Many of those at the JISC E-Learning Fair were from FE, but there was also a lean towards HE, and I (in my role as Blended Learning Fellow at the University of Winchester) picked up a lot of useful information, and got to meet others working in the local(ish) area who will be useful contacts.
Please note that I am in process of deciding best forum for such information within the University: Moodle, a Blog, but for now, here we are. (Reflecting upon blogging, etc. at events)
Stephen Sheedy, Queen Mary College, Basingstoke
Stephen set the tone for the day with an amusing but thought-provoking mix of material. He indicated that we shouldn’t be talking about major changes which are likely to affect learning and skills – as they are already happening.
Discussing the history of communication, it was demonstrated that we used to have a small circle of friends/family, and were introduced into a broader world by adults (particularly parents/teachers), but that now ‘younger people’ are entering the global world without adult guidance.
- Global (Used creating their own YouTube videos, and expecting a quick response – from anywhere in the world!)
- Responsive (Used to rapid response/feedback, 3 week guarantee “too long”)
- Flexible (Used to having more than one starting point)
- Interactive (Looking for a relationship of trust, staff/student partnership: The teacher has a role of leader, but needs ‘distributed leadership’)
- Often facile or trivial
Students need a guide to the terrain. Our job is to let them know where the paths are. We need to know what is known and the options for exploration..
What do Teachers/Lecturers need to know with Web 2.0?
- Determine the appropriate reach of a forum.
- Establish protocols for partnership.
- Inclusion (not everyone can afford the technology, so minimise it’s impact)
- Identify the quality of the information.
- Insist on nobility of purpose (not a space for compliance)
- In using the space, students become better contributors to society (NOT just a box of skills), and live it better.
What’s important for institutions to know?
- Encourage staff involvement
- Invest in awareness/equipment
- Monitoring (not primary purpose)
The Committee of Enquiry into the Changing Learner Experience Sir David Melville, Chair of Lifelong Learning UK, spoke before lunch about the report launched in March 2009 (which he indicated was probably already out of date, because of the speed of change within digital learning).
The study was investigating the influence of Higher Education on the “Google Generation”:
- The impact on their experiences and expectations
- Their use of social networking
- Their adoption of new technologies
- Developments at schools, colleges, campuses, including institutional developments.
The most recent study started in March 2008, dealing with 15/16 year olds, we’d now find the same proportions outlined in the study applying to 12/13 year olds.
- A 2007 Study and a 2008 Report found that most students had been exposed to “push” technologies (i.e. top-down), and especially valued face-to-face contact.
- Late adopters are learning first, knowing that they have to be ‘equipped for the real world’.
- There is evidence that students ARE using social networking for L&T, especially for enhancing group work. A key question is what is the nature of that space, and who controls that space.
- There was a strong feeling that Facebook was a “private space”, that these shouldn’t be used formally, that students could set up their own Facebook groups if they desired, and that staff could only be invited in by the students.
- CLEX investigated:
- Areas of Web 2.0 usage
- Institutional drivers
- Issues encountered and responses
- Perceived advantages and disadvantages
- Prospective developments
- European angle also considered, and the UK is far more developed than other countries because of the JANET network.
- Discussed with: Practitioners, users of FE/HE, futurologists.
- CLEX found:
- Use of Web 2.0 is ubiquitous from the age of 12.
- New technology is different, but is it better?
- There’s been a patchy take-up from staff even when there is a strong drive from management (tools can take a long time to use properly, and VLEs don’t always help)
- Students are not yet demanding change, but note not yet.
- Critical/evaluative skills are a deficit area and likely to get worse (e.g. “The 10 Second Researcher”: Google/Wikipedia facilitate “shallow research”. ) It’s hugely important that we find ways to impact deep research.
- New skills that technology can foster for future workplace demands.
- Staff time and support issues are critical.
- It’s not just familiarity with the technology, but where they fit strategically.
The full report can be found here.
