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A new horizon in online learning

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In my fifth week working from home the immediate realization is that I could easily have been limiting my time ‘at work’ to once or twice a week. I get more done, my commute is into the spare bedroom and my home office set up is vastly superior to what I am provided with anywhere at college. 

The greatest shift in behaviour is the amount of time spent in online meetings. Some of these lack the discipline that is required of a formal business meeting: an agenda and end time. Though a Zoom quiz with 17 family members spread between 3 corners of England ( South West, South East and North East), California and South Africa could have happily drifted on into the night - they weren’t going to bed in San Diego.

At least two ITC laggards in the family could finally figure out that they had a webcam and microphone. It strikes me as an excellent informal introduction to online learning that should be used with staff - break down the barriers and uncertainties by doing something that is collective, collaborative and fun.

It should be the mandatory icebreaker to do a quiz !

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A quiz using Google Forms as part of Google Educator Level II

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In this age where an educator must do everything themselves or it does not get done at all I am trying to master Google Forms in order to create formative quizzes. 


Here goes:

 

 A quick quiz to gauge your basic knowledge > WWI 

 

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A College TV Station. But will students watch it?

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I'm not quite a BBC Controller, but being the lead on Planet eStream selecting the content that comes onto the college network it supports feels a little like that. I run through some 24 subject areas vacuuming up content that I believe will be of interest to teachers and their students. A few teachers are getting involved too. These programmes can be edited, put into playlists, have slides added and even be turned into interactive quizzes.

The skill lies in the ability of the teacher to integrate it into their learning schedule.

We need to find a way to let students see the Electronic Programme Guide: 70+ channels, all terrestrial, many European and radio too, and some public broadcasters from North America. 

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Teaching Learning Technologies in practice: Planet eStream.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 22 Mar 2019, 12:50

On Wednesday I took a class of 12 PGCE Level Two Teacher Trainees on a tour of Planet eStream. I inadvertently added into the mix the mind mapping tool SimpleMinds, the 360 tour creator ThingLink and Wordpress blogging.

Becoming a champion for this TV, Video, multi-media educational platform I found I could introduce, demonstrate, elaborate, answer problems and queries and even get them signed in without unnecessary panic.

A number of things have got me here:

  • time to push the boundaries of the different parts of the platform with close to authentic learning challenges, rather than some random 'giving it a go'.
  • Having colleagues and friendly tutors to practice on in small groups until I was ready for something bigger.
  • Taking ownership of the class. Therefore having my own 'session plan' and the means to follow this.

My fall back came in several parts:

  1. I thought in part like a Swim Coach and on a set of landscape formatted sheets even gave the duration for each part of the presentation and a cumulative duration to get me through the two hours.
  2. A flip pack of 18 sheets that I could read standing up at a table
  3. Sets of mindmaps, one for the Student experience the other for the Staff experience. I had these as A4 sheets to hand out and as A3 sheets for me to view at a glance. I could call these up on a screen, however, as I found on the day, this was simply a medium sized flat screen that would never be seen across the room.
  4. I also hand some corporate handouts from Planet eStream.
  5. Logging in I signed in as staff and using an incognito window as a student. 
  6. I also had in the tabs the mind maps, the 18 sheets and the final fall back a Slides PPT each of a single image to use as a visual prompt for me. 

There is a lot to get through simply to promote the variety of things the platform can do to support teaching, in particular to create a 'flipped classroom'.

Pob a Ragdoll Production Puppet

I began with a story. How I got out of corporate training and information films and started at a web agency trying and failing to get broadcast TV content online for Ragdoll.

Finding out what subjects the trainee teachers would be teaching I also wondered where they saw themselves on this spectrum and explained a little about 'Diffusion of Innovation Theory' in relation to constant change and attitudes to new technology, software, applications and upgrades and how this manifests itself in the classroom as people who embrace the new and others who reject it all. 

Diffusion of Innovations Chart

I like these simple, bold images, charts or mindmaps to cue an item I want to talk about. In the shorter lesson I skipped much of my introduction and this and got straight into Planet eStream. I think it works better with the context.

The demos I have created included taking an episode of Sheldon, lifting out the long commercial break in the middle and 'topping and tailing' either end. I then 'cut' it into 7 'chapters' that isolated Sheldon's story from the other characters. Each 'sketch' runs for less than a minute. I find these micro-experiences are ideal tasters rather than dissecting a 48 minute Horizon documentary. 

I also used a less than 2 minute long clip from a 1981 edition of Tomorrow's World where the Carry On comedian Kenneth Williams presented. Once again, the demonstration is short and memorable. I ought to find others for a younger audience. Does Oli Murs do a demonstration? What about a clip from Blue Peter 2019?

Sheldon and Kenneth Williams

Other examples of how Planet eStream works included 'grabbing' the radio series 'The Secret History of a School' in ten parts. each under 15 minutes. Here I created an added a suitable 'Thumbnail' for each episode to distinguish each visually.

