Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-10-17

  • @Suhaifa it’s an easy walk, easier than lions head, don’t stress 🙂 #
  • Daily Papert http://t.co/vJQhrNh4. We can’t solve the world’s problems with the same thinking that created them #
  • Critical Thinker Explains Skepticism vs. Cynicism http://t.co/Zmxh81m9 via @zite #
  • RT @engadget: MobiUS smartphone ultrasound hits the market two years too late for relevancy http://t.co/DaWRQqXo #
  • Stephen’s Web – Free learning: essays on open educational resources and copyright http://t.co/b8d7fDXK via @zite #
  • The atomic method of creating a Powerpoint presentation http://t.co/1ikf4gBO via @zite #
  • The Complexity Of Learning http://t.co/YSJfJwkq via @zite #
  • @USMCShrink Focus in education is that tech is good 2 get more content 2 more students in less time 4 less money, which misses the point #
  • A Tablet for the Blind? – Technology Review http://t.co/jBqyDK0R. Elegant and clever solution #
  • What’s Behind the Culture of Academic Dishonesty http://t.co/UuTvlENW. Cheating doesn’t help if learning matters more than grades #
  • #Zite now my favourite news reading app on the iPad. Flipboard not iterating fast enough #
  • Ask the Students: Their Wise Wishes for Improving Education http://t.co/KUDtKP6p. I keep saying that health education needs more art #
  • @USMCShrink its about not making the assumption that technology in education is automatically a good thing #
  • @USMCShrink I just highlighted a quote, so it was out of context. Did you read the rest of the post? #
  • “technology will be used…for the profit of corporations rather than…the benefit of children” http://t.co/RLAjJI5u #
  • If you are a clinician who supervises or teaches healthcare students, consider completing my survey http://t.co/x1MXf3AJ. Please RT #

Posted to Diigo 09/11/2011

    • To experience something has a far more profound effect on your ability to remember and influence you than if you simply read it in a book
    • You’ve cast a learner into the world. And that’s the most powerful thing you can do as a teacher
    • The enthusiastic teacher is fundamental to igniting flames of interest in any student in any subject
    • a totally different way of thinking about “teaching” one where “instead of controlling a classroom, a teacher now influences or shapes a network.”
    • apprenticeship for every student in our classrooms these days is not so much grounded in a trade or a profession as much as it is grounded in the process of becoming a learner
    • we teach kids to learn
    • we don’t teach subjects, we teach kids
    • We can’t teach kids to learn unless we are learners ourselves, and our understanding of learning has to encompass the rich, passion-based interactions that take place in these social learning spaces online
    • seeing the purpose of higher education as going beyond the acquisition of knowledge and skills
    • Only this will provide flexibility in applying knowledge, skills, and understanding that will suffice at a time of rapid change and ‘super-complexity’ in dealing with emerging issues and new problems.
    • encourages the development of courses “that set a broad agenda from the start, highlighting the ways of thinking and practicing that are required, and introducing broad questions as ‘throughlines’ that keep students focused on the importance of reaching understanding for themselves.”
    • That doesn’t mean students get to interpret the material as they see fit. It’s more about them making the material their own, storing it where they can find it, and configuring it so that it usefully connects with what else they know
    • convinced that most of our courses need to be reconstructed, if not destructed and rebuilt
    • Entwistle, N. (2010). Taking stock: An overview of key research findings. In J. C. Hughes and J. Mighty, eds., Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Kingston, Ontario, Canada: School of Policy Studies, Queens University

Posted to Diigo 08/17/2011

I did a lot of reading and highlighting the other night, which is why this is so long. I’ve been bookmarking a lot of articles (about 400 at the last count) over the past 6 months or so, and will be trying to get through them over the next few months. There might be more long posts like this one (aggregationsof Diigo highlights) as a consequence.

