Activity 0.1: Big and little questions

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This topic contains 155 replies, has 63 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of dustinaced dustinaced 3 years ago.

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  • #799
    Profile photo of Martin Hawksey
    Martin Hawksey
    Keymaster

    Please reflect on your work experience and ambitions for developing your teaching.

    • Can you identify the most important question about TEL that matters to you?
    • Or alternatively do you have a cluster of issues? Or perhaps you’re ‘just browsing’?
    • Write down your reflections on this, privately or publicly (on the JISCMail list, on the forums, on your blog, on Twitter).
    • Try and hold these reflections in your mind in the weeks to come – to direct the choices you make about which options to pursue, or as something to revise or refine it in the light of what you learn.
    • If you share your reflections online, consider including some personal context, for example, by telling others about
      • your previous experiences with TEL and what technology was involved;
      • any differences you noticed in the way you absorb, reflect, discuss, act
      • your experiences as a student, a teacher, learning technologist or indeed some other role;
      • if this is your first experience of TEL, the expectations you have of it.
    • If you feel shy about writing publicly, find another course participant who has done, and see if you can offer them a helpful ear, pose some questions and draw them out – this may help build your own confidence.
  • #1360
    Profile photo of neobadwolfone
    neobadwolfone
    Participant

    Hi David –

    In terms of big questions, I think for me the big one is in the title – and it’s not technology and it’s not learning – important though these may be.

    For me the important word is “enhanced” … I think the potential danger with technology is that we use it because it is there or because it is seductively packaged or superficially at least appeals to those of us who enjoy gadgetry. And while, in some cases, it may be that these very ‘surface’ attributes *can* enhance learning & increase learner engagement this is not always the case and as I use technology with learners, I do need to remind myself: how is this better than what we did before?

    In a debate with colleagues recently about the merits (or otherwise) of online marking via Moodle, I found myself asking again and again – is it faster? How is it better? And if it isn’t – why are we doing it?

    I haven’t been through the the #ocTEL course materials yet so don’t know if this link is there — https://sites.google.com/a/msad60.org/technology-is-learning/samr-model — but the SAMR model is quite a useful way to gauge how / if technology is enhancing learning. So my big question is how can we be sure that what we are doing is *better* and not just gimmickry?

    As for the little questions – I’ll come back to those as that was my first post to a forum of (as yet) strangers …. *deep breath* (!)

    • #1832
      Profile photo of David Jennings
      David Jennings
      Keymaster

      Hi John (it is John, isn’t it?!),

      I think you’ve put your finger on a key issue in terms of the benefit that is implied with ‘enhancement’ – it’s got to be more than just go-faster-stripes and the current ‘fashion’ in educational establishment. In the final week of the course we spend some time trying to unpick what enhancement really means — of course, it’s different things in different contexts — and how to evaluate whether you achieve it.

      Can I ask, for you personally and your involvement in teaching and learning, what are the enhancements that would be most meaningful for you? A deeper learning experience? More widely accessible? Faster or cheaper?

      BTW Thanks for the SAMR link. You can’t yet see all the materials for the course (we’re giving ourselves scope to adapt some of the later weeks in the light of experience), but at the moment that’s not featured.

      all the best, David

      • #1903
        Profile photo of neobadwolfone
        neobadwolfone
        Participant

        Hi David – yes it is John – I’ve lived to regret allowing my daughter to suggest a Twitter handle when she was a huge Dr Who fan.

        I think for me one of the enhancements is increasing participation – both inside & outside the classroom – although voting handsets etc were a little clunky when they first started, things like googleforms, GoSoapbox & Today’s Meet all give much greater opportunity to check the understanding & gauge the progress of all your learners in ways that I never would have thought possible only a few years ago.
        Also participation outside class – for learners who are unwell or otherwise (for justified reasons) unable to attend lessons, technology can involve them more collaboratively than simply asking them to catch up at home. Using Twitter & Today’s Meet has allowed absent learners to participate with live class discussion.

        Thanks,

        John

        I suppose the other main enhancement for me is the ‘R’ part of SAMR – ie the redefinition – things that we simply couldn’t do before – that Skype call or hangout for a group of geography learners to the Amazon rainforest or the collaboration with the classroom half way across the world.

    • #1992
      Profile photo of Tom Franklin
      Tom Franklin
      Participant

      I mostly with neobadwolfone that it is about enhancement, but for me it is specifically about enhanced learning in the long run.

      However, we see with many technologies, and learning technology is no exception, a pattern of stages that technology goes through, which can be loosely summed up in the SAMR model that he refered to.  In part this is about understanding what the technology is capable of and only then using it to enhance and transform existing processes.

      To take an earlier technological revolution, printing (in Europe).  Gutenberg first set about making printed books look as much like previous manuscripts as possible (with very similar fonts that had been designed to be difficult to read as there were so few books).  Within 50 years (things happened a bit more slowly then) fonts had been simplified to ones we might recognise.  Only later do we see new types of things and whole new industries – pamplets, newspapers, advertising and so forth.  And it has been strongly argued that printing was one of the things that caused the reformation by enabling people to read the bible for themselves.  Of course, it also affected education where the role of the “reader” moved on as people could buy their own copy of works instead of having to take them down in dictation.

      Learning technology generally, and many of the innovations themselves, go through a similar cycle, and it can be a great help in learning how to use it for yourself, or to support others to engage with learning technology to  remember the cycle

      • #1999
        Profile photo of neobadwolfone
        neobadwolfone
        Participant

        Interesting point about how technology changes in ways that sometimes we can’t predict – I can’t remember where but recently I saw that famous quote from Henry Ford where he said something along the lines of “If I’d asked the people what they want, they’d have said faster horses” …

        • #9319
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          houseygirl
          Participant

          Had not heard this quotation before “If I’d asked the people what they want, they’d have said faster horses …” but John encapsulated perfectly the dilemma of using new technology – that users think in terms of what it replaces. Perhaps explains why many user interfaces are skeuomorphic. One of the most important questions for me is how substitution occurs and how its is supported? Whether the SAMR model work best with push or pull forces ? How much pain or difficulty can people tolerate when changing the way they work and learn? How much support do they need?

    • #6351
      Profile photo of scott.h.t.miller
      scott.h.t.miller
      Participant

      What’s in a name?
      I started doing Computer Assisted Learning when Computer Based Learning was passé. When ALT started, I identified as a Learning Technologist. I did a course in Educational Technology before moving to a job with Technology-Based Learning in the title, (which I did change). I encountered specialists in CALL – Computer Assisted Language Learning and I appointed ‘Virtual Learning’ and ‘Online Learning’ positions to my team before e-learning became all the rage. (Don’t get me started on e-learning , elearning, Elearning, or eLearning). We created fully online, hybrid and blended learning courses. I work with a number of USA professionals who use Learning Management Systems that we in Britain would call a Virtual Learning Environment. When I introduce myself to colleagues in the USA, I have to tell them I am an ‘Instructional Designer’ because Learning Technology does not seem to be a term used on the other side of the pond. Now the fad seems to have moved on to TEL – Technology Enhanced Learning. The point of all this is that the words we use have subtle nuances that resonate with particular audiences and are perhaps better understood by the learning technology community. I’ve always felt that I was a learning technologist, working with learning technology and have used this phraseology thorough my 21-year career in the field, though TEL is gaining traction and is shorter to say. Because there are so many terms that are virtually synonymous, I do feel that ‘ordinary’ practicing teaching staff are wary, confused and sometimes scared about using technology in their teaching or approaching a central team for help for fear that they will be baffled by jargon.

      One of my key issues is a lack of real engagement with TEL by the masses. Many teaching staff still use the VLE as a document repository rather than anything more sophisticated. However, because technology is ubiquitous teaching staff are prone to ‘have go’ at TEL. Usually this is without consulting the central learning technologists which often means that it is a bolt on extra, or not integrated well with the structure of the course and the learning objectives. It seems that teaching staff are apt to learn from their peers, rather than receive proper instruction, so the implementation may be great if their peer is good or it may be exceedingly poor… I’ve seen some very ‘siloed’ communities of practice. When I meet with dedicated teaching staff it is wonderful to exchange ideas then plan and implement a TEL solution that works well, and it is very rewarding to hear good feedback from the students themselves. I’ve come to understand that a key role of mine is to bridge to networks of practice such as ALT and ensure that there is healthy sharing of ideas with the communities of practice I encounter in my institution.

      As technology moves so rapidly, I’ve become adept at ‘just in time learning’ for example learning enough about the affordances and general principles of something, e.g. a wiki then to evaluating specific tools and technology to identify a good match for institutional needs. I feel that my negotiating skill with suppliers and end users on campus has developed greatly over the years and I spend a lot of time in supplier management of critical university systems. As a manager, I’ve become very focussed on delivering a good service for the institution and strive to ensure that my team and I deliver excellent customer service to the individuals.

      As a student, I have ‘moved with the times’. My undergraduate years pre-dated the widespread use of personal computers. I have completed traditional distance learning courses, e-learning short courses including mandatory e-learning modules for health and safety, and have participated in a number of MOOCS. Most of my ‘student’ activity during my learning technology career has been for professional development. When it comes to teaching, I have taught summer school students about learning technology, designed and run numerous staff development workshops and helped to create many online and blended courses.

      • #7026

        Scott – You raise some good points, so the name changes but the underlying issues are still the same: communication and engagement with people (staff/students) and the efficiency and effectiveness of the technology employed. I especially like your quote

        I’ve come to understand that a key role of mine is to bridge to networks of practice such as ALT and ensure that there is healthy sharing of ideas with the communities of practice I encounter in my institution

        Would I be mistaken in assuming that your big/little question will be around ‘engagement’ [“…a lack of real engagement with TEL by the masses”]?

        • #7250
          Profile photo of scott.h.t.miller
          scott.h.t.miller
          Participant

          Hi Elizabeth,
          You have cut to the chase and you are definitely not mistaken in assuming that my big/little question is about ‘engagement’. Engagement is not just about getting staff to use technology. It is very much about ‘good teaching’. This opens so many issues, some of which are ‘little’ and can be overcome by a word with the Dean and a subsequent invite to talk to a group in a faculty or ‘big’ like getting some real dialogue going in the institution about enhancing the ability staff to teach and the ‘real’ pedagogy of using technology. This brings elements of academic professionalism, and the HEA’s UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ukpsf into play.

          The other side of the coin is learning. When hard-pressed teaching staff have limited time it can be difficult to get them to look at technology that can facilitate students’ learning and reflection on that learning, such as e-portfolio tools – if they don’t perceive an immediately clear and direct link to their curriculum.

          I find that this ‘bigger picture stuff’ is often hard to tackle – though I have allies in other sections of the university and I’m optimistic that if i/we keep chipping away at this, we will get there.

          regards,
          Scott

        • #9092

          Yes, I agree it’s about embedding learning technologies and media into the curriculum so they support / enhance learning, teaching and assessment. I would argue that the underlying pedagogies have not really changed just because technology was used to deliver it. Hence pedagogy should drive the learning and assessment process with technology making it easier, more effective, more accessible, etc..
          However, my big challenge is how you get teaching staff involved in adopting technologies and what I would suggest is that it has to be part of the discussion at the curriculum and lession planning stage of modules and courses.
          Uwe

        • #9221
          Profile photo of scott.h.t.miller
          scott.h.t.miller
          Participant

          Hi Uwe,
          I recently completed the Carpe Diem MOOC. An approach such as Carpe Diem, allows you to plan the whole course effectively. I plan to introduce this approach in my institution. Such an approach should give ample opportunity to discuss and plan ‘e-tivities’ for students to complete online.

          regards,
          Scott

  • #1362
    Profile photo of glenn
    glenn
    Participant

    A common question that I find both new and established users of e-learning platforms, asking ” Is there one preferred platform?”

    I have experience with using and implementing Sharepoint and Moodle, what do other users think of these platforms and any experience using commercially available bolt ons?

    In higher education Moodle can be great but does have its limitations and can be difficult to use correctly for grading. Share point is also adaptable but I have found more resource intensive initially to set up and configure correctly, I also find share point to be more staff time heavy, as there are more steps in using and producing materials.

    Not sure if this is a big or little question, but would welcome others views.

    Thanks.

     

     

    • #1475
      Profile photo of neobadwolfone
      neobadwolfone
      Participant

      Hi Glenn – I think this is a very good question. Where I work, in Banbury & Bicester College, we have quite a number of platforms for different purposes & communications. We use google (google communities & google drive) for collaboration / draft and then sharepoint for final versions. We also use Moodle as you do and have noted the issues around setting up grading correctly – although when it is set up it can be extremely useful. We have ProMonitor which is like an e-ILP. On top of this we use more old-fashioned stuff like MS Outlook & Calendar. One of the problems we find with not having one consistent platform is that you can end up losing / missing stuff becuase you were on the wrong platform and then you can compensate by posting / attaching everything to all platforms and that just creates volume – which is not ideal either.
      So – yes – definitely a good question and like you, I’d be interested in any answers!

    • #3389
      Profile photo of Tom Franklin
      Tom Franklin
      Participant

      I think that it is dangerous to start from the platform. If one is provided by your employer (college, uni) then that should be the preferred platform as the students will be familiar with it and there will be support in terms of both technical support and training.

      If you are looking beyond the college platform (or if it doesn’t have one) then I would start with what you are trying to do in terms of pedagogy. At that point it should be clear whether a single platform is appropriate or the use of a set of loosely linked tools.

      • #3771
        Profile photo of Peter Harrison
        Peter Harrison
        Participant

        I would wholeheartedly agree with Tom that the platform should really never be at the front of the conversation, but the reality is that all too often it is. That is not unique to VLEs or educational technology of course but how many times have we all heard “I can’t do that because (Blackboard/Moodle/SharePoint/Fronter) will not let me” when what is really meant more often is “I did not do that because I did not know how to” ?

        Is this “not knowing how to” about the platform, in the end probably not; is it about a lack of technological spanner wielding ability, sometimes; is it about a lack of desire, certainly it is sometimes but not always; is it about a lack of time – real or perceived, quite often; is it about a fear of failure, quite often.

        Does it matter what the platform is provided it is used appropriately for the desired outcome, probably 80% of the time it is subservient to the content and the activity. At least that is what I think at the moment 🙂

        • #3796
          Profile photo of Maha Bali
          Maha Bali
          Participant

          Agree with all who say one should start with the pedagogy but not the platform.

          Just to give an example, a professor once wanted to do something and spoke to a senior member of faculty who suggested she use a wiki, and asked a young tech member of staff to help her learn how to use wikis. Later, when I spoke to her, it turned out that she really wanted was for students to give feedback to each other on written work -for which a google doc might have been a much better choice (the possibility of both sync feedback via the internal chat or async feedback to certain parts via the comment tool).

