This week Neil Morris encouraged us to reflect on what we have learned and check #FLBLE1 on Twitter. Comparing to last week, I spent more time on reading comments, responding some, exploring the resources shared in the sessions, and digesting the topic.
The focus in this week is to help us to get ready for blended learning: (1) understanding pedagogy (2) understanding a wide range of technologies (3) gaining digital literacy skills, and (4) knowing context/environment.
Firstly, the key learning for me is the pedagogy for using technology for learning and the impact of technology on pedagogy. Among the highlighted pedagogical approaches: Constructivism, Social constructivism and Problem-based learning, social constructivism approach definitely is used in my practice, though I do not often talk about pedagogy when support users. It makes a lot of sense when I think why we support tools such as Yammer, discussion forum, Xerte Online Toolkits, Mahara, Panopto, blogs, and so on.
The problem-based learning is an approach that challenges students to learn through engagement in a real problem. I thought it is to help students understand a topic through developing students self-directed learning. However, I forgot it is most commonly group-based. The quiz exercise helped me to reinforce my learning of pedagogy. I also found an introduction of problem-based learning from HEA.
Secondly, being able to understand technologies and know what they are designed for is my area. I’ve learned more new applications this week, which I may be review or introduce to my colleagues later:
- iObserve is a video and audio recording app that allows allows you to record observations, time stamp criteria, give instant feedback and create a signed declaration.
- DREAMS LMS is a remote e-learning and marking system. I wonder if it is like the FutureLearn platform, but provides more interactive content creation functionalities.
- NearPod is an interactive classroom tool to create, engage and assess. I wonder what are the differences between this tool and the VLE platform like Blackboard. A video introduction about this tool can be seen in the HCUK resources below.
- The TAGSExplorer (developed by Martin Hawksey) is a very useful tool for visualising a tweet hashtag and its activities. It’s a good way to see what’s going on with the Blended Learning course tweets through a dynamic map. (below is a screenshot)
Thirdly, the discussion about digital literacy skills is not new for me. Although it is still at an early stage of development in our institution, I have been learning it for a few years now. I have shared our University materials in the discussion. As I think they are so useful, I’d like to share them again:
- Joe Nicholls explains an institutional approach to establishing sustainable and scalable approaches to develop the digital literacy of all staff and students in the University.
- Joe Nicholls explains the importance of integrating the development of learning literacies into the curriculum.
- An open seminar – building digital capabilities presented by Lisa Gray (JISC) and Matt Smith, organised by CEI, Cardiff University.
Fourthly, the big environment of my work context is not easy to change. In the case study when Borders College said that it took them 5 years to implement blended learning, I accepted that. Changing is slow in big universities. It took us two-three years to adopt a new technology university-wide. Still I am struggling how to help people get ready for adopting technologies in their practice. I may not be able to change the environment much, but I can make myself up-to-date of the new approaches and skills. Reading the comments in 2.8, I agree that the common barriers for people to embed blended learning within their environment include: unrobust infrastructure for adopting technology; limited finance, and a lack of visionary leaders to lead the transformation.
In addition, like most time I learned new resources:
- Attwell, Graham and Hughes, Jenny (2010). Pedagogic approaches to using technology for learning: literature review. Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK). This paper discussed different pedagogic theories.
- eLearning Video of the Week (Tips and tricks in 3 minutes) run by HCUK library & eLearning services.