This is an essay I wrote for the course Understanding learning in the online environment, which is part of Edinburgh's MSc Digital Education. Video has long been used to support classroom teaching. However, it is only in the last ten to fifteen years that educators have been able to easily produce and distribute their own videos.… Continue reading Using storytelling in Philosophy teaching videos
I just finished doing a PGCert in Digital Education, and I thought I'd post a few of things I wrote for it here. This essay was written in April 2016 for the course Introduction to Digital Environments for Learning. A teacher in a secondary school classroom raises her voice above the chatter. “Ok everyone, settling down… Continue reading How should MOOC designers respond to student silence?
Standardisation Standardisation makes many administrative processes better. If people are submitting forms, it's easier to process those forms when they follow a standard design. If students want to find out the time and place of their lectures, they want that information in a standard way. Technology has a bias towards the pursuit of standardisation, partly… Continue reading Standards: sometimes good, sometimes bad
Part of my job involves making videos of people talking about philosophy. These largely fall into two types: videos of live talks and MOOC videos. Live talks in front of an audience Filming the live talks is fairly straightforward. We turn up with a camera and a mic, set everything up and hit record. For… Continue reading Philosophy videos
Sometimes I write instructions for software; generally this is just a series of steps with screenshots showing where to click. I'm a big fan of screenshots for this sort of thing. Way better to show an image of a red button than just describe it in words. Here's how I do my screenshots these days: All of the… Continue reading Dimmed screenshots
Inspired by Donald Clark, here's what I think is the central problem of educational technology: As a teacher, I have written some text and I want my students to be able to see it Blackboards Blackboards were invented because they allow a teacher to write words that are big enough for students to see. Two… Continue reading The central problem of educational technology
"Try again. Fail again. Fail better." A suitably morose quote from Samuel Beckett: you're always failing, but you can at least fail better than your previous failures. I think it's fair to say that modern education has a difficult relationship with failure. On the one hand, failure is and always has been a bad thing.… Continue reading The unbearable permanence of forums