication is ‘so terribly important’ to navigate the situation created by Covid. 

  6. The potential is a huge opportunity. Over a five to ten year period, say taking disabled students, it can be transformative for them and for learning around the world.

We expected to find subject bias. The anecdotal bias of humanities vs hands on technical degrees, we have been surprised at how well the creative arts have transitioned so that lab time is far more effectively utilised in a way that helped with their pedagogical approach. 

With international students, asynchronous learning can be really good if there is a different time zone, but synchronous learning does aid with any sense of isolation. 

Use of AI to augment human instruction to free up staff time to concentrate on the higher order learning and to improve the student experience. The students of the future may not be taught by Bots, but they will be supported by Bots.



Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

EdTech Question of the moment 11

Visible to anyone in the world

Is it possible for machine learning to synthesise an empathetic conversation through inquisitive questions - how are you? how do you feel? etc. Is there much research into the ethical implication of this when humans begin to emotionally attach to anyone/anything that shows empathy?

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

The Future of Education in the Age of Covid-19 : Daniel Sussking

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 20 Nov 2020, 12:06

David Susskind on AI in the world of work and how it will impact the laggardly education

This was a lecture that sustained its pace. I've changed its title because I suspect that he adapted 'the lecture of the book' 'A World Without Work' and then journalistically tossed in a bit of Covid, when in fact his presentation and thesis was that education is getting behind and profound change is in the air. Some have already embraced it. Woe betide those who get left behind. 

There is a time and place for talking not teaching. Teaching can be talking, whatever you are taught in PGCE.  

There were five parts to this memorable and important talk. 

  1. Blue collar workers

  2. White collar workers 

  3. Artificial Intelligence 

  4. White collar work is at risk of technological disruption

  5. How to respond to this > education 

  6. The Context of Covid-19 

Part five is what matters to us in education - the rest was a preamble. 

Too often education feels as if it is working in isolation from the ‘real world’, not helped if underfunded and using kit, platforms and apps that are out of date.

If we want to prepare students for the world of work they need to be equally familiar with Microsoft systems (Team and 360) as well as Google. In the creative industries they’re better off on Macs too. 

It was an eyeopener to learn what Artificial Intelligence (AI)  is doing in medicine, journalism, law and architecture. Where is it making the most ground in education though?? Language learning? Accountancy and Law? 

As a society we suffer from a bias towards the status quo, Susskind said. I have to wonder if we are just little England. We can never be Singapore. We lack the desire to succeed through change. 

I have to wonder if education is populated by what Everett Rogers would term the ‘laggards’ rather than 'innovators' and 'early adopters'. We lack the money to come in earlier and lack the mindset to try new things, indeed anything that hasn’t been suitability certified first. 

Speaking like a consultant to the education sector, Susskind warned that ‘the way we teach people hasn’t changed for decades.’ Ironic therefore that he was speaking from a Balliol College study, one of the oldest colleges in Oxford, in one of the oldest universities in the world that has its foundation and geographical location based on the printed book, its rarity and exclusive access to the knowledge they contain through the Bodleian Library.  

Susskind spoke of ‘spectacular failures in teaching people remotely’, without offering examples; perhaps this is personal experience. There have been successes too. I have to wonder if the fails get talked about, while the successes go under the radar, just as the world wide web did for a decade or more after its invention and application in Cern. 

HIS CONCLUSION

"We need to think more boldly about the way we teach and face the inevitability, ambiguity and uncertainty - and be willing to retrain."

I need  to read his books! 

Daniel Susskind, Balliol College, Fellow 

I have ‘A World Without Work’. 

It is stacked with no fewer than 27 other books I want to read and review I will have to set some priorities. First World War History Books form one stream - by far the largest. I can have two of these on the go at any one time. E-Learning comes next, and includes a backlog of TES magazine and now Daniel Susskind. There is also a small stack on sustainability and the environment - mostly George Monbiot’s back catalogue.



Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Top 7 Digital Skills for Business

Visible to anyone in the world

Head of Digital : Growth Tribe

I'm so impressed with this 12 minute presentation by Luke at Growth Tribe that I am now on my third view through, taking my own notes, checking out the courses, books and blogs along the way. 

Top 7 Skills for Employability

This applies to all of us: in education or business, educators or 'workers'. Watch this and decide if you are keeping up, want to keep up or can keep up. If not retire to an allotment. 

This will either excite you or terrify you.

I wish I was 28 not 58! But my mindset can be that of a 20 something - after all I've now done kids, they are through uni and fled the nest for a different country (Paris).

My default short courses online are OpenLearn, FutureLearn and Coursera. I buy books for the iPad and in hardback as often as I get my Costa or Starbucks coffee. Amazon have had me in their grip since 1999!

