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Swim Teaching Podcast and podcasting for education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 29 Apr 2021, 14:21

A blow up Munch's Scream with the SwimJV logo

This 'early adopter' can be something of a laggard or skeptic. This 'innovator' can be late to the game - or refuse to take any notice at all. I dismissed TXT when a school chum mentioned his company producing the tech for this back in the 1990s. I dismissed consultants in 2000 who said there was money to be made online in gambling. 

I'm not going to make money from podcasting. And though I've blogged since 1999 I do have a tendency to jump about a lot: a life journal, education, the first world war, swim teaching and coaching, life drawing, photography, sailing, skiing - its all up there (and much more besides hidden when I went through my Henry Miller / Norman Mailer phase.

But podcasting has a professional angle to it. A lot of people love them and swear by them, even if I don't. I've listened to the odd audiobook and I've selected out the occasional episode of a podcast to download so that I could supervise its transcription. This is new though. I have to script, record, produce, publish and promote a podcast ... and once I feel comfortable doing so, I'm thinking six to 12 episodes, then I can teach others too.

The understanding is that students who are Dyslexic or simply struggle with reading find the spoken word more appealing. In education the tutor/teacher can producer a podcast briefing of key classes, a student or group of students could produce a podcast for project work or tutor or student could browse then curate podcasts on a theme close to their heart. Like blogs, there is a podcast on everything. I am certainly not the first to put something out on swimming, whether as a swim teacher or coach. 

I am wearing my swim hat for this one. 

Produced on Adobe Audition the first episode has gone out as SwimJV or Swim Swim Swim on AnchorFM. I think! I may have delayed publishing until 1st May which could explain why it isn't 'out there yet'. I have a couple of days to do a couple more. 

Here is Episode One > Swim JV 

I teach three times a week, six sessions. I work with across all our club grades from Grade 1 to 7. Grade 1 can swim - we are not a learn to swim club. They can swim a length at a time, hopefully a bit more. They have some basics of front crawl, back crawl but struggle with breaststroke and cannot be expected to do butterfly beyond a dolphin kick. We'll get them to push and glide, do somersaults and handstands but they won't be able to dive or tumble turn. At Grade 7 they are being readied for a competitive squad, so can swim all strokes well, have all the skills and should go on to five or more years training. Club Competitive swimmers tend to get identified around Grade 4 or 5 when they are still 8 or 9 years old and moved on to a Development Squad.

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After three months teaching online I take a class face to face

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Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960-1988

To get their attention at the start of the class and to get them thinking I showed a series of artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat. In part this played into the final task of the module which is to create a ‘Poster’ which will be part drawing, part text, diagram and infographic but it also introduced today’s theme on mental welfare and the mind. 

I used this quote from Jean-Michel Basquiat.

“I don't think about art while I work. I try to think about life.” (Basquiat, 1986) 

I also pointed out that Basquiat died of a heroin overdose when he was 27 and so introduced the theme of mental well-being and the way we cope with stress. 

A student suggested that as well as writing down mechanisms of coping with stress, we also included ‘how not to … ‘ to which the class put ‘alcohol’ and ‘drugs while also recognising that silence, or ‘going crazy or being aggressive was not a solution. This related back to Basquait, who we understand was “attracted to intelligence more than anything and to pain” and the Laurie Anderson quote from Radio 6 Music on an uncle who went ‘crazy in the attic’ for three years suffering from ‘shell-shock’. (Anderson 2021) 

Throughout I wanted to make use of the evidence-based research of Dylan William (2017) regarding formative assessment, especially on the ‘Five Key Stages of Formative Assessment”. (Wilaim, p.11) With this in mind, the first step was ‘Clarifying, sharing and understanding learning intentions and success criteria’. (Wiliam, p.11)

The goal of this class was stated within the context of the end of the module task to create a poster. That by the end of this session students would understand how all the previous sessions on the hands, feet and face would fit together. I took an A3 sheet and drew up my impression of one approach for this poster: a roughly sketched human figure with head, hands and feet, with elements from each mind map added to, in turn, a hand, a foot, the face and the mind/brain. It was also suggested that the page might be split left and right between how personal hygiene protects you on one side of the page while looking at how personal hygiene protects others on the other side. 

Having got them to write ‘mind’ or ‘brain’ in the centre of an A3 sheet we then recapped the set of enquiry questions we have used before: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? I took this opportunity to try the technique proposed by Wiliam (2017, p.126) he learnt from a teacher called ‘Pose-pause-pounce-bounce. Here I would Pose > a question, ‘Pause’ 3 seconds for a response, then ‘Pounce’ on someone else who would hopely provide a response and then go back to the original person to seek confirmation and clarification. In the moment, despite having these steps written out, I found I would pose a question, not give adequate pause, pick someone else who may not reply either then fall back on taking a response from someone who was ready with an answer. I then missed the chance to go back to the person to whom the question was first put.  To achieve this in future I should slow down, as I still don’t know the students, I should use the floor plan, and be quite specific about marking down who is asked the first question and even use arrows to point back to them once I have moved on. This floor plan should also show the layout from the teacher’s perspective from Front to Back to make it easy to use. 

