Virtual School Meanderings

January 31, 2017

Your Newsletter From The Ethos Online Community – January 2017

One for my Kiwi readers…

Your newsletter from the Ethos Online Community – January 2017

 

Kia ora, talofa lava, and greetings,

 

You may have pondered some of the following questions (or similar): How do I learn things? What does it mean to learn? What does my brain do when I learn? And Why do I forget things?

 

One of the fabulous…and frustrating things is – we don’t know. We have bits of the puzzle, and know that there are social, psychological, physiological and affective factors that impact what we learn and how well we learn it. From the stance of knowing about the brain, we know that certain chemicals influence us, that brain imaging is helping to provide some more pieces of the puzzle, and that our brain has plasticity and we need to keep learning to keep ourselves ‘vital’.

 

The subject is, I feel, endlessly captivating and as such I try to read, and listen / watch widely, especially around the latest research and ideas related to how the brain works. About 3 years ago, on a quest for more reading, I came across Madelyn Griffith-Haynie’s insightful, frequently entertaining, and always well researched articles in her site ADD . . . and-so-much-more. Madelyn, in turn recommended Ginger Campbell’s The Brain Science Podcast, which has since, for me, been a constant source of interest. Topics, to name a few, have included: embodiment, unconscious decisions, reading and the brain, memory, and cognitive science.

 

In her recent post A Brain-Based Resource you won’t want to miss, Madelyn celebrates 10 years of The Brain Science Podcast (please pop across and congratulate Ginger if you have a moment), and shares some highlights. I’d recommend you pop in for a read; you won’t be disappointed.

 

To hone your appetite, a brief example from Ginger Campbell’s podcast ‘stable’ is an enthusiasm-filled episode entitled Brain Ageing Research with Dr. Pamela Greenwood.

One of the things that jumped out from the podcast for me is that “brain ageing and cognitive ageing are not the same thing; the typical brain changes that are associated with normal brain ageing (such as shrinkage) are not reliable predictors of cognitive decline” (source). Also, the other (exciting) thing was that “not only does brain plasticity offer new hope for people who suffer strokes and other brain injuries, it also suggests that life style choices influence cognitive function at all ages” (source) – there’s hope for us all!!

It would be superb to hear from you about your own recommendations for resources, or thoughts about how we learn. Please jump into the community with comments and posts.

 

Welcome to new members – January 2017

The Ethos Online Community now has 433 members. Hope you will all give a warm haere mai (welcome) to January’s new members to the community:

 

Know anyone who would like to join an international Online Community that’s all about learning – across all education sectors, business & ITOs: http://bit.ly/233qpfP? Please invite them :)

Member Blog Posts and discussions

In this newsletter, as always we have some great posts. Please jump into the conversations and feel free to ask questions.

 

  • Jenny Holt addresses the ever important issue of bullying in Discover how bullying impacts people in the workplace. Bullying amongst adults is unfortunately commonplace and can lead to a number of both physical and mental illnesses. Jenny has linked to a guide that explains the consequences of such actions and gives tips on how to prevent it from happening.

  • Raymond M. Rose has shared his second installment describing his attempts to get the school system to address the issue of making their institutional website meet US accessibility requirements. Raymond points out that he isn’t giving in to speculation about how the Trump government will deal with civil rights legislation but will rather wait until there is definite answers. Read more here: Will it take thousands of dollars to make your website accessible.

  • Do you have a brain? Well then, this is the podcast for you apparently. The Brain Science podcast ‘explores how recent scientific discoveries are unraveling age-old mysteries, such as intelligence, emotions, personality, and memory.’ This super resource from Dr Ginger Campbell has over 130 episodes for you to delve into. A big thanks to Madelyn Griffith-Haynie for sharing this with us. Take a look at A brain-based resource you won’t want to miss for further details and links.

  • In Please beta test this ebook for business owners John S Oliver asks for our help in reviewing a resource he has created. He would really value any feedback or suggestions you may have to improve the resource.

  • Building an in-depth understanding of one’s own skillset is imperative enabling suitable opportunities and aiding in personal and professional growth.  Researcher and Educator, L. Dee Fink, has developed a 6-aspect taxonomy of teaching designed to maximise this understand and therefore also maximise learning in the classroom. In The six dimensions of your development, Edward Flagg talks about his professional experience using the framework. The post explains how the theory works and how it fits into a work environment.

  • Blended learning looks at a video from Paul Anderson’s Bozeman channel. It ties in blended learning with the inquiry model of learning. It really delves into why blended learning is so effective. Thanks to Leigh Hynes for another informative resource.

