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Observations of good and poor practice in the classroom

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“The hardest and most time consuming prep for these classes are the slides.” This might be how our tutor feels - she said this a couple of weeks ago, but she’s cracked it with the cool, upbeat font and colours. That’s what would have me fretting for hours: what theme, what font … 

This week there is stuff we just must understand how to do, and why we have to do it. Using Google Classroom (as as student). The docs shared are templates personal to us. We just have to complete one of these and hit the ‘Hand In’ button when we are done.

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We were then taken through her expectations of what we need to include in each of these sections. Were Module 1 a written exam, then these would be ways (old school) to keep the examiner’s pen giving a tick. And the most likely way we will be tripped up is the process of handing in. [Beware using the term ‘to turn it in’ as this is now branded]. Habitually I would try to turn my Open University ‘Tutor Marked Assignments close to midnight. Like at 11:55pm. It caught me out more than once. Making sure I was ready at 11:45pm didn’t help much. It was only when I figured out I should turn something in the day before or a week before. Just get the flipping task over with!

Observations

We talked again about things we have observed in teaching that we consider good practice and poor practice. As we are invited to look online as well as see practice in college I have to wonder if we can stretch this to an episode of Waterloo Road, or Grange Hill, or my favourite ‘Sex Education’ which somehow created a bizzare, mid-Atlantic, international sixth form like college in the Welsh countryside colour-graded to look like the California. See British High School Television series. For the best representation of my school days see the film ‘If’, even ‘Tom Brown’s School Days’ or ‘Goodbye, Mr Chips’ even a bit of the original ‘St.Trinians’ for the all girls school (Casterton) down the road.  

Punishment and humiliation

I recall my own school days and individual classes vividly; there is no need for a schoolboy diary for this: chalk and board-rubbers being hurled across the room, boys being threatened with corporal punishment if they did badly in a test … and a teacher getting me to change my answers in a written exam that they were supervising … let alone humiliation for getting something wrong - despite my best efforts. 

Storytelling

Thinking of the positive, then it is the power of stories in Latin (Romulus and Remus and the foundation of Rome) - making something memorable, and on keeping a notebook of new words (tips for building vocabulary) (which I was told about age 12 or 13 and kept up for another 5 years), or trying to write a poem in French (even though I was rubbish at languages) and getting such great commitment and feedback from the teacher. And the teacher as a good disciplinarian who had our attention and respect, taught well beyond the needs of the exams to keep us motivated and would read every word of some of the very long homework essays I wrote and illustrated (Geography). In these three examples, the realisation that these three teachers were both interested in the pupil and their subject and wanted you to enjoy it as much as they clearly did. It was motivational. 

Feedback and being attentive to the individual

Likewise discussing some mad-cap immersive multi-sensory walk in/sit down ‘pod’ experience as an installation for an O’Level year group Art Class and being persuaded to take an interest in Opera. 

A Person’s Name

More up to date, like the last few days, rather than the last few decades, I shared the importance of knowing and using a students name, and checking what they would like to be called - Bella, not ‘Isabella’ or ‘Oliver’ not ‘Oli’ or nicknames like ‘Lolly’ rather than her name on the class list ‘Lahra’ - and getting Irish and Polish names correctly, whether Niahm, Siobhan or Saoirse, Wanda or Kasia. 

A chance to be heard

And then pronouncing it correctly and then using their name often. And then, like the Chair in any meeting, trying to ensure that everybody’s voice is heard - not just your own, or ‘hands up’ if you know the answer. 

Death by PowerPoint

Of course, avoiding ‘death by PowerPoint’ - the worst case of this being yet another ‘should have been retired’ historian, with no teaching experience, taking a class where, his back turned to us, he reads from one slide after another. In sharp contrast to lecturers I know who might put up 15 slides, each being an image as a catalyst or a prompt for discussion. And the best presenter ever, who provided a prose written text to cover, more or less, what he had SAID (unscripted) during the presentation. He was a barrister; he was used to talking in public.

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Adding slides in a second screen to support video using Planet eStream

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A slide show can be synchronised to run alongside a linear video using Planet eStream. The slides might reinforce what is being said, or ask questons. I would like a clearer two screen display with images side by side though.

This is a way to make content and interaction accessible for those who would struggle with smaller text and tricky tools to activate and complete an interactive quiz.

 

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G Suite for Education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 14 Apr 2018, 06:56

 

 

Delight at finding the OU has activated G Suite for education. I am well through training to be a Google Educator Level 1 (Certified).  Its impact and benefits are huge, not least replacing most the of current platforms used by the OU. 

This is my account - activated 9 days. I have been Google since the start, transferring to Docs, Slides and Sheets to rid my life of hideous Word, PowerPoint and Excel. It has grown gently from a basic and easy to use set of Apps, to a suite of simple to use, intuitive and connected tools that create the most versatile of learning set-ups.

'Sites' the blog platform could see off this environment I am working in now. This would be a mistake. I rave to colleagues about the affordances of this space because as well as being a blog, it is really a threaded conversation too. 

You can always find someone to talk to smile 

 

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H817 Open Learn

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013, 06:38

Few people know what they are doing with PowerPoint they produce a set of cards or stepping stones, then gives these out as hand-outs.