          The trick about distribution across platforms, and having to learn the different ones, I think, is counter-balanced by the “fit” of the platform. i.e. if you’re using the right platform for what you are trying to do, it will be more straight-forward to use it for what you want… rather than working around the wrong platform to make it do what you want!

          I have a faculty member who leads a mutlidisciplinary masters program and he wants some sort of “unified look & feel” across the courses… but I don’t think he really has the “right” to ask all faculty to teach on a particular platform if they feel uncomfortable doing so, or if they don’t feel it fits their pedagogical style. I wonder what others think of this?

        • #6951
          Profile photo of Matt Smith
          Matt Smith
          Participant

          My institution’s platform of choice is Moodle. However, there are so many brilliant services out there such as Google docs that are wonderful for collaboration.

          I think to myself, what would I use if is were still teaching?

          So, I’ve come up with the concept of using Moodle as Glue. I encourage tutors to use whatever platforms, sites, services etc that will suit to what they are trying to do at that point in time. I also try to offer an institutional option, but not that bothered if they use something else (as long as they take due diligence when using sites with learners such as Facebook) .

          I then say, well, let’s use at the Moodle course page as our own portal to learning, as a means of gluing all the resources, activities, etc together for our learners, so that you can send them out to google docs for collaboration, put them into a graded and assessed forum, send communications via twitter very easily. They know where all the useful stuff is aggregated and jump in and out based on what they are doing there and then.

        • #4845
          Profile photo of thebigparticle
          thebigparticle
          Participant

          Peter I think you are right.

          The real reasons people don’t feel like testing the technology are multitude. I like that you mention fear as this is something  I hear often. I think that this illustrates the size of the problem, but not the size of the solution. For example, if we can just remove the fear of looking silly in front of students, then some staff may be willing to experiment more.

          I don’t advocate that folks should use technology all of the time in teaching. Technology is a tool and if one doesn’t have access to new tools or the opportunity to try out those tools then one can get stuck in a repetitive loop. I like that people here have identified that sometimes technology offers not just support to how we do stuff, but new ways and indeed new stuff to do.

          Some of the conversation here focusses just on doing what we do now with technology. The world has changed in the last few hundred years and for the most part I am not sure education really has.

           

        • #5126
          Profile photo of Joseph Gliddon
          Joseph Gliddon
          Participant

          Use the platform that your institution provide because that is what all your students will have logins for and it will have you and your students conveniently all in the same space (lets call it a course)
          Then embed or link to the tools you want to use to complete the tasks/learning with your students from the platform.

          One other useful tip – if you know you want to do something, briefly write what you want to achieve then ask a Learning Technologist how to do it; The resulting conversation should give you a process to work with and some suggested tools that would work. You are much more likely to get the right support than if you contact a Learning Technologist and say “I want to use a wiki”

        • #9162

          I agree, that’s the approach we have taken as well – you start from the institutional VLE as (in our case) every module has a learning space on it and then you can link out to other tools and services. This allows the institution to get some consistency of provision (thresholds or minumum requirements) as well as consistency in interface and technology. On the other hand it also clearly delineates responsibility e.g. for support – institutional technology and provision is institutionally supported, external ones are the lecturers responsibility …

    • #3747
      Profile photo of Gary Vear
      Gary Vear
      Participant

      The FE College I used to work at had a similar problem to what John mentioned regarding platforms.

      We made use of Moodle, Pro-Monitor, Student e-mail, Blackboard. As a teacher, my struggle was getting students to actively engage with all these different platforms, each with their own log-on etc. It was like plaiting fog with some people. Add on to that, the fact that students engaged better with social media, it would often be easier to organise Facebook groups for various projects in order to keep in contact with people as at I knew that they would be checked.

      IMO, institutions are often to quick to incorporate the latest craze when it comes to technology to tick an OFSTED box, often without the correct infostructure or training for staff, which in turn leads to them never being used to their full potential.

    • #4315
      Profile photo of James Kerr
      James Kerr
      Keymaster

      One sub-context to the discussion of “which tool or platform” is that many do not have a choice of technology to use. For many, the selection has been made by others, based on many factors, including economics, scalability, and applicability. For a significant platform such as an LMS or VLE, a major criterion could be the ability to cover the widest breadth of applicability, perhaps at the sacrifice of specific usability or features. Given this possibility, the questions becomes less about which platform or tool is “THE one” and more about “how can I accomplish X using a tool such as Y?” As with most challenges in TEL, there are many ways to approach learning situations, even if the tool or platform remains a constant.

      In what ways have you been able to make a tool or platform work in your practice, when you may not have had any input to the selection of that platform?

  • #1452
    Profile photo of Paul Rettey
    Paul Rettey
    Participant

    I’ll pitch in with:

    MOOC’s

    MOOC’s I’m no expert but I’ll pitch in with my initial views, I don’t think they’ve fully matured and I’ve heard anecdotal stories of high drop out rates, it would be interesting to get hold of some data. To my mind they would work better where access to schooling is poor but access to the internet is good.

    VLE /LMS’s Why bother?

    Neo, regards platforms, it could almost be argued in some instances why use one? It seems that there is enough functionality out there now to build a learning environment on the ‘cloud’.

    Accessibility / Usability

    Additionally when it comes to site/course design using platforms such as Moodle and Blackboard how important is design, accessibility and usability? and why? A good place to visit: http://www.nngroup.com/

    • #4617
      Profile photo of Tom Franklin
      Tom Franklin
      Participant

      I don’t think that any technology, let alone learning technology, is very mature yet.

      MOOCs are certainly very immature at the moment, and the commercial platforms are all very new and require much work, first in understanding what learners need from a MOOC and then in supplying better affordances. Related to that the nature of the courses provided also need to be thought through better as an understanding of appropriate pedagogies develops. As to the high drop out rate, there are now plenty of published papers showing completion rates are often below 10%. However that may not be a failure for MOOCs so long as the student is getting what they want from it. I know many people (myself included)n who have started MOOCs with no intention of completing them, but wanting to get a flavour of the topic. Equally, there are some who wanted to finish but found the nature of the MOOC not conducive to their way of learning. So drop out rates may simply reflect the nature of the course and the people who are signing up for them.

      As for VLEs, there are plenty of comments even in this MOOC of people having difficulty getting lecturers or teachers to engage with learning technology. VLEs have the advantage that you don’t have to go out and find the tool (which wiki, MCQ, discussion tool etc etc shall I use?) it also has the advantage that student enrolment is handled for you and the tools are integrated. Yes, there are many problems too (less good tools, difficulty in getting external people on board, problems for students taking stuff away afterwards, not linking to work-based practice etc etc). Of course “we” can build a learning environment using tools in the cloud, but then the student may have a different set for each course or module. Or we could look at using whatever tool the student wants and moving stuff between tools. Who should be in control?

    • #9167

      Looking at the FutureLearn platform development, I think we got an opportunity to develop a more learner-centred platform. Most (if not all) VLEs tend to be based on an instructivist design principle – that is the teacher provides and controls content, communication and collaboration. While there is a place for such platforms I have found them limiting if you want to support student-centred and informal learning.
      Tools in the cloud tend to be much better for learner-centred learning but they often depend on learners to set up and manage these spaces.

      Maybe a bit too black and white – but I see the future in platforms which provide opportunities for the whole range from teacher to learner centered, from formal to informal learning ..

  • #1695
    Profile photo of neobadwolfone
    neobadwolfone
    Participant

    Yes – I think this is an important shift Craig – we have been trying to move away from the “33 ways to use ****  with your learners” approach and moving more towards thinking what do I actually want to do with my learners and will **** offer significant advantages over what we currently do.

  • #1700
    Profile photo of bexferriday
    bexferriday
    Participant

    HOARY SAYINGS I USE AS A LEARNING TECHNOLOGIST (regarding staff and student ‘buy-in’):

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.  Actually, quite often you can’t even lead it…

    Build it and they will not come.

    What has worked for me is going to where staff and students already are (be it Facebook, Instagram or whatever) and keeping everything short, simple and bite-sized.  Badges and certificates work (HE students seem to really like certificates) and analogy works as far as unknotting techno-babble and making TEL a bit more user-friendly and less alien.

    I don’t think we will ever be able to engage all academic staff.  You’re basically asking them to learn and become fluent in a foreign language.  But as long as there are some enthusiasts and standard bearers out there, things will tick along nicely.

    • #3550
      Profile photo of guy saward
      guy saward
      Participant

      Sorry Bex, but your horse/water saying brings up my ever present alternative “but a pencil must be lead” … which in this context might actually be relevant as given another 5-10 years, kids might be going “what’s a pencil?”

      But I agree with going where the action is – just worrying about how many different places that might be as online social media fragment.

      • #3584
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        neobadwolfone
        Participant

        Hi Guy – yet again I’m reminded of the Henry Ford quote above about “if I’d asked the people what they wanted, they’d have said faster horses!”

      • #3705
        Profile photo of bexferriday
        bexferriday
        Participant

        Guy – are you a fan of Half Man Half Biscuit then? 😉

        • #3745
          Profile photo of guy saward
          guy saward
          Participant

          @Bex – Thanks for the education! Was just an old family saying, but now I know who I can quote!;-)
          @neobadwolfone – Yes, its interesting to think about the Ford quote. First thought when I read it earlier was that they ultimately do the same thing of getting you from A to B – but very relevant to conversation

          Talking of quotes, I was just wondering if either have heard a quote about Einstein, facts, memory and books? But that’s the power of interaction. Before asking I thought I would have one last google for it and this collection of keywords threw up “The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think” http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

    • #10796
      Profile photo of jesrinec
      jesrinec
      Participant

      I agree, very interesting thread! As a Learning Technologist I have found students are much more accepting of TEL and that the biggest challenge lies in getting staff to engage with TEL. Like Bex I try to use plain English and analogy’s rather that technobabble to explain how technology works. However, I have found examples and case studies are also very useful in allowing people to focus on how the technology can be used to enhance their teaching and learning rather than how to use the technology itself. I tend to find much better buy-in if they can see its usefulness as a teaching tool, rather than a piece of technology.

  • #1789
    Profile photo of mark.moores
    mark.moores
    Participant

    I am not anything to do with education – yet – but I am very interested in the future of education.

    Questions I have (some technology related):

    How to provide the best, individually tailored educational experience in the most efficient way.

    Should learning be fact based or critical skill based? How do we enable a growth mindset (as per Dweck) – can technology help?

    What will children entering school now need to know to effectively navigate the future?

    How to reduce drop out rates on MOOCs (my reading is that distance learning is tough, the reason people persevere is often because they have paid up front and hence are committed – part of the drop out rates is a lower level of commitment upfront)

    Should learning happen purely through games?

    If some have worries about the impact of TV/technology on young minds outside the classroom should we be worried on the impact of technologies within the classroom?

    Lots more will come flooding out as the course progresses!

    Cheers,

    Mark

    • #2616
      Profile photo of David Jennings
      David Jennings
      Keymaster

      Hi Mark,

      Welcome to the course! Those are very articulate and well-informed questions for someone without anything to do with education… Which ones mean most to you personally, and might have a bearing on your move towards education?

      cheers, David

      • #6043
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        learningtecgirl
        Participant

        Hi Mark

        I think it is impossible to predict what kids will be needing to know for when they leave school. This is the issue now as is often mentioned “we are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet” We should be thinking about skills acquisition so that students can function in whatever media, with whatever device or product that happens to be around at the time.

        • #7765
          Profile photo of mark.moores
          mark.moores
          Participant

          I agree, I think it is extremely difficult to try to predict what children will need to learn for the world 20 years hence.

          So maybe what we need to instill is the skills to learn and, more importantly, a love of learning as that is what will be needed.

    • #7240
      Profile photo of Tracey Madden
      Tracey Madden
      Moderator

      Hi Mark,

      I mentioned ‘learning how to learn’ being an important thing to teach/learn in another post and your posting has made me think of that again.

  • #1824
    Profile photo of glenn
    glenn
    Participant

    To engage all staff is a difficult one, a performance related bonus for use may work, but in my experience some staff will never engage unless really forced too now matter how good the shiny new resources may be.

    • #3804
      Profile photo of Maha Bali
      Maha Bali
      Participant

      well, and I think it’s OK that not all staff want to engage. Some people are great teachers and would not be as great if they used technology (particularly if they do it while uncomfortable and it may come out stilted, right?) I don’t think every single course needs to be tech-enhanced, if tech won’t enhance it 😉 or if the teacher will lose out on pedagogy.

      I do think that younger (and older) students can benefit from enhanced digital literacy in their educational experience, so I think it needs to show up somewhere along the curriculum; and I do think most disciplines can find some pedagogically-sound use for tech to enhance learning – but I think it’s ok if not all courses are like that.

      I think it was Kuhn who said that revolutions in science don’t occur because people from the old paradigm get convinced by the new paradigm… it happens when the old paradigmers physically retire/die and only the new ones exist and they become older and more established… so I guess the same will occur for ed tech. There are a few older people who are convinced, but it’s the younger generations of both teachers and students who will eventually be the majority in educational institutions (by which time there will be some other newer paradigm that we might be resisting… ummm).

      So the question is, why do we want to lead the horse to water if it’s not thirsty? Why are we assuming we know it needs to drink? It’s useful to show it there is water out there, give a model of another thirst horse who felt better after drinking. This might spark its interest ;)) But if not, no problem 🙂 For me, anyway!

      In my context I also teach school teachers here in Egypt whose students don’t necessarily have good tech or internet access at home, where schools have horrible labs that are inaccessible and not connected to the internet… all of this restricts their ability to use tech for their teaching even though they are passionate about it. I also am a faculty developer – where the faculty/students at the university have all the facilities but some just don’t want to use them. It’s an interesting contrast between my two hats!
      (apologies for the long post)

      • #3902
        Profile photo of Gary Vear
        Gary Vear
        Participant

        <span style=”color: rgb(51, 51, 153);”>I think you make a very good point there Maha. I have witnessed people deliver grade 1 lessons using no technology at all. Not all subjects require it and depending on the style of teaching being utilised, it could be a hindrance to some people.</span>

        <span style=”color: #333399;”>I would like to add to your point by saying that we can often disadvantage our students by utilising a lot of learning technologies. If students have poor access to internet, PC resources and/or low level IT skills, then we are not giving them the best opportunity to succeed. In extreme cases, we are also giving them reasons to not work on basic English skills i.e. Handwriting</span>

        • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Profile photo of Gary Vear Gary Vear.
      • #4640
        Profile photo of Tom Franklin
        Tom Franklin
        Participant

        Great post Bex.

        As I see it, there is no reason to use technology for its own sake. If you start with the learning then the question is how best to support that? if technology can help then use it; otherwise don’t.