What I could not do in either session. This we need a morning, afternoon or evening workshop, was to do something in real time, not just find a programme or upload from YouTube, but then edit this piece, create a playlist or make an interactive quiz. These are all straightforward to learn skills.

Here is the quiz editor platform. 

I'm writing this is part of my habitual reflection. Just as I kept a diary here almost every day of my MAODE plus the two further modules that I did, I have now kept a diary for most working days of the 12 months I have been here are GB MET.

Taking these classes I finally feel a 'change career' I began in 2000 is going in the right direction. Back then it was from corporate training and information films to online. Then with my MAODE 2010 to 2013 it temporarily went into tertiary education with the OU but in a communications rather than a learning role. Since then there has been more corporate e-learning, even a further history degree and a digital editor's role, but it is this., however modest, like a private in the army, like a private in the Labour Corps even, I am working with students and teachers.

Sitting in a class assessing where technology has a role is interesting too. More on this in my next post. 

 

 

 

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"Build it and he will come".

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018, 05:24

360 Tour of a catering college kitchen

I've long held the view that with so many distractions and alternatives, that without compulsion, however much magic you through at a learning experience, the students will not come. I am a month into a three month 'build' of some 12 VR tours of workshops and facilities at a large, recently merged college. Using a 360 VR camera, as well as stills and video, a series of learning environments are being built in ThingLink.

The 'stage set' as I describe it, the add-ons include induction, health & safety, training and testing. In its simplest form it is a slide show made of 360 images in which the viewer can explore all around the environment. In its more sophisticated form there are sets of well-researched and carefully written learning experiences and activities. The simplest pattern, no different to reading some text and then being asked some questions on it, is to follow up ten minutes of exploring such a world with a quiz.

Marketing have an interest in using these images to show of facilities. In turn I need some marketing in put to promote these kinds of learning experiences. I'd prefer to sell these to students rather than to simply compel them to 'do them' under close supervision of their tutor. 

Are you making use of 360? 

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Flying

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 16 Jun 2018, 19:50

It has taken 8 years. Maybe it has taken 18. I have in one vast loop gone from linear to interactive.

Only in the last week have I felt that I have arrived.

Academic training (MA ODE)

Two decades in corporate training.

And now, technology both permitting and expecting me to do everything, I find myself creating some 12 VR tours.

  • Catering
  • Aeronautics
  • Motor Vehicle Workshop
  • Theatre
  • Swimming
  • Sailing
  • Prop Making for Theatre & Film
  • Carpentry
  • Painting & Decorating
  • Electrics
  • Plumbing
  • Hair Salon &  Beauty

These are immersive, self-directed, celebratory, click through experiences of an learning environment augmented by clickable hotspots that show video, or images with audio or text. 

Come out of this and you get hit with a quiz of extreme close up photos, mid-shots and questions. 

Your have to be told that this is coming up.

It can cover:

Induction

Health & safety

Basic & advance learning and training

It can be as great as the tutor who takes up the challenge and the skills and insight of the 'enabling' person or team that creates the VR. 

 

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Future Learn WW1 Aviation

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014, 21:55

 Fig. 1 Flight Cadet John Arthur Minty, RAF Crail late 1918

A fascinating stimulus to further study, though by its title and how grouped in WW1 themes by FutureLearn I would have expected the focus to have been the rise of aviation during the First World War to the exclusuion of all else, with some introduction to aviation coming into the Great War and a period to reflect on the interwar years. There have been criticisms by fellow travellers on the broad and 'open' nature of the learning experience as if kearning should be exclusive and elitist. 'Open' should mean exactly that for a myriad of reasons. Fundamentally this is about the quality of learning through the amazing 'connectedness' of the Internet and the recreation online of a 'community of practice'. It is also about what the former Xerox Head of Learning John Seely Brown calls 'learning from the periphery' where experts at the centre attract and welcome the newcomers on the fringe and finally, it is about 'vicarious' learning, not always knowing what you are going to get - the many insights and surprises that we've had here. I'm sure people aren't making full use of the tools to filter these massive threaded discussions: by recent activity across the topics, by those you follow and where there may be a reply to your own comment. To design, write and manage a MOOC you need to do them. 

Most MOOCS and most online courses, struggle with the quizzes. These deserve as much thought and preparation as a lecture series. They are hard to do well. The very best examples I've found were created on a platform called 'Spaced-Ed' now QStream by a team originating from the Harvard Medical School supporting Junior Doctors. Multiple choice can be a stimulating learning experience in its own right: challenging participants to use what they have learnt, and adding to this knowledge by making them think through responses that are not necessarily obvious. Replies to getting the answer right or wrong need to recognise the choices made and then inform, guide or further the learning experience. For the only example I've seen across six FutureLearn MOOCs where they are getting it right is The OU's module on 'Start Writing Fiction' where the 'quiz' makes you think. They don't need to be light-hearted.

