Virtual School Meanderings

January 30, 2013

A Newsletter For All Members Of Ethos Online Community January 2013

An item from Monday’s inbox for my Kiwi colleagues…

Ethos Online Community Newsletter

A newsletter for all members of Ethos Online Community January 2013

Kia 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:

Guest Posts and discussions

There 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.

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:

Recommended videos

From 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:



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:

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 :-)

Warm regards

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