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Five Resolutions for 2021

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 21 Dec 2020, 06:16

Every 3 weeks to a month we go for a long walk with family freinds. We try not to talk about the same things, try to pick up where we left off and expect stories to have moved on in some shape or another. And being December I ask about New Year's Resolutions simply because I think you need to be giving some of them a shot before the New Year if you are to have any chance of following them through.

My P had an interesting idea, picked up on social media and yet to trace; you should have five resolutiosn each to cover one of the following:

1) The Spiritual > for me this is the Green Party which I feel is more of a movement than a political party. 

2) The Intellectual > which has to be education given my renewed passion for learning how we learn.

3) The Sporty/Fitness one > where walking the dog and standing at my desk is not enough. I'd like to have skiing and sailing in here but do so little of either and not preparation either that they don't count. I need 'a little and often' such as the TV Yoga that eveyone at home currentl does for 20 minutes or so each day.

4) The Hobby that pays for itself > which must be the digital and social editor role at The Western Front Association. I am paid an 'honorarium' so counting hours done per week or month is faily meaningless and diminishes my contribution to hours clocked up. I do more hours and am far, far quicker at doing everything which is how I can put out 100 Tweets a month and have 10 article, 10 book reviews and more besirdes added to the website.

5) The Creative > for me this has to be life drawing. I'd like to pick up the guitar and sing/play but just don't no matter that the guitar is sitting there longing me to do something.  I don't feel I'm in the space conducive to it anymore. 


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What I don't know about teaching

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 14 Dec 2020, 06:53

Book Cover for kate Clanchy's 'Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me'.

A reivew of sorts written in several parts over 12 hours between 8:00am and 8:00pm this wet, dull, claustrophic, semi-lockdown Sunday on the Western edges of Lewes ... 

I'm 60 pages in and when I open the book I still get a waft of fresh paper. I need a book like this as a reality check and reminder of who matters in all of this education malarkey - the student ! 

I'll grow to feel in control, learn quickly ways to support their learning.

I like this:

'It's a bodily experience, like learning to be a beekeeper, or an acrobat: a series of stinging humiliations and painful accidents and occasional sublime flights which leave you either crippled or change'. p.1

How can teaching online via webcam be a bodily experience? An 'out body' experience perhaps? Not helped where none of the students are present - all have their webcams turned off. 

Kate Clanchy supports my idea regarding motivation, she makes this optimistic remark about her students (she teaches in school) 'all children will behave perfectly ... if they want to know something very much, about sex or anything else, and an adult sincerely sets out to tell them.' p.15

The issue of course if neither the students not the teacher want to impart knowledge: take 'Black Lives Matter'. Not my view, but I have had others ask why it is being taught to a group of all white students - or harder, how to teach it to a class where one student is black. Should it be awkward? Would it be like teaching menstruation to a class of predominantly boys with one girl present? What if the class was entirely black but for one white kid? I think the teachers missed the point, the institution failed in selling the purpose of teaching the class and in fact should it not be the case that only those who know what they are talking about get up to teach?

A further insight into the students comes where the author sums up her experience of working (her choice) with students who had been isolated in the 'inclusion' portacabin on the other side of the playing field. These children had misbehaved so badly or so often that they were separated from the rest of the school. Kate Clanchy is a saint; she has a lot to teach us. She tells a story of how she encouraged them to write her notes and put them anonymously in a box. Those that were scrumpled up and dropped in the bin proved more revealing as it told stories of physical and mental abuse and neglect. We know that how children are raised has a profound impact on their behaviour and response to the wider world. 

'No one is bad, though many are sad, and a few are mad' she writes on page 56.

I'm reading a lot at the moment. 

In between reviewing 1 hour 42 minutes of Dylan Wiliam on 'Formative Assessment' and the need for actions in schools to be based on evidence and checking through Dave White on 'Visitors and Residents' in the digital world, I riggle my way through the rest of Kate Clanchy. 

There are no surprises that she uncovers systemic racism in poetry competitions she enters her pupils for, no surprises at how awkwardly church schools fit into secular, or rather multiracial Britain, nor how middle-class parents tend to point their kids towards middle-class and aspiration schools leaving the general population lacking in a proper understanding of the communities around them.

Very Quiet Foreign Girls is worth Googling for their poems. Like 'Dead Poets Society' this is a group of underprivileged girls, rather than privileged boys, who met to read and compose poetry. The multiracial and international mix of students is extraordianry: Khurds, Iranians, Somalians, Poles and Hungarians, Moroccan, Afghan, Indian and Pakistani with a suitable mix fo relgions across branches of Islam, as well as Hindu, Cathollic and no religion at all.

Deprivation can be a shocker: the way the children live, their poverty, how treated at home, the uniform a release from having to find anything special or different to wear, shoes in all weathers a pair of flip flops, travel to London from Essex, let alone 'abroad' a signal of something 'beyond' and out of their reach to the point of feeling like impostors to be with anyone so privileged. 