        But, at least in HE nearly all courses do make use of learning technology in one way or another. Students will be using e-books and e-journals (that’s learning technology). They may be analysing results using computers; they may be producing their essays, reports or presentations using computers. They almost certainly will be discussing stuff relating to the course using computers (facebook, google hangouts, skype, email, txt etc) (those are learning technologies).

        Most UK universities make use of Turnintin to check essays for plagiarism, and increasingly for on screen marking (that’s learning technology).

        But, I do agree with the comment about waiting for those who won’t change to retire (or perhaps be retired?)

  • #1989
    Profile photo of henleyocr
    henleyocr
    Participant

    There are three main players in the full implementation of TEL…the teachers, students and even more essential is the Senior Management Team of any institution. I am sure that this course will no doubt attract the ‘like-minded’ those people who are already halfway of even further towards the natural use of technology in their teaching practice. I agree that by using platforms that are already active (f’book etc. etc.) are probably easier to embed from a student perspective, there’s always the debate around safe-guarding (especially within the FE & compulsory sector) and then there’s the often archaic attitude to allowing social networking through the firewall. The sector is still like a tanker – still undertaking a slow turn. The recently published FELTAG Recommendations have highlighted some progressive areas. The knack will be making the keeping the system working to fund the system whilst still increasing the ability to innovate. Keeping students, staff and SMT happy whilst still maintain success and retention – juggling lots of balls at once – what fun 🙂

  • #2042
    Profile photo of Paul Rettey
    Paul Rettey
    Participant

    Can I also add an observation, if it hasn’t been made already.

    TEL = Technology Enhanced Learning

    e-learning = electronic learning

    LT = Learning Technology

    Are they the same / different?

    Has the term e-learning been dropped in favour of TEL?

    Could this be part of the reason why our industry is unfathomable by anyone outside of it?

     

     

    • #2158
      Profile photo of thebigparticle
      thebigparticle
      Participant

      Thanks neobadwolfone for getting this started. It is hard to hit a blank page and you really set people going!

      I agree with you to some extent about the ‘enhancing’, but I have to join Tom in remembering the ‘learning’.

      My ‘big problem’ is around engaging academics as others have stated. My current half-baked thinking is that maybe stating this as a big problem causes us to look for big solutions. The unfathomable names listed by paulsmry is just one example of how complicated we make this.

      What drives me in this are all of the examples where people have just got on and enhanced the student experience with little trouble. I hear all of the old reasons for wht this is so hard, no time, not intuitive, research versus teaching etc. For some though it isn’t hard. The staff trying something new knew it would be allright, the students just loved it and senior management learnt afterwards and cheered. These staff also have management positions, excellent research records and came from a low technology expertise background. I might be rose-tinting things and ignoring key issues, but do you see any of this sort of evidence too? How do we build on this?

      Thank you for reading, I am here for 6 more weeks!

      Patrick

       

       

       

       

    • #2530
      Profile photo of Santanu Vasant
      Santanu Vasant
      Moderator

      @paulsmry – when I started back in this field, in 2004, it was e-Learning,  but it has since been fashionable to use the term ‘Technology-Enhanced Learning’ or ‘Learning Technology’. What to call the people who do ‘Learning Technology’ is also quite amusing to read in job adverts. I recently wrote this blog article on ‘What is a Learning Technologist‘ for jobs.ac.uk.

      You have a point about these terms and others like MOOCs, SPOCs, VLE, MLE, mLearning maybe causing confusion. It’s hoped that courses likes these will help demystify our field to ordinary teachers / lecturers and get them and all of us experimenting with technology to make it work for us!

      @Nick Ribeiro – thanks for your post, you write “For me in my organisation, it’s about two culture shifts.  First, the shift for (some) learners to take ownership of their learning.  The second, a shift in understanding how technology (big or small) could enable them to learn and, ultimately, work smarter – not just alone, but with others.” – is the second shift not one that academics need to make and has an impact on the first shift? Just posing the question :)!

      (By the way I am one of the support tutors for the full 6 weeks and this is my first Open Course as a non-participant, i.e. part of a support team and yes the discussions are think and fast like a flowing river, just like Twitter and other social media but there’s always something to learn – keep your goals for doing this course in mind and a blog, word document or whatever for when you see an idea / link etc, note it down and reflect on it during and long after the course has finished – that’s just my advice 🙂 !)

       

       

      • #2628
        Profile photo of David Jennings
        David Jennings
        Keymaster

        @paulsmry my take on the terminology question is that e-learning, Technology Enhanced Learning and Learning Technology are not just synonyms for the same thing that go in and out of fashion

        • e-learning, in my book, refers specifically to online learning, whereas
        • Technology Enhanced Learning is a much broader term and could include technologies that are used in the classroom like clickers and digital whiteboards etc. TEL also refers to the whole theory and practice of using technology in teaching and learning, whereas
        • Learning Technology refers just to the technology

        That is not an authoritative or definitive set of definitions, but it’s the way I use the terms — and I think something similar is behind the naming of this course in relation to TEL, because it’s that broader scope (technology and pedagogy, online and other settings) that we aim to cover.

        @s-vasant good to ‘meet’ you, and thanks very much for your kind support

        • #3608
          Profile photo of guy saward
          guy saward
          Participant

          David,

          looking at your I am tempted to add a bunch of other terms that relate to “online engagement” and thinking back to
          – distance learning
          – online “”
          – e-“”
          – blended
          – flipped
          – personalised
          – technology enhanced
          … and so on

          I would agree with you that TEL needs to think beyond technology and while I am an advocate of some tech in learning, I am often left thinking about whether the basic process of learning and teaching are ever redefined … apart from the apart (massive) contraction in time and space for access to content and communication;-)

        • #4391
          Profile photo of Santanu Vasant
          Santanu Vasant
          Moderator

          @djennings – you too Sir, no problems, I am finding the narratives of the use of technology or lack of it really interesting, so learning is definitely a two way street for me so far!  Thanks for your more clearer definitions, which I agree to, I should have mentioned them in my answer.

      • #3547
        Profile photo of Nick Ribeiro
        Nick Ribeiro
        Participant

        @s-vasant Thanks for this. It’s made me reflect two things. One….am I an Academic?! (I don’t work in FE HE etc). BTW I’m not being facetious. Also, maybe the concept of push(push-push-push-push)-pull links one to the other!

  • #2232
    Profile photo of vbaxter
    vbaxter
    Participant

    My big question is ‘Is it worth it?’

    The first ‘it’ being TEL.  The second ‘it’ is the frustration –  first from our college equipment, Moodle and email system not working consistently, second from some of the students I teach who mostly have low literacy and IT skills.   Some still need to be taught how to log on each week.

    Of course, by signing up to this course, part of me shouts a loud ‘YES’.  I am hoping to link up with other FE teachers of ESOL who have successfully used TEL for adult learners with low literacy and IT skills.

    Second question: How to engage ALL my learners on Moodle?

    Some happily write on forums and find extra activities that suit them, some don’t have a computer at home and never go there.

     

    • #3352
      Profile photo of Maha Bali
      Maha Bali
      Participant

      Hey vbaxter 😉

      Good questions! I think re ur first one of whether TEL is worth it, I actually think u’ll never know for sure until u try it in a certain context with a certain group of ppl… And see what happens! Of course this is no “answer” at all, though I don’t think u were necessarily expecting one 🙂

      RE: ur second question: do you necessarily Want To engage all ur students on Moodle? Or can they engage elsewhere in e.g. More visual ways, or on their own blogs or via twitter? I had low online engagement in my last class because most of my low stakes assignments were done as blogs and folks did them last minute and rarely ever commented on each other’s. In future I think I will mix it up, some forums, some blogging, some visual blogging or discussions of visuals to mix it up even more… I actually got kind of frustrated with LMSs like Moodle and Blackboard, for many reasons including that students lose access later (though of course u can create parallel content or link elsewhere) but their advantage is the closed private space for forums (wonder how they created this one in wordpress hmm)

      • #3363
        Profile photo of Maha Bali
        Maha Bali
        Participant

        One more thing, though is that i think access issues are pre-pedagogical: you can’t really talk about pedagogy that involves tech is students can’t get to the tech. Is tech central? If so, we need to help students get access. If not, we can provide pedagogical alternatives to learning for those who can’t access the tech. That can still get problematic though. E.g. If i have a sync session here on Egypt and someone can’t make it coz they had an electrical cut they will feel “left out” even if i assign them a “make up” thing…

        • #4385
          Profile photo of Mark Johnstone
          Mark Johnstone
          Participant

          Hey Maha,

          No tech is not central. Tech is a rock and a stick once you tie the stick to the rock. It’s a tool that you can use and improvise. What tools do is open new opportunities. It’s interesting to see how people “misbehave” with them, turn them to their own devices. I think of twitter as pretty low tech. Most people have this and you can use it very productively in class.

          I need to take attendance and I have women students in the balcony, safely sequestered. I can say, “tweet,” and they are here. We can then talk on twitter.

          Power cuts in Egypt are part of the environment. /inqat3a al-Tayyar/ was one of the first words I learned in Egypt and that was 25 years ago. That comes with the territory. So, we need to build around our own potholes and log jams, to find solutions that work in our own space.

    • #3649
      Profile photo of guy saward
      guy saward
      Participant

      missing a like/fave button (for individual posts) already … unless being new to this platform I have missed it 🙁

      • #4317
        Profile photo of Mark Johnstone
        Mark Johnstone
        Participant

        I think this is phpBB – no favorites.

      • #8527
        Profile photo of guy saward
        guy saward
        Participant

        Am interested to see that replies made to this comment via my activity page are not showing up here – more exploring to do.

        But for the record …

        >In reviewing my activity via my profile (looking for an altogether different thread which I have lost), I came across a fave button below an individual reply to a topic – but not sure if this will fave an individual reply, or fave the whole activity!

        > Having checked out the link structure, I think the fave will apply to the whole topic. But at least I found (obvious in hindsight – duh!) how to link to an individual post … that link next to each reply gives you the url/web address of the comment!

        > Except that approach doesn’t work with comments made on more general pages like http://octel.alt.ac.uk/2014/exploring-new-spaces/ as the reply’s (or responses) are not explicitly labelled …

        > And I am not sure where these comments (made via activity on profile) are going as they don’t seem to be appearing in the main activity discussion 🙁

    • #4313
      Profile photo of Mark Johnstone
      Mark Johnstone
      Participant

      In my institution students don’t lack IT skills as much as teachers to. Today, one colleague was demanding that all classrooms be provided with paper dictionaries.. and thesauri no less.. because she was appalled at students looking up words on their phones. “When they look on their phones, they only see ONE word” she said, “but when they look in the dictionary they see ten!”

      Well, perhaps the phone shows them the word they’re looking for? Or, is this hide and seek?

      My students never carry pens or paper, or books for that matter, but they are never, ever without their phones. So, I decided to use only what they carry. They’re very good with their phones in class… the better sussed ones do bring laptops or tablets, but I have a number of hard-core phone mavens. They navigate Moodle on the phone, GoogleDocs, Twitter…. they can do almost anything with them.

      I’m moving away from Moodle now, and going wild on GoogleDocs. This is extra institutional… I’m must using Moodle to collect work and grades at this point. Most everything is off platform. No complaints from students…. If people can’t log on, maybe it’s because they don’t want to.

      • #4402
        Profile photo of Maddie
        Maddie
        Participant

        What is it with “must do” things? I tend to run away or back off when I read that I “have to” do this in a course. Is it the whole non-conforming rebellious attitude? In one of the Coursera moocs, a few of us connected over twitter, fb and blogs but never through the mandatory discussion forums.

        • #4901
          Profile photo of Mark Johnstone
          Mark Johnstone
          Participant

          A agree. The notion that you can force people to do “what’s good for them” is patronizing and condescending. Even when a mark is awarded for work done, it is possible to accommodate different types of interaction “for assessment” – if someone wants the mark. The compulsory thing comes from instructionist thinking: the teacher has the answers and it is the student’s job to get them. It is mostly about control and authority.

          Maha talked about Kuhn and paradigms… this could illustrate here point. Forced learning is something that people who do it can’t see out of. They are unlikely to change. Education can change, but they probably won’t.

      • #4694
        Profile photo of Alicia Vallero
        Alicia Vallero
        Participant

        This is it! The whole reason why I started using technology was to “meet” my students in their environment!
        Now, my aim is to help them use the tools that are available to them properly and effectively. The students that can only see one word in the phone might need to be reminded to scroll down? Or the teacher might suggest a better online/app dictionary. Good online dictionaries allow students to check the word they are looking for in a variety of languages that they might be familiar with, they can listen to the pronunciation, read examples and even see pictures! No way I would go back to paper dictionaries! And I don’t think my students would either.
        To me the question is not whether technology is good or bad but what are my students using and how I can help them make the most out of the tools they are familiar with. And I should emphasise WHAT ARE THEY USING. If they don’t have a computer or a phone and internet access is bad, then technology will not only not enhance their learning, it will probably be a barrier preventing them to concentrate on the topic they are trying to learn!

        • #7877
          Profile photo of guy saward
          guy saward
          Participant

          Agree about the using the tools as effectively as possible. While won’t insist on use of paper dictionary, would encourage exploration of other uses of tech. I like the following definition of the problem of finding a needle in a haystack as a way of broadening the thinking …

      • #4836
        Profile photo of Gary Vear
        Gary Vear
        Participant

        It is about finding an appropriate balance between technology and tradition.

        Using technology to look up words/meanings is probably more useful than the old paper dictionary, however if my students used their phones for everything and did not bring a pen and paper then I would have the following worries:

        1. How can I ensure that they are taking notes and not updating twitter/facebook??
        2. How am I aiding their handwriting skills? More and more employers in the UK are utilising handwriting tests during interviews because students are unable to write clearly and coherently, with too much reliance on autocorrect/spellcheck etc.

        I am all for meeting my students in their environment and utilising new ways to keep them engaged, but the traditional methods of note taking etc. are still necessary in the classroom

        • #5181
          Profile photo of Tom Franklin
          Tom Franklin
          Participant

          These questions worry me (perhaps I am easily worried?) If they are using paper and pen how can you be sure they are taking notes and not drawing pictures or doodling (which I remember doing in class quite a lot)?

          Why should anyone require people to write and have beautiful handwriting these days? anything which is for reading by other than the author is likely to be word processed in one way or another. As to using tools that help, maybe we should not allow students to use lined paper as that tool helps them to write in straight lines?

          Why are traditional methods of taking notes necessary? I usually do it straight into the computer using whichever tool will help me (Word, mindmap and concept maps are my favourite at the moment). Others also like to record on their phones and use a wide variety of other tools that support the way that they learn.

