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Review of the 'Theoretical Rationale for Interaction'

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In terms of my experience on H800 there is in the background quite a tight and robust model and framework. However, as we as learners are encouraged and motivated to drive forward the discussions on the forums, and in the later half of the course left to create the forums and drive forward the discussions, I feel that I do have a certain level of control (in partnership with other learners).  In interest I went and explored other H800 groups and some of the tutors even at this late stage create the forums and are certainly holding that 'hot-seat' place.  I think I would feel like I have far less control with that process so am pleased that Terri has allowed us the space to explore.

 For H800 I feel that there has been  high levels of Student to Student activity and Student to Content activity but limited Student to teacher activity (this comes more within assessment feedback).  This has been achieved by keeping to a  standardised and simple model throughout the weeks with clear expectations listed from the very start.  It was clear from the outset  that the deep learning would come from the student to student work, exploring the theories and features within articles.  The model was the same: a set list of activities; a forum to asynchronously discuss; a OU live room available for synchronous discussions, a blog to explore further and widen the dicussion community.

For my area of provision, I have no cohorts but a constant stream of roll-on, roll-off learning.  Therefore this makes Student to Student interaction difficult.  I have focused on student to content interaction but ensured that the content has significant teacher developed resources such as videos/audio notes where there is a perception of teacher input.  Additionally, the teacher role is there to form a sequence and direction for that individual learning using the VLE as the key component.

From my experience with OU study and in particular H800, I  would like to explore the student to student interaction far more and as I  use moodle I  intend to start by encouraging forum use through set activities.  The community will be small but even if there are 3 or 4 learners discussing at any one time this will offer added value and support to the high interaction partnerships.  From the list provided on the activity, the most appropriate example of interactive learning for the provision I  am involved with would be: Stuctured Learning Resources; Independent Study.

In many ways the first reason why I looked at technology and how it was used for our provision was due  to the heavy cuts  in funding.  Our achievements and evaluation surveys were good (but  not excellent) and national competition was making the landscape really competitive (in apprenticeships only 30% are delivered by colleges with the remaining 70% by private training providers.  So with the focus on high student to content interaction with structured learning resources we have achieved above national benchmark for 3 years, raised our satisfaction survey results but with reducing course length and workplace tutor workshop visits.  One example is with a reduction of 24 months to 18 months and 24 visits to 11 visits.  That offers significant savings in terms of travel expenses and time and has also allowed us to upscale in terms of geographical spread and learner numbers.  From here though I acknowledge that we need to raise and increase our student to student interaction and also offer alternatives to student to teacher interaction.  At the moment it is heavy on mobiles and emails but I can see the benefits of alternatives to OU Live (skype etc.)


Terry Anderson. (2003). Getting the Mix Right. An updated and theoretical rationale for interaction. 4 (2), 1-14.

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Practitioners and Models of Pedagogy

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  1. Two main ways in which interventions intended to change how teachers teach:

Top-down and strategic interventions to change management strategy (e.g. government initiative)

Interventions to change how teachers teach:

·To create an idealised type of practice to be planned and implemente

·Teacher representing their own practices to be shared, negotiated and revised

  1. Six main ways in which practice has currently been modelled:

·Practice Models - describe/prescribe specific approaches by practitioners

·Other Practical Accounts - case studies /project findings/staff development

·Theoretical Accounts - cognitive/constructivist theories

·Taxonomies and Ontologies - systematic labelling/organising of learning situation

·Standards and Specifications - Instructional Management Systems / Modelling language models

·Organisational Models - institutions processes making use of best practice

  1. Five main factors that Sharpe (2004) identifies as influencing the success of interventions intended to improve practice:

·Usability - known, accessible and understood

·Contextualisation - Customisation/adapting for the audience

·Professional Learning - Changing perceptions of learning and teaching

·Community - working with existing community

·Learning Design - helping practitioners base their practice on student learning

  1. What do the authors mean by 'reverse engineering' of their practice by the participants on the workshops:

Deconstructing models to reflect upon and self-evaluate own teaching practice through collaborative work and the review of particular categories

  1. Wenger's concept of reification:

The process of which communities take a uniform model and adapt to their own needs, be it using the language or the processes that represent their practices.Reifications 'emerge from practice but they do not define it'

Idiosyncratic Definition - 'pertaining to the nature of idiosyncrasy, or something peculiar to an individual'

  1. Why are reifications necessary for sharing practice, particularly between practitioners from different contexts?

It can help to review trends and share best practice.By sharing across contexts, it allows for the analysis to be based on the core of learning and teaching rather than the traditional and/or consistent barriers/challenges that are met.In essence going back to the central process of learning.

Additionally, the saying 'a problem shared is a problem halved' has some merit.By offering a forum where teachers can reflect upon, discuss but then move on to reviewing others experiences, takes the teacher away from one particular problem and instead places them in a community that initially may identify potential problems but also offer within some potential solutions.


S. De Freitas, M. Oliver, A.Mee and T.Mayes. (2008). The Practitioner Perspective on the modelling of pedagogy and practice. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 24 (1), 26-38.

