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AMEE conference (day 3)

Today was the final day of AMEE 2011. Here are the notes I took.

The influence of social networks on students’ learning
J Hommes

Collaborative learning is supposed to facilitate interaction and it’s impact on student learning

Difficult to quantify the role of informal learning

Informal social interaction: behaviour is the result of interactions and relationships between people

Many variables can impact on student learning (e.g. motivation)

How does the effect of SN on students’ learning relate to possible confounders?

Methods:

  • Academic motivation scale (determine motivation)
  • College adaption questionnaire (determine social interactions)
  • GPA (previous performance impacts on future performance)
  • Factual knowledge test
  • Social network analysis (looked at Friendship, Giving information, Getting information)

Social interaction in informal contexts has a substantial influence on learning

Could it also be true that good learners are also well-developed social beings? If learning is inherently social, then people who are more social might just be better learners, and it has nothing to do with the social network?

Veterinary students’ use of and attitude toward Facebook
Jason Coe

Physicians share information on Facebook that could potentially upset their patients

People disclsoe more personal information on Facebook than they do in general

32% of students’ profiles contained information that could reflect poorly on the student or profession → venting, breaches of confidentiality, overtly sexual images / behavioural issues, substance abuse

78% of students believe that their profile pictures accurately reflected who they were at that time, 56% of students believed that their current profile pics accurately represents them as a future professional

More professionals believed that posting comments and pictures about clients on Facebook was acceptable, than students

Should professional students’ be held to a higher standard than other students?

Should Facebook information be used in hiring decisions?

An awareness of consequences causes students’ to disclose less on Facebook than they do in general

Individuals have a right to autonomy → education and guidelines can minimise risks

The issue of disclosure is important when it comes to using online social networks

Developing a network of veterinary ICT in education to suppor informal lifelong learning
S Baillie and P an Beukelen

Goals were to generate evidence of benefits and limitations of informal, lifelong learning using ICT

Questions in focus group that would affect participation in an online group:

  • What activities? Networking, finding information, asking questions, discussions
  • What motivations? Anonymity, sharing knowledge, convenience, saving time, travel and cost issues, required component
  • What support? Employer support, attitude, help desk, post moderator (reliable information)
  • What barriers? Time to participate, lack of confidence, lack of technical knowledge, understanding
  • What challenges? Poor site usability, professionalism issues / behavioural change

Was important to have behavioural guidelines for participation in the online network e.g. respect, etc.

Can YouTube help students in learning surface anatomy?
Samy Azer

Aim: to determine if YouTube videos can provide useful information on surface anatomy

For each video, the following was recorded:

  • Title
  • Authors
  • Duration of video
  • Number of viewers
  • Posted comments
  • Number of days on YouTube
  • Name of creator

No simple system is available for assessing video quality, but looked at (yes = 1, no = 0):

  • Content – scientifically corrent, images clear
  • Technical
  • Authority of author / creator (but how was this determined?)
  • Title reflects video content?
  • Clear audio quality
  • Reasonable download time
  • Educational objectives stated
  • Up to date creator information

57 out of 235 videos were deemed to be relevant, but only 15 of those were determined to have educational usefulness. Several videos were created by students and were often of a high quality

Conclusion was that YouTube is currently an inadequate source of information for learning surface anatomy, and that medical schools should take responsibility for creating and sharing resources online

Social media and the medical profession
Dror Maor

What is public and private? How do we separate out our personal and professional identities? Should we separate them out?

Discussion of the role of, and use of, social media by medical professionals (http://ama.com.au/node/6231)

Why do people think that using social media takes anything away from what we already do? Social media doesn’t take anything away from the hallway conversations…it’s not “better” or “worse” than “the old” way of doing things.

From “knowledge transfer” to “knowledge interaction” – changing models of research use, influence and impact
Huw Davies

Research, evidence and practice → moving from “knowing differently” to “doing differently”

There’s a lot of noise, but are we having any impact on practice? Who are we talking to? What kinds of conversations are we having? How can our collective input have an impact?