JISC: Joint Information Systems Committee
JISC were of course much in evidence at the event, offering a number of resources under their newly formed “shop window” of JISC Advance (as they look to combine best practice across the varied services):
- TechDis (Accessibility and Inclusivity)
- Accessibility Essentials (Suggestions and downloads to make your teaching materials more accessible)
- Teaching Inclusively using Technology (Training qualification)
- Upwardly Mobile (inclusive m-learning)
- JISC InfoNet (promoting good practice, inspiring innovation)
- JISCMail (Subject based email/forum lists for the research community)
- JISC Digital Media (copyright, podcasting lectures, image manipulation and more)
- Netskills Workshops (Training in the use of IT for effective teaching)
- JISC Legal (Specific to the use of IT/materials in FE and HE)
- Ofqual Toolkit (e-assessments and eportfolios)
- Excellence Gateway: The Learning and Skills improvement service, offering access to projects demonstrating the latest research and best practice, with those on e-learning provided by the JISC Regional Centres.
BBC Motion Gallery
Licensed subscription service to BBC/other broadcaster moving imagery on topics such as Current Affairs, Sport, Natural History, Medicine, Geography, The Arts.
- Based upon institution size, the most expensive licence will be £1000 per annum (instead of an average £12pp/pa addition to the licence fee) for a minimum of 3 years.
- 35,000 clips available, with a further 1000 added weekly. Access is via Shibboleth or IP range. Once downloaded, images can be used in perpetuity.
- The service is described as being safer to use than YouTube, with less likelihood of sidetracking.
- Researchers have carefully constructed metadata, and each clip has been assigned a unique URL. Site can be searched by season, date, minute, etc. and played upon QuickTime or Windows Media. Clips can be re-edited offline, so that only the appropriate segment is available (rather than having to fast-forward).
- Free 30 day trials are possible.
- Everytime someone records a programme it’s available to all, and is archived. 16,000 have already been recorded. Works well even on 3G connect.
- To choose to record, there’s 7 day catchup available, on every channel on Freeview.
- Programmes are likely to be available 1-12 hours after the programme airs. The quality is less than that of iPlayer, but suitable for lecture theatres.
- The capturing of subtitles is still in progress, largely due to IP issues. Embedding is also not entirely straightforward due to authentication issues.
- Clips can be “clipped” to use specific elements. Playlists can be created for specific courses, and linked from Moodle. Designed to be used WITHIN the VLE, not to replace it.
- Provides access to NewsFilm Online.
- Costing around £400 per annum.
Sally Betts, NIACE “Making the Most of Moodle”
Sally introduced us to a number of tools which can be integrated with Moodle, and which she has used, including:
- Xtranormal (Text to Movie software, took about 10 minutes to set up the first movie)
- Camtasia (screen recording software), like CamStudio.
- Video resources other than YouTube: VideoJug, MoleTV, TeacherTube.
- Embedding video and audio
- Cooltext, for embedding “buttons” within your VLE.
CityBit: Southampton City College Benchmarking System
In a bid to move towards e-maturity with their Moodle based VLE, Southampton City College have developed a benchmarking system, with Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, which they will shortly be making available to the Moodle community at the end of November. The badge appears on every course, but is only seen by staff, who use it as a development tool.
- Bronze is awarded when the site is used as a repository
- Silver is awarded when the site demonstrates interactivity
- Gold is awarded when there’s a clear collaborative learning experience (more Web 2.0)
Badging can be automatically applied monthly, but manual moderation of the process is also possible.
A number of other stands were also at the Fair:
- Ja.Net (UK Education and Research Network)
- KeyTools (Assitive technology and ergonomic computer equipment)
- PFGlobal (ePortfolios)
- ClickView Live (Streaming from TV, Video, DVD, etc to computer)
- Broadchart (Licensed streaming music: I should have asked the sales guy what were the benefits over Spotify)
- ERA (Educational Recording Agency)
- TxtTools (Texting Services)
- VLE Support (including eTracker for FE)
- Ergo (ICT Solutions)
- Khipu (Networks, but thanks for the water bottle)
- Streaming (School Radio Stations/Video Libraries)
- IDXtra (Swipe Card systems)