 

Jobs

  • This month Rachel Roberts has posted about a vacancy at the VLN primary school. The school is looking for an Executive Officer to join the team for 15 hours a week for the duration on the 2017 school year. This is a virtual position so there is no restrictions on location. This is a really interesting project to get involved in. If this sounds like a bit of you (or someone you know) head on over to the original post for details; Looking for a super virtual school secretary.

 

Also recommended

As always you have contributed a superb variety of posts this month. Thank you. Here are some of the posts and topics that you may find of interest:

  • This week marked the 8th annual Data Privacy Day. The day looks to raise awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information. To mark the occasion Camparitech have developed a quiz – Can you outsmart an identity thief? The premise is simple, they present some everyday scenarios that you are likely to have already experienced, or have heard friends or family talk about. The quiz then gives you potential options to choose. The correct answer and the explanation why it’s important to do / not to do something – plus some extra advice is given after you answer each question. Go on and give it a try – we’d love to hear your results!

  • And, this post has a simple yet informative infographic that helps in recognising and avoiding phishing attacks. There is also a link to the accompanying article if you’d like further information.

  • Amy Ling – Professional ePortfolio scenario  is a hypothetical scenario of a tertiary teacher developing a professional ePortfolio. You can also access the accompanying mindmap. Great if you’re looking for an example on how to do this. (Many thanks to Diana Ayling for her input to this scenario.)

  • Recommended by Richard Elliott in his eLearning Watch, Drama in the ESL classroom is one to explore if you are in any way working with English Language Learners. Richard writes “Drama in the ESL classroom provides a lot of suggestions and ideas on using drama for ESL. All material is downloadable and free. Chase the tabs at the top of the main page to find extensive links to a wide range of resources.”

  • The Internet of Things (free e-book reviewed by Derek  Wenmoth) – It’s from a while back, but still massively relevant – so, if you are interested in where the connected world is heading then the e-book reviewed by Derek Wenmoth is likely to be something you might want to download and read.

 

Recommended videos

From the ever growing repository of videos (1,397 in total – thanks as always to John S Oliver for his awesome contributions), these are a just few of the highlights.

  • There has been a lot of awareness about gratefulness recently, but why? The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful. Learn all about the key to happiness; Happiness is born from gratefulness…. not the other way around.

  • John S Oliver  has shared this great TED lesson that looks at the history of numerical systems. Something a bit different to show students. In a similar vein he’s also shared an interesting little video on why a square root is called just that and how this came to be – Why is it called a SQUARE root?

  • One to avoid if you suffer from arachnophobia, Most AMAZING spiders in the world looks at some of the weird, wacky and wonderful eight legged creatures out there.

  • A fantastic one for any math teachers – and learners. Algebra and Mathematics. Explained with easy to understand 3D animations explains variables, systems of equations, Cartesian coordinates, and many other concepts. Fun and educational for all ages.

  • Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. The power of vulnerability. What being vulnerable can do for you is definitely a talk to share.

  • Everything we know about physics – and a few things we don’t – in a simple map: The Map of Physics

 

Resources

 

What’s on?

Lots of other things happening (online courses, conferences and other opportunities) including INTCESS 2017- 4th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, taking place February 6th in Istanbul.

 

Please feel free to add events to share them, or just let me know and I’ll add them :-)

 

 

Much gratitude to Charlotte Caines for doing the lion’s share of work putting this monthly newsletter together. Please keep your posts (including cross-posts), comments and recommendations coming :-)

 

Nāku iti nei, faafetai lava, and warm regards

Hazel

Hazel Owen

Education consultant / Director

Ethos Consultancy NZ Ltd

PO Box 90391, Victoria Street West,

Auckland 1142

Phone +64 (0)9 9738027 / +64 (0)9 5750206

Mobile +64 (0)21 2273777

Web site: http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/

Blog: http://ictelt.blogspot.com/

Email addresses: info@ethosconsultancynz.com / hazelowendmc@gmail.com

Skype: hazelowendmc

January 20, 2017

[Lists] PSA Super Conference October 20-21, 2017

From yesterday’s inbox…

The  PSA Super Conference will bring together 25 Provincial Specialist Associations at the Vancouver Conference Centre for a two-day professional development event on October 20-21, 2017.

Interested in being a part of the program?

  • Topics should address or integrate multiple areas/broad areas of interest.
  • Session times will be 75 minutes.
  • Audiences will range between 40-150 people.

What would I receive as a presenter per session presented?