I also used a phrasing technique that is also suggested in Wiliam (2017, p.104)  “to help students understand and achieve learning intentions”. This is known as WALT, WILF and TIB as in  “We are learning …” “What I’m looking for …” and “This is because …”. I found I use the second of these most frequently so that I could take any discussion back to the task of this session and the end of module poster assignment. 

I realised after the event the value of each student having a chrome book and access to the Internet as when being taught remotely this formed an important part of the class as they were expected to do their own research, ideally looking at Medical News Today and other reliable sources of information, as well as creating a Pinterest gallery of visual ideas. The issue in class, which may have been the same when working from home, would have been to have had a surface large enough, such as a kitchen table rather than a small desk, or working from a laptop, tablet of phone so that they could do their mind map. I also realise that I naturally worked on an A3 sheet clipped to a drawing board while they were working with whatever pad of paper came to hand. 

Regarding access to the Internet I should also have encouraged those who had used the App Simple Mind to continue to do so, while introducing Google Draw, Adobe Spark and Canva as additional tools they could use for the end of module assignment > a poster. 

I could have prepared in advance a short introduction to the brain/mind - indeed there are surely many on YouTube that are suitable. We should be amazed at the 86 billion neurons and our capacity to think and feel - wherein lies the problem when it comes to mental wellbeing. 

I repeatedly tried to bring the topic back to Mental Health and Uniformed Services looking at the topic from the perspective of your own mental health and that of others. Three clips were used. In the case of content from Twitter I talked through a short exchange on different kinds of trauma from a Clinical Psychologist and someone sharing their state of depression. I had a short piece from Radio 6 Music with Laurie Anderson talking about an uncle who spent three years ‘going crazy’ in their attic from ‘Shell Shock’. 

In this way an attempt was made to get a discussion going on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for example around questions on rape, compared to anxiety and depression. We also considered how an individual copes with PTSD, anxiety and depression. A range of responses were given: talk to others, seek professional help, relax with music, a walk or playing electronic games. However, it was a struggle, now that I could see the students in front of me, to get them to take all of these opportunities to jot things down on their mind map. Time and time again with the video clips it was as if the default practice was ‘put your pens down, look at the screen’, rather than listen and take notes.

Whereas working online, 90 minutes at a time, we could take a 20 minute period to work on producing the mind map, here it was kept to 15 minutes. Here at least I could go around, see what they were doing and guide them. It was surprising how little was being done in some instances, that the repeated opportunities to add detail from the information provided were being missed. 

With the one to one the opportunity came for immediate spoken feedback. Here I took note of Knowles (1980) regarding using non-judgemental feedback. Although the students are young adults, age 17 typically, I felt that an approach developed in adult-learning would be most helpful - after all these young people are in an FE college, not school. 

Ample time was given to students to respond to my questions with the expectation that other students would be listening, taking notes on their mind map and contributing. I would have liked to have given a short insight into concepts such as ‘positivity’, Kolb’s spiral (Kolb, 1984 ) being ‘In The Flow’ (Cskiszentmihalyi, 1990) and motivation coming from a good coach.  We did discuss mindfulness and the website Medical News Today was once again offered as a reliable, uptodate and clear source for research.

REFERENCES

Basquiat, J-M (1986) Quoted in the New Yorker. Wikipedia (URL) (accessed 11 March 2021) Interview with writer Isabelle Graw in 1986. Jean-Michael Basquiat on How to be an Artist on website Artsy > https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-artist-jean-michel-basquiat (accessed 11 March 2021) 

BBC Radio 6 Music - The First Time … Laurie Anderson talks to Matt Everitt (accessessed 14 March 2021 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000sqnr

Cskiszentmihalyi, M. (1990) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York. Harper & Row. 

Knowles, M.S. (1980) The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From pedagogy to andragogy (revised and updated). Chicago, IL: Association : Revised Second Edition. 

Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Reprint electronically produced by permission of Pearson Education Inc., New York (First Edition). 

Medical News Today.  Medical website. Accessed 11 March 2021 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/ 

William.D (2017) Embedded Formative Assessment: (Strategies for Classroom Assessment That Drives Student Engagement and Learning) (The New Art and Science of Teaching) : Second Edition 

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Reflection

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I'm not doing enough of this. I don't have to be submitting it for review, but everytime I sit through a class I should pick out what I feel works (or not) and note it down.


This takes me back to my first months with the MOADE - you'd have thought I'd learnt my lesson by now. I do blog a lot. I do talk about this kind of thing to other people often. Sometimes I even record these Meets.

I have a backlogue of lessons to go over. But this is 2021, I have a Meet recording of most of them so can go over the class that way and not have to rely on my attentiveness and recollection. Indeed, you are often distracted by all kinds of things and see things quite differently later on. 

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Keep a reflective journal to record your thoughts and feelings and use it to develop your understanding of how students learn and thus inform your practice.

