Monthly Archives: July 2009

Wk 24 A3 Design for leaning


Science Fair 08 by Jose Kevo



Based on Beetham and Sharpe (2007) ‘An introduction to rethinking pedagogy for a digital

How do Beetham and Sharpe view the relationship between learning and teaching?

In this paper they claim that there has been a tension with the terms teaching and learning.  They suggest that there has been a move towards focusing on learning and what is learnt rather than teaching and what is taught.  They, however, acknowledge the importance of the social interaction of teaching and the effect it can have on the learning process.

Write down your own view of whether pedagogy is a useful term in the way suggested in the reading.

Beetham and Sharpe suggest that “despite its etymological connection with children (paidia), contemporary use of the term [Pedagogy] has lost its exclusive reference to childhood while retaining the original sense of leading or guiding to learn.”

Personally, I disagree with this and I primarily think of pedagogy as a term relating to the teaching and learning of children, while I prefer the term andragogy when discussing the teaching and learning of adults.  This is not just a pedantic matter of semantics. I feel that despite the importance of lifelong learning, there are significant differences in the studies of teaching and learning for adults and children, and they therefore deserve distinct names.

Why do Beetham and Sharpe use the term ‘design for learning’ rather than learning design?

The see the term learning design as an existing term which focuses on the design of learning activities and contents. They argue that the responcibility to learning is in the hands of the learner, and no one else can design their learning, instead they can design an environment suitable for learning.

Wk 23 A3 Thinking about your own learning

What is my experience of being a learner?

I have experienced being a learner on a range of short and long courses, as well as face to face, blended and online courses.   I specifically chose to do my masters as an online course as I was so frustrated with my experience of doing a PGCE as a face to face, evening course.  There was virtually no use of technology used on this course other than an overhead projector which was never fully in focus.  I felt this was a wasted opportunity as all our lecture time was spent busy making notes of what was on the OHP.  Despite it being a face to face course, communication with others on the course was minimal, as this wasn’t really built into the lecture time and no message boards or online forums were provided.

I have felt my experience on this online course is allot more useful as I am not only learning from the course material through the VLE, but I am also learning from the community of learners on the course via elluminate, the email forums, the blogs and via twitter.

What tools and resources do you use?

For this course I use the VLE as a starting point which leads me to elluminate sessions, linked reading materials and other resources.  I use the first class system to communicate with my tutor and tutor group, I use twitter to communicate with a wider community of students on the course as well as friends and colleagues’ with an interest in the course.

I have created a number of personalised resources for this course I have used to create a combined rss feed of blogs from H800 learners, which I have added to my personalised netvibes rss reader.  Using this I can instantly see who has added a new post.  On netvibes I also have a number of personalised search engines created using google. One of these will just search the blogs of H800 learners, one will search webistes which I find useful/relevant and one searches the websites of the learning providers I support.

What are your views on different technologies?

The technologies which I really appreciate are the once which I can personalise around my needs/interests/lifestyle such as combined rss feeds, netvibes personalised home pages, personalised search engines.

I am disappointed with technologies which waste this opportunity, such as first class.  I preferred using the moodle forums because these could be set up so any new messages would also be sent to a personal email address.  This meant I didn’t have to log into a separate system to check my course email.

Dispite being trying to be optimistic regarding technology, I admit that I quickly become frustrated when I notice something as a learner that isn’t being done in, what I consider the best way possible.  I guess that’s the problem with having ‘teachers’ as learners, in the same way ‘doctors’ make the worst patients  because they notice the things others wouldn’t (did I just use a metaphor???)

Can you think of examples where technology has made a significant difference to the way you learn?

There are many I could think of, but I will stick to online mindmaps.  I was having problems organising my thoughts , particularly when it came to preparing my assignments.  A friend suggested using online mind maps.  I found this really useful as I could clearly map out what I knew and it highlighted the areas I needed to do more work on.  I could have done this with pen and paper using a computerised system allowed me to add links to relevant documents, move sections around, expand and collapse sections of large mindmaps.  Having the mindmap online made it easy for me to access it at anytime on my work or home computer.

Can you think of counter examples where you had a bad experience of a particular technology?

The main experience I can think of involves my time on my PGCE course.  Although technology was generally not used, there was one lecturer who used PowerPoint and  told us we could download the presentations from the Blackboard VLE system.  I was really please with this however I had never used a VLE before and was given no instructions.  I got a username and password and logged on.  At first I was impressed as it seemed to have so many options and therefore had alot of potential, however as I searched for my course, the module I wanted and the powerpoint slides i wanted to download. I noticed that what I was seeing didn’t match up to my courses.  I looked up at the top of the screen and saw I was now logged in as someone completely different on a nursing course.  There was no helpdesk to contact so I told me I could copy the slides directly onto a USB stick during the lecture.  I didn’t feel this really solved the problem of the VLE, however as no other lecturers were using it, there didn’t seem much point perusing this.