If the BBC are closely involved in the production of video sequences then I'd expect three things: ideas around presentation that work, are relevant and make you think; media training for non-professional presenters and however done to 'broadcast' standards technically and stylistically.

What a truly brilliant discussion. I need to get my head around this and my copious notes from my mechanically minded late grandfather who trained as a fighter pilot in 1918 and was fascinated by the engines and had a few near-fatal scrapes with the things when they failed mid-flight. I'll wake him up, or bring his ashes over to the computer so that he can listen in!

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FutureLearn

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 2 Nov 2014, 09:17
From Jack Wilson MM

Fig.1. Lieutenant Munday and Flight Cadet Green - Killed 23rd November 1918 during training, RAF Crail - photograph taken by my late grandfather, flight cadet J A Wilson MM

Especially if you are on an MAODE module you need to take a course on FutureLearn to experience for yourself how 'connected' and 'collaborative' learning works. The specialist MOOC I am doing on the development of aviation during the First World War has over 9,000 participants, the 'Start Writing Fiction' course has over 20,000. Things happen when the number of this high.

Looking at these it is some trick to find the middle path between 'lite' TV style for people sitting back on the sofa expecting some kind of introductory 'edutainment' from Channel 5, to full-on academic sitting forward activity at your desk and keyboard.

For the first time I see how this is like no other platform or medium that has gone before, so everyone, The OU and FutureLearn included, is having an enthusiastic stab at it and learning massively as a result: how to do it better, how to fix weaknesses in the pedagogy and content and where to go next - repeat, fragment, enhance ... 

Keeping it simply is key, a fabulously intuitive and well designed interface is vital, and, unlike US equivalents, not shoving the begging bowl and adverts in your face at every opportunity.

The quizzes need to become smart multiple-choice activities - though these are exceedingly hard to write well as other FutureLearn courses are finding. It is was of the areas that receives most feedback from those who hate them, those who get irritated at getting an answer wrong and wanting to blame someone and those offering ways to do it better.

And tougher 'assignments' could be offered, but this requires close scrutiny and marking by those who are academically qualified to do so and has to come with a proper fee. These produced issues of their own. If 1% of those on the First World War Aviation course decided to submit an assignment and pay a fee of £400 where would the university find the academics to do the marking of 900 essays, however good the money. I did complete an assignment for a MOOC provided by Oxford Brookes because I wanted postgraduate credits and a certificate - so that's 10 credits towards something. 

A fascinating time to be taking part in a way of learning that is in its fledgling stages ...

As it is an 'open' platform there's no stopping those of us with an interest from coming back as we do the extra reading and sharing what we find. 

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True or False

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 11 Feb 2013, 10:26

Eye%2520-%2520Merriam-Webster.JPG

The 15 second quiz

Merriam-Webster - the 'sticky' web dectionary using gamification to build the brand and hold your attention.

Who'd have thought it a decade ago.  'Sticky' was the Holy Grail - but applied to an online dictionary?

I love words.

I have used many online dictionaries, including 'the dictionary' and the OED, and of course Wikipedia. Increasingly I pick Merriam-Webster from the list offered.

The response page is clean (ish) i.e. you get an unclutted, quick and short defintion, which is all you want if you are trying to read a text.

You can, by default, find you are 'embedding' your relationship with the word by adding a comment. What brings you here? Why were you after this word? You may then be intgrigued by the responses other people have left.

Then there's the quick 15 second quiz.

A crafty way to up your Pub Quiz or Mastermind General Knowledge.

Merriam-Webster%2520Video.JPG

And there's a pithy video clip on some highfalutin stuff about words. Except of course it isn't, you'd just expect it to be so. They're very down to earth. There's the best explanation of the important difference between - its and its - for example.

My distraction? My word(s)

  • Foveal
  • Profoveal

That collection of nodes in the retina we subconsiously use when focusing on the fine detail of something - often used for reading tough texts where the 'profoveal words' i.e. those just out of vision and typically a few down the line from your centre of focus couild distract if and where the word is bold, in colour, underlined ... or the purposes of the research papers I am reading, if the word or phrase has a hyperlink.

Do you want you reader to read at an uninterupted measured pace - or tangle their eyes in barbed wire?

The aim, as they eventually figured out with the printed word, is a form or set of patterns and guidelines that make the reading of text on a screen easier, engaging enough so the the issues and facts begin to stick, without it being a mess.

I often wonder if a 'porta-pront' App - so you read as a Newsreader would do, offers the most uncluttered way to read text?

We're still a long way short of a digital expression of the written word - the guitliest group are academic papers. These are for the most part highly formalised layouts based on analogue moveable print.

Where I can I cut and paste and entire paper into Google Docs, then reformat so that I can scroll through.

Now what on earth did I get up to do 20 minutes ago?!

Ah yes.

This little gem.

Risse, S, & Kliegl, R 2012, 'Evidence for delayed parafoveal-on-foveal effects from word n+2 in reading', Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception And Performance, 38, 4, pp. 1026-1042, PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost, viewed 11 February 2013.

 

 

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