        • #5246
          Profile photo of Gary Vear
          Gary Vear
          Participant

          1. Whilst they can easily be as disengaged with pen and paper,at the tutor has a chance of being able to identify this and do something about it.

          2. Clear handwriting is still a necessity. I’m not referring to everyone having beautifully crafted cursive, but basic clarity will always be needed.

          As I said, I think it is important to find a balance between tech and tradition.

          Out of interest Tom, do you utilise computer note taking tech when holding 1 to 1 tutorials??

  • #2334
    Profile photo of Grant
    Grant
    Participant

    Hi,

    I am already feeling a bit bewildered by all the information, exchanges, questions I have found here on the first day. I have been dabbling with TEL for quite some time (I began about 10 years ago) and I have continued to be interested in the whole area. Recently, things have started to take off and move into another dimension and I must admit that I’m having some difficulty keeping up (which is why I’m here). I have a feeling that things are going so fast now that we don’t even have the time to evaluate the impacts/results of some of the recent innovations and there seems to me to be an almost lemming-like charge forward – I just hope we’re not rushing towards the edge of the cliff.

    One of my short lecture courses has recently been transformed into an “interactive online session” which was a very interesting experience as a lecturer to find myself being filmed in a studio, outside etc. and having to learn how to “sequence” the lecture and adapt it to the new medium. There are advantages for me in terms of being able to reach more students in more places, but the phase of getting the student feedback and assessing the learning outcomes is only now begininng.

    I am convinced that there are some great things that can be done to enhance the experience of teachers and learners by integrating technology, and I’m also sure that there are some pitfalls that we need to avoid. I’d like to try and make sure that I am able enhance my experience and that of my students as much as possible by making the most informed choices and I’m counting on the exchanges during this course to help me be able to make those choices.

    Looking forward to working and exchaning with you.

    • #4195
      Profile photo of David Jennings
      David Jennings
      Keymaster

      Hello Grant, I hear, and respect, your anxiety about “where all this is heading” and whether we’re in danger of getting swept along with it. I hope ocTEL will help you make sense of it – but it will only help you make sense of it; it won’t make sense of it for you.

      It’s natural and OK to feel a little bit bewildered in the first few days. That’s what Week 0 is for – to help you find your feet. Please keep in mind the guidance in the handbook about being selective. You do not have to keep up with everything. In fact you would be silly to try.

      Could you say more about the questions and issues that really matter to you? And what might it look like if this course could help you address them? If you can develop a picture of the help you’re hoping to get from the course, then you will have a clear direction you can pursue – and you can afford to be ruthless about ignoring the stuff that doesn’t help you.

    • #4197
      Profile photo of David Jennings
      David Jennings
      Keymaster

      Hello Grant, I hear, and respect, your anxiety about “where all this is heading” and whether we’re in danger of getting swept along with it. I hope ocTEL will help you make sense of it – but it will only help you make sense of it; it won’t make sense of it for you.

      It’s natural and OK to feel a little bit bewildered in the first few days. That’s what Week 0 is for – to help you find your feet. Please keep in mind the guidance in the handbook about being selective. You do not have to keep up with everything. In fact you would be silly to try.

      Could you say more about the questions and issues that really matter to you? And what might it look like if this course could help you address them? If you can develop a picture of the help you’re hoping to get from the course, then you will have a clear direction you can pursue – and you can afford to be ruthless about ignoring the stuff that doesn’t help you.

      • #5241
        Profile photo of Grant
        Grant
        Participant

        Hi David,

        I have apparently caused a bit of confusion in some parts with my references to “Tweeter” – it is, of course, “Twitter” but it gets deformed here in France because of the pronunciation.

        To go back to your questions. There are a few things I’d really like to be able to do with technology to enhance learning:

        1) Make my courses less teacher-centred and more focused on the student, perhaps by flipping them much more.
        2) Use technology to increase the amount of collaboration between students and between me and the students.
        3) Find ways to use the technology to make the learning more individualized and relevant to the specific needs of each student – basically to have things as much as possible tailor-made rather than off the peg.
        4) To find ways to allow technology into the classroom in ways that are relevant to the content and activities that we are doing – I don’t want to have to keep going through the ritual “turn off your computers and phones, you won’t be needing them in this class”.

        All of this, of course, with the aim of improving the knowledge and skills of my students, increasing the interaction between them (and me) and building strong and enjoyable working relationships in an open and respectful environment.
        Oh, and a final thought – it needs to be able to be done without obliging me to work evenings and weekends – because I already work these 😉

  • #2507
    Profile photo of Nick Ribeiro
    Nick Ribeiro
    Participant

    What matters to me about TEL right now?

    For me in my organisation, it’s about two culture shifts.  First, the shift for (some) learners to take ownership of their learning.  The second, a shift in understanding how technology (big or small) could enable them to learn and, ultimately, work smarter – not just alone, but with others.

    Whilst I could say I’ve (subtlely) used TEL before, I feel I’m really at the start of an exciting experiment within my workplace.  Throughout the next six weeks I will be reflecting on the resources, contributions and collaborations of this MOOC to see how I can take this back to my workplace, and to share my change journey in the months ahead via my blog.

    • #7073
      Profile photo of Tracey Madden
      Tracey Madden
      Moderator

      Hi Nick,

      Although students taking ownership of their learning can’t help but sound like a ‘good thing’, I wonder where the push for this coming from in your organisation: academics, senior team… the students themselves? And if not the students, how will this move be presented to them?

      • #8441
        Profile photo of Nick Ribeiro
        Nick Ribeiro
        Participant

        Hi Tracey

        Just to make you aware, I don’t work in an FE/HE environment. My ‘students’ are workplace staff who have public-facing priorities.

        I hope to be introducing social collaboration on a small group of business practitioners in the coming months. This will be a proof of concept. I feel my challenge lies in convincing the minority, who happen to be key decision makers – this includes peers, management and staff. But this is balanced by the majority (same groups) who I think would welcome this initiative and could bend some ears.

        Keep posting!

  • #2722
    Profile photo of c.collis
    c.collis
    Participant

    Hello: my first ocTEL post. Great points, @bexferriday

     

    • your previous experiences with TEL and what technology was involved;

    I’ve been lecturing for 15 years; I’m now head of department. I’ve tended to use TEL at a basic level, using Blackboard to push content to students. My teaching team all use Facebook effectively in their units to communicate with students and to facilitate students’ communication with each other.I’ve replaced live oral presentations in tutorials with YouTube videos. I completed a Graduate Certificate of Higher Education entirely online, through Blackboard. I agree strongly with the idea that it’s our job to find out what is already working in terms of social media, and then to figure out how to use it for teaching and learning.  Like most participants here, I’ve lived through numerous “this is the new big thing you must all do it now” rounds of hype from senior management, so I can see that this approach isn’t effective. I’m looking forward to hearing here about others’ experiences of what has worked.

    • any differences you noticed in the way you absorb, reflect, discuss, act

    I learn and engage better in person, however, I appreciated the time saving in doing a course online. In teaching, I still somewhat resent TEL because I’m so comfortable with, and good at, live lectures. In both instances, TEL makes me feel less connected to the learning community.

    • #4645
      Profile photo of Tom Franklin
      Tom Franklin
      Participant

      To me the problem with the “this is the new big thing you must all do it now” is that it starts at the wrong end. It starts with the technology, not the learning (or teaching). If instead of saying here is the next big thing we said here is a problem many of us face (student engagement, retention, particular skills, plagiarism, whatever) and here are some things that can help you to address them.

      to address another point – hence the move from e-learning to technology enhanced learning as a name. Its about enhancing learning through technology.

  • #2828
    Profile photo of Graham
    Graham
    Participant

    Interesting posts above.  I am lost with all the acronyms.  While my post does not contribute to the debate, I hope it complies with the requirement for activity 1

    Please reflect on your work experience and ambitions for developing your teaching.

    • Can you identify the most important question about TEL that matters to you?

    How do I construct a TEL course that provides a real learning outcome?

    As a complete beginner, I need to know the basics and how to get started.

     

    • Write down your reflections on this, privately or publicly (on the JISCMail list, on the forums, on your blog, on Twitter).

    Enrolling in this course is a first step for me.  I have no idea how to start using technology in course development.  It is particularly daunting as I am not much of a technology user, so I have very limited knowledge and virtually no experience of twitter, blogs, utube, or social media.  My experience of technology is limited to “on-line” for some shopping and as a member of a single common interest forum http://www.advrider.com/forums/index.php

    Can’t even work out how to send a message to the course email list yet.  Also I am not normally much of a networker or group participant, so hopefully this aspect of the course will get me started on those aspects.  I usually learn by reading and doing –a give it a go and work it out approach I guess.

    I hope that this style of course will fit my learning style and enable me to gain some understanding of TEL and it’s potential uses and applications for positive learning outcomes.

    • #4332
      Profile photo of Mark Johnstone
      Mark Johnstone
      Participant

      Well Graham, you can start out with something that makes sense to you, and with minimal expectations. If your students have phones, they can use twitter to answer a little question for you in class and go from there. All you need is a twitter account and a hashtag. Make up the #hashtag on the fly #mycourse or something. Give it ten minutes and see what happens.

  • #3263
    Profile photo of hellycorke
    hellycorke
    Participant

    Hi everyone, Helen from the University of Worcester here. Its been really interesting reading some of the posts and the diverse range of experience and backgrounds everyone has. Here is my take.

    Can you identify the most important question about TEL that matters to you?

    For me its is all about enhancing my students learning. If I try it and the students do not like it then I will not bother with it again. I am currently completing research on flipping  http://prezi.com/kympjvogoh25/flipping-lectures-at-uow/and how I have used it in my lectures. Its when you start to hear good feedback from the students that you realise the time and effort given to TEL can and does work.

    I genuinely value my own professional development and I have always seen TEL as being a key feature of this. Taking part in this online course is a reflection of that, despite the other pressures of marking and also being 30 weeks pregnant!

    In terms of technology use I currently use Prezi as my main source but am looking to start dabbling in Pebblepad! At university we use Blackboard as our VLE and I also use Turnitin and Surveymonkey too. I have tried wordpress but I am really rubbish and haven’t found it easy to get on with.

    The thing I find most frustrating about TEL is the fact that it can take other colleagues a long time to embrace it when I like moving forward more quickly. However I acknowledge that the change process can be slow so I have to hold back and support those colleagues rather than scare them!

    I am really looking forward to conversing with like-minded colleagues 🙂

    Good luck everyone.

  • #3265
    Profile photo of Louise
    Louise
    Participant

    We are a post-grad Uni and about 60% of our Masters level students engage with the VLE. I admit to being quite shocked that it was a low as this (being the one who supports it – Blackboard!) but I am sure this would be far greater if the academic staff would pro-actively take ownership of their courses online and use it for more than an information dump. As students use more mobile devices and smart phones so we are looking into supporting the courses using these this year. However the vision for using them is so limited. One member of staff only wants the students to access PDFs’ from it via the Blackboard App on their mobile device – nothing else. The struggle we are facing to engage staff is huge and daunting as there are only a few of us to do this. I have found forums like this very useful – for one thing I discover that we are not alone and others face the same resitance – or apathy – or is it fear of getting it wrong? I think we wil lhave to take small steps and show by example what can be done. I think recommendation by peers could be quite a motivator and once people see that some technological tools can be useful (as long as it is used to make teaching easier/relevant, learning more effective/deeper, and isn’t just introduced because it is new and shiney)they may be more willing to give it a go.

    • #7102
      Profile photo of Tracey Madden
      Tracey Madden
      Moderator

      One way of getting people to take something up is to link it to delivering the things that they want already. What motivates your academics? What challenges do they have? What problems are they trying to fix?

      You mentioned the influence of their peers. Do you think their students could help?

  • #3386
    Profile photo of Ghizzi_d
    Ghizzi_d
    Participant

    Hi all,

    great to see so much lively discussion already!

    Please reflect on your work experience and ambitions for developing your teaching.

    Can you identify the most important question about TEL that matters to you?

    Hm. I’m finding it very hard to pin down to one, there are so many after all.

    I think how to generate an environment where collaborative, open, effective and fundamentally creative thinking can develop open, universally accessible learning/ teaching experiences which can be hosted, developed, critically evaluated and shared freely globally.

    So we can all teach each other, learn from each other, challenge each other, individually or collaboratively, at our own pace in our own preferred manner.

    Obviously this is an ideal aim, but I do like to set a challenge!

    I have been a student in HE 2005-09 and experienced a confused and patchy use of technology in education. Blackboard very underused etc

    A teacher in FE biosciences 2011-2013 by this point use was a little better. Moodle / Mahara also not used as well as could be, take up by both staff and students patchy

    An E-learning advisor Faculty Health and Life Sciences in HE 2013-2014 and am about to start working on FutureLearn MOOCs in HE in the next month. Blackboard / Adobe Presenter / iSpring, better use of Blackboard more widely, blended courses starting more widely, but still very uneven uptake across staff and students. However more institutional minimum standards, course elements design templates to improve navigation for all etc. Beginnings of more holistic design thinking on high.

     

    @neobadwolfone – hehe I narrowly avoided a similar Dr Who handle myself from mischievous daughter fan.

    I wonder when we talk about engaging all academic staff in TEL is it fair sometimes to take it for granted that young and / or newly qualified teachers will often think of TEL as more of an expectation than teachers who started teaching pre-Internet & who can have reservations about it.
    This is of course not to generalise – I have worked with some expert practitioners who started teaching ages before the Internet & committed to training to remain up-to-date, but I was thinking more about where the challenges lie in not just engaging, but supporting those who may feel uncomfortable or nervous about TEL – those who ‘don’t know what they don’t know’.’

    I only completed my teacher training PCET PGCE in 2011 and one of the five modules was TEL, all of us had to develop some use and application of TEL for our placement course delivery and reflect and report on the implementation and outcomes, having surveyed our students and mentors. I blended mine in with my final professional practice research into developing ‘Scientific Literacy within core course content and practices’.

    Across the PGCE course students, there was an enormously diverse range of content types, approaches and foci. There was also an enormous range of ability and facility with the use of the technology, the relation to pedagogical practice and standards of implementation. So even amongst young/ newly qualified teachers there were many who found the concept of using , applying technology for teaching and learning quite alien, despite having, mostly, just come straight through an education system with increased use of such.

    I don’t know if other recent graduate teachers have experienced a similarly disparate range of interest, ability and use of TEL approaches to teaching in their colleagues.

    Cheers Ghizzi

    P.S. apologies to all for coloured text attempt above, but I have Irlen syndrome and find B & W extremely uncomfortable to read. I’m still trying to work out how to delete it from here!

