Having given CPD on use of Planet eStream in the morning I attended a PGCE student talk on being non-binary. Knowing a few young people who have shown fluid feelings and behaviours regarding their gender I was interested to learn how to get this right.
As I am studying H810: Accessibility for disabled students I have naturally become tuned into my environment in a more sensitive way - there is a good deal on the Radio (especially coming through the Paralympics).
I am engaged with disabled swimmers at various times during the week, both those who are able to train in the mainstream groups (physical disability, cerebral palsy, MS - some 'lesser' learning impairment) and swimmers who come along to specialist sessions, split between two major and minor categories, though it is immiediately apparent, were you to use say the Disability Categories used in the Olympics that the individual differences are often so great that one would ideally have as many sessions as there are swimmers - we try to have as many coaches and helpers poolside as can be found. Ratios are adjusted according to needs from at most 6:1 but often 2:1 or 1:1. There are always people, guardians, parents and helpers to increase the ratio to 1:2 or 1:3.
The facilities meet accessibility criteria in relation to changing facilities, toilets, hoists and so on. However, I wonder if the pool operator, or the staff on duty, realise how insensitive in how they responded to someone using the disabled lavatory (which has access poolside) when they pulled the emergency cord. A light flashed poolside visible to all swimmers and anyone on the balcony - and then an announcement went out on the tannoy to the entire leisure complex.
'Assistance required at the disabled toilet. Someone is stuck in'.
Do anyone of us want a dozen or more heads to turn as we are then 'rescued'.
I bring this up as an indication of the sensitivity required, for anyone. What I have learned so far and know from experience is that people with a disability want access to be in place and obvious so that they can join the mainstream without fuss or favour. The last thing they want is to have a spotlight put on them.
The second issue is with labels and categorises, how with sport and education, depending on the disability, a person is 'lumped in with all the other disabled swimmers'.
To create access takes time, consideration and the right people - with some training and experience. As a coach I find it is the disabled swimmer who arrives in good time and will listen to 'notes' after the swim. It should be considered normal that disabled swimmers take part in 'mainstream' training sessions.
THE ROLE PARENTS PLAY
The parents, for the most part (siblings too, both brother and sisters) form the larger part of qualified swimming teachers or helpers working with disabled swimmers - all CRB checked, members of the club, often Level 1 or Level 2 assistant or full swimming teachers who have attended an ASA workshop 'Swimming for disabled athletes'. I know too from family experience the extraordinary lengths a parent will go to in order to press for what they know is right - ensuring a child with aspergers did NOT get put into mainstream school.
A final observation here, because behaviours in public have to be taught, rather than 'picked up' I find the swimmers with learning difficulties extraordinarily polite - with introductions, introducing other swimmers, making conversation and thanking me after the swim. It's as if in 'mainstream' teachers have given up on such things as teaching good manners.
An introduction and overview of commonly seen barriers to learning when teaching children. This presentation explains the conditions, syndromes and disorders and gives strategies for managing the behaviour in a swimming teaching environment. To help non-specialist swimming teachers work with a class containing one or two children with special needs. It is intended to assist teachers to recognise some conditions they may encounter and offers some coping strategies which may enable the teacher to meet the needs of all the children in the class.
To give coaches a better understanding of coaching disabled swimmers, whose disabilities fir disability swimming and highlight ways that coaching practices can be adapted to ensure that disabled swimmers get the best from training in mainstream clubs.
To give L1 and L2 teachers an understanding of integrating disabled swimmers into mainstream swimming lessons and highlight ways that teaching practices can be adapted to ensure that disabled swimmers get the best from the learn to swim or school swimming environment.
We all benefit from 1 to 1 coaching -is this what we get from a parent or grandparent?
Who taught you to read, to swim, to ride a bike or cut a branch off a tree? To make an omlette or a cake.
Learning a musical instrument gets the ratios down, so does private tuition. At times I wonder if e-learning instead of aspiring to mimic this one to one relationship is nothing better than an interactive leaflet. Somehow the learner needs to be profiled before they start and the learning tailored, with student analytics an outcome. The e-learning needs to be smart and integrated.
This has me thinking and going through http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/qualification/F10.htm
With the MA in mind I have done:
H807 Innovations in e-learning
H808 The e-learning professional
And will complete next month:
H800 Technology Enhanced Learning
For the 180 credits required for the MA there is no choice (unless I am misreading it) but to do the only two remaining 30 credit modules:
H810 Accessible Online Learning
H809 Practice-based Research in Educational Technology
Or have I got that wrong?
