Friday, 27 April 2012

Weekly Learning Technology Digest... 9

Image from qthomasbower, under a
CC BY-SA 2.0 license
I have to say that this week seems to have shot by and I feel like I've scarcely noticed anything for inclusion in the weekly digest... but... there have been a few bits and pieces, so without any more dithering... here they come...
  • First off the mark, an article from 'Edudemic' on '100 ways to use Twitter in Education by degree of difficulty' - and although Twitter's been around for a few years now, it's a nice little list of things people might like to try if they're thinking about using it in their teaching
  • TED have launched a new site which allows people to find YouTube videos to use in the 'flipped classroom' (where students do the lecture bit, i.e. watch a video or something along those line outside the classroom, and do active group work / problem solving / project work in the classroom).   As this article from Mashable says, they're not creating courses, but they're helping you create what act as video worksheets - and that's an interesting concept.  The site itself is called 'TED Ed' and for more info - this is a good video introduction to it all:

  • Another issue which seems to have been bubbling quite ferociously this last week is that of the prices charged by publishers for academic journals.  The Guardian reported on the fact that 'Harvard University says it can't afford journal publishers' prices' and since it's an Ivy League university at the centre of this one, you can bet that it's an issue which is being felt strongly throughout the sector.  One to keep a very close eye on, especially linked to opening up research data and open publishing too.
  • Talking of costs, this infographic from LeanForward caught my eye - it's a comparison they've done of the cost of producing one hour of instructor-led training vs one hour of online training.  Now, I know this is referring to training materials and some of the assumptions which underpin the data aren't necessarily the ones which would apply in a higher education context, but the time taken to produce e-learning materials and the cost is far far higher than I think most people would realise!
  • I saw edshelf mentioned in another article from Edudemic this past week and I really liked the idea of bringing together apps which could be used for educational purposes and rating them on several criteria such as pedagogic value, the learning curve and student engagement - users of the site can rate the apps too, so theoretically it should be grounded in 'real' opinion which will be of value to educators.  A nice simple way of discovering new things to try in your teaching.
  • Finally, Google Drive launched and though there was the inevitable comparison with other services such as Microsoft's SkyDrive, Dropbox, Box etc, it's yet another confirmation that cloud storage has moved out of the realms of the techie and into the mainstream (despite some concerns about privacy issues).  It's not entirely obvious how the Google Drive you install on your computer will work if you have more than one Google account (personal and institutional Google Apps accounts for example), but no doubt that will become clear in the next few weeks!
It seems that this past week has mainly been about tech - from storage to use of Twitter and YouTube in education - with a small detour through academic publishing and the cost of producing e-learning.  Who knows what's headed our way next week?!


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