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This is the easy bit. I'll reflect on a thing while people board the bus and the bus leaves. I'll still be there at the bus stop reflecting on things when the bus comes back the other way an hour later. If I look up around then I'll fret that I am on the wrong side of the road and am about to miss my bus.

Does that make any sense?

FutureLearn are running a course on moitvation. I ought to do it. The introductory blurb says it all:

Motivation involved value, expectancy and delay.

Value > how important your goal to me?

Expectancy > how likely am I to achieve this? Tick stuff off in small steps. 

Delay > The longer it takes to achieve one of these small goals the harder it is to remain motivated.

So there we have it.

Looking at the detail there are other core reasons for there being problems: 

I have come to the course late.

I want to be on the Postgrad Course on Learning Design with Illinois University.

The 'mentor' role has been thrown out of the window due to Covid-19 closures and lockdowns: my mentor was off ill with susptect Covid, the department went into a two week lockdown and then all schools and colleges closed anyway.

Meanwhile my brain is all a flutter over an idea that came to me in a dream:

What if my brain were tapped by a group studying with me - that my brain patterns could be transposed to them instanteously as a means to enhance the communication of my ideas. I reason that this would be worse, not better - that it would be lost in translation, that if the neural connections in my brain can be imagined as a shildting handprint in which each finger touches a different part of the brain, this same pattern will be a misfit even meaningless to another's brain that is wired and has changed in exceedingly different ways. We are not androids. Whatever impressions we may give on the surface (gender, age, ethnicity) we are not born and raised the same and the raw materials each person is given differs in any case. 

I tried to explain this concept as a proposal for doctoral study. 

Meanwhile I reflect on the dangers of being curious in the 21st century

An over indulged brain is also an easily distracted one. Any thought I have I can follow up with a search. Anything and everything thrown at me can be a stimulus to something different. I collect screenshots and record meetings as if I will some time have reason to go back over this stuff. I rarely will. I won't even label it.

I am now genuinely fearful that I cannot even keep tabs on what I do; that my actions and thoughts are so transitory to the point of being transparent - the only trace I have that I did a thing is online NOT in my brain where it never has a chance to lodge. 

That or early onset Alzhiemers. Or ADHD at play.

Time to get back to ticking boxes.


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The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 10 Dec 2020, 15:42

As part of Module 3 of the PGCE I am taking with the University of Brighton my group (three of us) have been given the topic of 'Employability' to present to our fellow students in the New Year. We shared out contributions at the last meeting. As the one with plenty of postgraduate experience I was more than happy to take on the research and reading of academic papers on the subject.

My approach is a first somewhate random, to caste the net wide, but then to draw it in closer as I get the lay of the land: who are the academic 'voices' on employability and what are the current big themes.

Is AI taking jobs a theme? I've got Daniel Susskind for that.

What about the impact of Covid-19

And the impact of Brexit?

All big ones, but not researched, to current so unlikley to have spawned papers,

Employability: The missing voice: How student and graduate views could be used to develop future higher education policy and inform curricula

Rachel Delta Higdon

What is employability?

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Simon_Mcgrath/publication/266456393_What_is_Employability/links/5597fba808ae5d8f3933e7d7/What-is-Employability.pdf 

There are these:

Dyki, M.Singorahardjo, M. and Cotronei-Baird, V.S. (2020), "Preparing graduates with the employability skills for the unknown future: reflection on assessment practice during COVID-19", Accounting Research Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ARJ-09-2020-0285

This paper establishes how a student video assessment contributes to students’ acquisition, development and enhancement of employability skills, such as communication and teamwork skills, that are central for preparing students for continually evolving future and thus the “new normal” brought forward by COVID-19.

The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability in Education + Training Magazine. 

Maria De Rodanas Valero, Tom Reid, Ghislaine Dell, David Stacey, Jo Hatt, Yvonne Moore, Sally Clift. (2020) Embedding employability and transferable skills in the curriculum: a practical, multidisciplinary approachHigher Education Pedagogies 5:1, pages 247-266.

Inge Römgens, Rémi Scoupe & Simon Beausaert (2020) Unraveling the concept of employability, bringing together research on employability in higher education and the workplace, Studies in Higher Education, 45:12, 2588-2603, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2019.1623770

Ornellas, A.Falkner, K. and Edman Stålbrandt, E. (2019), "Enhancing graduates’ employability skills through authentic learning approaches", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 107-120. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-04-2018-0049

Bernstrøm, V.H.Drange, I. and Mamelund, S.-E. (2019), "Employability as an alternative to job security", Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 1, pp. 234-248. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-09-2017-0279

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Time out to reflect

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 9 Dec 2020, 21:21

Kolb's Reflective Cycle

By Izhaki - In OmniGraffle, CC BY 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40793898 

I am three formal 90 minute online classes in with two more to go. It is the same topic, but a different group of students each time. I made a slight overhaul in the hour before today's session.

I am yet to watch back any of the Meet recordings.  