    • #3806
      Profile photo of Maha Bali
      Maha Bali
      Participant

      hi Ghizzi, can I just respond about Irlen syndrome to say I had never heard of it before – are there ways in which “accessibility” options of VLE’s or websites help make reading easier for you (given that most people continue to write in black and white) – and how do you read print, in general? I googled it but was not clear on those things. Feel free not to answer or to just point me to a good link to look at. Thanks

    • #4441
      Profile photo of Santanu Vasant
      Santanu Vasant
      Moderator

      @ghizzi_d – “Across the PGCE course students, there was an enormously diverse range of content types, approaches and foci. There was also an enormous range of ability and facility with the use of the technology, the relation to pedagogical practice and standards of implementation. So even amongst young/ newly qualified teachers there were many who found the concept of using , applying technology for teaching and learning quite alien, despite having, mostly, just come straight through an education system with increased use of such.”

      I don’t know if other recent graduate teachers have experienced a similarly disparate range of interest, ability and use of TEL approaches to teaching in their colleagues”

      I have seen this in my experience as a Teacher too and it concerns me that we don’t have a baseline of ICT Literacy / understanding of Technology for Teaching which will repeat itself in 20 years time when these children become the teachers.

      I also feel your pain @suebebbington and @bexferriday (btw, great avatar!) – you both reminded of a previous institution I worked for where huge emphasis was placed on automation and whilst very much painful at the time, meant we did have time to be adviser of Learning Technology and offer the impactful support to staff, so you don’t enrol students in small files via the interface of a VLE or similar. This has to be my Big question – how can we better automate the boring tasks so you can concentrate on supporting the people (the Teachers / Lecturers) who will have the biggest impact on the student experience of teaching with technology.

      @suebebbington I think knowing what you want to achieve in 6 months, 1 year and then signing up for courses on this basis is key, as is using blogs etc to keep up with issues. I use a lot of automation in my bookmarking / reading of blogs, essentially see: https://ifttt.com/, through short ‘recipes’ which others have written, you can say ‘if I favourite this on Twitter, it will create an entry in Pocket to later’ and 30-1hr a week on the train or at home just skimming my favourites and bookmarking and tagging them if I want them in delicious.com.

       

  • #3670
    Profile photo of sue.bebbington
    sue.bebbington
    Participant

    I have skimmed through several of these postings and found that most of my questions, big and little, have already been covered.
    The most notable thing for me is how the importance of the questions changes depending on what I am currently embroiled in. I am an Education Technologist, but most of my time is spent doing help-desk style support for the Learning management system. I have only 3 days per week to fit in my ed-tech work, meetings, personal development, etc. Participating in this course is in my personal time and I don’t know whether I’ll even be able to quarantine enough time to finish the first week. (Please tell me other people as as time poor as I am.)
    So, as at this moment, my biggest question is ‘how can I keep my skill set current / develop the skill set to move from the technology side to the education side of education technology?’

    • #3695
      Profile photo of bexferriday
      bexferriday
      Participant

      @suebebbington I feel your pain!  I spend a huge portion of my time enrolling members of staff onto various modules in Blackboard, and at the start of term, this is usually to the detriment of the other things I’m supposed to be doing in my role (I’m a Learning Technology Manager).

      I have such little time to keep abreast of what’s happening in the world of technology I’m often terrified that I’ll fall behind and become redundant.

      Plus, I appear to have started two MOOCs in the same week.  So I’m pretty time poor, and I’ll bet you my last cheese sandwich that many others here are as poor as we are!

  • #3996
    Profile photo of ed_bremner
    ed_bremner
    Participant

    Hi Everyone,

    good to read a few of your comments, afraid it was only a few as work can get in the way of some good studying  🙂

    For me the biggest questions are:  (a) ‘How much is TEL really ingrained in teaching at HE level so far’  and (b) ‘What is stopping it…’

    Seems to me that the answers must be that (a) We have hardly made a start yet; despite all the good work that is being done, we are really only at the very start of a potentially long  but in the end highly fruitful journey…..and (b) In general….we are!  Why? well maybe it is due to the general lack of trust in using TEL and the knowledge to use it more effectively in our teaching.

    How do we increase the take up of effective use of TEL?  That would be the big follow on question.

    In the end, it often seems to come back to trying to improve the overall digital literacy of all of us involved in teaching and learning.  So often we presume a level of digital mastery in ourselves, our colleagues and our students, which in reality it is almost impossible to keep up with, unless you can devote your whole day to researching the latest tools and techniques.

    It can be very hard to know:  what we should know, and what we should forget.

    I look forwards to learning more from you guys,

    Best wishes

    eib

    LinkedIn:  ed_bremner
    Instagram: ed_bremner
    Pinterest: edbremner
    Twitter: ed_bremner

    • #4654
      Profile photo of Tom Franklin
      Tom Franklin
      Participant

      Ed, great questions, that really set me thinking, so thanks. I think that there have been three great changes to education caused by technology (writing, printing, the internet). If we look at the second of these we can see that it took many years for learning to be significantly changed. First the technology needed to become widespread (tick), then people needed to understand some of the implications of the change (took 50-100 years for printing and was one of the major caused of the reformation). With TEL we are not there yet in part because the technology is changing so fast that we cannot see the wood for the trees. Finally it has to become a “no brainer” to use it. (we aint there yet).

      Learning technology is very patchily used at the moment. Some (google, wikipedia, informal discussions on facebook, e-journals) are very widespread with or without lecturer / teacher approval. Others are quite widely used (VLEs – at least to host content, plagiarism detection (in HE), e-journals, e-books, recorded lectures). Others are used by a number of people, the proportion varying with the technology and the institution (and even department) (eg podcasts, blogs, wikis, virtual reality, games).

      So, if you want to be optimistic you could say that nearly all staff and students are making some use of TEL, equally you could say that use is very patchy; and both statements are true.

      But for me the question then becomes “is TEL being used to enhance the learning?” or because it is trendy? if it is not enhancing the learning (and assuredly some is not) then what is preventing that?

      • #8555
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        ed_bremner
        Participant

        <span style=”color: rgb(85, 85, 85); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 22.100000381469727px;”><you say> “is TEL being used to enhance the learning?” or because it is trendy?</span>

        That is always the big question isn’t it?   🙂

        And of course it can be either or both, or sometimes I fear neither.

        It is the nature of TEL tools that they are developed faster than any of us can learn of their existence….let alone often, how to make them really  ‘enhance the learning’.  If we find a tool that works for us (and hopefully we feel will work for out students), then we try it out and either become a practiced user and champion for that tool, or we leave it behind and look for something new.  Trends are inevitable.

        Tools will fall in and out of favour as new functionalities are developed, new tools released and trend.

        What I would hope is that although some tools will be ‘trendy’ and maybe  then fall out of favour….We will have the skills to consider each tool in the light of just how effective it is…..and who gets the benefit.

        For myself, I feel that it can often be hard to get the right balance between using new (trendy) tools to explore new functionalities and sticking to known and tested tools, but risking becoming boring or missing out on potential effective uses of TEL in our teaching.

        eib

         

    • #4843
      Profile photo of Gary Vear
      Gary Vear
      Participant

      Hi Ed

      I think you make some good points regarding HE.

      In my experience, the biggest blockade between HE and TEL is the lecturers themselves. For the past 5 years or so we have been in the transition period from one generation to the next when it comes to HE Lecturers. A lot of the past generation were/are anti technology.

      The new generation are more open to technology but at this stage we do not have the general widespread knowledge across entire institutions/faculties to make it slick and enhanced. For example, I spent a year working as part of the teaching team in a university, excluding myself there were a teaching team of 8 in the faculty. The Principal Lecturer was a big advocate of technology and made great use of keynote, blackboard etc in his sessions. One member of staff was anti technology and could barely use a computer (he still utilised handwritten feedback on dissertations etc.) Another member of staff was a technology snob (“Lecturers should lecturer, not create pretty things to look at”) and would often deliberately change articles on wikipedia so his students would inevitably quote incorrect information (“that’ll teach em for not using books”). The rest of the team were very much of the opinion “I’ll use it when I have too!” unfortunately I have too never came as staff are always looking for reasons to avoid change.

      To an extent, I agree with the answer above of “WE ARE” but at the same time, technology has to have a place in the session, be able to be easily embedded and most importantly, enhance the learner experience.

      🙂

      • #8537
        Profile photo of ed_bremner
        ed_bremner
        Participant

        <you say> In my experience, the biggest blockade between HE and TEL is the lecturers themselves.

        unfortunately that is my experience too…but I struggle at time to understand why this is, and why HE appears to find using TEL more challenging than schools and FE. At times, I have thought this was just a case of ‘the grass is always greener’, but these days I am less sure about this.

        I am interested you refer to a ‘new generation’. Do you mean a ‘younger generation’? or just a growing generation of people with these new skills? I hope the later, but sometimes fear the former.

        eib

        • #8553
          Profile photo of Gary Vear
          Gary Vear
          Participant

          By new generation I am really referring to a combination of both. There are a growing generation of people within HE who are more tech savvy and willing to open their practice up for experimentation. Unfortunately this is often a ‘younger generation’.

          Granted, that is rather a sweeping statement but I can only go off my own experience at the university I taught at.

          I think the overall climate in HE is changing. In fact, I was discussing this with a friend of mine the other day. It would appear that HE ahs the jump on utilising VLE’s to their full extent, whilst FE has the head start on utilising technology resources in the classroom to enhance sessions.

          There has always been a conflict between those that teach HE and FE but the irony is that they can help each other with the development of Learning Technologies.

          Not sure if you would agree with this and would be interested to hear your thoughts with regard to your institution?

        • #8595
          Profile photo of ed_bremner
          ed_bremner
          Participant

          No, I think I largely agree….although in my experience it has seemed like the institutes I have worked for are scared of actually ‘going for it’.

          They know they need a VLE, so they get a VLE, but then they try and make it fit their teaching strategies & techniques, rather than really looking at what the VLE can offer to allow them to improve their teaching.

          This is maybe a larger issue than education….but often happens in any large organisation that brings in software to support an established work-practice. The software is chosen/developed/modified to make it fit into the workpractice, even when there are real flaws in the underlying system. They end up with software that supports less than good-practice. But they don’t have the nerve to look at the software, see the benefit and change their practice to fit in with what is made possible by the software. Seen this happen again and again.

          Take it one step bigger again (and in my practice area) When designers first started thinking about the concept of designing digital cameras, they started with a blank sheet of paper and developed interesting cameras that utilised the advantages of ‘digital’. But the consumer didn’t like them. They wanted a camera that looked and handled like their old SLRs. So the designers had to go back and re-design them again, until in the end they had shoe-horned a digital technology inside the framework of a device built for an entirely different technology (film). In doing so, they also brought over all of the weaknesses and problems that had dogged traditional cameras for so long. There was an opportunity to create something new and better, but it was lost because people were not happy with something being different.

          I guess it is always the way 😉

        • #8618
          Profile photo of Gary Vear
          Gary Vear
          Participant

          I think you are right in saying that in Education (and larger organisations/industries) there is a real fear of change.

          The university I worked at did exactly what you described. They needed a VLE and so paid a fortune to install blackboard with nobody knowing what Blackboard was capable of doing. I think for the first year it was used to upload essays and nothing else!

          The other factor is the monetary influence. If a college spends thousands on the license for a piece of software then they will force staff to shoehorn it into their practice rather than taking the time to research each products capabilities and evaluating the most appropriate product for the institution.

          I vividly remember having a conversation with a senior manager who said that I should be utilising Moodle more on my course (Drama/Dance) as the hair and beauty department did! No appreciation of the difference between subject areas, learner preferences or the other tech I was utilising. Colleges do not want to appear rash by splashing cash and realising it may have been a mistake.

  • #3998
    Profile photo of Tony Burke
    Tony Burke
    Participant

    Hello everyone. As has been noted already, the posts above seem to cover many of the big issues, and several of them certainly strike a chord with me.

    Like some of the other participants, I am not a learning technologist, but a lecturer with an enthusiasm for the use of digital technologies to enhance the student experience. If I’m being honest I would have to admit that, in the past, I have been swept along on the wave of excitement about technology, and I have used technology without giving much thought to the pedagogy. However, between 2010 and 2012 I completed a PGDip in Online & Distance Education with the OU and this completely altered my perspective. In the entire course I never had a single face-to-face experience with any tutor or student, yet I found the course to be one of the most engaging educational experiences I had ever had. This was because the course had been so well designed, and it convinced me of the potential of an online environment (or indeed a blended environment) to genuinely enhance the learning experience, and to provide flexibility of access.

    Since then I have been an advocate for blended learning in my own institution and I now find myself responsible for a University-wide project which incorporates the promotion of a blended learning approach. The biggest issue I currently face is to find ways of demonstrating the benefits of blended learning to sceptical colleagues across the University, without imposing rigid expectations on them.

    • #4018
      Profile photo of Gary Vear
      Gary Vear
      Participant

      <span style=color:#000080>Hi Tony

      I shared the same problem in a previous institution. My plan of action was to try to engage one department and use their results as a case study of evidence to promote wider engagement. I’m not sure if this is something you have tried or are able to do??</span>

      • #5510
        Profile photo of Tony Burke
        Tony Burke
        Participant

        Thanks for the response, Gary. Yes – we have a similar plan in place to identify the innovators and use them as ‘champions’ to provide examples of good practice.

        Tony

  • #4175
    Profile photo of rosalind.gomes
    rosalind.gomes
    Participant

    Hello everyone,

    Lots of great posts here identifying issues I am accustomed to.  I am new to the field of learning technology, and am learning very quickly that everyone has an opinion. No fence sitters, they either love it or hate it.

    Can you identify the most important question about TEL that matters to you?

    I am a health professional, working in a large tertiary hospital educating a diverse range of nurses. We have many issues about hardware, software, computer literacy and others already mentioned in the forum.  My issue is being able to provide education that matters.  Using an appropriate method to deliver information that is meaningful for learners and educators. We use mostly traditional teaching methods and have recently invested in Moodle, which I am hoping will change our culture of learning.

    • #4374
      Profile photo of Mark Johnstone
      Mark Johnstone
      Participant

      Hello Rosalind,

      Health care professionals must be no strangers to technology. I noticed you said “appropriate method to deliver information that is meaningful to learners and educators”… the keyword here is “deliver”. This says quite a lot.

      What is meaningful to each of us emerges from who we are and what we aspire to do. It’s so hard to say, “this is meaningful to you” and when the “YOU” is second person plural… directed at 20 some odd people, it is almost impossible to say with a straight face.