With this in mind it's H810 in September then H809 in February 2012.
To confuse issues there are professional reasons to start the MBA programme from October. Decision time then as I won't be doing two courses concurrently. Something I tried by doing over a three year period the UKCC ASA Senior Club Coach (swimming) qualification ...
Freedom is LACK of choice.
I look forward to H810. Search H810 in the OU Student Blogs for an idea of what it is about; we did a rich, engaging and valuable period on accessibility in H807.
I'd do H807 again as I feel it was wasted on me. It took me six months to get into the postgraduate groove and my IT skills despite being online for a decade were woefully inadequate. The disappointment is that the reading and activities cannot possibly be contemporary so that you feel as if it is 2005 at best, 2003 at worst. I expected technological fireworks; at least I understand why that is not realistic. Perhaps the model whereby a module that aims to be innovative is designed and reinvented continually?
H800 is the 60 pointer but I have found it LESS onerous that previous 30 Pointer modules, not only is it spread thinner, but the pace is adjusted, the roll-over and degree of repetition embeds the learning outcomes and a TMA as prep for the ECA is inspired.
What next is asked by many MA qualified postgraduates I am finding. We hanker after more but short of a PhD what can be offered? Indeed, I think there is a gap in Tertiarty, or should it be called 'quartertiary' education?
If offered a further choice of modules beyond the MA I'd do them ... Towards at MA+ or MA* ?? Though in truth for how the thinking is applied, as a form of CPD.
A few hours ago I thought I'd delve into the Open University Business School Linkedin community to find some interesting stories and was offered this.
The reward, given that this is a Sunday Bank Holiday, is to find these stories.
I suppose were this online 'village' an actual community I'd say come down to the beach for this afternoons BBQ.
I should add that my own personal 'lift' through the OU only makes me wish I'd done an OU course two decades ago. I find that my life-style balance requires: family, work and curiosity indulged with an applied skew'.
Sure it can be put better, but I'm certain you get my meaning. I'm signed up to another MAODE module in 2012 despite having enough for the Masters ... this isn't the point (and has never been my raison d'etre behind CPD).
I wonder if an anthropologist would conclude that there are many of us who hanker after constant learning, as if from parents, uncles, relations, community members and the 'village elders'.
Personally, when my curiosity dries up and can no longer be fed, then I'll have one foot in the grave.
The point being that people learn a great deal that improves their knowledge and ability to carry out tasks, however this does not receive formal recognition so is not able to contribute to any professionalisation of their occupation.
Daft. The paradigm must shift. Or be ignored.
I'm spending time with a mate and colleague next week (weather permitting) who has put mobile learning into the Middle East and now has the financing to do more in 3D.
A great mind and practical delivery of learning as linear, then interactive video and CD, to websites with a good deal of programming in between over the last twenty years.
There is a time to ditch the gaining of a further qualification.
Indeed, when I took up a version of this MA course in February 2001 it was for me nothing more than a piece of CPD on top of another post-graduate course I was doing in the production of cross-platform multimedia, the only person to be doing this through the EU funded programme EAVE ... all of this to feed into a full-time job producing innovative, cutting edge and online learning. I was studying at my expense to improve or tweak my practical application of all of this.
Surely the collobartive exercises of the last two weeks have shown that several people can do more than one person on their own? Why do teachers and educators operate in isolation trying to re-invent the wheel for the thousandth time when a learning experience or product shared is going to deliver something effective and fantastic?
CPD, which is the OU's MAODE, does not turn me into an e-learning professional.
I'm not interested in letters after my name; I have the M.A. and have put a couple of other post-graduate courses under my belt too.
The ONLY thing that counts is how I apply this learning.
The letters or professional tag mean diddly-squat.
All us of should be willing to be judged by our peers as to our professional status ... are we employed in this capacity? Do with have clients to serve or clients to win?
Don't get me wrong, for me this course is invaluable, a treat and indulgence, like grated Truffle on pasta.
I guess my mate and I will be back on Skype if the roads look poor. I'm not going to waste a hour of my life, let alone a day stuck in traffic on the M23, M20 or M40 trying to get to Bath on Tuesday.
My motivation? A good idea, a sponsor ... then do it.
Then pick up from what I've learnt in TV, have 26 ideas on the go with various grants, sponsors and clients supporting further development.
My next course, or refresher course?
REFERENCE. Professional Development fo Elearning. A Framework for the NEw Zealand Tertiary Education Sector. 2009.
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