    • I truly believe that a combination of actively influencing a story line in combination with a reaction upon the decisions taken would make learners feel more appreciated or valued if you will and encourage them to continue learning with that program instead of only getting negative feedback in from of a summary assessment when a chapter or course is finished
    • According to Rita Kop PLE is a UK term and PLN an American term. Dave Cormier questions whether the term personal should be used at all. Stephen Downes points out that personal is an OK term if you think about [Personal Learning] Network as opposed to [Personal] Learning Network – and similarly for PLE
    • the words are not as important as the process
    • a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is more concerned with tools and technology and that Personal Learning Networks (PLN) are more concerned with connections to people
    • The PLE takes me to my PLN through various gates and paths
    • they’re the ticket and ride, not the destination
    • The PLN is then more akin to a community, but with much looser connections, described in the literature as “weak ties”
    • possible roles involved in networked learning that the teacher may be classified as (Expert: Someone with sustained contribution to a field, Teacher: experts with authority, Curator: play the role of interpreting, organizing, and presenting content, Facilitator: able to guide, direct, lead, and assist learners, not necessarily being a subject matter expert
    • why focus on PLEs? Shouldn’t we be trying to figure out how to make PLN work better?
    • Development of your PLE is about working with technology, refining your use of tools to give you more keys or more efficient access to your network of people and resources
    • “Pundits may be asking if the Internet is bad for our children’s mental development, but the better question is whether the form of learning and knowledge-making we are instilling in our children is useful to their future.”
    • we can’t keep preparing students for a world that doesn’t exist
    • The contemporary American classroom, with its grades and deference to the clock, is an inheritance from the late 19th century. During that period of titanic change, machines suddenly needed to run on time. Individual workers needed to willingly perform discrete operations as opposed to whole jobs. The industrial-era classroom, as a training ground for future factory workers, was retooled to teach tasks, obedience, hierarchy and schedules.
    • Teachers and professors regularly ask students to write papers. Semester after semester, year after year, “papers” are styled as the highest form of writing.
      • And yet they will probably never have to communicate anything in that format ever again…unless they also become academics
    • question the whole form of the research paper
    • “What if bad writing is a product of the form of writing required in school — the term paper — and not necessarily intrinsic to a student’s natural writing style or thought process?”
    • A classroom suited to today’s students should de-emphasize solitary piecework
    • That classroom needs new ways of measuring progress, tailored to digital times — rather than to the industrial age or to some artsy utopia where everyone gets an Awesome for effort.
    • Blended learning lets designers split off prerequisite material from the rest  of a course
    • Blended learning lets instructional designers separate rote content focusing  on lower-order thinking skills, which can be easily taught online, from critical  thinking skills, which many instructors feel more comfortable addressing  in the classroom
    • Learners can have more meaningful conversations about these  topics because they have developed a familiarity with basic management  policies and procedures and have had time to integrate what they know into  their thinking
    • We cannot have it both ways: quality of thinking and speed are anathema to each other.
    • Covering content is daunting enough, but providing the time necessary to indulge in the quality conversations that make learning truly engaging is almost impossible
    • the challenge of articulating thoughts quickly
    • post two dynamic questions online each night. These questions have many possible answers, require analysis of content and the creation of unique ideas
    • when we revisit these discussions in the classroom, students have a plethora of ideas to share. They are no longer scared to speak out because they have a confidence born from their online discussions and the validation of their peers
    • weave those online conversations back into the classroom
      • “Some students have great ideas, but they experience difficulty expressing those ideas clearly.
    • Good practice in undergraduate education:
    • We address the teacher’s how, not the subject-matter what, of good  practice in undergraduate education. We recognize that content and pedagogy interact in  complex ways.
    • An undergraduate education should prepare students to  understand and deal intelligently with modern life.
    • 1. Encourages Contact Between Students and Faculty  Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most   important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty   concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working.   Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students’ intellectual   commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and   future plans.
    • 2. Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students  Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort that a   solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social,   not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases   involvement in learning. Sharing one’s own ideas and responding to   others’ reactions sharpens thinking and deepens understanding.
    • 3. Encourages Active Learning  Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just   by sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged   assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they   are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences and apply   it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of   themselves.
    • 4. Gives Prompt Feedback  Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning. Students   need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses.   When getting started, students need help in assessing existing   knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent   opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At   various points during college, and at the end, students need chances   to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know,   and how to assess themselves.
    • 5. Emphasizes Time on Task  Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time   on task. Learning to use one’s time well is critical for students and   professionals alike. Students need help in learning effective time   management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective   learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an   institution defines time expectations for students, faculty,   administrators, and other professional staff can establish the basis   of high performance for all.
    • 6. Communicates High Expectations  Expect more and you will get more. High expectations are important   for everyone — for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert   themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students   to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and   institutions hold high expectations for themselves and make extra  efforts.
    • 7. Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning  There are many roads to learning. People bring different talents   and styles of learning to college. Brilliant students in the seminar   room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in   hands-on experience may not do so well with theory. Students need the   opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them.   Then they can be pushed to learn in new ways that do not come so easily.
    • tell real stories from your own life in a way that is relevant and engaging to your audience. If more people could just remember that great speeches or presentations leverage the power of the speaker’s own stories
    • we must not talk ourselves out of being who we really are
    • People do not care about your excuses, they care only about seeing your authentic self
    • People crave authenticity just about more than anything else, and one way to be your authentic self and connect with an audience is by using examples and stories from your own life that illuminate your message in an engaging, memorable way

Basic presentation skills for postgraduates

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation to our postgraduate students who were preparing to submit their Masters proposals. One of our requirements in the department is that any student wanting to submit a proposal must present to the the department for critical feedback. We want our proposals to be as strong as possible when they serve at our faculty Higher Degrees committee. Many of our postgraduate students come from other African countries, and very often have formally presented before. I was asked to give a short presentation giving them a few tips on academic presentations.

