Wks 8&9 A4 Finding and sharing resources

For this activity I reviewed the resource repositories;  cloudworks ( http://cloudworks.open.ac.uk), The OU learn about guides (http://epd.open.ac.uk/browseLAG.cfm) and the educause 7 things you should know about series (http://www.educause.edu/7ThingsYouShouldKnowAboutSeries/7495).  I used these sites with the scenario of preparing large cohort introductory statistics course for students in a range of disciplines.

Cloudworks
I started looking at this site by looking at the introductory video and thought the use of clouds, cloudscapes, tags and other web 2.0 features was a great idea.  I then went to the tags and selected mathematics.  One problem with using tags is that different people have will use different words, which is why there was a tag for popular tag for mathematics and a less popular tag for mathematics.  Despite my initial enthusiasm, I soon found the definitions and use of clouds and cloudscapes very confusing.  I was jumping from page to page to find something relevant, following many long laborious threads which lead to dead ends.  I was also frustrated by the links which I had to copy and paste into my browser as they did not work as hyperlinks.  One of the reasons I spent so long going down these irrelevant paths is because I could not find any information on what level the information was relevant to, so when I did find a handout on statistics it was too advanced.

OU Learn About Guides
After an initial search for keywords Statistics, maths and mathematics, I decided to browse the guides and think about which ones would be relevent for my scinario, although I was distracted with ones that were not relevant, but were interesting.  I tried being quite inventive about how the topics could be relevant to the scenario;

  • The topic of digital music downloads made me think of an activity based around looking at how iTunes charts are compiled.
  • The communication and collaboration based topics (Wikis, Social networking, social bookmarking, twitter) made me think about how they could be used to help a diverse group work together.
  • the Etext topic made me think about how they could be used for resource materials

I liked the way these topics had uniformity in answering the questions that an educator would need to know eg.what is it?, where is it going?,  and what are the down sides?
I was also impressed by the use of additional media such as PowerPoint presentations and podcasts.
I was slightly disappointed that some fairly basic topics were not covered, such as Forums and mobile learning.

7 things you should know about
I have been a fan of this series for many years.  I am impressed with the questions it asks of each topic and sticking to two sides of A4 means that it is concise but informative.  It also means that they are easy to print out as handouts.  The regularity of one a month is impressive and means they have a very wide range of resources.  This site has been an inspiration for my own series of podcasts in which I interview people with a similar set of questions about their own use of a particular resource (http://elearningpodcasts.notlong.com )
I also link the few lines of explanation available when browsing the topics.  I would prefer the sheets to be available as a webpage as well as a pdf, with web 2.0 functionality such as allowing for comments and ratings.  Looking through the first page of topics gave me the idea of creating an activity based on the statistics of scores in a game of wii as well as looking at statistics provided by sites such as flickr.

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