      One of the great strengths of technology enabled learning is its ability to connect people to one another, to short circuit the traditional hub of meaning where all knowledge radiates from the center. We can use tech to put learners in contact with learners … legitimately now, not as some back channel chatter while the teacher is TALKING… delivering whatever…

      Learners interacting begin to transform themselves into a social presence, and from there, they become a teaching presence, sharing with you a didactic role. This is where we want education to go… it means that people are autonomous, self-directed, self-educating, life long learners. They teach each other, themselves, and you. This cannot happen while someone insists on grandstanding, monopolizing all authority to know and to teach.

      So, I think tech is good of this. The teacher becomes expert learner, facilitator, catalyst, coach, guide, mentor… and so much more than just a lecturer.

  • #4471
    Profile photo of mattstratford
    mattstratford
    Participant

    Right. So.

    Last year I wrote a dissertation on MOOCs for a Master’s degree in management, so I’m approaching this material with an innovation systems background, rather than an educator’s one (although I have previously taught ESL). My tentative conclusions about their use was that there are meta-cognitive skills that are needed to be able to make good use of online education: discipline, motivation, digital literacy, the ability to self-direct learning and so on, that are the hallmarks of an “educated” person. It follows that online courses are most likely to be of benefit to those who are already educated but wish to learn something new, as opposed to a useful tool for educating someone (in the sense of developing critical faculties and meta-cognitive skills outlined above). Having said this, I looked mostly at platforms – Udacity, Coursera, edX, Udemy – and less at more distributed and individualised MOOCs like I hope this one will be. So my primary motivation for being here really is to address this gap in my knowledge and experience and to see what other kinds of courses might have the potential to do. I’m particularly interested in how courses can transcend the cost-cutting agenda (e.g., recorded lectures so need fewer staff) and deepen the educational experience whether for sophisticated or unsophisticated learners; I’m sure there are many here who can help me develop my understanding of this area.

    On the other hand, my day job is working in the IT department of a big multinational corporation and with a six month old (our first child) and a four-hour commute each day, I’m really not sure how much time I will be able to commit to reading and parsing the volumes of information that I’m sure will be generated by us all getting together in this way. I really hope that I will be able to use pockets of time to browse at least some of the discussion though, and contribute occasional thoughts where I think I can contribute.

    • #7288
      Profile photo of Tracey Madden
      Tracey Madden
      Moderator

      Hi Matt,

      Fortunately, this course has anticipated that people have existing commitments and their own needs in term of what they want to do. So right from the start you are encouraged to decide what you want from the course and what you want to commit in terms of time for reading, posting etc

      There’s a lot here, and you could try to do it all, but it’s really to give you a range of things from which to choose to suit your needs and tastes.

    • #7918
      Profile photo of guy saward
      guy saward
      Participant

      like!

  • #4691
    Profile photo of helenmc86461893
    helenmc86461893
    Participant

     
    <p class=”MsoNormal”>My big question is does TEL have the potential to transform learning in ways that increase educational equity. That is can it transform learning for those groups currently not well served by current practices. Hence, Matt’s comment about online courses being more likely to benefit people who already have some degree of education is particularly concerning. I think part of this comes from the teacher’s imagining of who their students are. Are we imagining them to be like ourselves – if so we will be using TELs to perpetuate current education inequalities. Therefore, for me, considerations of equity need to be fundamental to the development TEL curriculum and pedagogy.</p>
     

     
    <p class=”MsoNormal”>A smaller question I have is how the interaction between face-to-face and virtual pedgaogies can inform and enhance one another.</p>
     

  • #4854
    Profile photo of bmetcsi
    bmetcsi
    Participant

    For me TEL has to do what it says, it should be simple to facilitate but have maximum pedagogical effect at the other end, our institution has just switched over to Moodle 2 which will hopefully be a better platform to work with.  Interestingly and echoing some of the other comments here,  I am finding that standalone products i.e free website builders, Socrative, Classmarker, Slideboom etc, prove more effective tools than a one size fits all VLE.

  • #4934
    Profile photo of learntribe
    learntribe
    Participant

    Hi All,

    I guess my big question is ‘why does it have to be so complicated?‘ I use a variety of platforms – Moodle, Mahara, Youtube, Twitter (but not FaceBook) – and don’t really have any difficulty in engaging students (and staff), but get really frustrated when I see ways of making the user experience better that are obstructed simply because of inertia around the question ‘is there anything we could change about the way we use or configure these tools that would make life easier for our users’. Tools (systems) need to be responsive to how the users interact with them, but how do you get bottom to top (and sideways) buy-in across a big institution with widely disparate users to say ‘we are changing this because it makes life/learning easier for more people’?

    I love it when a tutor comes to me asking about the latest tech toy – invariably once we’ve actually discussed what they were trying to achieve there will be 2-3 other approaches I can suggest that could work better, and because they are already enthusiastic about trying something they’re almost always happy to get stuck in and try new ideas. Of course you still get the occasional person who’ll insist that the only way to do something is on paper – even when everyone else is raving about some collaborative/searchable/accessible digital alternative that has saved them time and effort. I stopped actively trying to convert those individuals a while ago (life is short) but there’s still that niggling little question – is it worth another attempt or do we just let natural selection deal with dinosaurs who wear blinkers?

    Cheers, Gordon.

    • #4960
      Profile photo of Gary Vear
      Gary Vear
      Participant

      It is a strange one. On one hand you do think “why flog a dead horse??” but then it is frustrating if you observe a lesson and you can identify the major problems as well as offer a simple but effective solution.

      My opinion is to offer the support and if it is turned down then just play the waiting game for a senior manager or OFSTED inspector to make the same point and soon enough people will be coming to you for advice and guidance.

      • #5499
        Profile photo of learntribe
        learntribe
        Participant

        Hi Gary,

        I usually start with the low hanging fruit – get the staff who are open to trying something to go and do it, then get them to present in-house on how it’s changed their teaching practice. Usually works wonders as it’s not some technology guy telling them how to teach, but other teachers telling them how much better their teaching is (or how easy their admin load). Sometimes those horses being flogged are perfectly tech savvy – but they’re just stubborn mules who’ve decided black is white and nothing is going to change how they do things short of a new contract – and even then…

  • #5097
    Profile photo of bmetcsi
    bmetcsi
    Participant

    My main question about TEL is does it do what it says,  is it simple to use and does it provide maximum pedagogical effect.  Our institution has just switched to Moodle 2 which hopefully be a little more straightforward to use but echoing some of the comments made here,  I am increasingly finding that multiple  standalone products i.e. Classmarker, Website builders, Socrative, Slideboom etc, are more effective than a single multipurpose VLE.

    • #8052
      Profile photo of Tracey Madden
      Tracey Madden
      Moderator

      How would you institution feel about you ‘going under the radar’ and using tools other than the official sanctioned VLE?

  • #5732
    Profile photo of Julie Tardy
    Julie Tardy
    Participant

    Hi all,

    Coming a bit late in the discussion, i have already read a big part of the comments and it’s nice to see that we all have our “issues” with TEL.

    Firstly, i have to admit that English is not my mother tongue, so you’re all more than welcome to correct me, and it’s a great way for me to enhance my grasp on the language.

    Secondly, more to the point, my particular focus on TEL would be concerning online synchronous assessment. Since most of the papers i got across were about online asynchronous assessment, i have become interested in developping the synchronous side. I guess the tech involved means it’s a bit tougher to get data (just think about the online webinar and the sound issues faced), which makes it a challenge to be solved, or at least studied.

    This focus came during my last position as an E-learning training coordinator in Tanzania, where we trained civil servants and TEL was just a struggle with a bad internet bandwith and sometimes material not adapted… It’s been a great experience, which arose several questions about the use and assessment of TEL in this particular setting and more widely.

  • #5872
    Profile photo of Dominic White
    Dominic White
    Participant

    Hello All 🙂 (joining in a bit late….)

    As has already been expressed above, and is to the fore of many of my peers’ mind’s, it’s the usability and availability, both from a tutor and learner stance, of TEL and if it can be effective in transforming a classroom/learning experience in to a more active and involved one, that is the biggest issue, I think.

    I come from an Adult and Community Learning (ACL) background, and what I have found is that there are not the resources to implement huge changes in the way technology can be used within the classroom, or outside it, for that matter.  While things like BYOD are good in theory, which can allow use of things like Socrative (http://www.socrative.com/ which I’ve not tried myself yet), there is the issue of not all learners having access, either through cost or personal opinion (as people have stated above, “if a pen and paper were good enough when I first went to school….”).  There’s also the issue of ‘will it always work’; as I just blogged (if nothing else, this course is getting me in to the whole MOOC thing and frame of mind (I’ve been asked to consider putting an online PTLLS course on)), I had problems getting Collaborate to work for the webinar that just finished, then the YouTube stream, while allowing my to listening, was oft times a little fuzzy, and not the whole thing.

    I realise that the term I’ve used, ‘usability’, covers a whole gamut of important considerations, not least if the technology is being shoehorned in to a lesson merely because it can, and to meet Ofsted’s tick sheet, rather than for the enhancing that it will allow, however I do feel that ease of access to these technological advances is perhaps one of the most important.  One instance of this can be seen in an accredited class I teach for Supported Learners.  We’re using Google Drive to collect evidence, and record learner progress, and that’s all well and good in the classroom, for just two hours a week, however most of the learners don’t have the wherewithal to jump on to a computer and reflect on what went well or not so well when it occurs to them outside of the classroom, and not always through want of trying.

    I think what I’m trying to say is that perhaps we need to ensure that the use of technology is not erecting yet another barrier to learning for some individuals, I think mirroring the point made by helenmc86461893.  And all this comes from someone committed to getting technology in to all teaching practice 🙂

     

    • #7293
      Profile photo of Tracey Madden
      Tracey Madden
      Moderator

      Delighted you’ve brought up the subject of accessibility in terms of simply getting online in the first place. It’s easy for those of us who work in certain fields and have the tools, reliable internet connection, etc etc to forget just how important this is. Without this, nothing ease will happen!

  • #5947
    Profile photo of elearnscc
    elearnscc
    Participant

    Striking while the iron is still warm following the webinar to jot down a few thoughts. My role is to facilitate and support the use of Technnology for T&L in college.

    Some interesting comments around the number of platforms staff need to become conversant in, and with the proliferation of external tools available, one question is how much can we support and how prescriptive we are. I support our VLE of choice (Moodle), but there are individual teachers making really effective use of  equivalent tools such as Edmodo. They are self taught and are willing to share their skills and experience with peers – which is great as sharing good practice can be very effective.  Needs to be a balance between control/college policy and the creativity of the more tech savvy teachers.

    One of the challenges I face as advisor/trainer is how best to utilise the short time with staff to give them the knowledge and skills to apply to their own teaching. I sometimes feel like I cram too much into certain sessions, but feedback shows that the majority are positive about all the ideas received and feel happy to go away, reflect and pick out the elements they want to apply in their teaching.

    I am going to keep it simple for this course, and hover around the ocTEL site forums, Twitter and probably scoop.it to collate all the great ideas and links there are bound to be. Hope to ‘keep up’, I think the key for me will be to put some time aside each week!

    ClareS

     

  • #5998
    Profile photo of stuartryan9
    stuartryan9
    Participant

    Firstly I think you have a bit of incompatibility with IE 9, i’ve been trying to post as part of the discussion and load the page up in a new browser which has now worked.

    My questions are about how technology in learning create behavior change, how can technology be used to sustain the behavior change and how can I exploit the technology to really multiply the affect through exploiting technology.

  • #6413
    Profile photo of Tom Franklin
    Tom Franklin
    Participant

    I suppose my question is why is there so much focus on using technology effectively?

    Perhaps a little explanation is needed to make this clear. As some one once said its “education, education, education” or as someone else once didn’t quite say “its all about the learning, stupid”.

    For me, too often things start from the technology with questions like
    ” How can we get the staff to use the VLE?”
    ” Why won’t the staff blog?” or use a wiki, or podcast or whatever the latest fad might be.

    I think instead it should start from “what are the problems the students have with their learning?” followed by “What interventions (or changes) might help?” then we have a motivation for using technology, and people might be more engaged.

    So perhaps the question really is “How do we move the focus more onto the learning?”

    • #6878
      Profile photo of Gary Vear
      Gary Vear
      Participant

      I think you make a very valid point here Tom.

      In my experience, I certainly found that the message from college management was ‘use this new technology!’ with no reasoning as to why and/or its benefits to the learners.

      I think it is often forgotten that every subject is different, so what works for maths may not work for mechanics etc.

      • #6991
        Profile photo of Tom Franklin
        Tom Franklin
        Participant

        Indeed, and subjects like music, maths and chemistry have particular problems, as we don’t even have good ways of entering those on a computer.

        I remember one project at an FE college doing outreach work in basic skills, and everything in maths was sent via the computer, but students faxed their work in as doing equations on a computer is so difficult (unless you know latex)

  • #7037
    Profile photo of podling
    podling
    Participant

    For me, I use technology to enhance my learning, not to replace the traditional formats. My learning style is very much kinesthetic and I am an Activist-Pragmatist with very much emphasis on the Activist (if I push this button, what will it do?)! When I am teaching and designing learning materials, I try to think about this and the students I may have who might not want to sit and listen to me droning on for half an hour and so mix in activities to get them thinking for themselves. For me, technology has always been there to fulfill this function, and, with more of our content hosted online, it’s become an integral part of my teaching role.

     

    So this course for me is about enhancing my own learning experience and trying something new.

  • #7121
    Profile photo of podling
    podling
    Participant

    We’re just investigating using Audience Response Systems (ARS) in our teaching and I get the point about why use something else, with all the necessary training and the element of risk, when what we use currently is doing the job? For me, reflectively, it’s about currency, not novelty; our learners come to us with increasing knowledge (but not necessarily useful application) of new technologies (VR etc) and using these technologies not only enhances our own skills, thus stopping us going the way of the dinosaur, but engages our users and teaches them useful application of technology! So, we remain relevant in the digital age and enable our users to move forward with a host of transferable skills.

    • #7946
      Profile photo of guy saward
      guy saward
      Participant

      Interesting that our institution has made big investment in ARS/EVS. I remember putting up a “who wants to be a millionaire” style slide 10 years ago as a prompt for small student discussion group, and used strictly come dancing style answer cards for paired discussions. Just goes to show its the acitivity not the tech that counts – though EVS sure makes it easier!

  • #7200
    Profile photo of arkmba
    arkmba
    Participant

    <h3 id=”yui_3_7_2_1_1398933074808_8413″ style=”margin: 5px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; outline: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: #555555; line-height: 22.1px; font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 20px; vertical-align: baseline;”>Please reflect on your work experience and ambitions for developing your teaching.</h3>
    As a recently resigned ‘academic’ – I make serial forays into teaching interspaced with NEETNOB (Not in Employment Education or Training Nor On Benefit) breaks – I was interested by the number of posts by participants who are seemingly ‘down’ on academics per se for their lack of engagement with TEL.  My relationships with IT Dept staff, Learning Technologists, etc. have invariably been very positive but I think the attitudes of some of these folk are just as much at fault in reverse.