I wanted to step out of the linear, bullet point style of presenting that Powerpoint defaults to, so decided to try Prezi for a change. I’d played around with it a few years ago but struggled with the interface. This time I found it more agreeable and enjoyed playing around with it. It is a bit all over the place and the spacing doesn’t always work but anyway, here’s the presentation:

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-03-21

Posted to Diigo 06/15/2010

    • Just as two pieces of music can not be enjoyed at the same time, one can not comprehend or appreciate the beauty of the moment without a clear focal point or “central motive
    • Abundance of vacant space allows for the clear existence of a focal point and the participation of the viewer to complete that which has been left incomplete or that which is only suggested
    • there is no place for clutter and the superfluous as these harm clarity and introduce confusion
    • The key idea here is simplicity, of course, but also the idea of embracing change
    • The idea of emptiness itself, then, also hints of the potential for growth and improvement and possibilities
    • Our ideas and our presentation — whatever kind of presentation we’re talking about — also must change to fit the time, place, and occasion
    • “Uniformity of design was considered fatal to the freshness of imagination,”
    • Designs which are asymmetrical are more dynamic, active, and invite the viewer in to participate. An asymmetrical design will lead the eye more and stimulates the viewer to explore and interpret the content
    • Asymmetrical designs may evoke a sense of flow or movement
    • This kind of active engagement on the part of the viewer may lead to better recall of the content
    • It’s important to remember that harmony is key and can be achieved in an asymmetrical design when care is given to achieving balance among the elements
    • I wonder if there’s really a need for “educational” technology anymore?

      Does the artificial classification of hardware, software, web applications and the rest as “instructional” (with the inevitable conclusion that rest of the stuff is not) just get in the way of the basic idea that almost any technology could be used for learning?

    • We say we want students to be able to communicate and collaborate, to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, and to become creative and innovative in their work.

      Do we really need special “edtech” to make that happen?

      Or just a better understanding of how people in the real world are using all kinds of technology to improve their personal skills in all those areas and how to help our students learn to do the same.

    • Maybe, just like our tech standards that linger from the previous century, the whole concept of “educational technology” is outdated and obsolete.
    • what to do with those students who resist participating in groups
    • They’re those independent learners who participate in group activities reluctantly and almost always prefer to do it alone. Should we excuse them from group work when they want to go it alone?
    • If they don’t learn well in social contexts, then why should we place them in situations that compromise what they’re going to learn?
    • Aren’t we doing students a disservice if we don’t help them develop the skills they’ll need to function effectively in groups?
    • when we have students working individually, we aren’t in the same quandry about those learners who really do better when they are working with others
    • What if one of them should approach us with a request to work on the project with others? Would the request take us by surprise?
    • In reality students need to be able to learn individually and in groups, as both situations will confront them in their professional and personal lives
    • They may prefer one learning context over the other, but as I used to tell my group-reluctant students, “You don’t have to like group work, but by golly you need a repertoire of skills that enables you to learn and work constructively in groups.”
    • learning is social, or communal in nature.

      See, my contention is that learning is communication, and that communication requires language, and that language is socially negotiated. By that, what I mean is that words are just sounds. Sounds that convey meaning. And they are arbitrary. We call cups “cups” not because they possess any inherent cupness, but because, over time, and due to popular usage, the word “cups” came to be linked with the concept of a particular kind of container that you put things, usually liquid, but sometimes cakes and other things, into. Words gain their meaning through social processes. Specifically, when people, enough people, use them to mean certain things, then they have that meaning. Without that social negotiation of their meaning, they mean, well, nothing.

Posted to Diigo 06/09/2010

    • most ineffective presentations could have been prevented if the presenter had just asked two important questions before he began to prepare: (1) What’s my point? And (2) why does it matter?
    • Most presenters focus only on the what (information, data, more information…more data just in case) and then spend some time on the how (often resulting in the creation of typical bulletpoint driven ppt slides), but almost no time is spent really thinking about the Why
    • The Why is were we should start almost all projects, including presentations

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-31

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-04-12

  • @sbestbier enjoyed it too, been thinking about ways to break away from the linear presentation, looking forward to your thoughts #
  • @clivesimpkins Good idea, I’ll bring it up with him & ask about opening the platform to other students for editing #
  • Never really had much use for mindmapping, so when I played with #xmind before, it didn’t really impress me. Boy, have I changed my tune #
  • @clivesimpkins …but, I take your point and might bring it up with him later #
  • @clivesimpkins As it was initiated by the student & is a great eg of social responsibility, I thought I’d only encourage at this early stage #
  • The Youth issues of South Africa: Current issues that are tearing us apart! Beginnings of a blog by one of our students http://bit.ly/9LbZoq #
  • Hot for Teachers w/ Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green ~ Stephen’s Web ~ by Stephen Downes http://bit.ly/bUrXby #
  • The 2009 Chronic Awards | Very funny, a good read on a Saturday morning http://bit.ly/cfQixe #
  • The Chronic | Bringing you the Ed Tech Buzz http://bit.ly/aSMNkZ #
  • South African scientist Uses Google Earth to Find Ancient Ancestor http://tinyurl.com/y92thbz #
  • Can You Get an Education in Spite of School? http://tinyurl.com/ybgdbzh #
  • Resistance is Futile. Interesting thoughts in the iPad in education, by David Warlick http://tinyurl.com/ydgpjnm #
  • Thinking is hard… #
  • Busy capturing data for test-retest reliability analysis of my questionnaire…behind the scenes of being a research rock-star #
  • Personalizing Learning – The Important Role of Technology http://tinyurl.com/yajdgl7 #
  • “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” Douglas Adams #