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My thoughts of the word 'pedagogy'

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Firstly - I do agree that the 'pedagogy' does still have purpose and that it can have an emphasis on learning.  Ultimately, it is all about the interpretation.  Teaching is a skill that can be applied discretly and delicately.  It doesn't have to be the core and all-consuming.  You can teach by treading lightly but motivating strongly.  The skills that form good pedagogical practice may have changed.  For example, 'guiding' and 'facilitating' will now be far more of a priority than earlier interpretations of teaching.  Being an 'expert' in the field is far less relevant now for some sections of learning - in fact with 'life-long learning' we all have the potential to be learner and teacher.  This gives great potential.

I do think the time spent to explore what we mean by 'pedagogy' now is very useful.  It reliterates that the professionalism of teaching does still exist and that technology requires further professionalism rather than a dilution of it. The process may be less defined than in previous generations, but that that is due to the increased emphasis on learning and the increase size of the tools and opportunities available to design, respond, encourage and develop learning opportunities with authenticity and sustainability in mind.

Design for learning is a broad term that can encompass a single task or a whole course.  It is a term that goes beyond learning resources and covers anything that influences or has impact on a learning situation.  It has a holistic view that contains flexibility to be creative and respond to the unpredicatibility of learning where learners have more influence on their own and others learning.


Helen Beetham and Rhona Sharpe. (2007). An introduction to rethinking pedagogy for a digital age. Available: Last accessed 27th July 2015.

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Review of Ingraham and Jones - Networks and Learning

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Edited by Tom Cheek, Tuesday, 21 Jul 2015, 14:13

Ingraham highlights a concern that the imagery created by nodes and connections creates a 2 dimensional model, lacking the essential 3rd dimension (Ingraham's

comment) present in complex networks.


Ingraham interpreted the nodes and paths different to me.I visualise the nodes as the communities (be it small or large including individuals) and that the connections between the nodes are provided by the technology.I still see them as being 'cast out' by the nodes so it is not the technology independently making them.It still requires a stimulus from the node.Therefore the link-maker is still the learner or teacher (in a learning context), but the difference being that they sit in the node. 


In contrast Ingraham sees the connection or 'link maker' as the 'learners' or 'teachers' themselves.I am not concluding whether either interpretation is right but I can understand why Ingraham would have those concerns if that is how he has interpreted the metaphor.What this does do though is highlight his concerns made above about the 2 dimensional model being too simplistic.


Jones reaction creates further comment about the dimension of the networks.Ingraham comments about Rhizomatic networking which then creates further debate.Jones responds in commenting that Rhizoid has a foundation in roots and that this is largely one way and partially interactive.Again this is quite different to my interpretation of Rhizoid.My thoughts include an even freer network that could offer strong communication and certainly not a one way model.A link to my blog on this is available here.


The key thing I have taken from this activity is the need to be very careful in the use of metaphors.Words and certain icons can mean very different things and is open to an individuals or cultures interpretation.For example, the thoughts of networking between Jones and Ingraham I don't think are very different, which much consensus, but it is within the presentation or models of though, that the debates really resides.


Bruce Ingraham. (2004). Networks and Learning: Communities, practices and the metaphor of networks - a commentary. Available: Last accessed 21st July 2015.

Chris Jones. (2004). Networks and Learning: Communities, practices and the metaphor of networks - a response. Available: Last accessed 21st July 2015.





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Review of ‘Stepping over the edge – The implications of new technologies for Education’

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I found this a great report that connected and summarised many strong reports and offers a comprehensive but practical overview of the learning landscape and the technologies that fit within, that may impact in the future and how the educational sector is responding, highlighting both strengths and weaknesses.

Some of the key points that resonated for me were:


·More than one half of all teens have created media content

·Roughly one third of teens who us the internet have shared content they produced

·The new skills for learning now include: Play; Performance; Simulation; Appropriation; Multitasking; Distributed cognition; Collective Intelligence; Judgment; Transmedia Navigation; Networking and Negotiation

·That just when educational institutions are getting their heads round using VLS/LMS, Web 2.0 has created further questions on what is the correct blend with proportionate reliance on institutional systems and those independent systems

·That blogs have multipurpose potential be it as a reflective tool or repository or a personal tool to connect and communicate within a PLE

·That the OER movement gives an abundance of free resource but that the skill to nagivate this sea of information is lacking and is seen as a specialist skill even for those learners who are competent technology users - there needs to a development on how learners find and validate resources and how to critically evaluate and assess academic value

·That learners see technologies as CORE tools

The metaphor of Connectivism (Siemens, 2005, 2006), underpins much of my work and approach to teaching and learning.It summarises brilliantly how the creation of networks offers benefits to learning both within a formal learning context and outside in informal territories.If offers sustainability to change the meeting needs and changing technologies.It engages entirely with the development of PLE's and peer learning through participation, communication and collaboration.I have experienced Connectivism in action within my own learning experience on the OU course for H817 and H800.

