• WordPress blogs aren’t as tricky as you might think. You can get a wordpress blog with no knowledge of programming or databases.
    Wordpress will host you blog so you don’t have to. However, it is when you do host your own blog that things really become interesting. I have just linked my twitter account to my blog feed so that whenever I post an entry in my blog, it automatically sends an update to my Twitter followers too. Thus I can reach twice the audience in the same time as it takes me to write a post.
    I have neglected my blog for too long, so I think this course has helped me to find and make the time (I am blogging at 9.30pm…!) to post new things and write new blog posts.

  • I’ve just joined the 2014 (second) run of the Open Course on Technology Enhanced Learning that is being supported by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT). You should expect to see the hashtag #ocTEL in my posts on this site until mid June, but hopefully that will be compensated for by an increase in activity and reflection.

    Amongst the Week 0 (induction) activities we are asked to

    reflect on your work experience and ambitions for developing your teaching


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

    Here is my answer.

    I consider myself an early-adopter of technology enhanced learning (TEL) technologies and I am always trying new things: but my weakness is that I am very bad at evaluating the technologies that I use. I tend to favour those technologies that make my life easier as a teacher but am aware that these may not be the ones that are most effective for my learners.

    I have yet to find an effective way of reflecting on and evaluating the technologies that I use. As a lecturer rather than a learning technologist, I suppose that I give myself the excuse that I’m too busy creating course activities, delivering courses, assessing students and giving feedback, to be reflective during the module delivery. The student evaluation systems we have at my institution are not tuned to give me feedback on our uses of the technology, and the only real metrics we can reliably gather are the statistics around module outcomes. Frustratingly, in the off-time between sessions, more and more time seems to be spent with the administration processes around annual module and programme monitoring, module and programme maintenance, timetabling etc. So time and space to reflect on even this limited data is inadequate.

    I would reinforce Sue Beckingham’s question

    How do we get to a point where staff development is something time planned in and achievements are recognised?

    by stating that my institution’s processes do not provide support for this either in its somewhat mythical staff loading models nor in its professional development processes.

    Like most institutions, we are being driven by student experience so the little questions I have are around effective feedback and assessment methods, particularly in large group contexts, student engagement, and metrics.

  • What matters to me in TEL?
    The notion of old wine in new bottles…  Seems a little strange to be starting of on a TEL based blog saying that I am worried about the adoption of technology!  My thoughts are this, sometimes technology can ‘take over’ where actually it isn’t appropriate.  I took over a training department from a colleague (and friend) and he explained ‘every thing is sorted Andy I’ve now got every session on powerpoint’.  My heart sank to say the least.  It’s getting the balance between technology and pedagogy.  Who was ‘everything on powerpoint’ suiting ?  I suspect much more about the trainer and the least about the learning.  Having said that the last thing I would want to be doing is stifling innovation.  A bit like when the ipad first came out and thinking ‘what’s the point of that?’ but then seeing the innovation that is happening now.  I love the idea of seeing new technology and thinking ‘wow what can I do with that?’ but conversely it’s also about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater…
    A bit about me:
    My early teaching was very much student centred, working through issues and learning in class, typically on longer training courses.  I was around when powerpoint started to emerge and initially I wasn’t that happy with it.   later started to use it in different ways, mostly about images and overlaying photos onto whiteboards to expand on learning (lot of my teaching at that time was about roads, vehicles, mechanics and so on.   Later did some good stuff with smartboards (really interesting stuff about building up witness accounts using photos and then composite images)
    Once I got into HE much of my TEL was about web searching, online resources etc.  Laterly having become involved with a project through HEDG I started looking at the way different people used technology and in particular the widening gap between those who do and those who don’t – look here (http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/48783639/HEDG%20DL)
    Through my current project I am really getting into the way people use technology, particularly the notion of the flipped classroom.
    One of the things I am coming to is this… the idea that technology supports teaching is now only partially true, I would argue now that technology forms part of the pedagogies.  It’s role has gone from being subservient if you like to part of the mainstream.
    I still find that I learn much the same way as I always did, in that I reflect, take time, understanding as a longer process and that I am by nature a social learner.  I value very much the discussion and the deeper learning that this brings with it.  Tech tends to make this easier, more portable or accessible, what I do wonder. really wonder though, is in learning, what is important?