  • Free registration at an amazing professional development event!
  • Up to a $100 contribution toward expenses.
  • How do I demonstrate my interest in being a presenter?
  • Sessions must be sponsored by participating PSAs. Please contact one of the participating PSAs (list on back) for more information.
  • Presenters will be notified about session acceptance after March 1, 2017.

The Distributed Learning PSA has seven spots for presenters…if you wish to be considered to be a presenter then complete this form (https://goo.gl/Rh0NLy) by February 3, 2017.

Christopher Rozitis, PhD
Vancouver School Board
– Vancouver Learning Network (604 713 5560http://vlns.ca
Skype: christopher.rozitis.vln39
 Apple Distinguished Educator (2007)

Getting beyond textualism…

_______________________________________________
Lists mailing list
Lists@bcedl.ca
http://bcedl.ca/mailman/listinfo/lists_bcedl.ca

January 15, 2017

Enroll Today in Designing Blended Learning

Another item from Thursday’s inbox…

Illinois Virtual School – Professional Development
Please share with all educators in your area!
View this email in your browser
Enroll Today in Designing Blended Learning
In this six week facilitated online course, you will learn how to transition your teaching to blended learning experiences where some portion of learning occurs online and outside the classroom setting.
Don’t Delay, Enroll Today! 
https://pd.ilvirtual.org
Course starts Wednesday, January 18,
but you can enroll up to Friday, January 20.
Course ends March 1, 2017.
Next Course Offered:
Project-Based Approaches
March 8 – April 18

Explore the features and benefits of project-based authentic learning with classroom scenarios that help you engage students with self-directed learning.

What Participants are Saying
“I can’t even begin to explain how
useful these courses are. When a school
board member came in and saw my
students building their designs, we
were able to talk about 21st Century
Skills, as well as individual, peer, and
class assessments used in the project.
He and the Principal thought the
project was great. With this class, I was
able to draw all of the pieces together.
I had no idea it was going to be so useful
and fun!!!!! 
Our six week facilitated courses are only $100 for 25 PD Clock Hours with
2 Graduate Credit Hours available separately through Aurora University!

If you’d rather take a self-paced course, we also offer several courses that allow you to progress through a course without scheduled due dates or assignment deadlines. Visit ourSelf-Paced Courses webpage.

Professional Development hours will be provided through the Peoria County ROE #48.

Illinois Virtual School
www.ILvirtual.org
Our mailing address is:

Illinois Virtual School

10112 W Dubois Rd.
P.O. Box 103

Edwards, IL 61528

Add us to your address book

Copyright © 2017 Illinois Virtual School, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you are an IVS Partner School contact.

This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com
Illinois Virtual School · 10112 W Dubois Rd. · P.O. Box 103 · Edwards, IL 61528 · USA

December 19, 2016

Your Newsletter From The Ethos Online Community – December 2016

Another one from my Kiwi colleagues…

Your newsletter from the Ethos Online Community – December 2016

 

Kia ora, talofa lava, and greetings,

 

This month I will keep this part of your newsletter short and sweet because the wonderful Charlotte has been working hard on a bit of a retrospective for 2016.

 

I would like to say a massive thank you to you all – for your contributions, your ideas, and your willingness to share some amazing experiences. We very much looking forward to working with you again in 2017.

 

Meri Kirihimete, Manuia le Kerisimasi, happy holidays to you all!!

 

Welcome to new members – December  2016

The Ethos Online Community now has 431 members. Hope you will all give a warm haere mai (welcome) to December’s new members to the community:

  • Lova Kremer heads up Why not 3? Work-Life balance. Why not 3? is a consultancy for entrepreneurs and overachievers. You can learn more on their website: www.whynot3.com

  • All the way from San Francisco, we welcome Jessica Carrell. Jessica is a teacher, photographer, and consultant with an interest learning and connecting with other like-minded peers all over the world.

 

Know anyone who would like to join an international Online Community that’s all about learning – across all education sectors, business & ITOs: http://bit.ly/233qpfP? Please invite them :)

 

This Month

As always you have contributed a superb variety of posts this month. Thank you. Here are some of the posts and topics that you may find of interest:

  • The featured post for December is A Comprehensive Educational Technology Resource Guide by Jessica Carrell. This resource is the very useful result of Jessica’s work over the last wee while. Jessica has been researching and curating a list of educational technology resources for teachers. The work ended up with a blog post in 10 different chapters. In the above post you can find a link to all the information. If anyone has any ideas of resources to add, Jessica is always interested in new ideas.