In terms of models I use to develop learning schema - I am developing my provision to usethe 4 Facets of Learning

1 - Thinking and Reflection

2 - Experience and Activity

3 - Conversation and Interaction

4 - Evidence and Demonstration

I am using these 4 key headings with a link to Connectivism to create activities and encourage use of technology to support learners within their formal learning plan with the college.  By ensuring each category is covered, it allows for deep learning potential.


Grainne Conole. (2011). Stepping Over the Edge - The Implications of New Technologies For Education. Available: Last accessed 21st July 2015.

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My experiences and thoughts of technology and barriers to accessing it

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I find that technology is far from intrusive for my life. It acts as a thread that weaves together the commitments and aspects of my day to day life. I can be working whilst shopping in the physical world or working whilst shopping in the virtual world. I can plan my next family or friends catch up whilst completing my OU Study. I can check my bank account whilst assessing a learners work.
I offer these examples to demonstrate that there is the potential to blur the lines and have no definitive times for particular tasks. It reduces my day to day stress but I can appreciate that for some there is a need to allocate particular time to ensure focus. I simply don't know how my life would work if tasks were not blurred. Is this ability of preference to blur due to a particular make up in my character or a skill developed over time. Is it nature or nuture? I don't know!
I am sitting here typing this at 9.30am and already I have used technology to:
• Check my communication with family -my grandparents are not too well at the moment so I like to check in on them through text, email and phone calls
• BBC News Online and Ipswich Star online - to get my daily news dose
• MSN Weather - to see if I need to put sun-cream on the boys before school
• Emailed my work commitments
• Been online to review and gasp at what I need to complete for OU this week!
• Put on online radio (a big shout out to - you make my day so much better)

From a technology spectrum I would place myself significantly on the optimist end - in fact I only last week created a new wordpress to collate my blogs and it is called 'optimistic education' as that is exactly how I feel about the connection of technology to education.
What are the barriers? There is still inconsistent connections - those areas that are strong are getting stronger (e.g. 4G) but there are pockets of very limited access. There is also some examples of 'ostrich mentality' where those in education fear the technology or see it as such as risk that this leads to apathy. If the industry can gain knowledge and understanding about the intuitiveness of technology and how you don't need to be a techie to access and use it, it could lead to an improved relationship to its connection to the teaching and learning process. At times I feel that the sector is bombarded with so many examples that professionals drown in the content. Much better to start small but think big. It's almost like we need a PR campaign to get the positive shift model moving:
• Negative to Positive
• Apathy to Interest
• Ignorance to Knowledge
• Hostility to Sympathy
• Prejudice To Acceptance

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Review of three Web 2.0 tools used in Education

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Google Docs
My Experiences - I have used this frequently for Open University Study. The learner is empowered. They can create the document initially and as a community can build up content. As it is an online word processor it is limited to text so although it is strong in terms of real-time collaboration it is limited in its engagement due to lack of imagery or sound.
This weakness is strengthened by the availability of Google For Education.  More details here:
It covers the four key areas of:
1. Watch - the video
2. Think - multiple choice questions and open questions
3. Dig Deeper - links to other useful recources
4. Discuss - encouragement through forum discussion

Many of the learning objects are Big OER's with animation and 'experts' in the field. This acts as a nice combination with more small OER's on other platforms such as YouTube. Combined they deliver content from different angles and emphasis. The same process could be used within a VLE by linking to a video, then leading to a test of some kind, links to others resources and then activity on forums and threads in asynchronous activity.

Blogs for learners

Blogging can offer an opportunity of reflection. It is one thing accessing lots of information and content, be it video, audio, written text or other presentations but with a blog it allows the learner to reflect upon this content and form some meaning to it. This meaning may have no brief to attach it to, or it may be a response blog to an activity to complete once reviewing a particular learning object, or it may be an informal learning activity.
Beyond that, blogs can also offer debate and connections as learners can read each-others blogs and share and debate comments. With Edublogs the security of content is high on the agenda so the access, visibility, editorial and comments can all be managed to ensure safeguarding of the learner

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Thoughts about selecting a VLE/LMS

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For the FE/HE college that I work at, the Open source nature of Moodle is culturally well aligned.

