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Design Museum

Planet eStream, SimpleMinds and ThingLink

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Planet eStream, SimpleMinds, ThingLink.

Tasked the day before to take a class for 90 minutes on creating a newsflash I agreed because at my fingertips I had tools I could use to pull together content quickly. Using Planet eStream I picked through newcasts on 6 March relating to UK Knife Crime and ended up with stories from BBC News, Good Morning Britain, Five News, RT and Al Jazeera. Once embedded I trimmed out each story and put them in a playlist.

On a whiteboard I created 'Newsflash' Bingo for things to spot, from a presenter with a clipboard to cutaways of anonymous people walking through the street.

The SimpleMinds MindMap was shared and photographed.

ThingLink was used to indicate where news stories are going. Euronews for example has a 360 item. How do you tell a non-linear story where the viewer decides where they will take it? Or is this what we do anyway clicking between a newsclip, social media, and a subscription news channel?

I miss TV. The immediacy of it. 

Tasked to take 90 minutes I found the lead teacher had lost his voice so I took substantially more of this 3 1/2 hour morning session. Hijinks with technology getting onto the network via a wireless TV keyboard and remote. 

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Design Museum

How a student blog can prove its value

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Tasked with researching the use of eportfolios in education I can google it, or i can come here. Because I have been there already I come here first.


From JISC I have this:


Why use ePortfolios (JISC)

Engagement across time

The use of e-portfolios to store information relevant to learning helps students track their personal development across time.

A rich picture of learning

The use of e-portfolios can help students to build a rich and detailed picture of their learning. Written coursework can be stored in e-portfolios, but make full use of their digital potential. Videos, photographs and audio recordings can also help students to document a more complete image of their vocational educational experience.

Ask specific questions

Students can be prompted to reflect on their learning by being asked questions. Build this into the e-portfolio. You can ask students to detail: practical activities undertaken; the quality and accuracy of their work; their methods and formative tasks; their reflections on the learning process.    

Making feedback accessible

Storing feedback in one place allows students to reflect when they are ready to do so. For one thing, digital feedback is more difficult to lose than paper feed.

Track students’ development

E-portfolios allow teachers to track their students’ learning across time. Teachers are able to see how students are improving and identify students that require more help.   

Enhance department assessment

Teachers can provide evidence that their feedback was rigorous and helpful.  

Demonstrating achievement

Storing evidence of work in one place enables students to demonstrate their achievements to others. In particular, students finish the course with a single document detailing their educational journey and accomplishments to show to potential employers.      

Use familiar programmes

E-portfolios need to be accessible to students and teachers. Using software that students and teachers already feel comfortable with will help create a smooth transition and increase engagement.

Inclusive teaching

Dyslexic students are able to record their work in dyslexic-friendly formats.

Finding the right ePortfolio

Some Options
Below is a list of tools that can be used to collect, organize and share student work. Those that are free are marked with an asterisk (*).

Project Foundry
This tool organizes, tracks and shares learning in a project-based learning classroom. It includes standards-based grading tools and feedback tools. Teachers have the option to include a digital portfolio website for students.

Google Sites*
Create a website to share classwork and projects. Potential users must be at least 13 to sign up. Students can use the “file locker” option to upload files.

Wikispaces and PBwiki* [No longer exists]

These two wiki-creation tools allow students to create a website of their work. Due to the collaborative nature of the tools, student teams can build a workspace to showcase their work. The teacher can create student accounts without an email address. (Note: PBwiki is also known as PBworks.)

Students can create a public folder in Dropbox to share their work. This platform supports multiple file types and can be used collaboratively by sharing folders.

Students can create “notebook” within their Evernote account for each class, and that notebook can be shared publicly. Students can upload files to their notebooks, including documents, photos and audio files.

Teachers can assign, collect, grade and return assignments to students through eBackpack. Students can upload files to their digital locker to create an online portfolio for their course. Work uploaded cannot be seen outside of the closed system.




From 'Digital Arts': 15 best portfolio websites for designers and artists



Adobe Portfolio














 All of these and my direct experience is with:







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Design Museum

Answering Multiple Choice Questions

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 15 Feb 2019, 15:27

It is generally the case that when answering multiple questions the following occurs:

The flippant answer is the wrong one:

For example: 


It is generally the case that when answering multiple questions the following occurs:

The longest answer is the correct answer:











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Design Museum

Forming a point of view

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It’s taken nine years or more. It helps to have foregone the staff college MA ODE in favour of action in the front line. Getting to grips with Google Educator, Planet EStream, Thinglink and Pebblepad. These are the mortar shells, machine guns and howitzers of eLearing. But are they useless in the hands of amateurs. Do students just dig deeper to avoid them?
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9 years on I started an OU Student Blog

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 6 Feb 2019, 11:46
Each decade of my life has followed a similar chaotic pattern in which enthusiasms come and go. Not only have I gone on to gain my MAODE from the OU but I also have an MA in history. Since 2011 I ought to have gained a Senior Swim Coaching qualification too. This is something I am working on to complete right now using Recognition of Prior Learning. In turn I have three modest jobs out of this: learning technologist in an FE/ HE college, digital editor for a WW1 Educational Charity and a Swim teacher Andrew coach. I do wonder if the qualifications, certain,y at MA level have any value to these roles. By dividing myself into bits I am holding myself back. But having ADHD this is meant to be: thriving on variety. I can spend too long reflecting and nit enough time doing and challenging myself. I am a diarist at heart and a blogger by default. I started a Learwning Technilogist blog for my new role from end of March 2018 and post most days. I blog less often in eLearning in Mindbursts and on,y occasionally add to blogs on the First World War and on Swim Coaching & Teaching. The explosion of content available is astounding. It generally is a cas of Google it and someone, some many will have an answer. I am making progress at llast learning French courtesy of Lingvist and Tandem. I have failed to progress with my guitar or life drawing as both require a lot of time doing and frankly the digital learning I have tried has failed to engage me in any way. I will play the guitar again when I commit to a gig ! And my life drawing will pick up again when I start regularly appearing at classes again smile And there are reasons to have sports like sailing - because you do ditch a lot of the digital. Dinghy sailing you are it being controlled by GPS and an autopilot either. I fancied myself as a Digital Scholar 7 years back. Martin Weller suggested these would take a decade to emerge. Surely the likes of the Oxford Internet Institue attract and produce these. I went along thinking of adding to my MAs but as ever considered also the kngoing need to be earning at the same time.
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Blinkered to Learning Opportunities