'Poverty is stronger than plumbing' Kate Clanchy writes (p.160), 'stronger than medicine, stronger than art'. 

The first taste I got of it was on benefits in London in April 1985; not an expected path for an Oxford graduate who'd been spoilt for choices at the end of the Milk Round the Year Before. Then doing odd jobs, in a flat in Willesden and joining the Tricycle Youth Theatre and being around as many black faces as white. 

I'd not lived; I'd not travelled in my own country. I've been rubbing off the public school ever since and have taken a long time to reclaim Oxford rather than simply stating that I went to 'college'. Elitism comes in many forms and I am guilty of belonging to a few of them in the past (not always by choice).

Education is national, it is the community, it ought to be a melting pot, it ought to be a leveller. It should not be the fragmented, privileged, excluding, isolating experience that it is in Britain where too many children's experience is amongst 'their own kind' geographically, and by race, religion, class and wealth. 

Kate Clanchy has been what has made this a weekend, not a workday; my working week extended with the Dylan Wiliam to digest (it will take three passes through my gut like a cow chewing the cud). What surprises me is when out of the blue she drops her pen and smacks into Black and Wiliam and the entire idea of Formative Assessment (WALT) with the enthusiasm of a vengeant pugilist. I like her for it. My first notes on Wiliam are to question the keynote I have just sat through as a self-serving literature review which makes a lot of poor research conducted in the States simply so that he can destroy it. More of Wiliam elsewhere - I applaud 'evidence based' responses to any problem (though not, Kate Clanchy would say) at the expense of creativity and poetry in particular. is Wiliam and his brand of formative assessment most suited to math and engineering rather than the arts? Would fine art, pottery or make up benefit from or be destroyed by formative assessment. At what point does formative assessment in the training of a competitive sailor have to give way to intuition, for the musician to play the piece their way? Is formative assessment the scales and these alone will make for a dull clone?

We get into the apostrophe in English as a defining standard for how well it is taught, or not, and taken up by Grammar Schools but not the Comprehensive - or not. It is a detail too far for me. I take her point that the simplest advice to those in doubt over the use of the apostrophe is to never use it.

From p.207 to p.217 the PostIts cover most of each page. Her attack on formative assessment is heartfelt. I need, in the parlance, to ‘unpack it’. Kate Clanchy ‘began teaching thirty years ago’ (1990s). Since when there has been ‘the inexorable rise of the thing called ‘formative assessment’, and its lumpen classroom equivalent, the WALT’. '(p.207) 

WALT stands for ‘We Are Learning To …’

They should head a trainee teacher’s lesson plan and guide any observation.

The theory goes, Kate Clanchy explains, is that they ‘interact seamlessly with the curriculum and let everyone know where they are at’. 

‘They break up the lesson into simple learning objectives that the children themselves understand’. (p.207) 

‘This is formative assessment because it forms and changes he student as well as marking them’. (p.208).

[I can only think in terms of old school essay writing for homework. Formative assessment at its most successful, for feedback and differentiation - surely? And then the five hundred year old Oxbridge tutorial were students armed with essays debating one with their tutor and mentally marking their own effort as excellent, average, mediocre or non-existent, while forming a view of their own months, even years before any summative assessment into a formal written exam]. 

‘Formative assessment does not allow for ineffable processes,’ she writes (p.210) as she expands on a case study of a student who grew into himself and developed self awareness and confidence as a result of his creative writing, something she is sure would have been stymied by WALT and overly prescriptive formative assessment. 

She has a dig at something called the ‘Black Box’ which is an idea that Black and Wiliam also developed around WALT and formative assessment; I am currently ignorant of it. She argues that often there is less need for this kind of formative assessment and a greater need for summative assessment in the form of a concluding ‘well done’. (p.210).

Then she bemoans how an English test has been reduced to using a Wikipedia entry on Titanic to compose a nonfiction essay. A task that she considers thin and limited because it starts from not much and has little opportunity to flower the way the simple experience of listening to a poem and then writing one of your own can have. (p.211).

‘In my dress,’ she writes on p.212, we never need to write another WALT. In my dreams my colleagues are trusted to choose great, rich texts to teach, and we all trust the texts to teach the children. We assess both creative and critical responses to them as their final exams’. 

Some decades later Kate Clanchy spotted this her most promising student from those days of poetry and creative english. She got up the courage to contact him by LinkedIn.

‘When we read books with you,’ he wrote, ‘the world opened up. Your lessons were I learnt who I was,’ he continued, ‘became conscious of myself, grew up. That time was important to me, a free space’. (p.217)

She goes on to provide illustrative anecdotes for dyslexia and ASD I like that as much is devoted to what those with such issues can do, rather than what they can not do. Then we cover body image, the Audrey Hepburn like nymph who gains weight so quickly and others too, another raped and a third caught up a child marriage or engagement in Pakistan.