  • With the way we work constantly transforming, it is worth taking into consideration different options and the way they function. Well, the folks at Bright Side have shared some great cartoon images comparing the life of a freelancer with that of a full-time office worker. Great for those considering a change. Take a look; Would you enjoy freelancing?

  • The role of a Mother is not an easy one, particularly during the holiday season. Luckily, John S. Oliver has very kindly compiled some resources that may help get Mothers through! Resources for mothers during the holiday season – please forward has videos, Pinterest boards and more – enjoy!

  • Collaboration has thrived under the ongoing development of technology. However, working in a team can present challenges at the best of times, particularly with the added strain of not being in the same locale. The team at CORE Education recognise this difficulty and have therefore addressed it in their podcast series. The podcast provides a real sense of what it’s like to work as a member of a virtual team, as well as providing some top tips around how to thrive in a team that isn’t working face-to-face; Some great ideas for working in a team – virtually!

  • Melvin Din’s blog post, STEM education in NZ, poses the questions: Who will decide the Curriculum? What are the training needs and how to procure resources? How willing (committed) is your school to give STEM a fair push? If you have some idea of what the answers may be, please jump in and join the conversation.

  • Why not 3? Work-Life balance has the perfect post for this hectic time of year. In My ultimate Biohack: Relieve your stress with our silent day, the focus is on helping those who feel on the verge of a burnout, over-worked or perhaps find themselves consistently failing on a quest to find peace. In this post the idea of a silent day is explored. This consists of a one day a week that is left completely free of commitments, alarms, communication devices and pressures. Take a look at the post for a personal rundown of Lova’s use of the method. There are also links to fantastic TED talks and resources on the subject. Probably worthwhile for most people in today’s busy world!

  • Monika Kern has been fortunate to visit a number of schools with purpose built or refurbished Innovative Learning Environment spaces, and this year has been lucky enough to be working in her own ILE. In What makes an effective Innovative Learning Environment (ILE)? Monika shares her thoughts about effective ILEs. The post includes the reasoning behind ILEs, how to go about setting up an ILE and plenty of resources to help you on your way.

  • Saving the Kiwis: One man’s effort to save the national bird of New Zealand August 2003. The Kiwi bird could soon become extinct on mainland New Zealand. Take a look: Kiwis: Saving The World’s Cutest Endangered Birds. Thank you to John S. Oliver for this post – he has also posted a few others on our national bird if you’re interested in the subject.

 

The year that was

Given that this will be the last newsletter of 2016 we thought we’d take the opportunity to reflect upon some highlights. However, narrowing these down from all the amazing posts has been difficult. We’ve limited ourselves to one post per month that has inspired us!

  • January – Pascale Hyboud-Peron takes us on her learning journey, when she answers the question, How did you come to the realisation that the day you stopped teaching, you started learning? After years of teaching, Pascale decided to take a break and focus on education outside of the classroom. This journey began with setting up a website for french teachers in 2008. Pascale had to hone her skills of research and self teaching to build the website from a bare CMS. Then came the dive into tools such as social media, online resources and, of course, the smartphone. In the process of adapting these new methods and tools, Pascale realised she had become more of a learner in the process of teaching. As this developed, so did Pascale’s attitude and behaviours in interacting with these platforms – she had learnt a whole new skillset. More recently, Pascale has directed this skill set towards e-portfolios. In this post Pascale also shares her research on this subject, with comprehensive resources and insights. The post addresses why ePortfolios are special (particularly in comparison with traditional paper portfolios), and how they can aid in helping children reflect in a critical manner.

  • February – The conversation around how and when it is appropriate to use digital devices in a learning environment is a constant and relevant one. Devices off, please! looks at an experience Leigh Hynes had where she was asked to switch off her own device during a session. On another occasion Leigh received feedback from a principal that teachers in a session she was facilitating should should have been asked to turn off their devices. This triggered some questions. While the principal believed the presence of digital devices distracted their staff, Leigh felt that being connected could enhance the experience. Leigh noted that all those in attendance still managed to complete the given tasks and therefore take away positively from the experience. Whilst these devices have the potential to be distracting, they can also be an integral part of learning.

