Friday, 4 May 2012

Weekly Learning Technology Digest... 10

And it rained... a LOT!
Author's own image
Well, it's the Friday before a long weekend but I still have plenty of learning technology treats to dip into from around the web for you.

No strong theme emerged from the week's news although 'open' is increasingly on the agenda... so, without any more waffle, let's kick off the weekly round up...

  • On Wednesday, Edudemic reported that 'Harvard and MIT introduced edX: The Future of Online Learning' which is a meaty old claim.  One of the interesting elements is that it's not only building on the work that MIT have already done, but that edX the platform will be released as open source so other institutions can use it, plus they'll be using it to research how students learn and try to find out what's most successful.  Very interesting stuff!
  • Talking of sharing, I spotted this article in Mashable which says 'Pinterest and Flickr make Photo Attribution easier' and this is particularly reassuring to see following several articles which were pointing out the fact that you could get sued for using Pinterest!
  • And open research is still on the agenda with Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales helping the UK Government in a bid to get taxpayer-funded academic research open and online.
  • For something completely different, I rather liked LifeHacker's 'A Non-Designer’s Guide to Typefaces and Layout' which has got some excellent advice about choice of font, use of colour etc - and having some design skills, whether that's a website, presentation or other learning resources, is really useful when it comes to producing, presenting, sharing materials that others will engage with. Liked these!
  • There were also a couple of articles which I'm going to pair together and which I think are an interesting look at the next generation of students.  The first is about 'Growing up Google' and it's a little nudge to remind us that these products have been around for the past 6 years... kids are used to Google 'being there'.  However, the Economic and Social Research Council had an alternative message that 'Not all students are tech-savvy' - and the figures quoted there about engagement with tools we'd more happily classify as learning technologies - blogs and wikis etc - are used by a minority, regardless of how much other tech they consume.  The following quote on use of learning spaces was particularly interesting, 'Despite mobile devices and broadband enabling students to study anywhere, they still inhabit the same kinds of learning spaces they used ten years ago. They continue to study in their bedrooms, the university library or other dedicated study spaces.' (Jones, 2012).  It would seem that though mobile learning is possible, it's  not preferable?
  • 'The virtues of blogging as a scholarly activity' from Martin Weller appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education and it's particularly worth reading if you're thinking about the value of blogging as a professional activity and where it fits in to the world of the researcher.  What recognition is given for it?  
  • Though it's now over, Google ran their first free online conference 'Edu On Air' using Google Hangouts On Air to simultaneously stream presentations to YouTube.  But... when I say 'it's over', all the recordings are available and if you go to the Google in Education page on Google+, then all the videos are there to watch.  I'll write up the experience of 'attending' another day!
  • ... plus, there are always the free lunchtime webinars to attend from ALT (Association for Learning Technology) and I noticed that one on 'Google Analytics' is coming up at the end of the month, so that'll be one to book on to!
  • And finally, news that the cap on the number of top students has been lifted (and the threshold dropped too from AAB to ABB A-level grades) plus an interesting article on employability too asking 'where is wisdom?'.  Where indeed?!  Perhaps we should just tap into our inner genius instead - The Creativity Post let us have a little glimpse of 'How geniuses think' and it's a lovely article which touches on creativity, learning, problem solving and... well... gets you thinking too!
That really was a pretty full week!  From the Google generation to blogging academics, free online conferences using Hangouts to free webinars using Blackboard Collaborate.  I need a Bank Holiday just to get over it!

Sarah

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