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Dylan Wiliam on Formative Assessment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 13 Dec 2020, 04:06

Formative Assessment with Dylan Wiliams

Formative Assessment

This will take a considerable amount of 'unpacking'. I've been through the 1 hour + long online talk once, taken notes and grabbed a dozen slides. I will need to go back over it at least twice more. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1S0vSZ-Tv1qPiRO05MwrOeu-il1-HPc0H/view?ts=5fd36276


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40 years ago the HE journey began

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 13 Dec 2020, 14:06

A collage of photographs of Balliol College, the Sheldonian and Bodliean from December 1980

40 years ago, on the 11th and 12th of December 1980, I attended interviews at Balliol College, Oxford to study modern history. The photographs above are the ones I took and later stuck into a scrapbook. 

My mother drove me down from Newcastle to Chipping Camden to stay with her long term boyfriend; my parents had separated and then divorced ten years eariler. According to my diary my material grandparents were with us too. The cottage in the Cotswalds was tiny.

The next day my Mum drove me into Oxford and dropped me at the entrance to Balliol. I had a rucksack, an acoustic guiitar and a pair of skis. I felt like a traveller who had got lost.

I must have gone to the porter's lodge, must have been given a key to a room. I can't recall where it was - staircase 11 to 15, one they set aside for the conference season.

I had two interiews and may also have met my 'pastoral tutor'. The first interview was on the subject I was hoping to study. We discussed Henry VII and then the Reformation. We'd not talked much at the RGS during class - it had been more a case of take notes, write the essay, learn stuff and make sure its in your head by the time of the written exam.

I had plenty of time between interviews; I do not recall coming across any other students at all.

I wandered over to the Sheldonian and Bodliean and took photographs with my Minolta. I must have eaten in hall. The next morning I want to the Ashmolean Museum opposite. Then I had a second interview. Once again there were two tutors. This was a general interview. I spoke about acting at schools and the People's Theatre: the Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Dracula Spectacula! 

I took myself down to the Station for the train into London. I made my way out to Brentford Docks where my father had his London flat then. This may have been my third time ever to London and the first time travelling alone. I stayed with Dad. Did we eat out in town? Did he introduce me to his girlfriend of that moment? His view of my song writing efforts were that there were 'too many words'. I take it he didn't like my singing, my voice, my playing ... that's Dad for you.

The next afternoon I took the train from Victoria to Folkestone and got the ferry across to Calais. I made friends with a girl my age and a young couple. The crossing was rough and this girl, Paula and I loved every moment of it, even when a vending machine broke loose and slid across the deck. I had her name, but no number. We were just young people pasing through.

Across Paris with my clobber by bus; skis and guitar. And the night train from Gar du Nord. Onwards to Bourg St Maurice, to Val d'Isere, the Hotel Sofitel and a job immersed amongst French 'seasoniere' where, in a Marks &  Spencer grey suit I was the 'day porter, English speaking, snow shovelling, breakfast delivering errand boy'. 

University life at Balliol eventually began in October 1981. A close friend from those days died a month ago. Life's short - embrace it. 

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A day is a long time in e-learning!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 11 Dec 2020, 13:31


I tried to run with too much and came unstuck. A 90 minute class is long. The two 3 minutes breaks don't give them a break ... but longer we have found and they can go off and not return.

Clicking through a set of tabs prepared to show/share worked well enough, though with adjustments made each time I have taken this class (five times this week) risked my opening the wrong tab, or being unsure of the revised tab. Then wanting to use all of: Polls, Breakout Rooms and Breakout Rooms with Jamboard was a push too far.

Multiple Jam Boards open simultaneously

I set up no fewer than five Breakout Rooms and labelled each: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter. Fine, but when we went to the rooms they had only been given Viewer status and were not able to alert me to this until they returned to the 'main room'.

I tried again later once I had changed the permissions but this time did the room settings double or change again? One person was on their own in Jupiter. So had Meet shuffled the students. And it took them time to get started. In the end it looked as if only one of them or a couple of them in 'Mars' did anything at all.

Battlefield Virtual Tour demonstration one tab opened of many in the window

However, I did keep to the two breaks. I didn't play two longer video clips and found I had time in hand, so could watch all of the demonstration of the Battlefield Virtual Tour.

I learnt that in the group most were on laptops, one on a desktop and two on phones.

Whether I get any takers from Screencastify is another matter. 

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I love this idea and want to develop it

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 10 Dec 2020, 12:28

Visitor or Resident ? Personal or Institutional

Whenever I can I am talking the students through this. I find I am more likely to get questions when I am using a mini-whiteboard to take them through it myself. And it helps to have them asking the questions via mic rather than in text. Text in chat can be a one letter or one word reply. 

Visitors & Residents > https://youtu.be/sPOG3iThmRI

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Four down one to go!

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The learning experince is fantastic. I feel like a junior doctor on call 24/7 in an A&E. Not because the pressures is anything like as great, but because it has me engaged and totally 'in the flow'.

In the flow chart annotated

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Now what? Not another badge!