The ability to grow use of technology through the VLE in an open source community will be attractive to our delivery staff. Additionally, the focus on maximising socio-constructivist learning is a good partnership for the FE and Skills Sector where we are looking to develop learning beyond the class-room and campus and maximise discussion and collaboration.
The key factors to consider when selecting a VLE/LMS are:
• Cost - in a complex, ever reduced funded section of education)
• Usability - is the system intuitive; is the system functional with mobile devices
• Support - is there a quick and responsive department for the LMS
• Compatibility - is there good connections to other high use online systems used by learners
• Presentation - does the system offer a clear and professional design suitable for the broad range of learners
• Communication - does the system offer both synchronous and asynchronous communication tools
Delays of Open Source development can be interpreted as ensuring that apps or tools work well. The institution I work for would rather use features that are well established. There are great opportunities of kudos for using innovative tools that are market leading but ultimately the quality of teaching/learning can be accomplished by the plethora of tools freely available. They may not be on the LMS but the beauty of a LMS/VLE is that you can signpost out. The Open Learning community world-wide is dynamic and exciting in terms of developments and can support weaknesses in the open source VLE.
The use of Forums and Chat-Rooms gives communication control to the learners. The way that the VLE course page is set up will have some impact on the empowerment. For example, in my use of moodle, the learners have access to a much larger range of learning objects from day 1 with a matching resource that details which learning objects relate to which unit. This gives empowerments to the learner to access the learning objects that works best for them and they can run the speed of the course to meet their learning need. This system works well for those learners not in a cohort but on a roll-on roll-off programme.
Some institutions are able to manage the VLE course page differently (much like in OU H800) where the resources are linked to a weekly plan and made open once dates are reached. This works well for a cohort of learners who are encouraged to learn predominantly from each-others experiences, thoughts and through debate.
The fear of many in education is that technologists or Instructional Designers will drive forward educational developments. Educationalists are passionate about their profession and protective of it. There needs to be reassurance that this professionalism can be enhanced through the use of technology and that the education sector can lead this through partnership with technological advancements.

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Brief thoughts of Web 3.0

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There is some predictions of what will be of Web 3.0.  The key predictions are:

  • It will be Semantic Web - machines adding detail and machines talking to machines
  • Will offer finer search results
  • Will develop geo-location capability and results
  • Could resolve somewhat the abundance of information from Web 2.0 into more manageable data

In terms of education this could result in:

  • Improved research techniques and results for learning
  • Some teaching on classification of metadata
  • Ability to personalise learning paths quickly and effectively

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Review of Debate over PLE or VLE/LMS with Sclater and Weller – OU

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• That PLE's offer free, easy to use and innovative tools. The best tools available at that time
• Can have a default system (such as a VLE) but with the flexibility for learners to use their own preferred tool (E.g. not using the VLE blog but using an external blog)
• Gives freedom and empowerments to the learner
• LMS are perceived as too managed and not giving the personalisation to the learning
• Using features outside of a VLE can cause accessibility and equality issues
• Using tools on the VLE ensures a robust, supported toolkit
• Use of teaching experience to filter the tools functionality to simplify use for learners
• There may be less choice but the functionality is assured
• The VLE tools are selected based upon what is required
My own experiences lean more to Sclater's stance in this debate. I have found tools on moodle (VLE) such as the Wiki or the Quiz to be more complex and of lower production value or poorer learning experience, than open source tools which can then be provided as a link on the VLE. I therefore use the VLE as the default base but then signpost out to tools and apps that meet the need best.

The toolkit that can be selected is far broader than a limited tool-kit within a VLE/LMS.
Additionally, eLearning is not about a VLE. A VLE can coordinate and/or structure eLearning into a functional form. If we use a VLE in its isolation we do not support the learners' ability in developing their own personal learning network and ability to search, filter and decipher suitable sources of information.

By engaging and embracing the best of open learning and focus more on the PLE rather than the VLE, we will support learners in a sustainable learning process that will work far beyond the boundaries of a course when access to the VLE may then become unavailable.
Additionally, as educationalists we have professionalism and experience throughout our sector, but we are all learners, learning all the time and from each other in formal and  informal settings. This has been enhanced through Web 2.0 where everyone can be both learner and teacher. We may think we know what is required to benefit from a learning course or subject, but everyday something new happens and by keeping an outward facing, open and accessible process to teaching and learning we can make the best of todays' and tomorrows' developments.

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application/pdfMy own PLE.pdf
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Thoughts of Personal Learning Environments

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Personal Learning Environments offer learning that impacts way beyond the Assessment Criteria or Learning Outcomes of a particular course. It puts the control over to the learner and they can further explore a subject or move into another subject of interest.
Without the direction of a tutor there is the risk of deviation and some learners may find this 'lack of focus' frustrating especially if they are a 'surface' learner or 'strategic' learner. But the dialogue it will create and the free nature of discussion can result in a deeper learning experience where the values, ideas and debate can consolidate thoughts, build a new consensus or open new questions to explore.
There is consensus that Web 2.0 works at its' best when it is learner led. Therefore to allow learners to build their PLE through platforms such as: Twitter; Facebook; WordPress; YouTube; AudioBoom;; Popplet; Skype and the like, gives them the autonomy of the platform that works best for them.
Many of us would have experienced the frustration of technology not working and the 'waste of time' feelings that can result. By reducing the potential of this by allowing their choice, will maximise the opportunity of learning time be it formal and structured or informal and open. The key objective is learning through sharing, collaboration and discussion.
I have created a simple, graphical mind map of the tools that I use that form my PLE and contain those other individuals with whom I share, collaborate and discuss. This is attached to this blog post.