What did this do to your motivation for learning?

This was another factor which demotevated me on a course I was already frustrated with, although having the slides on a USB stick was at least better than trying to copy them off the OHP.

How did you deal with the situation?

Towards the end of the course I wrote an email to the course leader listing this and other problems I had with the course, in the hope that they could be corrected for future delegates.

Drawing on what you have read, try to represent your Personal Learning Environment in three different ways.

Click on the images to view larger copies

This wordcloud represents some of the tools I use as my PLE, the larger the word appears, the more often I access that tool

This diagram represents some of the communication tools I use as a learner and who I communicate with useing them.

This cartoon is a very general representation of what I learn from the learning provider, via the course VLE, and what I learn from other learners on the course via various communication tools.

Wks 21/22 A3c: Becta report

For this activity we focused on the Becta publication Harnessing Technology: Next Generation Learning 2008–14 which follows on from their previous publication Harnessing Technology: Transforming Learning and Children’s Services. Part of the reason for this follow up publication was the formation of the Department for Children, Schools and Families(DCSF) and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), however DIUS was short lived and was incorporated into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).  There has since been another document Next Generation Learning The implementation plan for 2009–2012.

Although there are benefits to having organisations like becta working with and advising government departments, the continually changing structure of government limit the value of their predictions and long term plans.  This is particularly true at the moment when there is likely to be a change of government shortly.

The publication does identify the potential technology has for closing the gap for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, with special educational needs and learners who are unable to attend in person.  These are key areas where elearning can help.  Unlike many other publications it does not assume that access to computers and the internet is universal.   It also highlights the 14-19 diplomas and how technology can help younger learners working from a number of locations.

My PLE Take 2

Following my fairly neat and cut down diagram of my PLE

Here is a more comprehensive, and messy version;

wks 21/22 A3b: NSF cyberlearning report

robot_peace-071213a by beachblogger42

robot_peace-071213a by beachblogger42

The Fostering Learning in the Networked World publication comes across as a prophetic warning suggesting America has a very limited time in which the National Science Foundation (NSF, Authors of the report) can stimulate research and development which will lead to a utopian future of cyberlearning.  Cyberlearning is what they describe as the use of networked technologies to support learning “from K to grey”.

It seems that “the nation is at a crossroads” in which the “Communities of cyberlerning researchers and practitioners” led by the NSF are the only ones who can “address the global problems of war and peace, economics, poverty, health and the environment”.

Trying to get past the apocalyptic scare-mongering and Sci-Fi words, the paper seems to suggest an increase in focusing on the benefits of using networks, specifically the web for collaborating and sharing data across time (eg a lifelong eportfolio system) and space.  It also aims to bring together existing repositories of data and create a common cyberlearning platform.

Despite my frustration with the way the report has been written, I generally agree with many of the suggestions although I doubt they will be able to develop a cyberlearning platform which suits everybody’s needs and will be readily taken up by everybody.   This is because a one size fits all approach doesn’t work and dispite the urgency of their manifesto, developments in the use of network technologies for learning and research are evolving in a number of different ways.  I would suggest a better solution would be to concentrate on evolving a shared set of protocols which would allow different systems to communicate with each other.

wks 21-22 A3a: 2009 Horizon report

Notes on the 2009 Horizon report

For this activity we were introduced to the Horizon report in which a collaboration of authours predict emerging technologies which will have an impact on teaching learning research or creative expression in the 1 year,  2-3 years and 4-5 years.  I am impressed with the report and agree with the technologies focused on;

1 year – Mobiles and cloud computing
Mobiles are being used more and more in education. The Molenet funding has had a lot to do with this in the UK FE Sector as learning providers are making use of the technologies that many students already have available.

Although cloud computing has great potential, there seems to be some resistance to move too fast towards widescale implementation.  This may be due to major software suppliers such as microsoft still being at the early stages of rolling out successful cloud computing technologies.

Years 2/3 – Geo-everything and the personal web

The development of geo-everything technologies is linked to the development of mobile devices such as smart phones, pdas, and cameras which can identify their location and the location of information captured on these devices. The potential uses for these technologies is still being developed by organisations such as  Mobile Radicals.

A growing number of web services (netvibes, pageflakes, protopage, igoogle) allow individuals to create personal web spaces that draws information in from other sources. On top of this increased personalisation of other web services, such as search engines which only search through specified websites, are increasing the way the web can be customised for individuals

Years 4/5 Semantic-Aware Applications and Smart objects

Wks 21/22 My personal Learning Environment