  • March – The Ethos featured blogger for March was Greg Carroll. In his provocative post Greg discusses a subject that is always difficult – change. It is generally agreed that in order for change to be successful, all those involved must be on board and working towards the same goals. In a school environment this means staff and family cooperation is vital. So, how does one create a collaborative and cooperative community? And, more importantly, how does one deal with someone who is not working towards the same vision as everyone else – i.e When to shoot? How do you know when to challenge someone on their cultural fit in the school’s direction? And how can this be done in a reasonable, constructive manner that doesn’t worsen things? Working in professional learning and development, this is something Greg has a lot of experience with – when and how to pose the provocation. In his post Greg explores these questions, and how, as a leader, you can hone your skills in developing a team and community that are working in sync.

  • April – What Remains? is a thought piece from John S. Oliver on what we may change, influence and leave behind through writing. Why are some pieces of writing so well remembered and constantly referred to, even years after their publication, and other just plain forgettable? The power of words can’t be denied.  But do they have the influence to change the world? And how does the author go about creating something that will remain in the head of his reader?

  • May – Monika Kern shares her experience as a blogger. Monika talks about her reasons for blogging, concluding that ultimately it allows her an outlet to talk through and make sense of particular issues. So, what were to happen if this right was taken away? In Fine lines; To blog or not to blog Monika discusses the potential censorship teachers face in what they can and can’t post online. She addresses the fine lines that arise between the personal and professional self, and how social media can amplify these. However, Monika disagrees with the thought that educators should have strict guidelines as to what they post – after all, is this not just a case of using common sense, as you would if talking in public? The post also looks at how this could result in stifling the potential for debate, discussion and healthy disagreement.

  • June – Gavin Clarke explores the currently polarising subject of  perceived benefits surrounding Innovative learning environments. The question that all educationalists want to know is “how will these changes impact on student attainment?”. In Attainment vs. Attitudes Gavin questions whether the wording of this is totally appropriate – particularly the sole focus on student attainment, the argument being that this takes focus away from other benefits that may arise from such innovation. Gavin argues that the attention should be on the whole child and how it will benefit their learning journey rather than drilling down on the percentages attaining national standards in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. The post explores Education as more than attainment, particularly in regards to needing to go above and beyond 3 core subject areas. Gavin states that reform is needed in order to help students achieve future success. This post looks at why this reform is needed, and what exactly needs to change. The theme being that attitude needs to be valued as equal (if not superior) to attainment.

  • July – SEO (search engine optimisation) is now a key way for businesses to ensure they are seen on the internet – hence the need for its inclusion in any business plans. However, with Google becoming more complex, and the online environment more competitive, SEO is now more complicated than ever. Content is one of the most important parts of the whole process. So, how can you write content for a SEO? Here are ten ways to improve your page ranking through creating relevant content and implementing effective tactics. A big thanks to Kate White for this informative piece.

  • August – We are all guilty of making excuses, intentional or not. One of the more commonly used ones is “we don’t know what we don’t know”. However, as Nathaniel Louwrens points out in his post, why accept this – shouldn’t we be questioning how to fix this issue? Nathaniel delves into methods we can use to bridge potential knowledge gaps. Tools like Twitter, Facebook, online forums and even trusty old Google provide a very easy way to expose ourselves to a wealth of otherwise unknown ideas, activities, resources and much more. Nathan also shares some fabulous blogs and resources to get you going on your hunt! Take a look: “We don’t know what we don’t know” – So what can we do about it?

  • September – How to thrive online from Leigh Hynes explored an important point back in September – just surviving online is not enough, we need to strive to teach young people how to thrive online. Howard Rheingold, cyberculture expert and academic, has developed 5 key literacies needed to achieve this. He calls these literacies – attention, crap detection, participation, collaboration and network smarts. In the above post Leigh Hynes explains these literacies as well as linking us to a video of Rheingold himself discussing them. This is an interesting theory and definitely one that is relevant to anyone with young students, children etc. who are learning to function effectively in an online environment.

  • October – Diana Ayling cross-posted this superb set of recommendations from Jeff Dunn for the 10 TED Talks that will help inspire your learners and you. We are always a huge fan of TED talks, and having a resource like this that compiles those that may be suitable and applicable to students is very helpful.

  • November – In Cracking the code: Helping students understand the IELTS band score descriptors, Pete takes us on his journey of discovery (or as he like to term it, uncovery) in the understanding and teaching of IELTS candidates. Pete had been working with IELTS candidates for a few years when he noticed a flaw in the system; the understanding of the assessment criteria. Students were consistently showing confusion and frustration when trying to comprehend these guidelines. Pete took matters into his own hands and began paraphrasing and illustrating the IELTS Speaking and Writing band score, with much success for his students. From this Pete has created a fantastic series of IELTS Speaking band score videos. Each short clip focuses on a single part of the IELTS Speaking test and one feature of the IELTS Speaking band score descriptors. Pete also links us to his blog, where there is a written piece associated with each clip. A creative and informative resource.