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Top 7 Digital Skills for FE Students

Visible to anyone in the world

Growth Tribe

Searching out a Top 7 list of digital skills valuable to FE students I used a number of sites. I spent time with three introductory 'talking heads' from the Head of Marketing at Growth Tribe and came up with these:

  1. Getting smart with social media. How to attract and retain more followers, influence them and sell more stuff. Engagement tricks and tips. How to go viral. Using and creating visuals, quizzes and video. 

  2. Digital Marketing. Skill up to sell stuff including your skills and talent. 

  3. Video Creation. Best tools, efx, platforms and approaches.

  4. Employment and career development. Best digital approaches to finding and getting work.

  5. Artificial Intelligence The future of your world is AI. An intro. 

  6. Design Thinking & Digital Psychology: people are the be all and end all of digital

  7. Digital Analytics: data rules  - driving continual change in the world

Can you think of others that must be here?

My first list came to 11. I merged a few, I missed out 'Smartarse with a SmartPhone - tips and hacks you have to know about.


Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Gobsmacked

Visible to anyone in the world

 

Fig. 1. MarineTracker.com

This blew me away. A service that tracks every vessel at sea. For various levels of monthly subscription the service will do all but helm your tanker, yacht, motorboat across the world's oceans - that is coming.

It isn't quite Google Streets - you can't drill down to live satellite images at sea level. 

Will DVLA track every vehicle on UK roads one day? Why not? All driving offences will become a thing of the past or be prosecuted the moment they are committed. And we take a step further towards the driverless car.

Then tracking people; voluntarily. Why do that? Having a snail-trail database of where you have been. It would be interesting to analyse how, ant-like, we go about our lives. The commute would be seen for the almighty waste of time that it is.

Would it be ethical to microchip your kids? Or a parent with dementia?

And regardless of this what kind of services could be offered to someone whose whereabouts is always tracked? To some considerable degree we allow this and encourage it as soon as we turn on a mobile device? I don't speak a word of Spanish - yet. I'd like through my phone, with an ear piece, to have a one-to-one tutorial as I attempt to cross the country to locate the above yacht when it puts into port in the next couple of days. 'Just in time' language tuition. 

Other things I don't want to look up. 'Tell me about ...' and I am promptly told about the thing I am looking at in a language, and style that suits me ...

Far fetched?

Artificial Intelligence offers a way forward to bring unprecedented levels of personalised learning to millions.

Those with a smart phone and speedy Internet access; so neither inclusive, nor fully accessible or even without cost. So severely limited in that respect as a harbinger of education for the world. 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Artificial Intelligence - the answer to giving another 200 million a university education?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 23 Jun 2014, 10:20

Fig. 1. The Observer in the late 1970s did a piece that suggested by the 21st century we'd be racially a mix and the weather would be everywhere like 'San Diego'.

Artificial Intelligence - Androids too would need to go to school and university. I've been catching 'Do Androids dream of electric sheep' on Radio 4 (Blade Runner, the movie version of the story). There's much said about replicants having no childhood. To be of value to their human masters they would need to grow up as children too, not least to build, rather than be given, knowledge. Initially segregated, then intergrated; first slaves, then ‘free men’ and ultimately a fourth gender to go alongside male, female and transgender.

Might the Open University one day have artificial associate lectures? Always available? 24 hours, 7 days a week. Like a SatNav, after all, one part of the AL's role is to nudge us students along in ways that are, to the educator, painfully predictable.

Students are sheep, not wolves? 

 

 

 

 

 

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Cathy Lewis, Monday, 23 Jun 2014, 19:28)
Share post
Design Museum

This will not do!

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Jun 2014, 09:49

Fig. 1 My A' level Geography exercise book

Somehow a handful of exercise books and files from my A'level years have survived three+ decades. On very rare occasions on stumbling across these in a box, in a garage or shed, or attic I've glanced at a few carefully drawn diagrams or maps, smiled proudly at the grades achieved in the final pages, but never stopped to take a careful look at the truth.

The truth when I read it made me faint. Was I that bad? Was the teacher so blunt? How come I didn't go ape-shit and promptly quit the course? 

If I wish to I could seek enlightenment in the diary I kept at the time; I have little doubt that on a teen quest for 'love' there were other priorities in my life. 

Reading this I fear my brain has buried my feelings; it's as if I am reading it for the first time. Every page, 'only twelve', are lightly scored through. In all credit to a brilliant teacher - I believe, ultimately that all but one or two in the class got an A grade 18 or so months later, he offers a bullet-pointed suggestion of an essay plan. The 'half-term' reply to this gets a C-- and a middling response that clearly indicates that only an 'A' will do. All of this experience is new to me in my schooling to date. Threats usually failed, seven years previously having done badly in a French Test I was threatened with a caning if I didn't get x% minimum in a retake ... after half-term. My arse was saved; I suspect my response could have been as violent as the teacher's had he come near me ... 

