I've suffered too often from death by PowerPoint. Are you now suffering from death by Kahoot? These gimmicks come in waves. At the Sussex Show & TEL event a presentation on Accessibility in HE incorporated a Kahoot quiz which included irritating Teletubbies/Angry Birds style music during the count down as every question was posted, and absurdly detailed niche questions. In particular percentages expressed to the third decimal place were totally out of place. Too many educators fail in the most basic of communications best practices - know your audience!
On 7th July the Environment Agency were called out to investigate the condition of Piddinghoe Lake, East Sussex as there were a number of dead fish. Acting quickly to test the water first an emergency pump and then two industrial scale pumps were brought down and set to work re-oxygenating the water.
Speaking to Mark Bennett, Team Leader at the regional headquarters of the Environment Agency, Worthing an explanation was offered. Warm weather, a lack of shade on the lake and little wind or rain lately had caused the temperature to rise. This had resulted in an algal bloom. Not a worry in itself, these blooms might crash suddenly at night or even with a thunderstorm.
Blooms such as these are a summer event. It is rare but not unknown for these to occur as early as February. Algal blooms like these have been occurring more often in recent years so there is no doubt that climate warming is a factor.
This event impacted on the larger fish and eels. Smaller fish and carp have proved more resilient.
The water is not a health hazard so long as people don’t ingest the water and you wash your hands before eating. There were no signs of the blue/green algae which would have been a cause for concern.
Several weeks working Anna Sabramowicz and I'm now scripting my own 'scenario-based' e-learning aimed at age group swimmers struggling to manage their recently diagnosed asthma. So much of this takes me back to scriptwriting and story telling - short films in particular. There is a unique skill in narrowing things down to the characters and events that produce conflict and outcomes.
Give it a go 'Broken Co-Worker'.
I struggle with this. I am far more inclined to say 'yes' with apparent enthusiasm even though I want to say 'no'. I am too keen to please. This gets me into a mess - I find myself caught up doing things I wish I was not doing.
This might help: 'The Power of Saying No!'
If you have an interest in interactive learning then this is a great example of how a story can have multiple outcomes.
This requires some defining. We are talking e-assessment and e-feedback here (i.e. digital) and for 'authentic' and 'alternative' we mean 'vocational' and accessible digital initiatives.
I am here to search through my Student Blog. I had hoped to be able to use the 'Massively multiplayer online role-playing game' Second Life but it is no more.
Can anyone suggest a virtual world where students with accessibility needs can get online 'in character' and role play some actions and decision making?
To join a political party (Greens).
To stand as a Town Councillor and be elected.
To attend a Party Conference.
To speak and vote at the party Conference.
To attend my first Town Council Meeting.
Does this give me a sense of purpose?
We happen to be running 'Green Week' at GB MET all week so coming out of the conference I was keen to get the students to think about all things 'Green' and log onto Planet eStream where I have programmes and playlists for them.
A hard sell:
They are in exams, or just about to have exams ... or have had exams.
if it won't come up on their phone they are not interested. I pointed out that they could log in via their phone.
Having that stats I know that 14 did on Wednesday, 3 did yesterday and I'd be surprised if any at all did today.
The only person I spoke to today, oddly enough, was Caroline Lucas, who I found in reception a couple of hours ago. We'd already met at the Spring Conference and have missed each other at least twice in Lewes where it is easy for her to come over and give support from her Brighton & Hove constituency.
Next up a Green MP for Lewes District?
Especially to me.
This is a learning journal. It charts my learning journey. It records, curates and collates what I studied, what I had to say at the time and even holds mundane things like notes from units and books/papers read.
At times I have questioned its long term value. My career has been spent in education and training though, albeit 'corporate training and communications' using linear video, and then a move to the web with a few personal hijinks on the way as I decided I could and should be writing a novel or screenplay while raising the kids.
A year in education, at the front line, if only in a support role, and about to embark on teacher training, I am finding I am calling on the contents of this blog quite often to pull together my thoughts, the ideas of the experts and to formulate this into something practical.
My current target is feedback and assessment. I put these 'Search' and get links to a few dozen posts. I then go through these and slowly put together a practical plan. Today it is a 1 hour teach the teacher session on digital feedback and assessment. I think there is an angle on students with accessibility needs relating to learning and challenging behaviour.
So here we go.
Or rather, here you go.
You are interested in 'assessment' or 'feedback' as it related to elearning - search for it here.
In my second week of a six week bespoke course on using scenarios in learning design with Anna Sabramowicz. Aware of her, her work and influence via LinkedIn for many years I leapt at the opportunity to learn her approach. I immediately feel the time, cost and effort on this is justified. It all rings true. I feel at home. I described it to her as the feeling a muscian or singer might get coming back to sheet music to sing or even compose a song after a decade - at first it feels a struggle, but then it all fits into place.
Is that what I wanted 18 years ago when I started the MA in Open & Distance Learning as it was then? Is this practical insight into creating online learning what I had hoped for from the MA ODE which I finally took and completed between 2010 and 2013?
Is this what I had been looking for in my short spells in a Brighton eLearning agency?
The real magic is to feel that my researching, enquiring, planning, developing, creating, visualing and dialogue writing skills and experience can all be used in creating drama recreations, or cartoon enactments that offer the user a number of choices. The MAODE also rings true with course design, the 'swimming lanes' and flow charts that we worked on - and my efforts to simplify this to a few lines of coloured bricks in the style of Gilly Salmon.
I will be working on a subject that I had worked up into a PhD research proposal - getting young people to follow a better regimen when it comes to taking their asthma drugs.
