Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 4

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This week I completed the fourth and final week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This weeks focus was upon technology in the future classroom.

This week, although pitched as future classrooms, outlined what is going on in the classrooms of today. Namely flipped, teachers as mentors, the ability to utilise metrics and enabling individualised support (always a target and a challenge for any educator) and how technology is supporting these endeavours. Going on to enabling self progression coupled with the ability to receive immediate feedback can accelerate learning in comparison with established forms of learning. Two apps that were highlighted was the Open Universities and ‘Our Story’ (for iOS or Android) and the maths apps developed (and later modified for the UK) by One Billion (for iOS) for 3-6 year olds.

This week took about 60 minutes.

Andy

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Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 3

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This week I completed the third week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This weeks focus is upon thinking and learning behaviours that are emerging from digital learning.

This weeks, the best so far, highlight for me was in regards to “text speak” and a linked to an excellent video resource outlining the ‘problem’ with text speak, not that it has issues in itself but that it is perceived incorrectly. It raises the view that if we look at text speak from a fingered speech perspective then it makes sense, we don’t verbalise with long passages of prefect pronunciation, it utilises conventions that suit its own medium that we have not had the opportunity to develop until the age of the instant mobile communication.

And far from a language decline, written communication is relatively new in our own evolution, text speak should be seen for its creativity, a more natural form of communication and one that is actually evolving. The example is given of the term ‘LOL’ which has evolved from a ‘Laugh Out Loud’ Acronym to one that indicates empathy/agreement or the use of ‘slash’ as a way to move topic which would otherwise be indicated through mannerisms or pauses in face to face communication.

I remember using emoticons and acronyms when using Internet Relay Chat (IRC), emoticons evolving into emojis that has recently had skin tone modifiers,  maybe we should see text speak as more a strengthening of linguistic repertoire than a decline. Surely other systems have evolved? After all we don’t write or speak like Shakespeare and Latin is certainly not mainstream.

Part of this week was also multitasking, when is too much and when is it appropriate, with a fascinating look on the beneficial impact of gaming such as in improved eyesight, attention and tracking and positive effects on those with ADHD such a being less impulsive.

 

This week took about 75 minutes.

Andy

Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 2

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This week I completed the second week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This weeks focus is upon childhood personas online and forming friendships that may/may not affect social development.

One forum post pointed to a great video by the raconteur Stephen Fry discussing the impact and future of the internet [ https://youtu.be/jspXk0LjN_Y ].

Every technology or tool can be subverted, its about instilling values about the correct use and inappropriateness. As the pace of life ever quickens we need mechanisms to keep pace, young people know far more than previous generations and the online world such as utilising YouTube to self-study supports this on-going trend. The fact that online will never go away, far from it, it will continually evolve and we need to develop support mechanisms that evolve alongside.

We have heard a number of comments regarding cyber-bullying or trolling and I wonder what you think of the article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33690326 ? A blessing for those making a genuine mistake in the online world at a young age, or a license to not consider wider implications? I would be very interested when the publish the report at the end of the year.

The later part of this weeks session looked at safe environments (club penguin, moshi monsters and habbo) and the use of avatars.

This week took about an 90 minutes.

Andy

Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 1

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This week I completed the first week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This week set the scene looking at the risks versus the  opportunities and the disproportion between the two. Both sides of the argument were explored and  the chasm of drama or risky opportunities highlighted. The three hour course took me 90 minutes, and that included looking at all the media and reviewing the forums. I am looking forward to next weeks sessions, especially after no homework other than thought provoking reflections.

 

Andy

Online Courses – Future Learn

Future Learn Logo

I have been meaning to start carrying out some online learning courses for a number of reasons:

  • Curiosity
  • Good practice
  • Up-skilling

I intend to look at not only a range of subjects (related to tech and my role) but from differing vendors. Currently I have only carried out small online courses that have lacked depth and structure – in fact they have been able to be carried out in a few hours – with the eception of a 5 week 15 hr course by Pivital Education, this was delivered on the Canvas VLE platform. I loved the ability to post experiences to each weekly forum and read the experiences of others (something that lacked in the smaller courses).

So having looked around I am starting this week with Future Learn and a 4 week (3hrs/wk) course on childhood in the digital age, why not join me? https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/childhood-in-the-digital-age  it started this week.

 

Andy

Moving towards FELTAGS 50%

 road to enlightenment 

I have been thinking a lot on how we encourage and motivate staff to move 10%+ of their programmes online. For some they simply are lost at sea for a variety of reasons:

  • Not technology minded (more a case that they don’t think they are)
  • Are not technology enabled (some have a smattering of items forming the equivalent of a DIYers toolkit)
  • No steer, guidance or policy (dare I say all the waters are muddy in some way!)