Currently, the model entails doing research, publishing it and hoping that clinicians change behavioural based on the results. No questions about how the knowledge transfer takes place?

How does knowledge “move around” complex systems?

The current system is too:

  • Simple
  • rational
  • Linear

Current outcomes are variable, inefficient, ineffective, unsafe, and sometimes, inhumane

Why is it that when we know more than ever before, do we perform so poorly within our healthcare systems?

  • Goals are ambiguous
  • Workforce is multiple
  • Environment is complex
  • Tasks are complex and ambiguous

Even though organisations are highly social, yet the belief is that caregivers act as they do because of personal knowledge, motives and skills

Major influences on outcomes are through the organisations and systems through which services are delivered, not individual characterstics (applies equally to educational outcomes)

Context matters → it’s situational, not dispositional (behaviour is as much about the context as it is about dispositions)

Reductive and mechanistic approaches only get us so far. “Rocket science” is merely complicated. Tackingly educational and health issues is genuinely complex because of connections of people, each with own unpredictable behaviours and contexts that changes over time in non-linear ways

Throwing information at people doesn’t generate appropriate responses / behaviours

For some, “evidence” is reduced to research on “what works”. Consequnces of this:

  • It’s relative straight-forward if the right methods are used
  • It provides instruction on what to do i.e. it allows us to make choices more easily
  • Assumes that the answers are out there to be found

Knowledge required for effective services is more broad than “what works”?

  • Knowing about the problems: their nature, inter-relationships, “lived experiences”
  • Knowing why: explaining the relationship between values and policies, and how they have changed over time
  • Knowing how: how to put change into practice, what is pragmatic
  • Knowing who: who should be involved, how do we build alliances, connect clinical and non-clinical

Challenge of integrating “knowledge”:

  • Uncertain process, engages with values, existing (tacit) knowledge, experience
  • socially and contextually situated
  • not necessarily convergent
  • may require difficult “unlearning”

Also, not just what knowledge:

  • Whose knowledge / evidence?
    “evidence” may be used selectively and tactically, use is not necessarily disinterested (evidence is what the powerful say it is)
    Knowledge and power are co-constructed

Knowledge is not “a thing”, is it a process of “knowing”?

Knowledge is what happens when you take data from research, and combine it with experience, and shared through dialogue

Uncovering evidence and understanding its complexity
Barry Issenberg

“If there’s evidence, I feel confident. If there’s no evidence, I’m uncomfortable”

Evidence is only useful if it meets the needs of the user. Who is the user?

Features of learning through simulation (BEME guide 4), a systematic review:

  • Feedback
  • Repetitive practice
  • Curriculum integration
  • Varying difficulty
  • Adaptive learning
  • Clinical variation
  • Controlled environments
  • Individualised learning
  • Defined outcomes

Discipline expertise doesn’t mean you can teach

Implementing clinical training in a complex health care system is challenging

Understanding the complexity of medical education → relationships between:

  • Learner characteristics, experiences, educational and professional context
  • Learning task: looked at psychomotor and procedural skills but behavioural not addressed
  • Instruction (deliberate practice under direct supervision in groups or individually, for as long as it takes)
  • Teacher characteristics and qualifications (these are not well-defined), clinical experience doesn’t equal teaching experience
  • Curriculum content and format, blend of presentations and practice sessions, expert demonstrations, orientation
  • Assessment: content and format
  • Enviroments should be supportive, needs to be infrastructure, time set aside
  • Evaluation of the programme: target, format, consequences (Kirkpatrick levels)
  • Society: politics and culture taken into account, patient safety, clinical opportunity, clinical advances
  • Setting: wide variety of settings, including schools, workplaces
  • Organisation: need to involve all stakeholders

Journals have a limited role to play in knowledge interaction, and appeal mainly to people who just want to do more research

Without context and explicit intention, medical education will never have the impact on society that it would like to (Charles Boelen)

 

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education learning teaching

Notes on podcast from Stephen Downes

I thought I’d make some notes while listening to this podcast interview from Stephen Downes., where he talks about personal learning environments, problems with e-learning and open vs. closed educational content.