 

What’s on?

Lots of other things happening (online courses, conferences and other opportunities) including the WorldWomen17 Conference taking place on March 17th 2017 at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand.

 

Please feel free to add events to share them, or just let me know and I’ll add them :-)

 

 

Much gratitude to Charlotte Caines for continuing to do the lion’s share of work putting this monthly newsletter together. Please keep your posts (including cross-posts), comments and recommendations coming :-)

 

Nāku iti nei, faafetai lava, and warm regards

Hazel, Charlotte, and the Ethos team,

Hazel Owen

Education consultant / Director

Ethos Consultancy NZ Ltd

PO Box 90391, Victoria Street West,

Auckland 1142

Phone +64 (0)9 9738027 / +64 (0)9 5750206

Mobile +64 (0)21 2273777

Web site: http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/

Blog: http://ictelt.blogspot.com/

Email addresses: info@ethosconsultancynz.com / hazelowendmc@gmail.com

Skype: hazelowendmc

November 30, 2016

Your Newsletter From The Ethos Online Community – November 2016

One for my Kiwi readers from the inbox overnight…

Your newsletter from the Ethos Online Community – November 2016

Kia ora, talofa lava, and greetings,

I am guessing you are reading this newsletter…or you may have a screenreader reading the text out to you; or perhaps someone is reading it to you. The thing is, I can’t assume how, or if, you will be able to access it – something I need to have thought about to ensure that the design is inclusive.

I remember having a discussion with a dear friend and colleague, Chrissie Butler a few years ago. At the time…and I cringe as think back…I posited that while, of course, accessibility was a key aspect of designing inclusive learning experiences in online spaces, that there was research that supported the efficacy of learning with, for example, interactive flash objects (which are very definitely not accessible). We had an animated conversation, which really challenged my thinking and changed my mind. Now, I strongly feel that we need to design so that accessibility is the goal, with inclusiveness as an underpinning principle not a final thought.

In the community this month Raymond Rose, who has been involved in “online accessibility since I was part of the team that created the first virtual high school in the US back in the mid-90s”. He blogs regularly about “latest issues on accessibility as well as on other issues related to quality online learning”, and has shared a really interesting post: Have You Started Thinking About VR (Virtual Reality)? What about VR and Accessibility?. There is, he shares “a world of folks who care about accessibility in games and a group of game developers who have disabilities”. Ray is concerned that the momentum with Virtual Reality continues, and doesn’t go the way of the hype / boom / bust cycle of Second Life. Mark Bartlet from The AbleGamers Foundations feels that “the hype is a good thing”, and goes on to say “I am not 100% sold on what the tech will do for gaming, much less the disabled community”…. “the market is going to speak and then we will decide if we like virtual reality or not … it has been in the hands of so few people, that we don’t know what the truth is yet” (source).

One of the key messages though is, when the design is accessible, it is way better for everyone. In other words, we need to improve our tools and our practice to be truly inclusive; there is no thing as ‘mostly accessible’ – whatever you design and develop is either inclusive to all or it’s not. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t even be a question; it should just be ‘who we are’.

Would love to hear your thoughts, and experiences. Do you have any examples (good, bad, and ugly)? Ray is also interested in any examples of enforcement actions on access to digital resources that you may know of.

Welcome to new members – November  2016

The Ethos Online Community now has 429 members. Hope you will all give a warm haere mai (welcome) to November’s new members to the community:

  • Mentor, Merryn Dunmill, joins us from Christchurch. As a virtual mentor and coach, both education and technology play large roles in Merryn’s world.

  • From lovely New Plymouth we welcome, Wharehoka Wano. Wharehoka is the General Manager of the Taranaki Iwi. Wharehoka believes ICT to offer communities the opportunity to access information, communicate and stay connected. Take a look at his blog here: http://wharehokawano.blogspot.co.nz

  • Raymond M Rose is an all round general evangelist for online accessibility learning, joining us all the way from Port Aransas, Texas. Raymond was part of the team that created the first virtual high school in the US. He also advocates for access and equity in education, and in particular online learning. Raymond is the Public Policy Chair for the Texas Distance Learning Association and a former faculty teaching instructional technology to pre-service teachers. A very impressive list of credentials! To learn more familiarise yourself with his blog; http://rmrose.blogspot.com

  • Centre Manager for the coding education initiative, Scratchpad (http://scratchpad.co.nz/blog/), we welcome Jennie Cronje. Jennie works closely with ICT enhanced learning and carries a belief in the empowerment of students by learning to code and to change the future.