The following passed through the entire cycle: 

I had a clip of Oxford Uni academic taking us through hsi ideas of 'Visitors and Residents' online. Rather than him, I ran through it myself to the webcam with a whiteboard. Old school, but I hoped would give me a chance of explaining it in my words. Is it relevant that students are this self-aware?

JV on camera using a mini white board to talk about the idea of 'Visitors and Residents' online

A haircut is due and there is reason why older people wear shirts with a collar or a roll top smile

Ditto 'Netiquette' as an icebreaker, something they should all have been drilled on and understand, yet the feedback in the Chat from 22 students was low - four at most caring to give me a sentence. Many more would respond to a closed question with 'Y' or 'N'. I tried Q&A the other day and had no questions at all. I rather thinking typing is an issue - noit least if they are on a phone, but because they are certainly not able to touchtype - only touch thumb.

I guess therefore I am going through this process. I know what can be fixed swiftly and do so. Indeed, while a video was playing, by way of demonstration I made some of the slides 'accessible' simply by increasing the font size, putting in a pastel shade background and right justifying the text.

The element where we looked for words to describe enhancements or augmentation to reinvention was dropped. I had begun with a Business School diagram introducing SMAR (which I have not used at all). I then struggled to find the words myself so certinaly couldn't provide a simple, clear activity for them to do for three minutes. Instead I quickly created the following and then moved on to the 'Lessons for today'.

Steps to enhance a slide presentation: accessible, add audio and video, make it a screencast, go interactive.

I also dropped flicking through some pages from DK online showing the historic development of the gun from flintlock to plastic submachine gun. Interesting in its own right, but not the right comparison for the above stages. 

JV presenting in MEET and introducing Ten Tips on slides for TED lectures

The Gun > https://pubhtml5.com/cqlx/ftcx 

Ten tips on out to use slides by David Epstein of TED lectures

I brought in a TED lecture from from David Epstein on how athletes have improved over the last 85 years. Interesting in its own right, but was to show the interplay between a presenter and their slides > https://bit.ly/3m2iNc1

Five ways to simple video for the classActivity Three I want to replace with my own video so from the outset the message is for students rather than me saying that they should hear 'student' every time the presenter says 'Teacher'. Also to diminish the negativity on some slide presentation types than might be overly reliant on the slides and the handouts rather than students taking notes. Taking notes is a totally foreign concept, not even students who may benefit from recording audio or video so they have something to play back. I nabbed this LINK > https://youtu.be/GuA8fPCHu9c from Open Learn's Take Your Teaching Online'. 

I should test my theory of 'learning at the speed of desire' > motivation is all. If they are motivated they could Google my intentions and get their own top tips on presenting, using slides, video and screencast technology.

Last session like today having gone through all the buttons on the Screencastify minidashboard dropdown I once again inadvertently hit the Webcame record.

Screejcastify dropdown dashboard

Let's hope I don't do this for the next two sessions. I'll put a note to self in the slides.

My feelings? Good. The first session felt like a dress rehearsal, the second like a technical rehearsal. It can only improve. Getting engagement and evidence of learning from the students is another matter entirely.

Soon after viewing the above I headed into town for a haircut. 


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Take Your Teaching Online : OpenLearn from The Open University - an eight week self-paced eight online course.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020, 05:37

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I was in a hurry. There is 24 hours of content. I got through it in 9 day: two weekends and bits during a 2020 lockdown week when I had nowhere to go. 

This is how I got on with 'Take Your Teaching Online'. 


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Types of Assessment. This was NOT part of 'Take Your Teaching Online' but I graphic from edulastic. I am trying to embed assessment types into my practice. I suppose the ultimate test is the job succcess at the end? Which is all they had, pass or fail, at the end of the School of Communication Arts' course I did. 

Learning Design

The learning design is a combination of a little bit of reading, a little bit of watching video, a few activities where you gather your thoughts about something you have just been introduced to and then a number of formative and summative quizzes. By the end, the collection of views you have expressed should build into a coherent and personal point of view. Around the middle the summative quiz grade counts towards your end of course ‘badge’. 

This is in part a taster for the Open University's own Master of Arts : Open & Distance Education - for me ‘Taking Your Teaching Online’ was an invaluable and timely opportunity to revisit the MAODE that I did 10 years ago (2010 to 2013). I’ve always had the MAODE at my fingertips over the passing years as at the time, invited to keep a reflective student blog, I did so every step of the way. This allows me to return to what I studied then. Boy, have my views matured and bedded down in this time! At last been closely complemented, even integrated into my daily experience first as a learning technologist in a large FE/HE college but now as a ‘front line’ teacher undertaking a two year, part-time PGCE. Periods of Covid-19 lockdown or departmental lockdown have harried things along. Most recently, keeping teaching to a class or two one day a week, with five classes of 20+ students each put into isolation I stepped up to run six online classes. If anyone knows the tech I should; yet do I? I feel like the swimming teacher or coach who doesn’t swim (there are plenty of those). Or the music teacher who doesn’t play an instrument. Is that possible. The timing is right. I did my first ‘micro-teach’ to my fellow PGCE students a few weeks ago. I am on Module 3 of the PGCE and completing the first term of six. Time to take the plunge.

