An item from Monday’s inbox for my Kiwi colleagues…
A newsletter for all members of Ethos Online Community January 2013Kia ora, everyone,
A belated Happy New Year! As the holidays begin to wind down, and your focus shifts to plans and goal setting for 2013, it’s a great pleasure to be able to share a bumper edition of the Ethos Online Community newsletter. There have been some thought-provoking contributions and conversations, some of which are included below, but many of which you may need to hunt out.It seemed that in 2012 you couldn’t escape the flurry of Massive open online courses (MOOCs) (free on the whole, although many provided with a for-profit model seemingly in mind further down the track). Some learners report that their experience of MOOCs has had a powerful impact on their learning and professional practice. On the other hand, MOOCs tend to have a high drop-out rate (George Siemens estimates that about 10% of registrants in his MOOCs complete the course), partly because of the perception of a highly unstructured approach. These points highlight what some people see as benefits of MOOCs and others, as drawbacks – in part it depends on your expectations, background and skills as a learner. At the end of the day the whole conversation, I feel, needs to focus back on the fundamentals…learning – and as equitable access as possible to education for all. Formative, diagnostic, and self- and peer-assessment are likely to be part of the learning process…but, do we need to re-frame, or re-think, formative assessments? Is all learning, after all, related to the needs of (future) employers, or is it for something more? It is interesting that the initial MOOCs, after all, did not have summative assessments built in to them. Would be good to hear what you think, so please jump in with comments :-p MOOCs – returning to questions of assessment and why we learn…(A heads up – if you are already blogging in another environment then please DO cross-post some of your provocative/interesting postings into the Ethos Community space. Go on – you know you want to! :-))
Highlights Ethos Community space from December 2012/January 2013
The Ethos community now has 181 members, and I hope you’ll extend a warm welcome and kia ora to:
- Andrisha Kambaran is a Strategic Advisor, who is interested in enhancing learning in not-for-profit organisations. She is based in Wellinton, New Zealand.
- David Martí, a technical secretariat / congress, is a strong advocate for ICT skills and competencies among teachers. He is based in Valencia, Spain.
- Jacqui Thornley is working in learning and teaching and is keen to explore further, the effective use of technology, web 2 tools and Learning Management systems to enhance the learning environment for staff and students. Jacqui is based in Auckland, New Zealand
- James Smith, who is based in Jersey, UK, is a teacher who enjoys reading blogs. He has also developed, collected, collated and annotated some amazing resources for teaching French, so if you are a teacher of French, do go and explore (you can find the link to the site on James’s profile).
- Kern Kelley is a teacher, who coordinates a super initiative where his students offer weekly tech support sessions. You can find the link on Kern’s site, and he has kindly agreed to be a guest blogger in March when he will tell us more about his students’ work. Kern is based in Hampden, ME, United States.
- Suzi Vaughan, situated in Queensland, Australia, is an academic with a general interest in ICT enhanced learning and teaching.
- Tony Trigwell-Jones, is a teacher, director, and actor. He is involved in community theatre, where he works with young adults to help them harness their creativity and develop confidence. He has numerous interests, and is based in Newbury, UK.
If you know of anyone who might like to be involved in the Ethos online community – or to contribute a guest post, please feel free to invite them using this link: http://bit.ly/Ww6XEN.
Guest Posts and discussionsThere are as always a large number of posts, resources, and discussions, and I hope you’ll find something of interest. In this newsletter we have two guest posts – one from December and one from January, both of which have attracted a large number of views and some comments. Please jump into the conversations.
- December’s guest blogger, Suzie Vesper, has combined a practical guide, with excellent examples of how students have used, primary sources. In Working with digital primary sources, Suzie outlines the importance of primary sources – “items [that are] created around or during a specific event, place or time….[and] are a record of a person’s perspective or experience”. She provides tips around how to locate primary sources, and what to do with them when you do.
- And to start 2013 Leigh Hynes takes, from a cultural stance, a new look at Huripoki – Flipping New Zealand Style! (a post that has already had 163 views, and 7 comments). It is an excellent read, and a great way to re-frame flipped classrooms.
- John S. Oliver has shared some creative thought pieces around a range of topics, including Ultimate Race, Winter Silhouette, and X on My Calendar.
- Creating quite a lot of interest in December was Diana Ayling’s Taking charge of your own learning. The post highlights a shift from organisation-led ‘formal’ PD, to a way more self-directed approach where we need to take far more responsibility for our ongoing learning and upskilling – including developing our own ePortfolios. If this is of interest to you, you might also want to have a read of Anticipating the future, participating in change: A paradigm shift for professional development, and Performance inquiry: Performance management and appraisal.
- Leadership is important at all times, and paramount during periods of change. In his post outlining the key features and responsibilities of leadership, John S. Oliver provides what Diana Ayling described as a “thoughtful explanation of leadership”.
- A witty post with a twist (and more than a pinch of truth): Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes. John recommends that you also watch this video at the same time: What Teachers Make.
Recommended blog posts / Discussions
There were a mammoth 33 blog posts in December/January that cover a wide range of topics. Some of those that you might like to dip into include:
- Online communities, whether they are to share common interests, or to support learning at an institution, are an organically developing notion with a growing set of guidelines, research, and ideas around benefits, usage and implementation. If this is an area you are exploring you may like to follow up on 10 Tips For Aspiring online community facilitators…; The power of the crowd: Online communities that help save you time; and Developing relationships – the key to fostering online professional communities.