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Sceencast Video Creator of the Year

I'm a sucker for praise and recognition; aren't we all? Maybe being this cheesy is a step too far in tacky commercialism though? Or not? I can't tell and don't know but the trap has been laid I I took the bate. As I've been giving workshops to staff, and now to students on using Screencastify I have clocked up many a screencast. 

I will knock one out as quickly as a sneeze - almost.

Needing to show someone how to get video from their phone to their Google Drive I used Screencastify to record 'webcam' only, practiced getting the image visible by holding my phone at the right angle and close enough to the webcam and then talked her through the process. Later that day I learnt, with delight, that both she and a student had now started to get their video content where it needed to be in order to share to the class via Goolge Classrom. Job done.

I also demo Screencastify live in the remote classes I am running this week; this makes for at least one further screencast a day - more when I get it wrong and record Webcam or Browser when I mean Desktop.

Onwards. The days is new. It's 5:00am and I feel rested and ready for the world. 

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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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New blog post

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David Jonassens proposed learning environments octogon

Can this be done online? Do I even understand all the terms? Does it all have to happen in the same class?

Constructive : a workshop like activity, or 'group think' in Google Breakout.

Collaborative : they work together in small groups to come to an answer.

Conversational : in the Chat and with each other.

Reflective : with more time at the end, or part way through, they reflect on what they are doing and if they are getting anywhere.

Contextualized : as in the online learning environment and/or the individual context for each person?

Complex : or challenging? Online learning is a fail for some, for reasons of their own making, or not. For technical, persona circumstances and other reasons. Some people don't like bringing the class into the home. It is a cultural shift.

Intentional : (I'm going to have to look this up).

Active/Manipulative : sounds like 'constructive' ?


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The Reflective Cycle (Gibbs, 1988)

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The Reflective Cycle (Gibbs, 1988)

The Reflective Cycle (Gibbs, 1988) Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit. Oxford Polytechnic: Oxford

This reads like crisis management: is it? Is this if there is an incident? Or something goes wrong? An ongoing frustration that I need to tackle is why in a Google Meet there is always one, sometimes two students, who have joined the session but cannot be added to a Breakout. 

Rather than letting it happen again I need to test it in 'Student' mode and see the notes from Google themselves. 

Last time it happened signing out of the class then returning did the job; not this time. 

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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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John Sowash - the one we should aspire to be !

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John Sowash teaches online like no other. He's cracked it and is forever improving, sharing best practice and getting others through the basic hoops. Once up and running we can all teach online. 

Here's his latest podcast : https://smarterqueue.com/video/18935767

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Too busy to blog! Yelps

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Is this a good sign? My sympathy goes out to all teachers - I take classes (in theory) one day a week. This week I have stepped in to offer 'Isolation' cover for five classes. Putting together a 90 minute online class that follows lessons I've picked up in 10 weeks of PGCE takes a while - though the training allows me to get it done more quickly as I have a better feel for what will work.

But where is the work on live classes taught remotely to draw on for best practice? Maybe I'll author one.

OERs and resources available 'out there' is one thing - shoehorning them into your sessions is another. I know from the corporate training years that 'bespoke' was always best if you could afford it. Everything else screams 'compromise'.

I need to reversion somethign aimed at graduates and something else aimed at teachers. Playing a segment of these videos is easy enough, doing something myself and citing the sources is another. I still have to script it and record it.

At least I have recordings of these classes. When I have the energy and brain space I can reflect on each and the collection. And with three more days, and three more classes I will take the opportunity now to make changes.

The class is on digital communications - basically how to do better than PowerPoint or Slides. 

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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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Which study setting is missing here??

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I did this entire course on or in bed on a laptop. And when there is a lot to read I may move to an iPad and pick up in the bath. 

I do other work (a different job) on the sofa.

While the study is kept for the day job.

Such is my life of variety. I look longingly out at a large garden shed as another home for my thoughts and studying but this will have to wait. One door and one window are missing. The roof leaks. It is dark and damp. And worst of all, jammed to the ceiling with bags and boxes of unloved stuff that no one wants to throw out. 

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Forever the Learner - thanks to the Open University

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The MAODE I started (took up again) in February 2010 is to blame. On completing that in 3 1/2 years I felt a huge void. I have completed multiple course with FutureLearn and Coursa since, and further modules, some at considerable expense: most free.

Straight out of Taking Your Learning Online and I feel I have the brain muscle and desire to do more. This time I will do and complete 'The Online Educator' even if it covers much of the same ground, and especially because i have started it before and not got to the end.

All in all in creates a massive mashup in my brain that I can feed out to others, not least urgently to get my head around learning design in FE and potentially to be able to offer cogent advice to colleauges and the college. 

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We remain so niave in education, or simply grossly under resourced.

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Students need significant support to identify 'who they are' early on so that schooling can be individualised rather than trying to get everyone over the same hurdles at the same time. The most absurd thing in UK education is not to allow students to stay back a year or two in order to get the grades they want to progress. In France and the US this can allow the determined student who needs more time and further 'learning' to get the grades and so progess to the institution to study the subject they have their hearts set on, rather than being rejected by the 'system' far, far too early in a cycle which now is a life-time of learning. 