Does it help or hinder that I have already run sixteen talks or workshops on staff CPD days. Staff and students are very different. For the most part staff will have their cameras on, will speak up and take part. In contrast the students, 17 years olds, will only put on their cameras by accident and will only speak if there is a problem. 

Plenty went wrong. With tech you learn to ride out most problems. Some things worked. I learnt plenty of lessons reinforced by the reading. Taking a class online is a different beast: they are in their domain not yours; if not engaged they can just as easily log on and then go and watch TV or play a game - many could be ‘second screening’ (should I ask next time?). Their access to kit is mixed: some on laptops, most on phones. Are any on a desktop? And where do they find the space to take part in this? Bedroom, sitting room, kitchen table, the back of dad’s car, the garden shed or back in college? 

I do the course ‘Take Your Teaching Online’ out of personal need, to support colleagues, out of intellectual curiosity and for pleasure. I will take it again, build on my notes, follow up some of the references and find a way to pass on my tester/proofreader notes to the Open University (some links are broken, videos on YouTube are not there and a few of the multiple choice questions are a nonsense). 

It also provides me with the shape of designing a series of classes over a period of time that builds into a module - something I have done repeatedly for the last seven years ever since I completed the MAODE and had ‘Learning Design’ or ‘Instructional Design’ in mind as a career move. 

The eight modules are set out quite straightforwardly of topics that cover.

Take your Teaching Online : Open Learn

Week

Learning objectives 

1

Discuss the main characteristics of online education activities and how these differ from face-to-face teaching

Begin to determine the kinds of face-to-face teaching activities that might, or might not, transfer successfully to an online environment

Summarise the elements of online teaching that need a different skill set to face-to-face teaching.

2

Understand some of the essential principles of online teaching

Be aware of some key learning theories and classifications of online teaching technologies

Understand the concept of learning objects and some of the different classifications of these.

3

Describe some of the ways to categorise educational technologies for online teaching

Explain how some of the tools available might help with certain learning objectives

start making informed decisions about which tools you might try in your own context.

4

Understand the benefits of networks to the online teacher

Discuss the concepts of communities of practice and network weather

Develop useful online networks to augment your teaching practice.

5

Define Open Educational Resources and list some examples of what this term covers.

Understand Creative Commons licences and use these properly

Search OER Repositories and the wider internet for material that you can legally reuse in your teaching

6

Define assistive technology and list a variety of examples

Understand how to make most of your online teaching materials accessible

Assess the accessibility of OERs

Understand what alternative formats may be needed in online teaching.

7

Explain the concept of technological determinism

Use the Visitors and Residents model to assess your students’ approach to technology in learning

Make changes to teaching with technologies in a systematic and informed way.

8

Understand how learning analytics can be used to evaluate learners’ behaviour

be able to gather and understand student feedback

Apply some strategies for embedding reflection in your online teaching

Plan an action research project for scholarship that seeks to improve your online teaching.


I found that the modules could indeed take two hours, and one or two more like an hour and a quarter hour and a half. Perhaps that's because I was familiar with the subject matter already. My methodology might help. I’ve learnt how to pass these things. I take notes and get screenshots all along. I’m not going to be caught when it gets the multiple-choice quiz. These notes will carry me over the line - the bar is low. The pass mark is 50%.

One or two of the modules reminded me of topics that struck me as of enormous potential value; they deserved considerably more time than the 20 minutes given to the activity. Indeed, when it came to reviewing Open Educational Resources I took the best part of 8 hours - that was my Saturday, with my notes completed on Sunday morning. It was worthwhile. As a review of these resources it is still ‘lite’ but it’s a start.

See > Open Education Resource Institutions and Repositories, Sun 5 December 2020 in this blog. 

What I relish looking at, extracting and reworking are entire course plans and individual lessons plans, as well as interesting ‘education ready’ videos and eBooks. 

There's so much to tap into if you have the time to do this kind of research. I stumbled upon an excellent OER from the Hewlett foundation, the Africa Open Educational Resources. It’s subject matter draws on the vast continent of Africa - which makes a refreshing change from the historic gravitation to Western Europe and North America, but it doesn't change the fact that the courses are still all about women's rights, teaching employability, careers, well-being and so on.

It's refreshing to see a different take on things, to begin to get a global view. 

In the Town Council I got behind Black History month and can see that there are a lot more resources and ideas here.

FOOTNOTES

1) The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning. More specifically, formative assessments: help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work.

2) The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. Summative assessments are often high stakes, which means that they have a high point value.

3) The Postgraduate Certificate in Education, commonly known as the PGCE, is one of the most popular academic qualifications for teaching. Offered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, PGCEs are designed to enhance and increase academic training, preparing students for life as a teacher.

4) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques that will help you manage your own learning and growth.

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Learning at the speed of desire

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 All to change in education

Total mayhem all around at this end. 