Know anyone who would like to join an international Online Community that’s all about learning – across all education sectors, business & ITOs: http://bit.ly/233qpfP? Please invite them :)

Member Blog Posts and discussions

In this newsletter, as always we have some great posts. Please jump into the conversations and feel free to ask questions.

  • Our featured blogger for November is Pete Jones. In Cracking the code: Helping students understand the IELTS band score descriptors, Pete takes us on his journey of discovery (or as he like to term it, uncovery) in the understanding and teaching of IELTS candidates. Pete had been working with IELTS candidates for a few years when he noticed a flaw in the system; the understanding of the assessment criteria. Students were consistently showing confusion and frustration when trying to comprehend these guidelines. Pete took matters into his own hands and began paraphrasing and illustrating the IELTS Speaking and Writing band score, with much success for his students. From this Pete has created a fantastic series of IELTS Speaking band score videos. Each short clip focuses on a single part of the IELTS Speaking test and one feature of the IELTS Speaking band score descriptors. Pete also links us to his blog, where there is a written piece associated with each clip. A creative and informative resource.

  • John S. Oliver has posted a fantastic blog on an amazing project he plans on involving himself in this summer. In I Plan to Apply Myself as an Educator in this Practical Arena John introduces us to SOIL Haiti. SOIL is an initiative that aims to promote the use of ecological sanitation (EcoSan), a process by which human wastes are converted into valuable compost, in order to help ease the waste problem that has developed in Haiti. John shares a great video and web links to the project.

  • Merryn Dunmill has very kindly set up a google doc for people to hopefully will contribute to so we grow and share knowledge and good practice as we engage with our Māori and Pasifika students. A really helpful resource – thanks Merryn!

  • With nature as his inspiration, John S. Oliver, has composed a magical, lyrical piece of writing. Bud to soil imaginatively describes the life cycle of a leaf. This piece could serve as inspiration for students to  illustrate the process or as the starting point for a creative discussion.

  • This month we have pulled an old fave from the archives as it deserves some further attention. Using a reflective framework to support professional learning and reflective practice delves into the importance of collaboration and open learning. Bronwyn Hegarty reflects upon how her exposure to collaborative research projects aided in developing her ability to share ideas and resources and helped her gain entry to certain networks. This eventually led to the discovery of open education and social networks – enabling further collaboration. Bronwyn has always found this accessibility to the cross fertilization of ideas breeds very effective results. Why then do so many educators still believe it easier to work alone? Lucky for us, Bronwyn has put time and effort into developing a three step process to move away from this individuo-centric approach.  The Three-Step Reflective Framework encourages the practitioner  to think critically about the event, and then to reflect upon it critically also. Have a go and let us know your thoughts!

  • Virtual reality (VR) has been a hot topic this year, one that has managed to creep into the education sphere. In his post, Raymond M Rose, reminisces on the similar excitement around the arrival of Second Life (2L), a few years ago. 2L, however, never seemed to quite reach its predicted potential. In Have you started thinking about VR? What about VR and accessibility? Raymond ponders if one of the reasons for this was 2L’s lack of access. This is an issue that, unfortunately, VR doesn’t seem to have addressed yet either. Raymond links us to two further blogs of his that explore VR as an instructional tool and from the perspective of having students create VR experiences.

  • Fittingly following on from above, in My Take on Online Accessibility, Raymond M Rose gives an insight into his extensive work on the subject. Raymond’s work started with the creation of the first virtual high school in the US back. As well as being involved in the development of policy, in 2007  Raymond co-authored  a  publication for NACOL, (now iNACOL) that was one of the first to address what he saw as a growing problem with access and equity in online learning. In 2014 Raymond was asked to rewrite this publication, and in the process he has built a rounded view on the topic. In the above blog you can read the article as well as some other great resources. Raymond is always after new materials on the subject too, so please get in touch if you have any resources or ideas.