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Take Your Teaching Online : Final Score 90%

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It's taken me several degrees to learn how to learn - dogged application to knowing your stuff. In my case this meant that in an 8 week course (taken over 10 days) I have not done 2 1/2 hours a week, but rather 2 hours most of time but 8 hours or more  in 'Week 7' and 4 or 5 hours on 'Week 8'. You have to keep going back until you get it; if you don't you will be found out later.

And no guessing. 

You have to know an answer is right, or likely to be right, before you provide it. I did take an 'open book' approach to this, which helps a bit. What helped a lot was to have copious notes which I could search and review. These amount to 4 to 10 page for each week - notes, text grabs and screenshots.  I like to have this content for my own perusal and reference.

Talking of which - I also take the references for anything I fancy following up. I will in due course follow up some of these. 

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Take Your Teaching Online Week 8 : The Power of Analytics

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 6 Dec 2020, 11:29

Professor Bart Rienties of the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University

January 2018 > https://youtu.be/GIWrygqmOIs 

Creative Commons Attribution licence (reuse allowed)

45 minutes? This is how long 'Take Your Teaching Online' gives to undertake the activity. It is far, far too little time to do justice to it. 

That's 35 minutes viewing to begin with add taking notes and 10 minutes to construct a reply. I gave it two hours.

This is worth this amount of effort and more; I will be going back to it. 

There are two reasons why is essential viewing for anyone venturing into teachign online:

1) This is an excellent lesson in how to deliver a lecture

  • The pace, variety, personal story telling, top and tailing (literally) with dogs and then heavy duty data expressed in tables and charts. All the while having the audience to feed in with a poll. 

2) The conclusions that Prof. Bart Rienties draws are profound 

  • Just in the period since the OU changed its fee structure (much more expensive) what students look for has shifted increasingly towards the relevance of the materials and qualifications to their job

The data blows away past perceptions and methods while reinforcing what had been an indicator of excellence vs failure all along. 

  • Student satisfaction surveys bear no relation at all to peformance. 
  • Giving students nothing to do can result in the most activity - it becomes at chance for those 60% of more who are a little behind, or a long way behind, to catch up. 
  • Those who are always leaving it to the last minute and think that they can catch up in a last minute splurge of activity are likely to be those who just pass or fail. 

The best approach all along, and an indicator of excellence, is to get ahead of the curve. 

Not least it gives you breathing space to go back to something when you've had time to think about it, or to hunt down and check through alternative insights. As well as engaging on the subject if you wish outside the class. 

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I ask myself, 'these are adults, they are academics, they are Profs and PHDs, and yet some use their phones to give quiz answers answer before they've been given the question. What does this say about us humans? Is it the gambler's gambit?' 

Prof. Bart Rienties was using PollEV.com 

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Bart gets our immediate attention with a puppy. We are introduced to Tabatha from Canine Partners > https://caninepartners.org.uk/ 

By way of engaging metaphors data is first provided on three assistant dogs 

and then from the speakers competitive cycling.

These metaphors are used to indicate different kinds of data, the kind that is useful, and the kind that is not. And the need to be measuring something in the first place 

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The truth will out with the data

QQ: Can we use this data to give students what they want?

Ask them at the end of every module. 

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Big data set

  • 110,000 students
  • 400 courses

QQ: What makes the course 'good' ? (As in getting results) is it: 

  • Great reachers? 

  • Links well to professional practice?

  • Links well to their career intentions?

  • Quality of the teaching materials?

  • Quality of the teaching?

This is what 40 people from the audience concluded. (40 was the limit of the licence bought from PollEV). 

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Here is the detail: 

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What makes an excellent course? 

  • Really good teaching materials

  • Student approval of the assessment method. 

There has been a subtle change over the last few years

  • Perspectives changing to students expecting modules link to the qualification.

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NOTE > 

There was NO correlation between student satisfaction and student performance

Students like constructivist learning designs

This is where there is lots of stuff, we take them by the hand … providing lots of content for them to explore.

They did not like when they had to work together with a group, or talk to the teacher. 

The number predictors of passing and continuing is how teachers design the learning and how they communicate during the course.

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Starting to unpack the recipe what helps our students progress so using the social constructivist model.

  • Should we give students what they want? 

  • Students are different! 

  • Most will benefit from knowing what is coming up.

What are students doing on a week by week basis.

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Is there a link between how teachers design and how students engage?

Unpack what is really happening?

Why despite expectations of a lot of student engagement in week 20 was there not?

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Start to map out what students are doing.

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Week 4 time off to prepare … and becomes one of the highest peaks.

69% of what students do is determined by what teachers have designed for them to do.

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Excellent students study more in advance.

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Pass students start to get in the ‘catch up’ phase > they are going ‘off piste

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Fail group > starting to catch up, or never catch up. So how do we give them a chance? A pause to catch up. 

What are our take home messages?