The PGCE I am doing, onto Module 3, was a must have to balance against the Masters in Education I did 7 years ago. I need the front line practice and experience I do not feel I get as a learning technologist. It makes the academic theory more relevant. I see myself as a Learning Designer in future and will teach both online and in the class.

Due to a Covid-19 scare I have 'volunteered' to run five 90 minute online workshops on Screencastify using Google Meet. I've done one session which was a scary experience. It  can only get easier ... or not. Some will have poor online access, or try to listen in from their phone sitting in their Dad's car - the only place they can work undisturbed. Others for lack of device or internet will have to come into college ... or not. Some want to learn and race ahead. Some have little desire to learn and do little or less. As long as they are not disruptive what can I do?

I have just completed 'Take Your Teaching Online' a free course with the Open University > https://bit.ly/39LI4Vw

If you want to understand the design and delivery of online learning this is the best that there is for now. It could be shorter. Some of the content is a bit dated or no longer relevant. The multiple choice formative quizzes are flawed. The formal assessments are a worthy challenge. 

I see education going the way of retail. 

The 'disruption' brought on by Amazon has been 20 years in the making. Exactly 20 years ago, or perhaps 19, I recall being overly generous with my credit card and buying books from Amazon for every family member I expected to see that Christmas at two annual gatherings split between my family (4 children, mother and stepfather, stepbrother and between 6 and 8 children) and my wife’s smaller family (3 children, mum and dad and 3 children). The disruption on the high street was a slow burn; Covid-19 kicked everything online. 

In 10 years, or sooner, the education landscape will look as different and will have experienced as much disruption. Far more people will learn at a pace suited to their desire to learn and abilities. Or their parents’ desire for their children to learn and the depths of their pockets. All private education costs. And you get what you pay for. Why not home educate as the aristocracy and landed gentry of 120+ years ago did? Being a virtual tutor could be a new job description where teaching online as an educator you tutor enough students privately one to one (rarely face to face) to make a good living. 

The brightest will start university courses at 14 or 15; that is already happening.  

Everyone needs to become a 'lifelong learner' just to stay abreast of the changes.

It’s a phrase I used a decade ago ‘learning at the speed of desire’. Just Google it, then get on with it. What’s the fuss? Tell me what you cannot learn online if you set your mind to the task??  

EdTech 2020 said the other week to expect educational institutions, FE and HE, rather than primary and secondary (I think) moving to a model of 25 to 100 online. Some colleges will close and operate like the Open University. They will deliver it all online … albeit with a twice monthly tutorial day and possibly the acclaimed Open University residential courses. 

Meanwhile if Climate Change causes major 'weather events' every ten years rather than every 50 or 60, I am equally worried, for the same reasons - population pressure, that pandemics like Covid-19 will also come every 20 years or so rather than every 100. We will see.

All doom and gloom? Not for me, I thrive on change.

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The man with the plastic mask : Fibreglass Jacket Demo

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JV masked up to video a demonstration of using resin to create a fibreglass jacket

This blog auhot masked up to video a demonstration of using resin to create a fibreglass jacket.

It's been a frenetic and insightful day being able to double up with a class observation for my PGCE while videoing a demo of how to create a 'fibreglass jacket' with resin for Stageprops and efx at Northbrook MET. 

Google them for their website and Instagram where all their goodness and greatness is on display. 

My task, once requiring a team of at least four, was to video and publish. The team of three would have been camera, sound, lights and a producer/director. But that was three decades ago making video demonstrations for the health & safety team at BNFL Sellafield! Where the full suits worn once the site was active resembled the above.

Several lifetimes ago.

Then it was into a Meet to discuss and share outcomes from Wonkhe@Home conference and what this tells us about how to develop and support a vibrant 'Student Voice' during and post-Covid. The world of learning is a-changing.

Onwards.

With frustration my intentions and wish to attend tonight's PGCE class in person I have needed to come home and be online. With brilliant tutors you come to relish being in their presence. The difference between the online and face to face experience could not be more stark: in many situations the learning context, the feeling that you are part of a collective experience, and seeing the tutor and others so that you can 'read' their face and body language all counts for something. So much of this naturalistic impact is lost when you go online, at least with current systems.

What is needed is quality 360 for image and sound so that you can feel you are there. And in the room to be a laptop open on a trolley (I'e been told a partner of a law firm has been meeting staff like this) or more Sci-fi in approach, an iPad glued to a panel ... or at least the back of the chairs where we may have otherwise sat.

Some institutions, the banks and top law firms and ad agencies are no doubt doing this already > not in undercapitalised FE colleges though.


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This is sooooo out of character

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Evidence of Module 1 Hand In

Historically, as anyone might recall from the MAODE days, I was always the student how tried to handin a piece of work 5 minutes before the due date - at midnight of course. And then things would go wrong. Or I'd be the student asking for an extension days before. 

I am a changed man! I am three days ahead here and feel confident I've not missed anything that matters to the module assignment. It could always be better, but I'm not going to fret about that. I've given it my best shot under the circumstances and in the time  could give it.

