Monthly Archives: March 2009

Wk 8 A2: An overview of learning design

Defining a learning activity
The model of what is a learning activity produced by Beetham is simmialr to the activity theory produced by Engeström, in which the learnets relationship with others and the learning environment leads to to learning objectives.  Beetham suggests if there are no other significant limiting factors, the learning objective will be the starting point for activity design.  In my own situation, these objectives are sometimes decided at an initial meeting with my contact at a college, however there are occations where the objectives are not as clear cut, and are decided in the lesson throughh discussion with myself and the learners

Designing with digital resources and technologies

Beetham highlights a number of benefits which can be provided by the use of digital resources thes include, anytime access to materials, a greater fleaxability in format of resources and the opportunity for learners to create and collaborate on their own materials.  I have found that these opportunities can be seen as barriers to teaching staff who see this as a threat to their control, partly becuase they are concerned that the learners know more about the technology than they do and partly because it leads to independant learning with less of a reliance on the teacher.

Beetham goes on to mention the relationship learners have with their personal technologies, in which these technologies form an important bridge for learning however some may feel they don’t want to usethese techonolgies for learning.  This is reflected in some of the key findings of recent JISC research into the learners experience (

  • Learners expect to be able to personalise institutional technologies and to use personal technologies in the institutional environment. This is especially true of disabled learners, who may be excluded if they cannot use personal tools.
  • learners display enormous differences in their ICT experiences, attitudes and preferences
  • learners attach emotional significance to their technologies
  • learners have different attitudes to learning in the public/private spaces of social networks

h800 wk 8 A1: Strategies for design

I am sometimes asked to run staff development sessions at colleges about elearning. The topics for these sessions are jointly decided between my and my main contact at the college. At this stage i use a flickr page of images as a sort of menu of things I could run a session on

When planning the course I try to ensure everyone has plenty of time to discuss ideas. I often write/draw a quick mind map of ideas for the course. I avoid powerpoint slideshows containing text where possible and look for alternative methods of delivering information, such as short pecha kucha presentations or useing flickr images. I use creative commons search to find content for the session and try fo find as many case study examples where possible.

All training I deliver is carred out at a location i am visiting such as a college or hotel as part of a larger event. This causes particular technological issues as many colleges block certain websites, there can be issues with access to the internet, what software and plug ins are installed on the machines.

week 7 act 5 news of inovations

1. An innovation that particularly appeals to you; give your reasons.

Microblogging. Okay its been around for a few years now so you might not see it as cutting edge innovation, but i think it is still in the early stages, as there are lots of different systems (twitter, jaiku, ect.) that between them have some great features (hashtags searchers, threaded conversations) but I have not seen a system so far that includes all of them. The reason why I like it so much is because it is a great way of developing and utilising communities.

2. An innovation that you think is particularly valuable; again, give your reasons. It could be the same as in 1.

I would choose creative commons, although that may depend on your definition of valuable. I think it represents the fact that existing copyright laws are not suitable for a creative and collaborative future

3. The sort of learning (if there is any: frivolity is permitted) that your examples are likely to encourage or facilitate.

Microblogging is all about communication which can lead to collaboration. I think it touches upon a number of the issues covered in this course including cognitive apprenticeship as learners can join communities of others more experienced in their field and become an active part of that community. A change in the ideas about copyright can let creative people do what they do best without fear of prosecution.

4. The most over-inflated claim about an innovation!

“Second Life will be bigger than the Internet”

week 5 Act 3 – what is web 2.0?

My reply to an email questioning web 2.0

Web 2.0 is not a software upgrade on the entire web,but a linguistic term refereing to move towards empowering the “average user”.

Web 1.0 can be generalised as ‘top down’, where a reletively small number of compnies and geeks created content which is read by the masses.  A bit like your library analaogy.

Web 2.0 can be generalised as ‘bottom up’ where the masses have the power to create content (youtube, wikipedia, flickr), recomend content (Del.icious, digg, last fm, amazon) share thoughts (twitter, blogs) and be part of an interactive communitee (Facebook, myspace, second life)

I suppose it is more like a library where anyone can go in, add their own books/pages, rate which books are good or bad,  and talk discuss their findings.

If you compare the sites you use today with those you used in the early days of the web, is there a difference in who creates, rates, edits, and discusses the content?