Not all data we collect is meaningful.

What matters is actual behaviour. Big data without context is meaningless.

NOTE > Listening to student feedback is not linked to what they are doing or how they are performing. 

Our students are following the learning design, but many are not. Some diligently stick to the road, others take different routes. 

NOTE > We need to provide alternative effective pathways.

End with Canine partners and foster parents.

Organ donation 

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Open Education Resource Institutions and Repositories

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 6 Dec 2020, 09:27
The following was given as a 20 minute exercise in the 'Take Your Teaching Online' 8 week course from Open Learn. I gave it 8 or more hours. It was warranted. These resources are a godsend to taking your teaching online, materials that can be used 'off the shelf' as an single item (an eBook or Video), an lesson plan set out with objectives, activities and assessments ... or even an entire unit of studies over a period of weeks.  

I see this as a great starting place. Find a way that works for you. Work with it. Adapt it. Then in due course create your own in the image of the design that you have found works for you and your students.

My experience may well need to be reviewed. I simply have not had the time to dig around enough. All may have their merits and others may tell me if I am missing a trick. Some of these platforms need to rethink their approach regarding quality controls. I also wonder if a 'community of practice' through the likes of LinkedIn could provide support and links to resources that have a better fit for you. 

Open Education Resource Platform 

Notes and Examples 

Rate

Open Learn


https://www.open.edu/openlearn/ 


A repository of open materials produced by The Open University,

Excellent. Out of box. Just get on and do it! The Open University was established to make learning possible for those still in work, in care roles, who may have left school early or without qualifications. It’s mission with Open Learn as with the Open University and even the Business and Laws Schools is to make content accessible in every meaning of the word: attainable, usable, doable, (easier).


E.G. 

Take Your Teaching Online > https://bit.ly/39LI4Vw 

Art and Visual Culture : From Medieval to Modern > https://bit.ly/33JuMF0 

Lights, Camera, Action : technology and theatre > https://bit.ly/37GsuHQ 

Open Advent > https://www.open.edu/openlearn/advent 


5+

MIT Open Course


MIT OpenCourseWare | Free Online Course Materials 


A web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content.

Undergraduate and graduate courses in full with every possible detail provided to run such a course.


E.G. 

12 hours a week over 16 weeks: the real deal > Education Technology Studio 

Rachel Slama, Garron Hillaire, Joshua Littenberg-Tobias, and Jose Ruiperez-Valiente. CMS.594 Education Technology Studio. Spring 2019. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, https://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA


E.G. 

Special 1 Hour Seminar in Communication: Leadership and Personal Effectiveness Coaching.

Christine Kelly. 15.277 Special Seminar in Communications: Leadership and Personal Effectiveness Coaching. Fall 2008. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, https://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

(1 hour for post-grad MBA students, 3 to 4 hours for School/College undergrads) 


5

Saylor.org


https://www.saylor.org/ 


Nearly 100 full-length courses at the college and professional levels

https://www.saylor.org/about/ 

Sounds like Open Learn and Adult Learning: articles, lectures and videos. Aiming for people seeking career change, getting into a career or getting into uni. Certification / badges ala Coursera / FutureLearn. Sign in required.  https://youtu.be/vAEZoveEUg8 


E.G.

Beginning Lower-Intermediate English as a Second Language  + 12 hours, course outcomes and materials. 

Modern Revolutions + 85 horse, course outcomes, certification and materials.


E.G

Learning in a Digital Age: digital literacies, digital citizenship, open education, media literacies and digital skills > Develop and apply digital and learning literacies that are critical for learning success in tertiary education in the 21st century. Last updated 28 Sept 2020. https://learn.saylor.org/course/view.php?id=388 


OER Africa


https://www.oerafrica.org/ 


Developing professional educational resources with the Hewlett Foundation. 

https://www.oerafrica.org/about-us 

Focus > Agriculture, Foundation Skills, Health and Teacher education for the African context.

 

E.G.

Communication Skills, Kampala university. 

Download Resource as a .docx. As a Google Doc, template to personalise with learning outcomes, modules, aims and units running to 55 pages 


4

Open Educational Resources


https://archive.org/details/education


A library that contains hundreds of free courses, video lectures, and supplemental materials from the US and China. 

Requires Email Sign in. Over 6 million videos. Hilarious archive training films. Old TV and commercials. Super 8mm on sexual maturity. 1973. Download options. The World at War. Genocide. Video 2017 ‘Kick starting Your Career’. 

Nearly 5 million books. 


E.G. 

Book > World War One, Norman Stone

First World War, Horrible Histories. Borrow for an hour. 


OER Commons


https://www.oercommons.org/


Free-to-use learning and teaching content from around the world. 

Author Open Resources. All education levels and adult learning. 


E.G. 

21st Century Skills, including for example digital fluency for adult learners.  

A set of instructional videos paired with a simple assessment. Learners that get a passing score are awarded a digital badge. These can be shared to Google Classroom. 