I have to say, that this blog has been an indispensbile resource. I can search a word or academic and up comes what I know about that thing or person from notes I have taken over the last ten years; it is surprising how much comes back to me and even more of a delight the way this knowledge has embedded itself in my thinking. I feel moire fluid and confident about it then I ever did ten years ago.

I also matters hugel that for the last two and a half years I have been in a teaching environment where the theory of education is tested daily - and in an FE college, that means being 'tested to destruction'.


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How long does a teacher wait for an answer having asked the class a question?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 20 Nov 2020, 21:57

Had I been attentive to the question I may have proffered an answer closer to the mark. In this instance  I  was taking note. I take copious notes. I will even record where I can. Few others do. I don't trust my memory.

After a scintillating delay in which the question was put several times, to the room and those online, everything from 3 seconds to 'something under a minute' is suggested. 

We are told that the average delay is 7 seconds.

We learn and are told that "Thinking takes time - that a considered response takes time".

We are told to use the silence, say nothing for 7 seconds and only then give them a nudge, offer a clue to the answer, but not the answer itself. 



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Reflections on Teaching

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In a tour de force example of the value of face to face teaching in a class over learning online our PGCE tutor took us through the power of reflection. Look at the title of this blog 'Reflection on e-learning'. 10 years and eight months ago I was keenly filling these pages (on an ever so slightly different platform) as I took the first module in the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE). Search 'Reflection'.

Ten years on, while being invited to dig around in my head for an understand of the what it means to 'reflect', and while listening to my fellow students express their views and share their insights, we collectively construct and shape a meaning.

The beauty of this blog and its value ten years on and 5,000 entries later, is that I can search 'reflection' or seek out the tag 'reflection' and immediately be shown what I was reading, what I was being invited to read and what I was writing about it all. The beauty of this blog and it simplicity is that I can post and keep private, or post and share; it is as much as a private, even intimate scrapbook, mind dump and learning journal, as it is a potential resource for others. 

Reflecting on 'reflecting on teaching' and the profound differences between learning online (as it has so far been able to manifest itself) I see that one cannot replace the other, that certain elements are different to the point of being incompatible, that trying to recreate the class experience online is foolish and bringing the online way of doing things into the class just as wrong.

We have a long way to go yet to distinguish these differences and play to their strengths, rather than thinking one is superior to the other; neither is going away. The class I attended last night in which seven of us where there in person with the tutor and four were online is one I will return to again, and again for two reasons: first of all, to pick through what I was exposed to, what I was taught, the learning journey I experienced and the voices and words of others - everyone, in equal measure, was given the time and chance and encouragement to talk. And second of all, to contemplate the difference between the classroom and the online experience. What worked and what did not? What needs fixing to make it work better? 



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PGCE John Carroll: Three way step approach

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 14 Nov 2020, 13:56

Could I use this?


John Carroll

Given the student profile, do I end up giving some of them or all of them the opportunity to learn in the time available? Knowing the potential group would it be better to split the group, rather than trying to cater for everyone all in one go? Self-paced learning can overcome this by signalling the choices a visitor to web content might take: fonts, graphics and image choices indicate the age range and for two extremes, kids with a brightly promoted online colouring book can be differentiated from parents in the know who are offered academic papers in the form of a link to a PDF to read.

There can only be ONE thread in a live classroom. In self-paced learning you can branch it, so letting a student find the way that is best suited to their knowledge, understanding and desired pace.

In 15 minutes there is little need for perseverance.

Achievement is the witness of the 'before' plate from the 'after' plate.

There are six elements to Carroll's model: (1) 

Academic Achievement: the outcome 

Aptitude: The "the amount of time a student needs to learn a given task, unit of instruction, or curriculum to an acceptable criterion of mastery under optimal conditions of instruction and student motivation" (Carroll, 1989: 26). "High aptitude is indicated when a student needs a relatively small amount of time to learn, low aptitude is indicated when a student needs much more than average time to learn" (Carrol: 1989: 26).

Opportunity to Learn: i.e. the amount of time available for learning (classwork, homework and private study). Carroll (1998:26) notes that "frequently, opportunity to learn is less than required in view of the students aptitude". Slow down. Take your time. Pace it. Provide opportunities for questions, feedback and going over something multiple times. (Where digital resources come into their own). 

Ability to Understand Instruction: This relates to learning skills, information needed to understand, and language comprehension. Know your students before. Get to know them during. 

Quality of Instruction: Plan the lesson with your students in mind. Follow Gagne's nine general steps of instruction for learning (2). 

  1. Gain Their Attention
  2. Describe the goal. Remember to state the Learning Objectives i.e. what they will learn and what they can do with it.
  3. Stimulate Recall. Prior knowledge based on past classes, conversations and student profiles
  4. Present the materials to be learned. Chunk information to avoid memory overload.
  5. Provide 'guidance for learning' > present rather than instruct
  6. Elicit Performance 'practice' > get the students to do something. 
  7. Provide information feedback > analyse learners' behaviour. 
  8. Assess performance > any simple indication that progress is being made
  9. Enhance retention and transfer  > look for similar problem situations, give more practice. 

