The UPenn / Coursera / Al Fireis MOOC ModPo opens for another session next week. ModPo = Modern and Contemporary America Poetry. The 10-week course starts out with proto-modernists Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, then moves on through William Carlos Williams, the Imagists, Gertrude Stein, the Beats, and much more. Picasso and Marcel Duchamp get… Continue reading ModPo

Using storytelling in Philosophy teaching videos

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

How should MOOC designers respond to student silence?

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?

Standards: sometimes good, sometimes bad

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

Issuing an Open Badge is easy, but making it valuable is hard

This is adapted from a comment I left on The three biggest (perceived) problems with Open Badges by Doug Belshaw. I really like David Wiley's points about quality and OERs, and agree they apply equally well to badges. I think Timothy Freeman Cook makes good points about motivation and badges here, especially where he says "Let… Continue reading Issuing an Open Badge is easy, but making it valuable is hard

Flipped teaching: narrow and wide definitions

Narrow Flipped teaching is sometimes presented narrowly, like this: Traditional = teacher spends class time lecturing, then students do exercises at home. Flipped = students watch video lectures at home, then do exercises in class. Wide You also see it presented more widely, like this: Traditional = teacher spends class time on content coverage, then students apply… Continue reading Flipped teaching: narrow and wide definitions

“We’ve always done it this way”

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”

Lesson planning, efficiency, and the value of duplicated work

Speaking at Bett last week, Nicky Morgan made noises about reducing teacher workload through the sharing of lesson plans between schools: "Increasingly, curation [of lesson plans] can help to reduce duplication in the system and help to spread good practice from school to school." In this post, I want to take a closer look at this idea of duplication, and… Continue reading Lesson planning, efficiency, and the value of duplicated work