21st Century Skills for Teachers > Collaboration, Creativity, Communication, and Critical Thinking. Just a set of 5 slides.

 

3

Open Course Library


http://opencourselibrary.org/ 


A collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts.

Materials shared to Google Drive: Docs, tables, lesson plans and activities. Readily adapted. However heavily US, business and manufacturing orientated. 

3

Merlot


https://www.merlot.org/merlot/ 


Tens of thousands of discipline-specific learning materials, learning exercises, and content builder webpages, together with associated comments, and bookmark collections,

A thoughtful, time consuming sign in process and account verification process that helps place you, your field of interest, institution and students before offering content. 


Filter by: discipline, material type, audience and platform 

Deeply disappointed that having clicked through categories and read through what looked like it would be an up to date YouTube video on Social Media I got the alert ‘This site does not exist’.


Thankfully the next shot, to get a resource that would help students make better presentations with slides was a hit with a TED lecture and blog > https://blog.ted.com/10-tips-for-better-slide-decks/ 


10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea … 

Then directly into creating a learning exercise from it with a lesson exercise sheet to complete >


The Learning Exercise form will allow you to define the tasks, audience and all aspects of the exercise for others to use with the corresponding MERLOT material. Please provide as much information and detail as possible.

Twice more a dead end.

Then not only off site, but further sign in and payment expected. 

Go through THAT official registration successfully but still have no access.  


3

OpenStax CNX


https://cnx.org/ 


Tens of thousands of learning objects, organised into thousands of textbook-style books in a host of disciplines,

Books, so pages, with diagrams, text and exercises. Search by subject, browse by keyword and publication date. 


E.G. 

SWOT analysis > https://bit.ly/2VI8ZsR 

Employer Training and Development > https://bit.ly/2VE5Fim 


However, the community is self-managed, which rather like people who blog can result in some random contributions and domination by an individual. 


3

AMSER Repository


https://amser.org/ 


A portal of educational resources and services built specifically for use by those in Community and Technical Colleges 

Applied Math and Science Repository. 


US but many subjects covered even though Science bias, with military science, arts, history etc: but the taxonomy search/browse did not work. More like an index. Some content from 2001. And three times ended up with an empty ‘folder’ with no resources to use. 

1

Solvonauts


http://solvonauts.org/


A search engine that searches across repositories (they also provide open repository software for institutions wanting to set up their own repository of OER).

No sign in. Simple, too basic, too 2010.


More like a directory. The content I considered was out of date and simply a video of someone’s presentation 

1


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Design Museum

Slides

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Age 17 or 18 in the learning centre at Appleby I had a go with the reel to reel black and white Sony video camera to record a video of me showing someone how to create a slide show ... using a box of physical slides. This is like writing a book to tell someone how to cave paint.

Four decades later, even if they are digital, why or why are we so hooked on the 'slide'.

Anyway, these are useful suggestions on how to make the most of them > Ted 10 Tipe for Better Slide Decks



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Design Museum

Ten tips on how to make better slides

Visible to anyone in the world

Age 17 or 18 in the learning centre at Appleby I had a go with the reel to reel black and white Sony video camera to record a video of me showing someone how to create a slide show ... using a box of physical slides. This is like writing a book to tell someone how to cave paint.

Four decades later, even if they are digital, why or why are we so hooked on the 'slide'.

Anyway, these are useful suggestions on how to make the most of them > Ted 10 Tipe for Better Slide Decks



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Take Your Teaching Online Week 4

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 21 Dec 2020, 11:08

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • 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

Teacher who has tried:

  • Private Facebook Group for pupils and pupils parents

  • A community within the students

  • Students supporting each other and congratulating each other on their successes.

Teach academic subjects online via Twitter > astonished.

  • Conferences

  • Fellow professionals

  • Aspergers, Austic High Functioning End.

‘Most of the benefits of networking can be divided into two generic categories: connectivity and sharing’.  (Kozierok, 2005)

As you will have seen in the previous weeks of this course, teaching online requires thought, planning, and perhaps a little bravery in trying new technologies and techniques.

  • Thought
  • Planning
  • Bravery

‘Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly'. 

JV: We need a digital campaign to inform and persaude. 

I have five years experience in the production of such a newsletter to a community of over 6,000 and quickly recognised that recreating something that by design looks like it should be printed off is hugely limiting. There should be analytics attached to the item so it is understood what is opened (if at all) and by whom. 

We need 'shared domains of interest’

There is no shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems – in short, a shared practice.

  1. A shared domain of interest

  2. An active community, sharing and exploring the domain

  3. A shared repertoire of resources.

They go on to say that ‘it is the combination of these three elements that constitutes a community of practice. And it is by developing these three elements in parallel that one cultivates such a community’. 

(Wenger-Trayner and Wenger-Trayner, 2015)

Conversations should be just that > a two way dialogue with meetings centred aroun an agenda and action points resulting. 

Where might you begin to look for easy networking opportunities that may be available to you that you simply don’t yet know exist? In which of these would you wish to begin as a ‘lurker’? Are there any that you might feel sufficiently confident to actively participate in now?