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Feb 2019, 14:06


I'm worried that eLearning is too prescriptive. This will depend of course at what level a student is being taught. Primary is different from Tertiary. At primary there is stuff you need to know, at tertiary you can be expected to explore around the subject. However, believing that a student can pick up everything in the most suitable way simply from what is put before them is surel a mistake.

The online learning I have experienced is rather of this type. You are blinkered to anything other than the content presented to you. This might work for some people, or even most people, unfortunately for me, I know this approach does not stimulate me at all.

I am trying to become a certified Google Educator Level 1. This is fairly basic communications stuff, though with some parts of the Google Suite I never touch. The 'learning' is repetitively of the same type and format: read a bit, watch or listen to a few examples, typically a teacher reading a portaprompt off camera (always from the US) in tones that lean towards sales pitch rather than candid revelation. My Teflon brain smells a rat and won't buy it. There are interludes to complete a multiple choice quiz. When you have done this for 12 hours and studies as many units you sit down to a formal 3 hour online test. I don't respond well to having been expected to wear blinkers all the way through the training, and remain blinkered during the test There is no room for manoeuvre: there is their way or the wrong way.

How many MOOCS are of a similar ilk? The learning is a kind of conveyor belt where through reading, answering questions and watching videos you are supposed to become conversant and more importantly a competent practitioner.

I need to be set tasks, I need to fail at these tasks and been corrected, I need to be recognised and rewarded when I get something right. Over time, a lot of time, what I am doing, why I am doing it and how I do it makes sense. This is what I call practical learning. I do best when such learning is on the job. I do best when two years in I am faced with an exam. The narrative of my learning follows the Hollywood Arch which builds towards a climax. I cannot abide coursework because my first efforts are invariably terrible. Here at the OU I was known to get grade in the 40s or 50s. It took a couple of years to reach the stratospheric heights of grades in the 80s (and one 92).

Take the blinkers off. Don't put your students in blinkers, Expect them to venture far and wide. Encourage them to look around, and therefore click around the many resources they can find and be informed by. 

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eLearning in Practice

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it is one thing to have a go with PepplePad as an MA student 7 years ago, it is quite another to be using it in the Front Line, first as a student, and then as an educator.

Getting up to speed with something takes time, thought and practice. In this instance I am pulling together evidence of my knowledge of swimming and swim coaching. PebblePad is my ePortfolio, my noticeboard and interface with my supervisor and examiner. There are pitfalls, it is rarely seamless, it can be off putting to some. 

Having easy access to this via a phone looks like is should help. PepbblePocket is an App that lets me take a note, add an entry, or reflection, take photos, video or record a conversation and upload it. As ever, getting it to upload to the right place, in the right way can become an additional struggle, Once you have it all working and are confident with it I am sure I is great. And the time to get through this is the year before, certainly months before - You do not become a competent rally driver by getting into a rally car on first day of a series of race. First you learnt to drive, then you nudge up towards the requirements of driving at speed safely.

Nonetheless, I have uploaded some 21% of what is so far needed to pass by Level II Swim England Swim Certificate (something I ought to have completed in 2011). 

Where I see PebblePad and PebblePocket being used is with students on vocational courses such as carpentry, construction, publimg and electricals, perhaps catering and theatre where demonstration of multiple states learnt and put into practice is regularly required. I'd like to imagine students not only permitted to have their phones in the workshop, but be shown their use in a learning content to gather evidence and build knowledge. 

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Google Classroom Workflow

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The MAODE taken 2010-2013 has been rendered largelly theoretical given the onslaught of the likes of G Suite for Education. Why don't all institutions, schools and universities, move to Google Education tools and platforms. They are free. They have had vast sums of investment put into them. They do everything anyone was wishing and trying to achieve from 2000 onwards.

I started what was the MAODL in 2000! Things have changed radicaly ... and imperceptably? Dare you be away from it for long Dare you be freelance and not realise how fast, slick and connected we have become (and can be).

Just doing the learning to get my very modest Google Educator Level 1 I have been going through my own use of Google and am staggered at how willing I am to let Google do everything and assume everything - over 10 years at a swimming club I have assembled a vast amount of contacts for club officials, coaches and teachers, as well as the parents of swimmers - all of whom I must have contacted at some stage and have been listed, or grouped somewhere ever since.

So just now I knock together a Test class, as if I want parents of a group of swimmers to encourage their kids to view a carefully chosen video on a swimming technique. It is as quick as playing Chop Sticks on the piano ... one refrain.

Of course, the expectation is that teachers, tutors and associate lecturers are all a whizz at this. Some, circumstantially, if freelance, may not be aware of just how much things have moved on, nor will they be paid, necessarily, to take the time, to get on top of things. 

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Design Museum

Learning Google Educator in Spanish: Not

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019, 17:36


How the heck does Google decide that as I press on through each of 12 Units to understand what is required for Google Educator Certificate Level 1 does it give me it in Spanish? And when I try to test a Google Hangout that is in Spanish too. Where in my Google settings is there anything about Spanish? English is my principal la