#BYOD4L Day three: Curating

This is the topic I’ve been looking forward to the most: curating.

As I said in a previous post, I struggle with the myriad ways to curate information and with filtering information too. And if I do, then I figure undergraduates must too.

In response to my concerns about ‘ways’, a colleague of mine told me that the best thing to do is find a tool I like and stick with it – make everything I curate open to the people I want to share it with and stop worrying about what else is out there. I think this is GREAT advice, and the joy of BYOD4L is that I’m getting the opportunity to look at the curating tools that are out there.

And, in the spirit of trying tools that are new to me I joined the #BYOD4L Google hangout today. And then I had to leave, suddenly, with no explanation because I needed to go home. Which started me thinking about scenario two (bear with me, there is a link…). The lecturer describes providing all sorts of extra resources, but that her students don’t use them, they only do the things they have to do for assessment. I guess this is a good example that the old (oft misquoted) adage, ‘build it and they will come’ [it’s actually ‘build it and he will come’ from the movie Field of Dreams] is not really true.

For me this is an issue about design. Students are crazy busy people so often have to be strategic; they need to concentrate on the things that will make a difference to them. And every now and again they are likely to have to suddenly leave too, just like I did today (see I told you there was a link) and so the design of learning activities and resources needs to be such that  there is a reason for students to use them, or revisit them if life gets in the way (the video of the Hangout is a great resource). Either that or we need to think about how we introduce students to the culture of Higher Ed and show them the value of reading around a subject so that they can see the value of taking the time to immerse themselves in the resources we provide, rather than in something else.

If engaging with additional resources will help students many of them will engage, so I’d suggest that the design of teaching and assessment probably needs a different emphasis. Instead of teaching stuff, reward process. So, for example, begin a repository of relevant articles, then require the students to add to this repository and then discuss the articles in a seminar or interactive lecture, then the links have worth. This could be done in Pinterest or Scoop.it or on a wiki in the University supported learning platform.

Another idea I particularly like is to award some of the assessment grade to students when they show how they researched their essay/project/assignment. You can do this by getting them to draw a ‘map’ of their research journey (have a look at this paper for an example) and it helps to avoid plagiarism too.

Ultimately I believe that the skills of filtering and curating useful information are the skills we need to be learning, for ourselves and with our students, because to be able to do this successfully is becoming more and more important in an age where ‘stuff’ (content/information) is easily and freely available.



#BYOD4L Day two: communicating

I haven’t been able to spend my day thinking about the scenarios today (note to self to watch them first-thing tomorrow) as I’ve been a bit busy, and I’m kinda tired too. As a result I guess my thoughts are probably a little less formed than they might otherwise be.

Anyhoo, I decided to think about scenario two. As someone who works in our Learning and Teaching Centre my first thought is about showing him the LTC website and the CPD sessions and the L&T contact for his department so that he can start having conversations with others. And then encourage him onto the Post grad Cert in Academic Practice.

But this is all face-to-face and quite how that fits with BYOD is beyond me really. I am struggling with this (and feeling a little concerned to post!)

Perhaps I’d also suggest he take a course like this, or another free online course. And then maybe that he join online communities like the PeerWise Community to ask questions and see what other people are doing. I’d also want to know what, in particular he is interested in. For example, I have a colleague who is flipping his classrooms and I’d put them in touch to have a chat, and I’d probably introduce them via email or Twitter (dependent on this guys preference).

None of this feels very inspired, nor is it embedded in or supported by, tech, but I think ultimately for me this is about personal interaction and often face-to-face personal interaction…

#BYOD4L Day one: Connecting

So, I’m beginning #BYOD4L and I’m not sure where to start. I’ve introduced myself (ILO1) and said hello to a few people, and I’m going to play in the Twitter conversation later. I have Google+ and Twitter and Facebook open on my computer and have (and will continue) to comment on them.

And I’m reflecting on what I do here (ILO3) but I’m a little concerned about creating ‘a digital artefact on [my] own or with others that capture[s my] learning based on discoveries linked to one of the scenarios’. It is interesting to be in this position again. To be a student, unclear of exactly what it is that is expected of me. (I don’t want to be asking ‘what is it they want me to do?’ and yet I find myself thinking this.  :-))

So, for now I am going to think about the scenarios instead, and specifically scenario two: a lecturer who doesn’t ‘do’ technology. She has a mobile and an iPad, but doesn’t really know what to do with either, or why to do it and thinks its all for nerds or a waste of time. So, her question is: can she do her job (lectures, seminars, practicals) without using it all?

My simple answer is yes! I work with a number of very successful academics who use very little tech and are supersuccessful in what they do.

But here’s the thing… For me, tech is here and it’s coming and it will continue to come. And increasingly it is being demanded by students, or used by students, to approach their learning. And sometimes there are brilliant solutions that tech can provide that will enhance her ability to teach. For example, Aropä allows students to answer a question, mark a number of their peers answers and then get feedback on their own, with very little administration from the teaching staff, so freeing time to have conversations about learning instead.

So, should she be forced to use Apps – no. Could someone sit down with her and discuss the things she does and the things she’d like to do with her students and see if there’s a way that tech can help her to engage her students in learning – yes, absolutely!

For my practice: I have to remember how it is to be a student (I do try) and that finding a tech solution to student learning and engagement conundrum needs to be approached with care…

Oh, and I just learned how to do umlauts on a mac!

New tools I’ve discovered in BYOD4L so far

As I wrote in a previous post, I’ve tried a whole bunch of solutions to the ‘problem’ of information overload.

Whist having a wander around the #BYOD4L course site today I have come across some more tools.

So, here’s the list:

1. Padlet: This seems to be an online bulletin board where people can post comments and links. As a tool it could become a collection point for information for a course, or an individual. It doesn’t seem to be hugely pretty though (although I do appreciate that it can be customised) and I wonder if Pinterest does the same (or similar) thing?

2. Edshelf: I’d love to talk about what this is, but right now I can’t get into it! On the Google-search-page-preview it says it does ‘Reviews and recommendations of tools for education’ which sounds interesting. I’ve contacted them on Twitter, so we shall see what happens. Maybe their server is down or something..?

3. Scoop.it: I like this I think. The How Scoop.It Works video on YouTube is really great. Maybe this could be one option for curating information. And it seems to let you publish updates to Twitter and other social media platforms. Good stuff, possibly…

Not bad for an hour or so!

Oh, and in an entirely unrelated way (and a little later, this is an edit to the rest of the post above), I just discovered Etherpad (open source, real-time, collaborative document editing) through a blog I follow called Music for Deckchairs… It’s a brilliant blog mind you and this post is no exception…

Why have a blog?

Why have a blog indeed… I have wondered this for a while.

And I have tried; believe me! I tried blogging about taking pictures but forgot to take any pictures, then I tried blogging about my journey but I forgot I was on a journey!

This time I’m going to try blogging my way through a week-long open collaborative course called Bring Your Own Devices for Learning (BYOD4L) and tweeting about it too (#BYOD4L). So, this is an experiment in learning about learning (I hope to learn more about using devices in learning) and learning about blogging, and particularly about the possibilities of blogging for improving, inspiring and enhancing my professional practice.

We shall see, and I welcome you on my journey (hello!).