A shared experience works at The Western Front Association because of the last three years we have built up a community centred around someone with the time and energy to oversee activities and bring others in. I have been a lurker in a number of groups, and after a time I have gravitated towards their centre, indeed being given ‘moderator’ status in a massive LinkedIn group on elearning. I have also set up a number of such groups and facilitated and moderated discussions. 

What networking activity do you already participate in that could be modified or refocused to bring you networking benefits?

For The Western Front Association I put out two to five Tweets a day and manage the ensuing conversation. I have a 2,000 member LinkedIn group on swimming which sort of looks after itself. I have tried to instigate the creation of a Lewes District Green Group with no success. What I have learned from managing such groups, and setting them up, is that it requires time and energy > 8 hours a week is my benchmark starting point. 

How could you harness the power of the ‘weather’ that is already around you to benefit your online teaching practice?

The ‘weather’ is bad with poor wifi, low speed computers, poor desktop setups and in general a limited desire to improve things from the grassroots up - instead everything if thought of ‘on high’ and imposed from above. 

Connect with like-minded people by establishing and developing networks.

How to Tweet (what we used to call microblogging)

You'll need to identify the tasks you wish to perform:

  • gathering information on a particular subject:
    make a list of keywords or hashtags that you may wish to search for (hashtags can include phrases and acronyms, but always without spaces, for example #teachingonline, #OpenLearn or #cccotc18.

  • following and learning from experts in a particular subject:
    list the names of the experts you wish to search for.

  • making connections with people in a similar position to yourself: brainstorm how you might find those people – how will you search for them? You may need to combine some keywords or hashtags into a single search, to enable you to filter out information that is related but not precisely what you are looking for.

  • sharing your own work: identify precisely which items you would like to share, list some keywords and hashtags that might describe your work, and practise creating a short microblogging message of the correct length that describes your work succinctly.

There are of course other tasks you may wish to do as well, such as following particular celebrities or information sources unrelated to your work environment.

Twitter 

If you wish to use Twitter, these instructions could help you to maximise the benefits. If you wish to use a different tool, the principles of the instructions will remain valid, but you will need to alter the method and tools to suit your platform.

  1. Create an account (on Twitter, or your preferred microblogging site).

  1. Use your Twitter account to register with Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is a very good way to make sense of the vast amount of information rushing by on Twitter, and helps you to arrange the information you need in easily managed columns.

  1. Use the search function in Tweetdeck to generate new columns relating to your keywords or hashtags of interest, or search for experts and follow them – all tweets from accounts that you follow will appear in your Home column in Tweetdeck, in chronological order.

  1. If you are looking for peers, first find and follow likely individuals – with any luck they will follow you back (it is good Twitter etiquette to follow individuals who follow you). Once you are familiar with one another’s tweets you could then suggest forming a List (a column in your Tweetdeck that gathers together the tweets from your selected individuals, and that others can subscribe to).

  1. If you want to share your own work, learn from how others do it, observe how they use their tweets, how they ask for feedback or for others to retweet them. You need to have built up a good number of followers before sharing your work, so that their retweets will exponentially increase your reach

Think about any networks and communities you already belong to (formal and informal). How do these communities share information? What tools do they use? How could they use other channels or media to improve that flow of information?

How could you increase your connections and reach? How might tools like Twitter, Weibo or other social networking sites help you?

Each of marketing and digital put out a newsletter and what I can only call a flyer - it is not readable. It is content chosen for consumption in a one way fashion and about as readable as the back of a packet of cereal and uses similar design skills. Neither group talks to the other. Elsewhere recognising the difference with digital is that you can change the shape, length and nature of any emailed communication, and change when it goes out, we have learnt to communicate in long or short form, just with text or more magazine style with images … but we do not try to create a magazine or flyer that looks like it would normally been printed out. 

The Western Front Association uses Facebook and Twitter extensively, Instagram a bit more and should open up LinkedIn. It is absolutely the case that by driving traffic to the website and having new contact all the time, we have built our followers considerably and our membership too. All if this task time and skills, not least to listen to the audience before ‘writing’ to them and be prepared to feedback, discuss or debate rather than having communications that are entirely one way,

In education, authentic learning is an instructional approach that allows students to explore, discuss, and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems and projects that are relevant to the learner.

There are four basic types of communities:

  • Helping Communities. provide a forum for community members to help each other with everyday work needs.

  • Best Practice Communities. develop and disseminate best practices, guidelines, and strategies for their members' use.

  • Knowledge Stewarding Communities. ...

  • Innovation Communities.

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REFERENCES

Kozierok, C. (2005) The TCP/IP Guide [Online]. Available at www.tcpipguide.com/free/t_TheAdvantagesBenefitsofNetworking.htm (Accessed 10 Nov 2017).

Wenger-Trayner, E. and Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015) Introduction to communities of practice [Online]. Available at www.wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/ (Accessed 10 Nov 2017).











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