Writing up a paper of soughts, certainly a monologue, on how elearning is adopted in an FE/HE college I find myself looking to adjust the descriptors 'maps, taps and chaps', Google it and end up back here - at my own blog. I get what I need and more because this is not the first time at all that I have reflected upon how elearning as an innovation has been and is being adopted.
I'll share what I have written in due course as it is the culmination of a year in the frontline and is the product of my multiple interests.
Over the weekend I realised that the greatest guide in my life has been Mr.Ben. I like to wear different hats. There are days where I will don several different hats consecutively: historian, sailor, walker, cook.
Across the 14 episodes of the 1970s children's animated series, Mr Benn dressed up as: 'Red Knight'; 'Hunter'; 'Cook'; 'Caveman'; 'Balloonist'; 'Zoo Keeper'; 'Frogman'; 'Wizard'; 'Cowboy'; 'Clown'; 'Magic Carpet'; 'Spaceman'; 'Pirate'; and 'Gladiator'.
Jack of all trades and master of none?
Adobe Premier Pro
Chasing up skills on different platforms and as I nudge each a little forward I find I can be a long way behind. It is one thing to shoot video, and to stretch behind a basic camera or smartphone to use a Digital SLR, but then cutting in Adobe Premier Pro has considerably more functionality than I am used to. Mastering this looks like learning to crochet while on a monocycle on a tightrope. This is from someone who was brought up on video and had a career working in teams of cameramen and soundengineers, and editors, with specialists for titles, graphics and sound. Now, at this level, you have to do it all yourself and deliver to what we used to call a 'broadcast' standard.
Having got the kit and having watched several YouTube how to videos I am slowly getting my head around it. Has it educational value? I rather think the entertainment value is greater - though shutting yourself away to watch a homecinema experience film is even less social than dozing on the sofa with crisps and a hotchocolate. I am hoping that the 360 Human Anatonmy 'cast' to a large screen will have value in an anatomy class.
We use them. They are straight forward. Can I get it down to single A4 page poster? I could, or did. I produced an 8 minute screencast which I hope I get deliver in under 4 minutes.
Nothing that an MAODE could have prepared me for. But what do you expect if join the Army via Staff College and then opt to get in on the front line. Next up a PGCE?
Three days, with a 7.15 am poolside start each day with some 20+ swimmers from our club Mid-Sussex Marlins. 'Working' poolside rather than just visiting as a tourist or even a spectator meant I experienced something of the buzz around competitive swimming.
8 Sessions, 7 to 20 swimmers in each. Every stroke and every distance, from 1500m Freestyle to 50m sprints. Quite a tasks to coral the swimmers onto a patch of the poolside which all the London clubs mark out with beach chairs. I had just the one. It was easy to get squeezed.
The 2 hours between warm up and a swim had many swimmers setting off for trips around the Olympic Park with their parents and then doing a poolside warm up before their race - not ideal.
Work on their underwater phase is paying off, with great distances. Often they are the last to surface and do so ahead of the pack.
All of this tied in with an Institute of Swimming 'Certification' which I have been completing on the ePortfolio 'Pebblepad' that I was first introduced to here in 2010 as part of the MAODE - it has changed considerably. It is a sophisticated, detailed Workbook with multiple test sheets and 'evidence' to be submitted - often via the App 'Pebblepocket' so that a video or audio clip, or photos can be uploaded easily. The downside is the volume of material that is easily generated and the need for both a mentor/supervisor rather than simply an assessor looking over my work.
IMAGE TO ADD - Remind me!
First I joined a Party, then I was selected to be a Town Councillor candidate and now I am up to be an MEP.
Agitated and highly active on Twitter this last year learning who I am politically through BBC Parliament I have now decided to 'do a course'. Chance has me signed up to 'Moral Foundations of Politics' with Ian Shapiro which is being deliver by Coursera from Yale University.
I can top this off with the 93 year old Dr Zbigniew Pelczynski, who taught East European Political History to Bill Clinton over Easter - he is my father-in-law and thrilled at my newly found interest in politics.
Until this last 6 months three subjects have left me cold: accounts, football and politics.
IMAGE TO ADD - Remind me!
For a long time following Anna Sabramowicz on LinkedIn I became increasingly taken by here quirky and clear pieces on Twitter about the value of Scenario Design Learning in eLearning design. The opportunity came to join her on a new project where she leads a group learning her approach.
I begin her 8 week course at the end of May.
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:
- 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.
- A flip pack of 18 sheets that I could read standing up at a table
- 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.
- I also hand some corporate handouts from Planet eStream.
- Logging in I signed in as staff and using an incognito window as a student.
- 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'.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dyslexic students are able to record their work in dyslexic-friendly formats.
Finding the right ePortfolio
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 (*).
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.
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
All of these and my direct experience is with:
It is generally the case that when answering multiple questions the following occurs:
The flippant answer is the wrong one:
It is generally the case that when answering multiple questions the following occurs:
The longest answer is the correct answer:
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.
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.
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.
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 language, and I had French as a secondary language - I deleted that.
I am not enjoying being a Jack of All Trades. Not being able to do anything very well is not fun. I would prefer to be excellent at one thing. Imagine trying to play all the parts in a Shakespeare play. I miss working in a team of specialists which you get in corporate training - where I was the producer or production manager, with a team of creatives and technical people to write scripts, code and make the platform sing.
I am reminded of the story of the foundation of Rome. Romulus and Remus set out from two distant points to circle the land they will turn into their city. On meeting Remus laughs at the low wall that covers a lot of miles built by Romulus compares to the tall wall he has built which covers a far shorter distance but is finished to the top. In a mocking gesture Remus jumps the low wall. Romulus picks up a shovel in anger and whacks his brother across the head killing him. Or so the story was told to me some 47 years ago by my Latin teacher Mr Buyers.
There's the power of story telling for you.
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