Monday, 11 July 2011

Personal Learning Environments

As previous post, a curated page or two on PLE's.   Thanks to

Tech Effect Me and the Organisation

Two specific technologies come to mind when looking at impact upon me and my own CPD and Learning.  The First is Twitter which has shifted my CPD from something I did specifically at pre-arranged events or conferences to an almost daily, ongoing habit. Twitter, via recommendations, opened a whole avenue of investigation, comment and thought from both peers and fellow practitioners.  The second technology, is that of aggregation and curation  through channels such as!  I have found  myself stepping from reading others comments in a haphazard way, to curating their words, articles and musings into a topic which is relevant to me and my peers and those within my organisation who are targets of change.  Again, this is happening daily and while it will reduce it has been the primary reason for being so far behind this last week or two

My own organisation is benefiting through access to the same sources that I am reading and for those that choose to access these materials they shall be better informed. Example of! curated by Me!!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Who is doing what with Web 2.0 

Franklin, T. and van Harmelen, M. (2007) Web 2.0 for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, London, The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.

A widely quoted rule of thumb is that 1% of Web 2.0 users create content, 10% comment or in 
some way add to the content (e.g. adding a tag), and the remaining 89% consume content without 
adding to it. On the basis of survey data, Forrester Research has refined this broad distinction into 
categories of creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators and inactives.

AGE  ROLE                  12 – 17     18 – 21     22 – 26    27 – 40      41 – 50    51 – 61      62+

Creators                            34 %        37 %         30 %        19 %         12 %        7 %          5 %
Critics – comment 
and add ratings etc             24 %         37 %        34 %         29 %        18 %        19 %        11 %
Collectors – RSS 
aggregator users, 
bookmarkers                     11 %          16 %        18 %         19 %        19 %        16 %       11 %
Joiners – join social 
media sites                         51 %          70 %        57 %         29 %        19 %         8 %         6 %
Spectators – watch 
and read                            49 %           59 %        54 %         41 %        31 %        26 %       19 %
Inactives – online 
but no social 
media, e.g. only email          34 %          17 %         21 %        42 %        54 %         61 %       70 %

Friday, 10 June 2011

Basic Blue Skies Research in the UK: Are we losing out?

Lifted from....Belinda Linden accessed 10 Jun 2011.

The term "blue skies research" derives from Julius Comroe, who explained in 1976 how scientific discoveries often arise from tortuous curiosity-driven paths, rather than a direct goal-driven route [11]. He used as his example an event where Charles Wilson, President Eisenhower's Secretary of Defence and an opponent of basic research, said: "I don't care what makes the grass green!" Comroe claimed that Wilson might just as well have said, "I don't care what makes the sky blue!" Comroe defended the need for basic research by describing the work of a British physicist called John Tyndall whose research in 1869 explained the blue colour of the sky by using a glass tube into which he introduced certain vapours. When illuminated, the tube filled with many fine particles. When a powerful beam of light focused on the tube in a dark room, a sky blue cloud filled the tube [12]. Comroe describes how through this discovery, Tyndall's work explained many other unrelated concepts. His examples included the development of a test for optically pure air that was unable to develop bacteria, success in convincing scientists of Pasteur's claim that there was no such thing as spontaneous generation, research demonstrating how lung airways remove particles from inspired air before reaching the alveoli. Tyndall also discovered 50 years before Fleming how penicillium bacteria could successfully destroy a mould [13]. He showed how a light beam followed a curved route, leading to the later development of the flexible gastroscope and bronchoscope [14]. Tyndall's work therefore provided strong evidence to show that important discoveries are often curiosity-led rather than goal-driven. Comroe asked US cardiologists to list the professional activities that they considered to be the most valuable. When the origins of these advances were examined, he demonstrated that more than 70% of the clinical tools used by cardiologists arose from fundamental, curiosity-driven research performed without a cardiological outcome in mind. This report was used as a key argument to convince the US Congress that basic blue skies research had a better than average chance of translating into something clinically useful compared to that derived from problem-oriented research [24].

Back to Blogging

Despite my best efforts to forget blogging, it would appear we're back into the online, 'say what you mean in the most public of ways for all posterity'! Love it.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Undergrads.... Who are they? And what tech do they use to Learn?

What are the main findings from this study?
Tech and its usage are becoming more prevalent. Difference in using a tool for a course and using it to collaborate for a course.
Web based office / google tools = 36% of which 50% used to Collaborate.
Wiki usage = 33% of which 30.7% used to Col.
SNS = 29% of which nearly 50% used for Col.
small % of users using Micro Blogs (twitter) at 4.3% but nearly 40% of those used for Col.
Again small % using Virtual worlds (1.4%) and Social book making sites (2.8%) but nearly 30% of these users used for col.
Overall, students are using a variety of technology which has varying degrees of perceived use in learning and collaborative learning. These student perceptions are certainly not reflected, understood or capitalised upon within my institution.  Students are using technology which they have (not necessarily institutionally provided) to learn and collaborate with. This tech and tools may not have originally been designed for leaning but the collaborative elements means its being hijacked for that purpose.
I can't say any of this surprises me as I've read it previously and have been attending Modern Learning Symposiums and the like for many years where these embryonic stats are wheeled out to tell us a major change was on its way....   well don't look now cause its happened!
My own experiences are similar, the trend is evident but the acknowledgement that something other than a white board and PP could be used to deliver training until a few years ago was heresy.
The implications are significant.  These tools are being used and you can either actively dis-guard them, or get on board and provide content and support students in a way they want to learn as opposed to the way we have traditionally taught them.  Dangerous thoughts in my organisation......

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Reading Richardson (2005)

Do you think the innovations described in Weeks 8 and 9 as ‘learning design’ would induce more desirable approaches to studying on the part of the students?

Well in short it could. But poor design is still poor design even when its planned better.  If the designers conceptions are of transmission and the use of interaction is limited then achieving a student focus is unlikely regardless of the tools utilised.  Understanding what each tool can achieve and bring to the learning party is central to producing a student focus.  The activities we sampled in weeks 8 & 9 were useful to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each.   

Compare Marton’s idea that some students regard learning as something that just happens to them with Sfard’s account that you read in Week 3

The Acquisition and Participation Metaphors describe well a view of learning but Merton does not describe whether this AM is a passive process or not.  My inclination is to assume that AM is passive whereas PM is active in its approach.  Where students assume that learning is a passive process, having them engage in learning serials may be more problematic and we may suggest that this is 'not their preferred learning style'.  Where this is the case is any Participation methodology useful for these learners? 

Do the concepts, theories and evidence described in my paper fit your own experience as a learner?

I have witnessed similar understandings / delineations of what teaching is when delivering train the trainer courses.  Furthermore some of the ideas are comparable to my own experience as a learner.  

Which of Säljö’s five conceptions of learning best fits your own definition?

All five have resonance, but I edge towards the the abstraction of meaning and interpretation of reality.  My professional life requires me to down grade and convince engineers of the merit of an approach in sound bites or simple terms. Abstraction of meaning and delivery of a principle behind a way or approach is critical so it can be re-applied next time round.