    The mention of flipped classrooms http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/ (why doesn’t the link button work?)  reminded me of the ‘pracademic’ label – as a mid life / (third) career changer despite having taught at six UK HEIs (Pre and Post 92s) I’ve always felt awkward about being labelled an ‘academic’ – no PhD, no published research track record – prefer to see myself as a teacher rather than a researcher manqué.  But I’ve felt equally strange about the tag of ‘(former) practitioner from ‘industry’.    Within HEIs I’ve invariably felt extremely disappointed, critical, frustrated by the (TEL) induction I’ve been given; this includes that within three mandatory HEA accredited,  inservice PGCHE/ MALT programmes.   Surely IT folk bear some responsibility for this?

    Being frequently told I’ve come from ‘the real world’ into HE (I’ve taught briefly in secondary, TEFL and FE as well) also seems odd – Unis are in some senses increasingly just other largish orgs – but I admit it has surprised me how stuff I’ve regarded as ‘given’ is ‘new’ in many teaching environments.   For example, I was using an elementary Intranet / email system (EMCON) – for track and trace, auditing, etc. – in the freight industry in the eighties.

    For a while now I’ve been intrigued by ‘Threshold concepts’ – see  http://exchange.ac.uk/events/4th-biennial-threshold-concepts-conference-and-6th-nairtl-annual-conference.html ; I’d be interested if anyone on the course has developed ideas about TEL Threshold Concepts (helping to improve pedagogy.)

    (Would like to written more but gotta go – use a public library computer facility – none of my own – time up!)

  • #8938
    Profile photo of guy saward
    guy saward
    Participant

    🙂

    Was interesting at a session on data collection this week, that the general feeling was that personal/qualitative was the way to go – big/data/analytics might be fine for alpha/beta testing of e-commerce or (slightly flakey) book/friend recommendations but its not so good for learning design.

    • #9263
      Profile photo of Tom Franklin
      Tom Franklin
      Participant

      I think that there is considerable scope for analytics to support learning in a variety of ways. In particular, I think that it can be used to support student success through early diagnosis of issues (preferably before they become problems). Using analytic techniques it may be possible to spot correlations between behaviours and later problems. There is a huge amount of data available, which when appropriately combined can be useful. A few of the sources that might be worth considering would include VLE – when accessed (time of day, when in module), activities engaged in, frequency of use, submission time for course work (how close to deadline or late), grades, comments? Library data – number of resources (books, journal articles etc accessed), visits to library; attendance data etc etc.

      combining this data, using Bayesian stats and looking for patterns can then be used to inform both students themselves and staff of patterns that do not seem to correlate with success and suggest ways of improving their learning.

      This is already happening eg with Blackboard analytics or the Signal project at Purdue University.

  • #9181
    Profile photo of julescarrie
    julescarrie
    Participant

    Hi Here goes my first post hope it works 🙂

    I am really interested in how TEL can help to engage and motivate students. As a Music teacher using TEL might not be the first thing that people would assume that we would do. Admittedly there is a lot of practical work within our subject, learning how to play our instruments etc. However I have found that in elements such a s composition more and more is done through the use of technology – you only have to listen to bands who have recorded their last CD entirely on their iPads to see the huge advances being made in how technology is advancing.

    There are so many apps and sites dedicated to this that as a Music teacher I am blown away by the opportunities for learning and creativity that our students can engage with and undoubtedly students are experimenting with this technology to produce fantastic results. However, a little voice in the back of my head is also still wondering if we are having a negative impact in the long run on their creativity-is technology making things too easy for them now that they don’t need to think about things in a way that they did before “they had an app for that”.

     

    Also I have to agree with earlier comments too that unfortunately a lot depends on where you are and what resources you have and the technical support that you have in your establishment/local authority. I want to embrace TEL and really see what it can do to inspire and motivate my pupils but will we always be at the mercy of the IT depts and what they deem to be acceptable?

  • #10203
    Profile photo of marcusod
    marcusod
    Participant

    Hi all

    I’m a journalism academic in a regional university just outside Sydney Australia but I’m currently seconded to the central learning teaching and curriculum unit to work on a university wide curriculum transformation project. I’m passionate about technology and multimedia in education because I believe it provides opportunities for exciting, active learning experiences and because I believe one of the obligations of any university is to produce digitally literate graduates. We get students to do essays for several reasons: we want them to engage with particular ideas, we want them to learn skills in critical analysis and argument and we want them to learn to write and communicate. Same with technologically enhanced tasks, the process and use of the technology is important: digital literacies are not just a by product of using technologies in the classroom in the same way that critical analysis is not just a by product of essay writing.  They are important pedagogical ends in their own right. These processes whether they are technological or traditional need to be attended to just as much as the disciplinary knowledge. So while we always need to choose the right technology for the right task technology is not JUST a tool it is integral to a complete experience of 21c learning of 21c literacies.

    I’m looking forward to some lively discussions and sharing

    Marcus

  • #10423
    Profile photo of rosemary.eaton
    rosemary.eaton
    Participant

    Hi all

    Starting out a bit late on this.  Have scanned through some of the earlier posts and found it interesting.

    I have always thought of myself as someone who is quite comfortable with technology but I find the world of social media completely mystifying.  I have a personal Facebook account which I use a little for interaction with friends and a LinkedIn profile that I want to develop from a professional standpoint.  I do have a Twitter account but don’t use it as I don’t really see the point.

    I have two twenty something year old boys who are constantly online in some way or another and see students in the classroom also online.  I feel that I need to understand more about this and how I can use it.

    Someone posted above saying just ask a question in your class via Twitter by setting up a hashtag and see what happens after 10 minutes – I wouldn’t know where to start with this.

    I have seen criticisms above about how staff not ‘engaging’ with technology.  I use Moodle more than many within my circle of colleagues but this is still limited – besides posting handouts I do use forums, particularly for revision discussions, and also quizzes but I know there is a lot more that I could do.  I have attempted to encourage students to use Google Docs for assignment collaboration but found them to be resistant to the idea.

    I agree with earlier comments about how does the use of technology enhance what we are doing and the debate about whether doing things like marking through Moodle is quicker/better and if not why are we doing it.

    I am keen to learn more about the technologies that are available at no (or little cost) and ideas on how to integrate these in my teaching practice.

     

    • #10511
      Profile photo of Tom Franklin
      Tom Franklin
      Participant

      Rosemary,

      you make some interesting points here. For me the critical question is always “what is the problem you are trying to solve?” or something like that. In other words, I wouldn’t start with the technology. Is there an area in your practice that you would like to improve (this could be anything from a conceptual difficulty that students have with an idea to getting them to take account of feedback you provide, to getting more students to ask questions in class and beyond). You can then think about how you might want to work on that area, and it may be that the use of technology can help. Then it is a matter of finding the appropriate technology to achieve what you want.

      My belief, from having watched a lot of technologies being introduced and then used badly or not at all is that starting with the technology is hugely problematic. The nearest to an exception to this I have seen is online assessment and marking. Many lecturers and teachers, and many students want better (whatever we might mean by that) feedback (or move to feedforward), and there are tools in many VLEs and stand alone tools like Grademark and Peermark that can be used for this.

  • #11239
    Profile photo of jason.williams
    jason.williams
    Participant

    Late to the party… for me the main areas i’m concerned with are:

    the friction between the ‘real world’ tech advances and the pace of change, pitted against the relatively slow beast that is Education

    the problems of suggesting and then supporting new technologies from a central unit perspective.

    The friction between what students expect, what Education thinks they expect, what is made available, and what is really best for teaching/learning.

    I’m also fascinated with the problematic nature of changing tech and its cost.  What i mean is that for years the black board was a black thing you wrote on with chalk, there was no blackboard v2.1 – nowadays tech seems to have 1 or 2 year’s worth maybe 3 at a push then the expensive kit/software needs updating.  This is clearly as much a game for consumerism/companies as it is about advancements… i guess if there was no profit in advancement then companies wouldn’t invest in it.  How do we keep up? just a few thoughts that cloud my head on this subject.

  • #12869
    Profile photo of Jennifer Englund
    Jennifer Englund
    Participant

    Hi all,

    Finishing up this week just in time for the next one…

    The big question that prompted me to participate in this course is the same one I asked when I started my M.Ed. program in the fall: What does high-quality online learning look like, and how can I do it? I’m interested to see how this course will be structured, who will participate, and what kinds of conversations will take place. I’m also looking forward to hearing stories of educators and fellow technologists about how online learning looks from their perspective. How does the pedagogical approach for medicine differ from biology, for example? For rhetoric?

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m also in an academic technologist role in a central academic technology unit. We help faculty use and navigate our institution’s LMS (Moodle) and tools that integrate with it such as Voice Thread.

     

  • #14060
    Profile photo of dustinaced
    dustinaced
    Participant

    I’m a bit late in joining but I’ll start here since I think it’ll let me answer a few questions that can help guide my participation in this MOOC of sorts.

    What matters to me?

    What matters most to be about TEL is that the technology should enhance, facilitate and quicken learning wherever possible. By this I mean that technology used for learning/teaching should facilitate how lecturers/teachers/tutors convey and create information with learners in an efficient, and if possibly, instantaneous manner.

    What issues concern me?

    Issues that concern me are at least for now twofold. First, it is ensuring that learners who come equipped with technology (e.g. with touch devices and laptops) are not viewed by teachers as being already ‘in the know’ and tech savvy individuals. From my experience of teaching and learning, I have found that although today’s learners may have these devices this does not meant that they are fully able to do ‘simple’ things as the following:

    • setting up their university e-mail account
    • communicating via e-mail (e.g. reading, responding appropriately, sorting through and prioritizing messages)
    • participating in an online discussion or forum (e.g. such as those in Moodle or on a WordPress-type site)
    • sharing documents and collaborate on documents in a simultaneous, dynamic manner (e.g. working on a project using Google Drive/Docs with others).

    I say ‘simple’ because these are simple to me. I say ‘simple’ because sometimes some colleagues can assume that ownership of a device correlates directly to how tech savvy someone is. To sum up, bridging the gap of understanding between what teachers assume learners can do and what learners can really do concerns me.

    Another issue that concerns me is the value of TEL in higher ed, especially within my own field of teaching English for academic purposes. I feel that some of my peers across the field hold views that effectively stunt the uptake of the use of TEL in and outside the classroom. There are concerns that TEL takes out the personal side of teaching and a related view is that TEL allegedly takes the teacher out of the equation. 

    Perhaps TEL will cause the teacher to become more of a facilitator of information and less of a lecturer or director. I feel that this is, in fact, a good step in the right direction. I believe this because I believe that learners (especially those studying English as a foreign language and/or for academic purposes of studying at an English-medium university) require autonomy and greater responsibility with their learning. TEL can assist such learners in a variety of positive ways that can allow them to progress quickly with their English language studies both inside and outside the classroom – if teachers are willing to support this process without overly skeptical judgement or prejudice. Indeed, TEL can help teachers focus on learning and teaching rather while helping with the little things such as the administrative tasks that can take up a lot of time in themselves.

    My previous experiences with TEL

    As a student I remember using Blackboard as a part of learning Spanish as a foreign language. What we had to do was watch videos on the computer via Blackboard and then answer a series of multiple choice questions after each video segment. We had to do this a two or three times weekly (these times formed part of the ‘lab’ part of learning a language – going to the language lab and studying what was given to us). I found it engaging, interesting and worthwhile since it gave me both practice and feedback as a learner of another language.

    Later as a PG student at one British university I also had a chance to experience Moodle, but unfortunately I experienced the ‘scroll of death’ and the wasteland of repository. There was no interaction in terms of teaching and learning at all, but there were a lot of documents uploaded!

    As a teacher I had initially made use of videos – extracting language from TV shows and showing students shorter or longer clips to a similar effect. Later when Google Docs came along I experimented with its capabilities, and I found them very useful and worthwhile for a number of reasons. Its collaborative aspects especially interest me as I have seen how learners and staff can respond with excitement to the potential uses that it offers.

    Exchanging information

    I try to keep abreast of information by subscribing to various listservs. I also tweet in a professional capacity and whenever I attend events I try to sum up the key thoughts in tweets that others might find useful. For my creative side I use Instagram because its purpose, within its name, is to catch a moment and display it.

  • #1682
    Profile photo of craig_wakefield
    craig_wakefield
    Participant

    I completely agree neobadwolfone, there must be a focus on benefits to learners/teachers. I recently read some work concerning shifting professional development focus from traditional TEL workshops (e.g. how to use ***), rebranded to the viewpoint of focussing on a problem in FE/HE (e.g. large class sizes, limited attendance, work based learners) with TEL being used to demonstrate a solution. I’m going to use this going forward in my own workshop delivery

     

    Big Question in TEL: How do we engage all academic staff in TEL?

     

     

     

     

  • #1967
    Profile photo of neobadwolfone
    neobadwolfone
    Participant

    I wonder when we talk about engaging all academic staff in TEL is it fair sometimes to take it for granted that young and / or newly qualified teachers will often think of TEL as more of an expectation than teachers who started teaching pre-Internet & who can have reservations about it.
    This is of course not to generalise – I have worked with some expert practitioners who started teaching ages before the Internet & committed to training to remain up-to-date, but I was thinking more about where the challenges lie in not just engaging, but supporting those who may feel uncomfortable or nervous about TEL – those who ‘don’t know what they don’t know’.

  • #3254
    Profile photo of Ghizzi_d
    Ghizzi_d
    Participant

    Hi all,

    great to see so much lively discussion already!

    Please reflect on your work experience and ambitions for developing your teaching.

    Can you identify the most important question about TEL that matters to you?
    Hm. I’m finding it very hard to pin down to one, there are so many after all.

    I think how to generate an environment where collaborative, open, effective and fundamentally creative thinking can develop open, universally accessible learning/ teaching experiences which can be hosted, developed, critically evaluated and shared freely globally.

    So we can all teach each other, learn from each other, challenge each other, individually or collaboratively, at our own pace in our own preferred manner.

    Obviously this is an ideal aim, but I do like to set a challenge!

    I have been a student in HE 2005-09 and experienced a confused and patchy use of technology in education. Blackboard very underused etc
    A teacher in FE biosciences 2011-2013 by this point use was a little better. Moodle / Mahara also not used as well as could be, take up by both staff and students patchy
    An E-learning advisor Faculty Health and Life Sciences in HE 2013-2014 and am about to start working on FutureLearn MOOCs in HE in the next month. Blackboard / Adobe Presenter / iSpring, better use of Blackboard more widely, blended courses starting more widely, but still very uneven uptake across staff and students. However more institutional minimum standards, course elements design templates to improve navigation for all etc. Beginnings of more holistic design thinking on high.