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Mentions Plearn as part of the opening discussion and bio.

What is a PLE? Compares LMS to PLE. LMS is based around the institution, and when the student leaves the system, they lose access to that learning. Same applies when changing institutions, or learning in different environments. PLE provides access to services and educational services from a personal space, rather than an institutional one.

Very new category of “learning system” right now, so there are no applications that exist that define a PLE. Rather, it’s a generic collection of tools and concepts.

Most resources are accessed on the fly, through the browser. Some people have small libraries that they keep locally, but only for backup purposes or content they need to access offline. Students will access lectures as audio and video streams if available. I disagree with the assumption that we’re all connected all the time and that there is no longer a need to download content to be kept locally.

There’s always going to be a mix of local and remote content that’s relevant for learning. A PLE should support whatever works best / whatever the learner needs in whatever context.

Discussed the Khan academy and the role of online video (YouTube) as an educational resource. Quality of the video production isn’t as important as the quality of the video content. The problem is that the video format is linear, which means that it consumes time, it isn’t searchable (it’s not random access). You can’t find the specific piece of information you’re looking for. Content can be more efficiently acquired through text and images.

Videos are also not social or interactive (although video conferences are). Skype conferencing mentioned. Contextual, flexible teaching and learning isn’t really possible when watching video.

Classrooms are not especially well designed for personal learning “1 size fits 30+”.

Is artificial intelligence a viable approach to education? “Going to be tricky”. Some components of the concept available in primitive recommender algorithms currently present in Amazon, iTunes, etc. But going to be a long time before true AI is going to be able to truly personalise the learning experience.

Software will continue to get smarter and understand more and more about what we want to do. It will be able to aggregate, filter, categorise content dynamically.

Discussion on online identity as a tangent to the above point i.e. that your point of entry into the network (i.e. the browser) would be the software that would aggregate, etc. the content you’re interested in. Downes created a tool that did something like this, but which was subsequently superseded by OpenID. Also a brief mention of OAuth.

Briefly talked about SCORM / IMS and the Common Cartridge format (i.e. learning objects). Useful for closed organisations’ learning requirements e.g. the military. Not useful for learning content that needs to be interactive and to engage with other environments / scenarios. Doesn’t do much for the social component and is unnecessarily complex in trying to create “units of knowledge”. The best model is the open web. Many companies trying to create common formats, but also lock consumers in.

Not an easy, decentralised way to create a “learning” management system. But the context there is in managing students or content, not learning. Nothing wrong with the LMS to manage students, but it’s not about learning. How do you give people the freedom to learn in a personal way?

Ends with some discussion on revenue, profit and commercial aspects of education.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-24