Perseverance: Amount of time a student is willing to spend on a given task or unit of instruction. This is an operational and measurable definition for motivation for learning.

REFERENCE

1) Reeves, TC, & Reeves, PM (1997). A model of the effective dimensions of interactive learning on the World Wide Web.
2) Gagne, Robert M., Briggs, Leslie, J., Wager, Walter, F. (1985). Principles of Instructional Design, Wadsworth, ISBN 0030347572

Carroll model of school learning 

Carroll, J. B. (1963). A model of school learning. Teachers College Record, 64, 723-733.


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Micro-Teach

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Opening slide introducing a short lesson on planning meals for a competitive age group swimmer.

Two minutes into my micro-teach I realised that I was trying to cram 45 minutes to an hour into 15 minutes. I really like the first speaker who was relaxed, set a simple task, got feed back and fed us some knowledge and had moments to spare.

I rattle through some of the slides.

Something I would never have done professionally when I have written scripts: 2 to 3 minutes per slides would have meant 5 slides not 26 !!!

I thought that I could have addressed one element of nutrition, say carbohydrates. Actually I could have taken out the opener, driven it with the hand actions related to swim coaching.

This is what I am talking about > PGCE MSM Optimal Nutrition 

I have full notes from the feedback part of the session and three written reports too.


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Parameters Help

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Use of Google Keep to create 'to do' lists

There's no escaping it. Of all the blog platforms I have used - THIS is the best. It helps that it is simple. It helps that you can't dick around by scheduling posts for two weeks then abandoning it. And when you get behind, unless I am mistaken - I cannot go back in time. And there is a word limit. And they squeeze file sizes if you post an image. You learn how to compress an image. Parameters help. 

I want to pick up on the PGCE I am taking. A blog is wanted. It started 5 weeks ago. I joined in week 3. I have kept notes in a doc for every class. I keep a 'work diary' daily anyway - no longer formally in a closed WordPress blog, but simply a Doc where I jot down names, people, tasks, links, some screenshots and images. Just enough to remind me what I was up to. Not much better than the Five Year Diary I kept in my teens (from age 13).

I'd like to think there is always enough to job your memory; to remind you what was going on. What 'reflective diary' needs though are feelings: what did I make of that? I did I feel about this? And honesty. So plenty of entries will be closed. And no names, not even initials. But something to indicate to me who I mean.

I am using Google Keep to manage my tasks and time. I like that I can create lots of shot lists of tasks to do to get a thing done. I can be guilty of noting tasks to do that are either such a low priority they will never get done ... or so tortuous that they will left to fester until the last minute. Tax returns come into this category. If I lived by lessons learnt I'd do the things I hate the most first. 

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Back to school

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How more topsy-turvy can it get when 7 years after completing my MAODE, and 2 years after completing an MA in British History and the First World War I return to College to train to gain a PGCE.

My thinking is that to better support teachers I should have come through teacher training, even if my end of things is digital support. I want to be more than a 'support teacher'. 

It has taken some fixing to do and some flexibility between various providers and my timetable but after a false start last year - I went off to be the Head Coach at a regional swimming club instead for 4 months, and after another false start joining this year's PGCE part-time cohort in week 3, I am not in and making a start.

There had been thoughts of my being able to skip the first year and providing of evidence of prior learning i.e. the MAODE, but the MAODE is aimed at teaching in HE (or was), not in FE or secondary where I now work.

I can see, not for the first time, that I will be dipping into this 10 year old 'learners journal' with good reason. I can dig out the learning theory I got so engaged with in the past and now see it applied, whether with 'age group' students or adult learners, which could be colleagues/educators in FE and HE or adult learners from the community.

On verra.

Can anyone offer words as I commence a journey I perhaps should have taken over a decade ago. Though the issue then, as now, is what do I, should I, or may I teach? Degrees in Geography, History and Education. HE study in the Creative Industries. A career in TV and video production. A Swim England qualified swim teacher and coach with 18 years experience ... 

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Art History? Or squeeze in further units to gain an MeD

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020, 10:39

Do I need a fourth or fifth degree? Would I enjoy it? Of course.

Art History because I want to put this focus on my interest in the history of the First World War - it is artists of this period that would be my focus.

The MEd to keep my hand in. Or an MRes.

Or start a PhD to complete over several years while doing a PGCE at the other end.

All of these or just stick with the garden, Netflix and a bit of light reading. 

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Learning to Teach

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I’m not doing a PGCE but I am doing all the reading as if I were. Taking a Masters in education does appear somewhat forward having not gained a PGCE or taught, however close to learning I may have been throughout my career. 

Much of what Geoff Petty can teach me in his seminal books is familiar. 

The need for clarity of purpose

The need for planning

This is because for VR to be adopted I need to reverse-engineer it. To understand the problem for which such a tour is the solution.

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