If I would have completed this a year ago the tools would have been higher in number but over the last 12 months I have consolidated how I use them so although there are less, the intensity of use is far increased.
I am increasingly seeing the importance of life-long learning. There are many examples of courses that I have been a learner for (specifically Fitness Industry) where they are heavy on the knowledge. The delivery received has been strategic to pass the tests and resulted in a short-term learning experience. You gain the certificate but what has been learnt? This has had a direct impact on how I teach with more emphasis on the sustainability of learning for that subject and others. How do learners build their own learning network? What can they learn from each-other? What can we as tutors, learn from the participants' experiences and ideas? It forms a never-ending learning path.
One of the key issues or problems that may arise with PLE's is the institutions control of relations and communication which is now far more in the favour of the learner. We in education need to feel comfortable with learners discussing and learning in their own environments. I would remove the word 'control' of learning and replace with 'facilitate', 'mediate', 'guide' and at the most robust level be 'directing', 'assessing' and 'judging' .

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Review of FELTAG Recommendations – Paths forward to a digital future for Further Education and Skills

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Within the executive summary the following definition is offered:

'Learning technology is the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching and assessment'

FELTAG stands for The Further Education Learning Technology Action Group.From this group 6 workstreams were identified:

1.Horizon Scanning - keeping abreast of change

2.Investment and Capital Infrastructure- appropriate and agile

3.Regulation and Funding - not inhibit innovation or improving learning outcomes

4.Workforce Capacity - Entire workforce to understand potential of learning technology

5.Employers - Relationship between FE and employers should be developed by the use of technology inside and outside the workplace

6.Learners - Empowered to understand and become familiar with digital technology for their own learning

The report looks to:

·Explain how digital technology helps achieve ambitions for education

·Summarises the changes needed to enable it

·Anticipates a ministerial response to help facilitate it

The report also looked at technology likely to improve:

·Personal support and access to learning

·Flexibility in Provision

·Learning Effectiveness

·Ways of assessing learning

·Ability of teachers to innovate

·Data security and identity

Some issues that emerged:

·To be a 'game-changer', the digital technology needs to enable economies of scale.For example an FE adapted version of MOOC's

·Learners will expect a movement towards BYOD and Bring Your Own App

·Providing video conferencing in the workplace

·Movement away from paper based assessment to new forms of formative and summative eAssessment

·Human-Computer interfaces that include haptic (touch) and kinaesthetic (motion) to improve authenticity for practice-based vocational education training

·New and open management systems providing a seamless integration of management and pedagogical elements

From surveys it was identified that:

·Practitioners are increasingly confident of their own skills but the industry is a lacking channel and forum to share ideas and developments across the sector

·A lack of funding to purchase digital technology and provide release and support for staff to help them enable the incorporation of digital technology

·Concern and risk averse until funding methodology aligns to digital supported learning

·Lack of strategic level direction learning to fragmented provision

·Technology policies often focusing on security and e-safety with few organisational policies of learning and teaching

Some Further Considerations:

·OFSTED's Learner View Survey includes the question 'The technology and online learning resources support my learning and I can access them from anywhere, anytime and using any computing device (mobile, tablet, computer etc.)

·Employers are to be encouraged and support the use of collaborative MOOC approaches for FE

·Investment to create a technology exemplar network using a 'hub and spoke' model

·Regulation to explicitly embed learning technology in teaching and learning strategy

·Funding methodology should encourage 'learning presence' not 'learning attendance'

·Mandate the inclusion for every publicly-funded learning programmes from 2015/6 of a 10% wholly online component, with incentives to increase to 50% by 2017/8 - This applies for all programmes unless a good case is made for why this is not appropriate



FELTAG Recommendations. (2013). Paths forward to a digital future for Further Education and skills. Available: Last accessed 14th July 2015.

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Three trends identified in the NMC Horizon Report (2015) that I feel have relevance to my industry of FE and Skills Sector

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Advancing Cultures of Change and Innovation - I have seen a movement from the Senior Management Team to apply principles of innovation both in terms of policy making and the culture shift. There has been specific CPD Staff Development Days organised where external presentations were provided alongside team meetings on how these good practices could be implemented into our own delivery. Policy is more approachable to social media and the scope for learning outside of the campus walls. This is making the college more commercial savvy and taking these new blended learning methods and opening up commercial pathways as well as our traditional funded delivery.


Increasing Cross-Institution Collaboration - This is totally relevant. 2 years ago my college went into a Type A Merger with another FE College and is now rebranded as one. There is a major movement in FE for colleges to merge to consolidate support departments and improve contribution values. Additionally, there are a few grants that are available for innovation and development. To be successful in applying for these grants there is the need for partnerships and demonstrating impact that is broad. College's therefore are taking formal merging steps and/or partnering up for projects. There is often the need to be able to upscale projects to give impact beyond initial aims. This collaboration spreads the risk and spreads the investment but still with a level of return.


Proliferation of Open Educational Resources - One major benefit of OER's is the cost effectiveness. They require little to no development time; they can range from Industry Experts who want to contribute to the industry through to small OER's that allow for revision and adaption to meet a new need. They are therefore sustainable as they can adapt as the vocational need requires. OER's also engages with Open Learning and supports that culture shift where education supports each other through community.