Here are a few quotes comparing web 0.1 and web 2.0

Web 1.0 was about reading, Web 2.0 is about writing
Web 1.0 was about companies, Web 2.0 is about communities
Web 1.0 was about taxonomy, Web 2.0 is about tags
Web 1.0 was about owning, Web 2.0 is about sharing

and from

Web 1.0 was about lectures, Web 2.0 is about conversation
Web 1.0 was about advertising, Web 2.0 is about word of mouth
Web 1.0 was about services sold over the web, Web 2.0 is about web services

week 5 Activity 2- Whats new about new technology?

Comparing web 2.0 technology with the observations of Marshall McLuhan talking about the influance of television in 1971
The learning process is now something in which children expect to participate not just as consumers, but as producers and they get this from TV.
The extract focuses on the interactivity that learners demand in creating and being part of the medium rather than being a passive consumer. It seems odd to think of television as encouraging interactivity when we compare it with current web 2.0 technology. Current technology allows television to be more interactive than 1971 with features such as phone in voting and selecting “red button” content, however this is nothing in comparison with web 2.0 technology where any one can create content which can be viewed, commented on, rated and remixed around the world.

Week 5 Activity 1: Forms of expression

This activity builds on the paper Of mind and media and looks at the impact of working with different presentation media.


My personal preference for taking in information is for audio or video content with a text transcript.  I find the audio or video content useful to initially understand the information as I find it easier to follow and am less likely to miss key points.  This may be because allot of my studying takes place in the evening after work and I can sometimes be too tired to read and take in large amounts of text. I follow this up with reading the transcript which I can annotate and review specific sections.  This is because the text can clarify what I may have originally heard and I can quickly search the text for specific sections.
In the FE sector there appears to be a resistance to use technology for teaching A-Level courses.  One of the reasons given for this is the fact that the students must complete a hand written exam at the end.  In vocational subjects there is a wider variety of student created content including photographs and video used as evidence.  A short video of a student building a wall can demonstrate the students skills and is quicker and easier for the student than writing a report on how to build a wall.  The increase in budget camcorders, mobile phone technology and cheap netbooks with built in web cams have made it easier for students to create their own video content.

wk 4 Act 2 Situated cognition and the culture of learning

Based on “Situated cognition and the culture of learning” by Brown Collins and Duguid
As this paper was written around 20 years ago how has its central message held up? What lasting value does this paper have today?
In reading this paper and trying to understand cognitive apprenticeship, i was reminded of my own experiences learning mathematics at school.  We were given the price of an item which had been increased by 12% and we had to calculate the original price.  After some discussion in a small group we came up with a theory on how to calculate the original price which worked, the teacher named the this the “Group B Theory” which we then explained to the rest of the group.   Even though this was many years ago, i still clearly remember the experience and the knowladge learned.  This suggested that this method works, although I am not sure if it is any more or less relevent today than it was 20 years ago (roughly the time I had that maths lesson)

If you had to summarise the authors’ arguments in a short paragraph what would you write? The article argues that learning successful learning is dependent on the the environment and knowledge should never be taught independent of the appropriate environment.  Examples given include learning vocabulary from a dictionary out of context,  not being able to remove a stone from a horses hoof dispite having the tools, carpenters and cabinet makers using chisels in different ways, Apprentice tailors ironing clothes, the faliar of authentic activities being transferred to a school environment and apprenticeships.  The paper refers to the work of Lave (1988) who compared the the learning styles of students, practiotioners and “Just Plain Folks” (JPFs).  Lave proposed that the the learning styles of JPF’s were more closely related to practitioners than students and gave an example of a dieter who measured the required 1/4 their allowance of 2/3 of a cup of cottage chesse by measuring the 2/3rds of a cup then cutting the cheese into quaters.  The paper goes on to highlight the values of cognitive apprenticeship.  As i understand it, cognative apprenticeship is a process learning as a group not only how to resolve a problem or complete a task, but also following, understanding and being able to explain the the tinking behind this process ( I am not sure if my understanding is correct and would appreciate any comments of clarification on this).

In the late capitalism of the twenty-first century is apprenticeship still a relevant model for learning? Try and think in terms of the kinds of knowledge required for the work that is common in a modern economy.

In 2006 the Leitch review of skills, otherwise known as the Leitch Report, stressed the importance of relating education to practical skills which would benefit the economy.  this has led to a number of incentives including a vocational training programme “train to gain” and an increased focus on apprenticeships.  The current credit crunch has led to a number of businesses collapsing which cold lead to less places being available for apprentices and existing apprentices loosing their positions.(