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From family quiz to global quiz

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Nov 2020, 08:01

School Quiz

During the first lockdown the family quiz became the thing. Six location, six family hubs, my sister with her hubby, my wife and I, her kids from California and Newcastle, my own kids from London, and nephew also from London.

Eight months on and at the same time, on the same night I've got two organisations pushing a global quiz, the above from my old school (I attended unwillingly for three years and go out after O' Levels) while the Western Front Association has gone from branch, to national to an international Zoom offering too. Here we have tested the water with webinars first too New Zealand and Australia, and most recently from New Zealand and coming soon from Canada.

What has the world come to? Not so much the Global Village, as the Global Sofa - or wherever the shared space might be. 

I'm attending a face to face PGCE class so won't be able to to this. Had I been at home I may well have had to screens open and followed the class while answering the quiz - like a simultaneous exhibition of chess.

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Whatever it is ... the Open University did if first!

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Contrary to their PR blurb Duke University, Michigan were not the first in the world to aim to put, or to put all their HE courses online: the Open University got there 16 years earlier. We too often forget this in the UK as universities such as Coventry (with OU staff running the team) doing the same.

And now everyone doing it. 

Taking up a course with the OU in early 2001, the MA in Open and Distance Learning (MAODL) I got a cardboard box containing some text books and DVDs. We went online for a threaded noticeboard thingey.

Picking up the MA in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) a decade later and going on to graduate in 2013 everything was online: a variation (not much changed) of this blog cum noticeboard platform, Cloudworks, a version of Meet or Zoom technically a decade ahead of its time, though sometimes like dragging yourself through brambles in a Guernsey jumper.

We had Cloudworks, others no offer Padlet, Jamboard and Trello. 

Having an idea for something is never good enough; having the resources, team skills and even power or energy to make it happens is what counts.

And then which platform comes to rule over them all?

Gilly Salmon's five stages of e-tivities still applies, perhaps more so. Students (and colleagues) need quite a bit of 'onboarding' to feel confident enough with and familiar enough with a new platform in order to be able to contribute. Some get left behind, some run with it to the point of taking over.

The trick is to return to the platform over and over again. Help people use it, master it and enjoy it. Leave no one behind.

For me a new platform needs a mentor or coach, a voice I can trust to talk me through step by step showing me how this new platform applies to me. I then need to go over this repeatedly, take baby steps, make mistakes, take constructive feedback, and then make my contribution a weekly, if not a daily habit.

Another platform is never the answer. Having colleagues and students each wishing to show off and use the latest 'thing' they have found does not work either. There has to be common ground.

I feel a platform as simple as this OU blog is common ground. It does what is required. Even though I have WordPress blogs, I far prefer to post here. It is simple. It is immediate. I don't need to be pushing it on social media. I can be private to me, limited to those logged-in or shared to the world. 


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Class Observations III (Teaching Online)

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A dire online session where participants were supposed to have completed some homework beforehand. Out of 7 attendees one had done so, 2 said they had looked at it and of the other 4 a further 2 said they weren’t sure the course was for them and left.
The lesson from this > don’t give homework before a course has even started. Not even as a teambuilder. Maybe get people to fill in a profile at most.

Good practice online is to have two people. If you have the luxury. The second person works as a ‘two hander’, or helps with sign ins in the background if people are meant to have access to an App or platform, they can also filter and offer up questions that may come up in the Chat rather than having the speaker distracted.

Alternatively, set the ground rules early so that people don’t have expectations of anything in the Chat being dealt with until the end. John Sowash of the Google Academy is great at this. 
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So much to say, so little time to say it!

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I am keeping a regular work journal. As I work in Learning Tech for an FE/HE College these are busy and educational times indeed!

I am online via Google Chat all day, with at least one, sometimes several Meets in a day. These include sessions with tutors/staff and students, typically on how to make the most of Google Meet or just digital literacy. I gave a team session on Screencastify last week and attend a weekly all staff session which has between 98 and 143 attending - so far.

Use of interactive platform ThingLink has become integral to our forthcoming online Open Day. There are now 360 degree images, many linked into 'tours' or with additional interactive elements, running for all five sites and a number of departments.

As the Digital Editor of an educational charity we have seen our followers double across social media, we use Facebook and Twitter. We have responded with seminars and quizzes by Zoom, more podcasts and videos and a monthly newsletter going out every week.

Local politics too has seen our first Full Town Council, alongside a weekly informal town council meeting - also on Zoom.

The swimming and sailing clubs are less active. Sailing on our inshore lake started again - but no rescue boats out. Swimming is down to land training and a lot of cycling.



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