In the recently published Really Useful #EdTechBook, a range of people from the educational technology sector each get a chapter to write about a chosen issue. It was an interesting read, especially as I have the same job as many of the writers. In some cases, they write about the results of some research they have carried out, while others use… Continue reading “We’ve always done it this way”
In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, the Washington Post published an article about how the NSA had dealt with electronic data in Iraq. “Rather than look for a single needle in the haystack, [General Keith Alexander's] approach was, ‘Let’s collect the whole haystack,’ ” [...] “Collect it all, tag it, store it. . . . And whatever it is you want,… Continue reading Collect it all
University lectures are often criticised for the passivity they encourage from students. One person talks for an hour; a couple ask questions; a hundred sit and listen. There are three contrasting responses to this: (a) It's the students' fault: if students take notes as they listen, the lecture hall goes from being a passive to an active environment. (b)… Continue reading Interacting with lectures and the best use of multiple choice
Why do online communities get worse as they get bigger? Programmer Robert Seaton has a pretty good stab at this question in a blog post here. Seaton says we behave better with people when we know we're going to have to interact with them again in the future. The penalty for rudeness in a small community is exclusion from a… Continue reading Upvotes and online communities
Back when I was fairly new to teaching, I sometimes wondered how I could make my lessons more like TV. Maybe I should play a theme tune at the start of each class, I thought. Something that would get the students pumped up and ready to learn. Something dynamic, like Easy Lover by Phil Collins. You'll be… Continue reading What Neil Postman taught me about teaching and television
Offline You are a teacher, standing in a physical body in a physical classroom. It's 8:55am on the first day of a new course. Your adult students shuffle in, take out their pens and paper and sit quietly; some of them make small talk as they wait for the first lesson to begin. You sit… Continue reading Getting to know people at the start of an online course
Grades, grades, how are you like money? Let me count the ways... 1) You earn grades 2) You are given grades in return for work 3) The higher the value of your work, the higher the value of your grades I don't really want to count all the ways grades are like money, but I… Continue reading What are Open Badges worth?
In his anti-lecture lecture, Donald Clark makes some well-known arguments about the weaknesses of the lecture format. They encourage passivity; they're too long; they're frequently delivered by introverts who have more expertise in research than spoken communication. It's an interesting talk, and I'd encourage you to have a listen. Here though, I'm going to focus on… Continue reading Is it a good idea to record lectures?
Enthusiasm is a force which gets things done, so I don't mean to knock it. But the enthusiast for educational technology is a strange breed. I went to a training session a while ago where most of the people in the room had iPads. The training session was about iPads, and a lot of the… Continue reading Holding back the enthusiasm
Mook (n.) Coined in the Scorsese film, 'Mean Streets', meaning a arsehole or loser. (source: urbandictionary.com) I started my first MOOC this week, the Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization which is going to run until 23 Feb. It's run by Alberto Cairo at the Knight Centre, University of Texas. So far it's been a good experience,… Continue reading First week of a MOOC