NMC Horizon Report. (2015). NMC Horizon Report. 2015 Higher Education Edition. 1 (1), 6-19.

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Some thoughts of Microblogging

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How are mobile practices blurring the lines between formal and informal learning?


·Microblogs "allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links"These may include text messaging, instant messaging, E-mail, digital audio or digital video (wikipedia) this is perfect for Twitter

·The first microblogs were called tumblelogs

·No restriction of time or place

·Easy exchange of information makes it attractice for informal learning

·You can follow a broad range that covers informal learning (e.g. dalai lama posts)

·Formal learning (e.g. those accounts on twitter focusing on Technology Enhanced Learning)

·Some Twitter accounts (such as the one found by Kate '@EDTECHHULK  where there is a serious aspect of the content but done in a humorous way that can be enjoyed both formally and informally

·Institutional use of Twitter to build dialogue to better understand the needs of their learners and ensure excellent learning experiences that will lead to future recruitment through advocacy

·# allow for learners and teachers to search for particular topics



TWITTER - Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called "tweets". Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them

PLURK - A really snazzy site that allows you to showcase the events that make up your life, and follow the events of the people that matter to you, in deliciously digestible short messages called plurks.March 2012 - 37.1% of Plurk's traffic comes from Taiwan

TUMBLR - Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything.Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme's HTML.

IDENTI.CA - A social microblogging service similar to Twitter, built on open source tools and open standards. Allows users to send text-based posts up to 140 characters

A number are no longer around...FRIENDFEED, JAIKU are no longer live - could this be due to the success of other options such as Twitter

Microblogging is an opportunity to be a part of someone else's process by reading, commenting, discussing or simply enhancing it

Microblogging is based on the principle of friends and followers - anyone can be following anyone and all friends' updates (new posts) are displayed in an endless stream. It is easy imaginable that an increasing number of friends makes it almost impossible to read the huge number of posts. Consequently many users unfamiliar with microblogging systems report an unwieldy information flow, known as information overload. Otherwise this kind of information stream can be described as constant murmuring in the background

Is ownership of learning changing?

  • Learners connecting to each-others Twitter account without guidance of teacher.This then fits into the view that Mobile 2.0 is best when user-led.The dialogue between learners can enrich their learning experience without the input of the teacher

·Students and teachers alike are living in a continuous partial presence with different roles. Especially when they send a post, nobody knows whether anyone will respond, or even read it. Posts are read by other participants and this therefore is a strong indication of informal learning.

  • The Twitter ownership issue gained a lot of media attention in 2011 in the wake of a lawsuit between a blog called PhoneDog and a former employee, Noah Kravitz, who tweeted on behalf of the site while he worked there and then changed his Twitter account handle and took his followers with him when he quit.PhoneDog values each twitter follower as worth $2.50/month - Social Media Policy required for Educational Establishments
  • A BBC political correspondent, Laura Kuenssberg, also drew attention when she switched employers earlier this year and took her Twitter followers with her to her new job at ITV. Like Sanchez and Kravitz, she just renamed her Twitter account
  • Twitter 'Terms of Service' - 5. Your Rights - You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
  • #FollowFriday allows learners to share with other learners useful accounts they think others learners could benefit from

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Review of Kukulska-Hulme’s paper ‘Language Learning defined by time and place: A framework for next generation designs

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Edited by Tom Cheek, Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015, 10:02

Does the framework take into account the learner's journey (their progress)?

It does accommodate various factors such as the 'TIME' available, the complexity of the subject (ACTIVITY) and suitability based on 'PLACE'.

It places emphasis on the learner selecting the activity that best meets that current scenario (a mixture of time, activity and place).I would suggest therefore that the framework does accommodate progression if enough pathways are created that are clearly referencedfor the learner to access, select and use.

 How would I answer the questions in the three-box framework in relation to my own learning?

TIME - Anytime, Routine, Instant Access, 20mins - 6 hr sessions, Interruptible

PLACE - Anywhere, Private &Public, Energising, Stationary and Moving, Walking, Passenger

ACTIVITY - Challenges, Multitasking, Not speaking aloud, writing, individual & social.


I realise that I routinely access formal and informal learning everyday be it on tablet, smartphone or laptop.It is embedded within my everyday life be it for work, family, personal development or career motivated.

No matter the subject or purpose my approach is always 'as and when' and that it is done as a daily routine this meets the needs of all my life requirements.IfI didn't access it when out and about I simply wouldn't complete all the tasks and I would have to re-prioritise.

I love learning on the move.It makes me feel like I am maximising my time, especially those 'slack' spaces within the day.For me a busy day is a happy day.

Reference:Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2012). Language learning defined by time and place: A framework for next generation designs. In: D´ıaz-Vera, Javier E. ed. Left to My Own Devices: Learner Autonomy and Mobile Assisted Language Learning. Innovation and Leadership in English Language Teaching, 6. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited , pp. 1-13.

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Review of Mature Students Using Mobile Devices in Life and Learning

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Edited by Tom Cheek, Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015, 10:00

After reading the paper I answered 2 questions for which the details are below:

According to findings - how if at all do mobile practices actively contribute to student learning?