When it comes to the 'carrot and stick', my experience is that I need both applied and given firmly. 

Four essays and as many weeks later this teacher's response is somewhat different: 

 Fig. 2. Same Geography exercise book, four to five weeks later.

It is odd, though invaluable to be reflecting on this some 35 years after the event. It relates to learning; I'm not teacher-trained. It relates to e-learning too, at all the levels where it is offered. How does or can the technology be used so that a teacher or tutor can provide blunt, constructive feedback in a way that achieves its aims for the individual student? How did this teacher get extraordinary results out of a class, many of whom I knew well and would have rated themselves at the D/E level of likely attainment?

Fundamentally, I feel, is that he, and most others I had during these years were a) vocational educators b) brilliant at their subject c) practitioners.

This teacher was cold, but hugely enthusiastic and knew the subject down to the tiniest detail. He knew his art and gave classroom presentations that came from his soul, not from an Edexcel textbook on his desk. A year later he frankly said that he would teach us what we'd get in our first year at university to maintain our interest ... to keep us simmering as exams approached. And as the 'Physical Geographer' he would often start a lesson with photographs of a climbing trip in Scotland or flying a glider over Northumberland.

 Fig.3. What kind if daisy is your essay?

At the end of this particular exercise book the teachers fills half a side of A4, in red biro, doing his best, now for the umpteenth time, to get me to understand what an essay at this level requires; it is here that he draws takes up drawing a flower, a daisy, suggesting that the perfect essay has five or six petals and a simple step, not the twelve petals, or lopsided, or trunk of an essay that I could produce. 

The purpose of the essay, especially assignments that are not graded, are multiple but never, from I can see, used in the e-learning produce by the Open University. Where is the chance to find your feet, to have a go and fail, to learn through trial and error how to get it write? What role, in any case, would a tutor play to improve an essay style, or to simply help a student get their approach right? And what is the value in assessing a student in a modular form when they cannot expect to be anywhere near to mastering their subject until they've been studying for a year?

How can this vital, human component, make its mark in e-learning? 

Artificial Intelligence must surely offer a smart answer; how else can the many millions who are denied an education at this level have a chance at the experience?

Tellingly, I see that there are comments made in these text books that I struggle with still. I write too much, but in the essay where the purpose is to gather in and focus multiple ideas from several sources in order, at a later date, to refine and prioritise what YOU personally think matters, then more is far, far preferable and necessary then the essay with the limited word count. What happens otherwise is that too early in the learning process the student is expected to reduce down a substance, their research and thoughts, which in the early stages are bound to be on the thin side. From this 'thin; input a thinner essay is meant to be the basis on which the student takes their learning forward. 

There has to be a better way.

Or alternatives.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Right now I need an AI Companion

Visible to anyone in the world
On my shoulder, perking up when asked like a well behaved, very small butler. 'They' are creating such things - like a dog or cat plugged into Google that knows your mind. Thinking this through I think a couple of AI squirres would do the trick, one red and on my left shoulder, and the other grey and on my right. They can talk to eachother when I'm not around, otherwise they can remind what I've done, what is coming up and what I need to do next. Reading and responding is the measure of the day.
Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Reading this with such ease makes me smile and glad to be human and not an android.

Visible to anyone in the world

Acocdrnig lo an elgnsih unviesitry

.suttly llie oredr of ietetrs in a wrod

dosen't tnttaer, the ulny thnig thta's

iopmrantt is that the frsit and Isat

Itteer of eevry word is in the crcreot

ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and

one is stiil able to raed the txet wiohtut

dclftfuUy.

 

Anyone can to say how or why???

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 17 Feb 2013, 18:11)
Share post
Design Museum

Close engagements with artificial companions

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 07:57

Close%2520Engagements%2520with%2520Artificial%2520Companions.JPG

 

My interest here is the shift from science-fiction to fact - that AI - artificial intelligence on the web can and is delivering support. This will manifest itself in various ways, including support and assessment of early drafts of written assignments, possibly reading a blog to comment where others don't ... and to aid those who are isolated or at odds with the technology.

This book takes it into the realm of companions, as talking 'pets', as reflections of the user and potentially even after many years of support becoming a virtual record or avatar of the deceased.

REFERENCE

Wilks, Y (2010) (ed)Close Engagements with Artificial Companions. Volume 8. Key social, psychological, ethical and design issues. Natural Language Processing. John Benjamins Publishing Company. Amsterdam/Philadelphia.

Permalink
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 5458906