Now I realise every organisation will have its own little characteristics but how about the following that would realistically mimic what we would expect our own learners to do.:

  • Stop giving out specific tech beyond an initial toolkit
  • Foster a community through forums, discussion to foster good practice. 
  • Have 10% of all CPD online either pre or post event
  • With activities to be assessed within attended CPD session
  • Ensure that as much as possible CPD online sessions to utilise a variety of technology

Andy



 

blendspace by TES

 

Now I do love innovation, especially when it shows such promise early on, and blendspace by TES (yes TES!) is just one of those innovations. Its sets up a challange by claiming that you can create a session in five minutes – mighty claims by anyone’s standards. But one that is reasonably well justified (apart from reviewing any YouTube videos you want to include!). My first go wasnt far off the mark (considering I was trialing as much as I could) and I have no doubts my next effort could be a lot less! https://www.blendspace.com/lessons/hH1RrdYxz37gIA/blendspace

So things I love…

  1. Quick to create and edit
  2. Resources easily gathered
  3. Allows for assessment
  4. Attach files
  5. Backed TES
  6. Autosave
  7. ​websites are interactive through the blendspace slide!

Thing I would love to see..

  1. It would be nice to be able to duplicate a slide
  2. What happens when the original location of your images disappears off the web?
  3. What happens if you lose web connectivity? there are other offering that allow for exporting so you can have it on a USB, or local drive such as MS MIX for PowerPoint
  4. When adding an image the text you would want to add as a subtitle is shown in the top right… a little obscure
  5. Tracking needs a class set up and sharing of the class ID (even if this generic), does not allow for anonymous tracking
  6. ​Textual slides are a little uninspiring – font, size, colour, alignment

But I expect great things, follow the blog at http://blog.blendspace.com/

 

Andy

TotSplash

Looking for a Prezi-but-not-Prezi alternative then check out TotSplash, a thought (tot) mindmapping (splash) presentation tool that does not seem the sick inducing powers of Prezi but at the expense of funtionaility? Not sure I like the name but check it out at http://www.totsplash.com/  .

 

Andy

Periscope

Streaming is going mainstream with Twitters Periscope, a streaming app that allows for you to title and stream video and audio from you mobile device (both iOS & Android). Followers get notifed of your stream and can comment via text and tap the screen to show appreciation of your content in the form of rising hearts! It’s early days for Periscope but it has already added the functionality of maps to the app so that you can identify stream locations. Other functionality ….

  • Your own streams
    • Provide a stream title
    • Enabling location
    • Restrict to invitees
    • Restrict to followers
    • Tweet new stream
    • Change between front and rear cameras (swipe down)
    • Hide chat (swipe left)
    • Save to camera roll upon completion of stream
    • Identify viewers
    • Identify replays
  • Share watched streams

Currently plans are afoot to “scope” from the upcoming eFair 2015 on the 3rd of July (no necessarily from my Twitter account) #efair2015

I can see in recent weeks that it’s popularity has eased off, my first “scope” had 50 viewers, I’m lucky if I get double figures currently. An interesting video relating to Periscope and its future is worth watching at “The Speed of Outrage: Tom Scott at Thinking Digital 2015“. Whilst I feel it makes valid points regarding reaction times I do disagree with the prediction that Periscope will not be the winner for a number of reasons…

  1. Meerkat was first, clearly stating that Twitters Periscope followed
  2. It is already being further developed
  3. It’s backed by Twitter that have a few pennies in the bank
  4. Twitter was the first “micro-blogging” and seems to have remained relatively stable and the leader (and had evolved since its inception)
  • Will it become as popular as twitter? maybe not.
  • Is streaming going to become mainstream? highly likely.
  • Will something do it better than Periscope? Maybe.

That’s the problem with future tech predictions, they are just predictions. At best they turn out to be right, at worst we laugh at how wrong they were – in the end nobody really cares other than looking for YouTube Clips of Tomorrow’s World and the elusive Hover Car, Personal Jet-pack and Robotic Assistant. For further info see https://www.periscope.tv/

Andy

Making the Case for Online Learning

The FELTAG report recommends that we move to a 50% online model and I am sure a large number of educators ask “what’s the rush?” and “What are the benefits greater than what we already do?”. I could offer a number of answers, that are rather obvious, such as…

  • “What do we need to push us forward to catchup with our US cousins? another government mandate?” – It’s actually refreshing to have something worthwhile but with us ‘trailblazing’
  • “We can offer what we have to a diverse range of learners” – not to mention re-invigorate our own materials (your thinking of that colleague that has that photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopied resource!

But a recent TED talk by Daphne Koller says it all and much more whilst enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free with Coursera (cofounded by Andrew Ng). The lessons learnt make for interested observations. Daphne’s TED talk is certainly worth a watch- https://youtu.be/U6FvJ6jMGHU

What I did take way from the TED talk (given the complexity of requirements for Cousera) is that more than ever we will need Domain Experts (Educators) to organise, deliver and help develop the course materials with their strong understanding of teaching & learning but with a firm understanding of technology with the support of Technologists that can put in place the infrastructures and guide  others to what is possible whilst having a firm understanding of teaching & learning! The lines are becoming, and rightly so, blurred (no humming a certain tune please!) and we are going to be working in tandem for the good of our learners and not see technologists as a service.

 

Andy