From reading the report the key areas I would list (in bullet style) are:

·Flexibility in learning

·Multi-tasking potential

·Encourages learning outside

·Supports learning preferences such as audio resources for auditory learners

·Encourages learner to produce their own learning resources

·Encourages sharing and collaboration

·Great for informal learning as much as formal learning

Attached is a wordle with this information presented in another way.

Q.Where wouldI place my own use of mobile devices in comparison with those students in the paper?

·I use podcasts very little - those in the paper indicated they used them more than me

·Blogs - I use them frequently (almost daily) and they form a major part of my learning process

·Informal learning is high for me - if I come across something I don't know or need I am straight away online using mobile devices to learn there and then

·Research online - I do this often and comprehensively

·I have a high activity level of creating my own learning resources

·My activity of sharing on social networks is medium to high

·Access to online when I am out and about isvery high

·I have less activity in terms of sharing funny videos etc.Itend to share objects thatare my own rather than forwarding on things


Reference - Agnes Kukulska-Hulme et al.. (2011). Mature Students Using Mobile Devices in Life and Learning. International Journal or Mobile and Blended Learning. 3 (1), 18-52.

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Social Networking and Learning

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There is no doubt that social networking creates incredible connections and communication.  One of the concerns for educational institutions is the safeguarding of their learners and I think that has certainly had an influence on the use of social networking up until relevantly recently.

 Social networking was not encouraged and the IT dept of my college was wanting to maintain control (as they see it) by keeping communication 'in-house' on the VLE moodle chat rooms and forums.

However, there has been a big shift the last 12 months or so.  The FELTAG recommendations of increasing online delivery I'm sure has had some impact so has the natural progression of technology.  Social networking is now an established element of what constitutes day to day life and those individual that we serve, to support their learning, are engaged and enthused to use these tools.  Therefore we need to evolve and integrate these tools into teaching. 

The best social networking sites are intuitive and quoting Weller they are 'quick, cheap and out of control'.  They are intuitive with the user and offer broad communication and networking opportunities.  Many courses use facebook as their VLE for a course with a private group that can share resources and build debate in a set community. 

Learners use these social networking tools all the time so are far more comfortable  with the integrated features than the often more clunky features in the VLE so again it makes sense to use them where possible. 

On a counter point, I do think that many people like to establish some categories in their lives.  For instance I tend to use Twitter for my creative work and social aspects that form my life.  I am connecting for academic purposes for H800 and I will see how that goes but I have always appreciated some division.  For example, I may defrag my mind at the end of the day by reading some tweets on surfing but if I see a message that is about the 'digital divide' that is not going to chill the mind in quite the same way. 


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Technology and Education

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Edited by Tom Cheek, Wednesday, 10 Jun 2015, 15:22
  • What are your personal thoughts on the relationship between technologies and      educational reform? (For example, is technology itself a cause of reform or an instrument used to encourage reform?)

Technology influences how the world works.  In each generation this may be different innovations or inventions such as cars, trains or communication tools.  For this most recent generation the development of the internet has increasing influence on how individuals and communities interact within each other and their expectation of how the world works for them. 

A key development is an expectation of 'on demand'.  This is true for TV viewing, banking, shopping so why should education by any different.  Learners want to be able to learn at a time and location that works for them.

There are often comments that education is behind the curve in terms of integrating technology.  I think much of this is due to the industries concern of equality and accessibility and a desire to offer quality and a pride in professionalism.  Couple that with lack of confidence in the industries own ability in technologies and it has all contributed to delays.  Often we learn from mistakes in terms of innovation and advancements, but I think the vast majority in education do not want to risk the learning opportunity of a few to learn for future provision which I can understand.  Each and every individual deserves a positive and rich learning experience and we are responsible for ensuring individuals do not have a negative experience that leads to a life-long disengagement with learning.  So how we trial and develop these innovations is a delicate balance of integration.

The recent global economic problems has resulted in cut funds and a competitive market that has acted as a force for sectors such as FE and WBL to review their provision and reduce their costs whilst maintaining and improving provision.  This has been promoted as technology 'enhancing' learning so an example of 'an instrument used to encourage reform'.  The emphasis is still on sound and strong teaching practice but with the use of technology.

Technology has therefore caused reform initially but now tools are being created specific for education that can encourage reform.  They recognise educators concerns of lack of technological skills and focus more on simple apps that rely on little tech knowledge and allow the teacher/tutor/lecturer to focus on the learning outcomes.

  • What influence do you think the producers and developers of technologies and      services have on university decisions about introducing new technologies?

If producers and developers can show an awareness of the need of staff training and/or the development of intuitive tools that are user-friendly and allow for institutions to integrate into their provision then Universities are more likely to listen.  Universities still want character, personality and expression in their learning and this can still be achieved in an online world.  Universities still need to protect their image and brand and therefore producers and developers need to accommodate this.  Take for example Virtual Learning Platforms.  They have the ability to brand as the colleges/universities own. 