But where is the narrative, the building of the argument of the nuanced slowing down or speeding up to change emphasis - let alone the question from the floor, or the adhoc additional thought.

Visuals in a presentation should compliment what is said - one would be far weaker without the other.

Very, very rarely when I have attended a conference or lecture I have received a handout that is, give or take (though the presenter didn't read from it), the notes they used to talk the audience through the images.

When someone says 'there is a handout' and provides copies of the slides that is ridiculous.

It is like being in a train looking out of the window while someone is talking to you - you want want they said,not what you were looking at.

 

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Ban PowerPoints

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 4 Jan 2012, 05:12

They are worse than a crutch, they are a smoke screen of obfuscation, lack of nerve and even of understanding. All anyone needs to do is to get up and talk.

Steve Jobs banned PowerPoint. There's plenty of software I'd ban in favour of a napkin or the back of an envelope.

REFERENCE Isaacson, W (2011) Steve Jobs. Little John
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EMA in six images

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 Sep 2011, 05:32

I use this blog as an e-portfolio.

It now holds notes from entire books, ad well as an assembly of key points for the H800 EMA.

This way I can pick up where I left off via desktop, laptop or iPad.

I know there are other even better ways to do this, Google Docs and Dropbox, but what I like here is the search function, tags and chronology.

On the basis that I always tag I can now assemble searches by author or topic.

I then return to these pages to edit or add.

I like having the HTML coding so that I can cut and paste into an external blog.

Images: photos, screen grabs or snips, as well as photos and charts, come from Picasa Web.

(See below)

In a concerted effort to narrow down my ideas I am trying to cover the EMA in images only. As a result of all of this I believe I know my stuff, the problem, is to demonstrate that to others in a format that is academic rather than journalistic and highly visualised.

ON REFLECTION

I ought to use the affordances of PowerPoint to construct this thing, using the frames like cards that I can move about and bullet points as a way to construct the treatment. Then write it up, and read it out. Better still record this and play it back to be sure of it's sense before checking further that it meets all the criteria.

With excellent planning H800 gives us this time, whereas in H807 and H808 I'm sure there was course work offered, but very few people coming out to do it.

Could the contents of this blog be put into FileMaker Pro?

Would that make it more versatile?

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On being nowhere and everywhere

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This journey is a three decades old; I was using technology-enhanced kit as a 17 year old when I sat myself in front of a Sony reel to reel set up used for interviewing technique, looked at the result then made a video on how to produce a slide show.

It staggers me than 30 years on a slide show online is considered to be innovative or even an advance on what was available in the 1970s.

In 1985 Abbey National were sending carousels of slides around branches to inform staff of what was going on; I was part of the company that turned this into video.

Come the late 1990s what happens?

We’re back to slide shows online, better known as the basic website. Far from seeing an advance in communications standards a good deal of the last twenty years has been the equivalent of treading water, efforts to put online what we did person to person, face to face.

The revelation is that with Web 3.0 technology, social networking, online all the time, available to communicate and so learn, to share, whether vicariously, as participant or providing, linking to or creating content all we are achieving is what is done in the real world x10000 … because you don’t have to be there.

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H800:5 To Adobe or not to Adobe?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 14:25

The cost is always the thing, but Adobe shine.

For the creative industries and creatives Adobe are unsurpassable.

They are like the Avid from TV and complement all things MAC for designers, art directors, photographers and video directors.

I hear my name in this mix.

When I assess a new e-learning tool I find myself giving several a go. There are blogs in Diaryland, Edublogs, Wordpress and the OU. I have a presence on YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, in LiveJournal and Blogger. I've tried eportfolio systems MyStuff (OU), Mahara and PebblePad.

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Beyond PowerPoint I've used the Google.doc equivalent Articulate, Captivate and Lectora. And others that may have swept in and out of my life and consciousness untagged, unblogged and unloved.

(The tearing my hair out guy courtesy of MMCLearning whose seminar I attended at Learning Technologies. Give me a moment in my life and I'll do their Diploma in Digital Marketing.)

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I have in front of me the Adobe eLearning Suite 2 on a 30 day trial.

To do this justice I'm thinking to myself 45-90 mins a day.

Will this underline February 2011?

I favour big and established brands like Adobe and can make Adobe Photoshop sing thanks to a training CD-rom I used. DIY learning or self-taught can work.

Now that I've declared my interest I guess I should load it up and make a start.

Twelve years I was learning Dreamweaver ... before that Avid off-line editing.

Tomorrow something else.

I'm sure.

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There's more on this HERE. Though under a Top 100 chart based on under 300 self-selecting 'e-learning' professionals from around the world doesn't strike me as statistically saying much.

(I've given up TV)

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Overwhelmed by new stuff

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I'm happy with MyStuff, but need to learn new stuff.

Looking for an e-portfolio that will do me for a decade rather than just 10 months; I've been giving PebblePad a go, but don't like it.

I like the look of Acrobat.

Meanwhile other platforms get my attention, such as Brainshark.

I should be better at PowerPoint.

But heck, what's the point of being mediocre at loads of things? Time was when I'd write presentations and work with a PowerPoint whizz, or write video and hire a team: director, camera, sound, editor, graphics ... more sometimes: actors, presenters, art director, set design. The list goes on.

Why are we expected to do it all ourselves?

Are educators loners?

Or is it all down to having a budget of zero?

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