- In November, just before the Christmas madness, Tess Pajaron dropped me an email to share an article that focuses on how people learn. Although I may be a little tentative about some of the points and approaches covered, there are some possible gems in there - 30 Surprising (possibly controversial) research findings about how young people learn.
- “Skills have become the currency of 21st century economies” (Andreas Schieicher), and the ability to change and learn new skills will be a fundamental influence on global change” – to find out more about how Simon Breakspear frames this, read Radical Innovation for Learning.
- Human architecture of the brain and cognitive load theory – so what? – a brief overview of Human cognitive architecture and Cognitive load theory and their relation to learning.
- The Problem Finders: Design Thinking for Genuine Epic-Scale Problem-Based Learning - “Project-based learning has been let down in too many instances with ‘fake’, academic, theoretical problems that need solving. Find out more in this post.
- Peter Newell asserts that 90% of what we teach is a “waste of time” – so 90% of what we teach – the nuggets of knowledge – will never be used. As such, we need to teach in a way where students look for wide scope: Designing learning that matters? How might shift in understanding be captured?.
- Alejarndra Martinez is a psychologist has been working with teachers, initially in rural Chile. She is interested in how teachers view themselves as learners: Teachers’ metacognition: the influence of changes from a deficit to a developmental approach to assessment.
- It is really different to convince people that thinking is important. Thinking needs to be practical rather than political, and focussed on ‘what’s next’ rather than what has been: Think before it’s too late (Edward de Bono).
Recommended videosFrom the ever growing repository of videos (6681 in total – thanks as always to John S Oliver for his contributions), these are a just few of the highlights:
- If you don’t grade, how do you do summative assessment? Some useful, practical advice, and I very much enjoyed the empowerment of the students, and the conversation around the assessments that continued the learning.
- This video was shared by Wayne Godfrey, and it offers a vision of how we might interact and collaborate, locally and globally, should this type of technology be developed: A Day Made of Glass: A vision of the future. And if you are keen to find out more about how other folk see the future, you might also want to watch Year 2060: Education Predictions.
- A nicely framed overview of inquiry learning, where a range of concerns that some learners, teachers, and parents may have when thinking about the inquiry learning approach: Inquiry learning.
- Which Child Will be Left Behind - A refreshing look at technology where it is not seen as a ‘cure all’, but rather as a way of opening up more opportunities for more students.
- Making the most of online learning – some suggestions about how to extend the reach of professional learning beyond the walls of the staffroom.
- This simple presentation provides some practical ideas about how to change behaviour – your own, and other folks’ :-p Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change…with suggestions how to avoid them.
- What Makes Great Teachers Great?: Interesting that, in this video, all the participants speak of the relationships that they build with the students and the empathy they have with those learners – above and beyond the subject or specialty.
- John S Oliver has discovered and shared a wealth of great ‘how to…’ and concept videos. A small selection includes: How-to Become a Master Instructional Designer; and Ways to stay connected in an increasingly mobile world.
- Are you a fan of Google forms? If you are, dip into Something practical for Christmas: 22 Google form templates.
- Fear and violence are negative in many ways, and yet they form part of many people’s lives. As emotions they are barriers to happiness and to learning, so anyone who is working with learners is likely to, at some point, need support and resources to help them face the challenge. A couple of resources that have been shared including: Talking to children about violence and death; and It’s Time to Stop Letting Fear Interfere With Youth Online Freedom.
- Teachers need to be continually learning inside and outside their field, and John S. Oliver shares this valuable Gold Mind for Life Long Learners.
- Latest version of Distance Education Association of NZ Magazine (DEANZ) is now available (Jan 2013) - includes news about the DEANZ webinar programme, as well as some interesting articles about Web 2.0 uptake in tertiary education, and Bring Your Own Device policies in schools.
- If you are looking for an accessible overview of Learning Analytics, then this infographic might fit the bill: Learning Analytics 101: Leveraging Education Data.
- A blended learning scenario: Felicity McKinnion – Studying for the NZCert Real Estate: provides some ideas of how a student in a vocational course might work within a blended learning environment.
- Sustainable learning through formative assessment: Using quizzes to maintain engagement - a way of providing really strong support for scaffolding students who are used to a teacher-centred, rote learning environment.
Lots of other things happening (online courses, conferences and other opportunities) – have a look at the events listing for more details.A couple of events to look out for in particular are:
- New Zealand Moodle Moot 2013 (22nd-24th April 2013). As usual the wonderful team at HRDNZ (Moodle Partner) headed up by Stuart Mealor is organising the event, which will be at The University of Waikato in Hamilton. (If you have been to an NZ Moodle Moot event before, have a wee watch of this video.)
- EDULEARN13 (5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies) (July 1-3 2013). This event will be held in Barcelona (Spain), although you can also choose a virtual registration. It is an excellent opportunity to share your experiences and projects with educators and researchers from all parts of the world.Please feel free to add events to share them, or just let me know and I’ll add them :-)
Many thanks once again to Leigh, Suzie, Pascale, Diana, Cynthia, John S. Oliver, and Wayne.Please keep your posts (including cross-posts), comments and recommendations coming :-)