  • This year we have been lucky enough to be part of Lorraine Vickery’s postgraduate learning journey. In November we received the last installments for the year. The first post, My ‘maker-space’ journey, talks about the ‘maker’ movement. This is the idea that student learn from ‘making’. Lorraine relates this back to her own work with special needs students. With these students she realised the process of ‘making’ needed to reflect real-world, everyday concepts, rather than segregated  school subjects. Lorraine further explores the concept, as well as looking into the exact classroom environment that is needed to invoke a creative, challenging ‘maker-space’, therefore developing confidence. Lorraine goes on to explain why she believes ‘making’ deserves such a strong position in the learning environment in her following post, Making learning visible. This post explores the visibility created by ‘making’ and how educators can go about assessing the process and results. Lorraine shares a great resource to help define what actually counts as learning for students whilst undertaking ‘making’. She emphasises this focus on the process and progress made during ‘making’ rather than a purely results driven assessment criteria. In our final installment, The journey’s end… but only for 2016, we are given the results of Lorraine’s own ‘maker’ experience. In the above post Lorraine shares how the students reacted to this learning experience as well as what she feels she gained through implementing the ‘maker’ movement. Very interesting to hear more about this concept and get a taster of Lorraine’s experience!

Also recommended

As always you have contributed a superb variety of posts this month. Thank you. Here are some of the posts and topics that you may find of interest:

  • Characteristics of eLearning: A model and associated resources has some great resources and articles aiming to provide professional readings and practical ideas for eTeachers.

  • This research was shared a while back by the late Vince Ham who indicated that there were “Some interesting digests of research here”.The research focuses on new Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Programme publications summarising the findings of the 5 year ERSC/EPSRC funded programme with eight large projects. Take a look: Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Programme publications from London Knowledge Lab.

  • Merryn Dunmill shared this interesting resource (original post here) that looks at Classroom ideas for learning with the iPad and “has an excellent model for adaptation for those of you looking at how notebooks, iPads etc should be integrated into learning, not just as tools, but in relation to curriculum goals and teacher/learner inquiry. Could be useful for your school as a planning framework and rationale statement.

  • Neil Ballantyne suggests that blended learning is not a lesser model than purely face-to-face. He looks to Social science knowledge (declarative knowledge – knowing about), clinical practice (knowing how), and which type of knowledge you might put online. In Blending learning for human service education we look further into Neil’s work around distance education in social work and current and emerging trends (US Council survey of social work).

Recommended videos

From the ever growing repository of videos (1,368 in total), these are a just few of the highlights.

  • A great one to show younger students to explain Autumn… Why do leaves change colour in the fall? Autumn means leaves are turning different shades of red, orange, and yellow and falling to the ground. But why? Jessi takes you deep inside a leaf to explain…

  • Collaboration and cooperation are both vital for creative work. This short video explores the difference between the two and why it matters for creative work.

  • The simple solution to traffic – sounds like something we could all use right? This is a very interesting video about the causes of traffic and how we may be able to solve this annoying issue.

  • What makes a street a street and an avenue and avenue – is there any logic to this? Yes, and all is revealed in How streets, avenues and roads are different.

  • A follow up from last month’s video, Death & Dynasties (rules for rulers follow up), delves deeper into how family dynasties and rulers are created.

  • Beyond the echo chamber: The extraordinary possibilities of a networked profession is a wonderful video from Tessa Grey which provides a great overview of this session, including: “Networked learning where anyone can connect and share ideas with each other, whether your face to face or online is a powerful catalyst for change. The challenge is to understand the value – from the way we are connecting and how we are connecting, so that we’re not just receiving messages in a filter or an echo chamber.”

  • Invisible forces shape us and our performance. Only by understanding these forces can we influence the people and things around us. Find out more in The hidden source of success.

Job Opportunity

  • An exciting job opportunity has presented itself in the form of an Associate Professor or Senior Lecturer role to lead research and teaching in e-Learning/Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of Canterbury. For more information please see the post: Here. Applications close December 11th.

What’s on?

Lots of other things happening (online courses, conferences and other opportunities) – in particular the Scratchpad Holiday Programmes, taking place over the Dec/Jan break. There are a variety of courses for young students taking place here in Auckland. Places are filling up quickly! Head to the post to find out more and book your place.

Please feel free to add events to share them, or just let me know and I’ll add them :-)

Much gratitude to Charlotte Caines for continuing to do the lion’s share of work putting this monthly newsletter together. Please keep your posts (including cross-posts), comments and recommendations coming :-)

Nāku iti nei, faafetai lava, and warm regards

Hazel

Hazel Owen
Education consultant / Director
Ethos Consultancy NZ Ltd

PO Box 90391, Victoria Street West,
Auckland 1142
Phone +64 (0)9 9738027 / +64 (0)9 5750206
Mobile +64 (0)21 2273777
Web site: http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/
Blog: http://ictelt.blogspot.com/
Email addresses: info@ethosconsultancynz.com / hazelowendmc@gmail.com
Skype: hazelowendmc

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