Other examples include Planet eStream that allow institutions to create their own 'You-tube' video platform.  Not necessarily engaged fully with the concept of open learning but an example that there has to be a range of products that meets the needs of institutions.  Some may fully engage with open education - others may want to maintain independence and develop own provision with less sharing. 

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Online Learning Issues and Considerations

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Equality in accessibility is having a huge impact on the implementation of technology within FE provision.  There is a desire and an understanding to facilitate the use of technology to respond to stretched budgets (through government cuts) and to respond to FELTAG recommendations. 

I have experienced concerns by some teachers and lecturers that technology could replace them and this concern seems to have now reduced somewhat through better understanding.  A concern that has replaced this though is a feeling of lack of ability and knowledge in how to maintain strong pedagogical practice in an online setting.  This requires training and education in its' own right.  Sometimes I think in education we create our own stresses through highlighting very technical examples which is far from the current status for most teachers.  What we need to focus on it indicate where educators already use technology day to day in their own lives and how this experience and interaction can be applied to their own teaching by use of tools that require little  technological understanding. 

Within my experience of OU, who have a fantastic reputation and background in distance and online learning, I have learnt that less can certainly be more.  The tools being used are not especially clever or technologically advanced, but what they do is encourage learner dialogue, colloboration, use of visual, auditory and digital tools, engage with open education and focuses on sustainability of learning.  These key point drive forward my aims and ambitions and how I feel I can contribute positively to the learning community I am part of.

I will finish this post by looking at the following statement and agreeing or disagreeing with the following?

‘When Noble wrote that “students want the genuine face-to-face education they paid for, not a cyber-counterfeit”, he was only defending vested interests

I would agree with the statement that Noble was defending vested interests.  I  don't think students want specifically genuine face to face education.  I think what they do want is a rich community, full of connections and sharing of ideas and views that fit well into their 'life-jigsaw'.  Students want education to offer the level of flexibility, adaptability and individuality that they experience in other aspects of their lives.  They want education that offers them social mobility, opportunity and positive options in their lives.

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Technology to Support Apprentices

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Edited by Tom Cheek, Wednesday, 6 May 2015, 14:05

In the last few 4 years, I have been shifting my provision for apprenticeships to use more technology.  The reasons are multiple, two examples being financial and quality.

Financial - there has been reduced funding in education and my organisation is predominantly FE where cuts have been hard.  There is therefore the need to ensure cost-effective delivery

Quality - the learning resources were limited and there was the need to increase the number of and the quality of learning resources to support learning preferences and impact positively on achievement

2014/5 OutcomeTarget - the VLE has developed to a point where through instructional design, I was able to review our Apprenticeship delivery with a significant reduction in both learning plan time and face to face visits (covered in an earlier blog today).  There is more emphasis on learning through the VLE, with tutoring support via some of the face to face visits and additional emails, forums and mobile contact.  The other face to face visits can be used for general tutoring support and assessment.

Students Perception - The perception of the quality of the learning, I believe, has been raised.  The learner has access to a community with dedicated support resources and interaction with others.  The reduced visits encourages interaction with the learner having a significant/leading role in their learning path.  For example, there are multiple learning objects to access for all the units that make up the provision.  The learner (with facilitation support) can select the learning tools that works best for them.  Due to increased online learning we have identified the need for improved referencing from our learners as these resources can then be shared across the community.   We are trying to encourage connectivism and networking.  We are also making every effort to encourage the development of life-long learning skills and to convert those seeing the course as a pure acquisition exercise to an alternative opportunity for learning where everyone can be both learner and teacher whilst still ensuring they feel they are receiving the specialist guidance and advice.  There is still an expectation that they will acquire skills/knowledge as as we have an employer stakeholder within the apprenticeship process there has to be some acknowledgement of that.  Fortunately, with apprenticeships there are formalised competency standards that have to be demonstrated so we are able to clearly indicate where learning and/or competence is met but we also have freedom to explore the subject outside of this syllabus to offer a broader learning experience.

Academic performance I feel will be unaffected.  For the last 3 years we have achieved 10% above national benchmark.  I expect this to remain as although less face to face visits, we have improved our learning activites and considered accessibility issues too.  There is  strong instuctional design that offers a clear expectation of both learner and tutor/teacher.

In terms of whether technology embodies assumptions about the nature of teaching and learning in highed education, I  would conclude that this is not true.  There is still many elements of HE that will use technology such as a VLE as a pure repository tool full of lecture based powerpoints.  At the other end of the spectrum there will be examples of student orientated, interaction, social learning courses where learners share, debate and conclude together and these combined discussions (virtual) will offer a rich learning experience.  The assumption will be affected much by the learners own experiences to date and all too often these are still teacher focused.

Going forward though, the landscape I believe is changing, fast.  Expectation will change and the shift from teacher led/acquisition models will make way (by demand) to student led/participation learning journeys.  A key development is accessibility with wifi connections being distributed country wide (UK) with few areas of  poor accessibility, this barrier is lifted and the full use of learning objects can be utlised be it video, audio, web 2.0 tools etc.

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