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-03-01

  • Revisiting the Purpose of Higher Education and Courses. Why teaching content isn’t enough http://tinyurl.com/yg7ttj8 #
  • First two weeks of OpenContent at UCT http://tinyurl.com/ygtm9wx #
  • The Open Source Way: Creating and Nurturing Communities of Contributors http://bit.ly/bTDcGp #
  • Why technology is not disrupting the university sector http://tinyurl.com/yhk3boy #
  • @weblearning I like it, thanks for the heads up 🙂 #
  • RT @weblearning: “key difference between informal and formal learning is .. permeable classroom walls” writes @bfchirpy http://bit.ly/90f17e #
  • Establish Authority by Creating Value. A few suggestions on ways to better establish yourself within your field http://tinyurl.com/ygv2nfl #
  • Highlighting E-Readers. Short comment by Downes on a post highlighting issues with e-readers for scholarship http://tinyurl.com/yghqbnf #
  • Short post on the predominantly content focused nature of course planning http://tinyurl.com/y9v4u64 #
  • RT @melaniemcbride: one of the downsides of fewer [bloggers] is a preference for the shotgun-share over [hard work & analysis/commentary] #
  • @KEC83 #Diigo ed. acc? Been trying on/off for 6 months with not even a single response from them. Very disappointing #
  • @RonaldArendse looks interesting, but I think it’s going to be a while before we’ll see anything like that locally 🙂 #
  • Policing YouTube: Medical Students, Social Media and Digita Identity http://bit.ly/crA5yi #
  • Sunset at Mont Flour in Stellenbosch is beautiful #
  • apophenia » Blog Archive » ChatRoulette, from my perspective. Thoughts on the video service by danah boyd http://bit.ly/9TU4O3 #
  • Johannes Cronje: Wendren’s PPC Bag. Cool example of South African innovation http://bit.ly/aKdy3O #
  • @meganbur welcome to the revolution 🙂 #
  • At http://montfleur.co.za/ for UWC writing retreat. There are worse places to be. Some good insight into the writing process #
  • @sbestbier Thanks for the suggest, much appreciated 🙂 #
  • Science in the Open » Blog Archive » Peer review: What is it good for? http://bit.ly/cxzR6o #
  • It’s not peer review if you aren’t familiar with the subject « Connectivism http://bit.ly/1PIqDK #
  • elearnspace. everything elearning: Scholarship in an age of participation (Siemens) http://bit.ly/bigAMm #

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technology

Chromium browser and extensions

So the Linux build of Chromium (the open source browser than Google Chrome is based on) has been out for a while now and every now and again I’ve been upgrading to the latest developer release just to see how it’s coming along. Lately, the builds have been a lot more stable, font rendering hasn’t been a problem in a long time and small features are regularly being added. It seems (for my purposes anyway) that Chromium is starting to become a serious contender as my browser of choice.

The reason I haven’t been using Chromium as my default browser up until now has been the lack of extensions that make Firefox the best browser available. Recently though, that’s changed, although the public version still doesn’t have extensions enabled.

A few days ago I upgraded to 4.0.233.0 (Ubuntu build 30813), using the Chromium daily build PPA enabled with Ubuntu-Tweak, and it’s simply blown me away. I estimated that the startup time of Chromium on my machine is about 4-5 times faster than Firefox (edit: I’m running Firefox 3.5.4 but it would be more fair to compare it to 3.7), and rendering of complex pages also seems to be faster (see this post that confirms the speed improvements).  That prompted me to have a look to see how the extension support is coming along and I like what I found, even though some of the extensions lack the polish of their Firefox equivalents (it is early days).  You can find a list of extensions at Chromium extensions, as well as follow some plugin development at Chrome Plugins.

It seems that the guidelines for extension development under Chromium is sensible and well thought-out (I’m not a developer, but it makes sense to me), and I’m pretty excited about what’s on the way. One of the nicest touches is that the browser doesn’t need to be restarted after installing (or uninstalling) an extension, and the installation process is less intrusive than Firefox’s.  It must be nice to come in after someone else has made the mistakes that you can then avoid.  Some of the more useful extensions I’ve come across so far are:

All in all, Chromium is looking more and more like it will replace Firefox as my default browser in the near future, especially if development continues at this pace.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to make the shift just yet (there are still some Firefox extensions that I can’t live without), but I’m starting to see a time when Chromium is faster, more intuitive and more elegant than Firefox.

Note: it’s not immediately apparent, but if you want to uninstall an extension go to chrome://extensions, find the one you want to uninstall, and press Uninstall.

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social media

An anthropological introduction to YouTube

I recently watched “An anthropological introduction to YouTube“, a 56 minute long insight into some of the amazing stories being told through the social video site.  While there are many great ideas, these quotes caught my attention:

  • YouTube is about new forms of expression, new forms of community and new forms of identity
  • It is a celebration of new forms of empowerment…a celebration of new and unimaginable possibilities
  • “Media” mediates human relations…when media change, relations change

If you’re interested in the changing nature of communication and identity that the internet is facilitating, this is a great way to spend an hour.