    @neobadwolfone – hehe I narrowly avoided a similar Dr Who handle myself from mischievous daughter fan.

    I wonder when we talk about engaging all academic staff in TEL is it fair sometimes to take it for granted that young and / or newly qualified teachers will often think of TEL as more of an expectation than teachers who started teaching pre-Internet & who can have reservations about it.
    This is of course not to generalise – I have worked with some expert practitioners who started teaching ages before the Internet & committed to training to remain up-to-date, but I was thinking more about where the challenges lie in not just engaging, but supporting those who may feel uncomfortable or nervous about TEL – those who ‘don’t know what they don’t know’.’

    I only completed my teacher training PCET PGCE in 2011 and one of the five modules was TEL, all of us had to develop some use and application of TEL for our placement course delivery and reflect and report on the implementation and outcomes, having surveyed our students and mentors. I blended mine in with my final professional practice research into developing ‘Scientific Literacy within core course content and practices’.

    Across the PGCE course students, there was an enormously diverse range of content types, approaches and foci. There was also an enormous range of ability and facility with the use of the technology, the relation to pedagogical practice and standards of implementation. So even amongst young/ newly qualified teachers there were many who found the concept of using , applying technology for teaching and learning quite alien, despite having, mostly, just come straight through an education system with increased use of such.

    I don’t know if other recent graduate teachers have experienced a similarly disparate range of interest, ability and use of TEL approaches to teaching in their colleagues.

    Cheers Ghizzi

    P.S. apologies to all for coloured text, but I have Irlen syndrome and find B & W extremely uncomfortable to read.

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Profile photo of Ghizzi_d Ghizzi_d.
    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Profile photo of Martin Hawksey Martin Hawksey. Reason: style fix
  • #3708
    Profile photo of guy saward
    guy saward
    Participant

    The most important question about TEL that matters to you?

    Apart from/following on from Craig’s  “How do we engage all academic staff in TEL?” and Victoria’s “How to engage ALL my learners” my big question is how do we do this (engage people) when the technology keeps changing all the time.

    The why we do TEL is taken as a given (providing people with better access to education) but is something that’s easy to forget when wrestling with the nuts and bolts of the tools.

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Profile photo of James Kerr James Kerr. Reason: removed stray HTML tags
  • #3734
    Profile photo of neobadwolfone
    neobadwolfone
    Participant

    Absolutely agree Guy – I blogged about this a couple of years ago http://neobadwolfone1.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/water-water-everywhere-and-all-boards.html?spref=Tw back when I did blog about stuff. I think one of the reasons why I gave up on the blogging was partly to do with this constant change and as soon as you get your head around one area it becomes redundant as it gets replaced by the next great new thing.
    And also, as the others have been mentioning – time is very precious.
    J

  • #4651
    Profile photo of Tom Franklin
    Tom Franklin
    Participant

    And yet, these people will engage with their subject although that is changing all the time. A bit flippant I know, but at least in HE it highlights that many lecturers will fully engage with their research but less so with their teaching (a bit of a caricature I know).

    More to the point though, if we start with the learning rather than the technology then i) it doesnt matter if the technology is not the latest if it is serving the learning ii) there is a good reason to engage because it is about the learning.

  • #3757
    Profile photo of ed3d (Peter)
    ed3d (Peter)
    Participant

    The big problem with TEL is that there is almost always a cheaper or simpler way to do it using traditional approaches (at least f2f) that have proven “good enough” in the past. I guess my BIG question would therefore be “How do you create a sustainable culture of sharing” to amortize “costs”? Precisely what is “shared” I leave to your imagination and, yes, I know about OERs.

  • #7017
    Profile photo of Tracey Madden
    Tracey Madden
    Moderator

    That’s a point I expect many can relate to, after all, why should I use a new tool (with all the time needed for training and adaptation) if the existing tool does the job? It’s a fair question and a responsible question for any manager to ask.

    One possible answer is in the nature of risk. The existing tool may do the job… today. However, what about the future? Will this current tool still do the job then? How quickly can we respond to changing times? If quickly, then we we can wait until the change is taking place to adopt new tools, but if not we may need to retool in anticipation of change.

  • #3859
    Profile photo of Gary Vear
    Gary Vear
    Participant

    Hello everybody,

    Some really interesting posts already made with a lot of people sharing my viewpoints regarding technology.

    Can you identify the most important question about TEL that matters to you?

    The thing that matters most to me is engaging all learners and staff with the use of learning technologies. I have experience in actively utilising and being forced to utilise a variety of platforms and resources. In all honesty, if I don’t find a piece of software engaging, I struggle to get my learners engaged with it.

    I think tech resources such as Prezi and Powtoon can be extremly useful to engage students with theoretical discussion.

    VLE’s suchas Moodle/Blackboard can be good, however there has to be the right level of training for all staff to make the best use of them and for students to see the necessity to use them.

    Turnitin is a fantastic tool, but it can be difficult to see the benefits of using it in FE (especially when delivering BTEC courses) to me it is much more suited to HE.

    In all honesty, I think ProMonitor is flogging a dead horse. I found I had far greater success holding tutorials with learners and keeping hadwritten notes for them to reflect on. It made the conversation far more fluid.

    Reflecting upon my previous experience, I feel it is a case of too many platforms doing slightly different things. This can lead to confusion on the part of both staff/student. I think Learning Technologies can be great and it is important for teachers/trainers to be willing to experiment with new things. to add my own quote to the growing collection Beware of those that claim to have twenty years experience, when in truth they have one years experience repeated twenty times

    Apologies if I seem to have waffled on a bit. Please do respond if you have any questions or arguments to any of my points as I am always happy to engage in debate and look forward to doing so over the coming weeks.

    Gary 🙂

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Profile photo of Gary Vear Gary Vear.
  • #6975
    Profile photo of Tracey Madden
    Tracey Madden
    Moderator

    Dear Gary,

    That’s an interesting point about Turnitin. I agree it has to be used where appropriate but why do you think it is generally not useful in FE (rather than just not for your courses)?

    Tracey

  • #4656
    Profile photo of Belinda
    Belinda
    Participant

    There are some really interesting posts here!

    My (quite) big question is … ‘ How can I evaluate whether technology truly enhances learning?’

    We may use novel approaches, or new ‘kit’ but does it just serve to entertain, rather than lead to ‘deep-learning’?

    From my experience as online learner (becoming a bit of a Moocista!), a part-time Adult Education tutor, and a Full-time Learning Technologist, I believe that technology used appropriately can not only enhance but Transform learning…. but just how do I evaluate this?

    ….. And also……

    My other (fairly) big question is.. ‘Why do we still use the phrase TECHNOLOGY enhanced learning….. Wouldn’t our students, whether primary or post-graduate, just call it Learning these days……..?

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Profile photo of Martin Hawksey Martin Hawksey. Reason: style fix
  • #6953
    Profile photo of Tracey Madden
    Tracey Madden
    Moderator

    Do students differentiate between TEL and learning by means that are not technology assisted, such as reading a book or listening to someone…? That’s a very good question. And whether it’s yes or no is interesting too!

  • #6979
    Profile photo of Gary Vear
    Gary Vear
    Participant

    Good question Tracey….

    I think the answer is yes, they do differentiate, but not necessarily in a positive way.

    I have taught learners that refused to read anything that was in a book, the same information on a website however was never a problem. The flipside to that is I have had learners that despised using computers and would much rather try to learn through a practical medium.

    Learners differentiate between various learning styles, however I think often they do not know how they learn best. The bog standard learning styles quiz is wrong 9 times out of 10 and this is where we get friction from learners when it comes to technology.

  • #6995
    Profile photo of Tracey Madden
    Tracey Madden
    Moderator

    There’s a lot of interesting research on the notion of learning styles which may shed light on why such quizzes don’t help.

    Perhaps the knowledge that they may not know how they are going to learn something but they can and they will is the most useful message: if reading a book doesn’t help maybe talking to you will, or watching a video… I know ‘learning how to learn’ sounds clichéd but it truly is something we all have to grasp (as learners) along with the basic facts of our discipline. Whether we given time to teach it though….

  • #7011
    Profile photo of Gary Vear
    Gary Vear
    Participant

    Like most people I can only reflect on my own experience at the institution I worked for, so my issues may not be universal..

    For me the biggest factor was that we had a college policy of giving individual feedback to students after a written submission. This is so we could go through the content, structure and show how it maps across to the grading criteria. Whilst this is not a problem in itself, we worked with a temperamental network that would often crash when there was a lot of traffic. This would mean that I would often have to print out a copy of the work in prep for the feedback. To me this defied the point of on-line submission.

    It was also the issues with the grading as it was only numerical based. This made it difficult to award PMD grades consistently across departments.

    I also found that a lot of students did not engage with the idea of reading feedback on the screen as they would often not understand the references etc. This lead to further time being taken to further explain feedback.

    I do like turnitin as a programme and when I taught in HE it was a fantastic tool. On reflection I think the learners are more independent and mature enough to circumnavigate the features of the programme. The contact time issue is also different as I was able to utilise turnitin to mark an essay, collate feedback and send it back to the student. If they wanted to see me they could make an appointment.

    With the time constraints in FE, turnitin seemed to hinder rather than help due to contradicting policies.

  • #7898
    Profile photo of guy saward
    guy saward
    Participant

    Dual professionals – subject and teaching&learning! And I think teaching(&learning?) does change independently of tech, but I think for many it does grab the focus. Student-centred, problem based learning existed before infinite access to online resources, but they sure help. So would agree with you, its all about the learning – but sometimes the changes in tech hinder more than they help.

  • #8373
    Profile photo of ed3d (Peter)
    ed3d (Peter)
    Participant

    A few additional random thoughts:

    • f2f is not without costs (in terms of time, effort, physical space) either, it’s just that we tend to take them for granted until they become a constraint in terms of scheduling or other resources.
    • Trying to identify the low-hanging fruit is another strategy which, to be fair, is mainstream in TEL practice but largely outsourced to enterprising social media and apps developers.
    • I have a feeling that mainstream textbook publishers are also part of this scenario though rarely considered in MOOCs like this for understandable reasons.
    • I do wonder why there are so few MOOCs or, indeed, e-conferences being run by education groups in learned societies (or maybe that’s just my area); it would be another route to reinforcing the potential of TEL. Maybe that’s an area ALT might want to explore?
  • #8875
    Profile photo of James Kerr
    James Kerr
    Keymaster

    Culling topics from 131 comments (as of May 2 9:00 a.m. EDT) seemed like a fun Friday morning exercise. I probably define ‘fun’ differently than most…

    1. The most-repeated topic was how TEL truly enhances learning, with emphasis on the learning and outcomes, not about the tools – 13 hits
    2. In close second was increasing faculty/academic staff/instructor engagement and adoption, including fully integrating technology and learning and building a culture of sharing – 12 hits
    3. Increasing student/learner engagement was third with 9 hits.

    Other topics:

    • Specific questions about platforms and tools – 8 hits
    • Resource usability and design – 8 hits
    • MOOCs – 3 hits
    • Getting or increasing administration support and understanding – 2 hits
    • Increasing access to learning – 2 hits
    • Accessibility and universal design – 2 hits
    • Professional/career concerns, staying relevant, training – 2 hits
    • Assessment – 1 hit
    • Maturity of TEL – 1 hit

    There were also some lively posts about the terminology of TEL, not only with the multitudinous acronyms, but clarifications on definitions. There are also international variations on acronyms that add to the challenge; do we need a glossary?

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Profile photo of James Kerr James Kerr.
  • #8893
    Profile photo of guy saward
    guy saward
    Participant

    Culling by hand or tool?

    In my head, a(n imaginary) quick spider or RSS download followed by text analysis tool = job done but probably without any learning 😉

  • #8916
    Profile photo of James Kerr
    James Kerr
    Keymaster

    Culled by hand, my friend. How else to really get a read of the pulse of ocTEL? 🙂

  • #9169
    Profile photo of r.heaney
    r.heaney
    Moderator

    Thanks for doing this list Jim

    In relation to topic 2, if anyone would like to join the group Enthusing staff to engage with TEL maybe we can take this important topic a bit further?

    Rose (in her second persona)

  • #9382
    Profile photo of Belinda
    Belinda
    Participant

    Hi Elise. Really interesting to read your post – I am in total agreement with all your “big and little” concerns. For me, you’ve hit the nail on the head 🙂
    Thanks for posting. Hope you’re enjoying ocTEL14!

  • #10517
    Profile photo of vanessa.todd
    vanessa.todd
    Participant

    I work at an English Language Centre in at a university Sydney, Australia.Our courses use a blended learning model, with class work extended through online activities. I’ve also investigated many other websites on academic skills and academic English, in order to recommend good self-learning tools for my students.I also recently completed my first MOOC. I’m not a techno-phile; my interest is in how technology can help me achieve specific goals (see Craig’s post, April 28. So I have two questions: what is it like to learn online? (as mentioned above, I’ve already had one experience, and I’m really happy that ocTEL is providing such a contrast).Secondly, what does this teach me about designing online learning activities for others? (Which activities might be helpful for achieving which learning outcomes?).

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Profile photo of Elizabeth Charles Elizabeth Charles. Reason: removing visible coding
  • #10520
    Profile photo of vanessa.todd
    vanessa.todd
    Participant

     

     

  • #11041
    Profile photo of clarethomsonqub
    clarethomsonqub
    Participant

    I have been skimming the posts in this large discussion over the last week and largely agree/empathise with them. However, just before I move onto week 1, my big question is “even though we have mostly moved towards the term ‘technology enhanced learning (TEL)’ will we ever be able to convince others that ‘elearning’ is no different to ‘learning’?”. My job title is elearning developer but I am continually frustrated that staff see what I do and advise doing regarding technology as separate entity to their learning and teaching. It is still face to face teaching versus materials delivered online, without a pedagogical connection between the two. Maybe my little question therefore is “should I get a new job title?”.
    In medical education we have a large amount of online learning materials for the students which is in the main standalone and requires self direction on the part of the student. Everyone calls it blended learning. However, my manager and I disagree on the grounds that the teaching staff don’t make meaningful connections between the online material and their live content. We doubt that all the teachers even have a full knowledge of what is available online for their course and therefore don’t know what connections are possible. We are working on a pilot to get a truly blended course in one topic and hopefully turn this into a case study to try selling more TEL and less elearning. I think participating in MOOCs has assisted me lots in how we go about this project. To help deal with the barriers of content expert time constraints, lack of trust in technology, taking risks, selling it to co-teachers, lack of funds and resources etc.

    (I think I read over the week that there is an argument about removing the T from TEL in the same vein as removing the e from eLearning – note to me: find that post)

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