OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

Pause for thought

Visible to anyone in the world

We humans have not changed, so all this tech coming along is not going to change that. The approaches that work are those that play to our nature. I am fed up of seeing EdTech people treating EdTech as something you grab from the shelf in the proverbial sweet shop.

The answer is in the learning, not the tools - by understanding the students, knowledge of the curriculum and working within your means. Shoehorning approaches into a class, or pushing inappropriately complex solutions on a teacher is wrong, They/we do not have time to master one platform after another, or another ... nor do we want an outsider parachuting in with their answer which too often is a fancy interactive thing that took days to produce, that students can do in minutes. What is the point in that? Has that investment in time and staff costs been well spent? Never.

Would a surgeon in a hospital stand back when a junior administrator with not medical qualifications comes in with a tech tool they say is the answer to everything. It is rarely the answer to anything and causes more problems than solutions.



Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Feeling wanted ...

Visible to anyone in the world

Thunderbird 5 the Space Station featuring John Tracy

Early days but a few teaching fails online talking to a blank wall of distracted teens is slowly emerging into something that will engage them - even if they want to be off camera and mostly silent. My eclectic mix is a challenge. I don't get to know a group of students, even a particular cohort or subject specialism. 

Four simple lessons learnt:

> it matters to be a 'subject matter expert' as you can talk, discuss and provide an inventive and relevant response to meet the needs or interests of the students or group at the time.

> channelled enthusiasm goes a long way, not gushing, nor over-confident, but the person at the helm with a sense of the direction to take.

> a video conference (as only the BBC will call it) i.e. Zoom (even if you're on Google Meet) can be as EdTech as it needs to be. The camera, microphone and Chat are enough to take a class and enough for most people if it is there first time. There is no need to throw in extras like slow 'death by PowerPoint', or faster 'death by PowerPoint' by making it interactive with the likes of PearDeck or Nearpod. A Google Form Quiz will do.

> where analogue meets digital. Hold something up to the camera. Prof Sir Hew Strachan couldn't be doing with 'present now' screens so during his gripping talk on the First World War he simply held up the covers of two or three books. I've taken to using a mini whiteboard while I am asking students to draw a Venn Diagram or Mind Map on whatever comes to hand. When they are done they hold it up to the screen - it works! Some go digital and use their phone or tablet, others get artistic with coloured pencils while others just doodle a thing on the back of an envelope. I can screenshot what they show me (I should have a recording of the class anyway) and for better resolution they can upload, share or email me their efforts. 


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Casper Smith, Thursday, 4 Feb 2021, 13:22)
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

EdTech Insight 7

Visible to anyone in the world

Digital literacy surveys of students may show high confidence levels but this confidence is often with highly intuitive apps rather than digital tools required for the world of work or independent learning.

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

The Future of Work : Daniel Susskind

Visible to anyone in the world


As presentations go, this one broke the ground. Once I'd unstuck my jaw from my chest, I ordered his latest book (it arrived 22 hours later). I then got down to taking notes and grabbing screenshots.  They always say that a recording will be available later, but I have found that to be a half truth: later can be weeks, not days or hours and 'available' can mean after an edit. I need to reflect on this now, not after my brain has been scrambled several times more. 



Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

The State of the Education Sector : EdTech Summit 2020

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 20 Nov 2020, 10:46


EdTech Summit 2020I could do with a dose of this each term. We could do with this kind of engagement across the college. There were 576 for these keynotes. There were between 6 and 50 in the breakout workshops I attended. I did maybe seven in two days? I tried to take notes and screenshots as I went along, will go back to recordings for some, and share draft notes ASAP before life slides me off to something else and more pressing. Like another conference on Tuesday. 

Some EdTech Summit notes: 

Online learning is becoming more sophisticated. Sir Andrew Carter, CEO South Farnham Educational Trust

There will be NO going back to the way things were done before the Pandemic. Working online has shown its value and is here to stay. There has been a widening of the disadvantage gap/loss in education. Far greater collaboration between colleges coming up. Debbie Clinton. CEO Academy Transformation Trust

TEL [Learning Tech] is fundamental to identifying where learning isn’t working and can be improved. Widening of the disadvantage gap/loss in education. The Rt.Hon David Laws. Education Policy Institute EPI 

The disadvantage gap is a difficult one to bridge. Students don't only need a device (something better than a pone), but they need the broadband at home and a place they can study without disruption - not easy in a shared bedroom, on the sofa in front of the TV or on the kitchen table. We need student internet cafés. 


Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

EdTech Summit > Miss it our miss out!

Visible to anyone in the world

Day two is proving as valuable as day one. 


I'd like to do this every quarter, or at least once a term ... just to get a grip on industry best practice in a fast changing world, to get a feel for what works so as to avoid what in practice does not. 

I've just come out of 'Promote the Benefits of Using Technology'

From Personal Learning Networks (PLN) - very OU MAOD, we also came away with two books, a few theories and a lot of notes on what people like or do not like.


Matthew Syed: Rebel Ideas


David Price: The Power of Us

Communities of Practice > Wenger quoted, I'd add my old favourite Engestrom.

Then a mix of the physical environment: corridor, coffee machine, staff room and water cooler, as well as the digital apps and platforms such as Google Classroom, WhatsApp, Chat, WordPress blogs, use of e-Newsletters and flyers ... and analogue favourites of posters and newsletters too.

Others have had success with Digital Champions.

No one has had success with Twitter, but Facebook and LinkedIn are worth another look.



Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

The School and Academies Show and EdTech Summit 2020

Visible to anyone in the world

A World Without Work by Daniel Susskind

EdTech > My head is being blown apart by the depth, quality and insight of the speakers at the EdTech Schools and Academy Show. The vMix platform for delivering this online conference to many thousands of people is also impressive. 

Listening to Daniel Susskind had me reaching to Amazon so I have his book and will be reading it in any break I get today. 

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Nov 2020, 09:45)
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: 7184441