Friday, 19 October 2012

Weekly Learning Technology Digest... 30

Image from D. Sharon Pruitt, under a
CC BY 2.0 license
Can you believe we're over halfway through October already?!  Me neither!  Halloween and Bonfire Night are only a hop and a skip away, the new academic year isn't quite so 'new' and is more 'business as usual'... and yet, in the world of learning technology there is more interesting and thought-provoking stuff kicking around.  And in between leaf-shuffling and dodging the dreadful weather, I've gathered together some of the articles which caught my eye during the last week!

So... let's kick off with...

  • 40 Quick Ways to Use Mobile Phones in Classrooms from Edudemic.  If you're interested in getting your students to do more than just check Facebook in the classroom, then delve into these ideas.  From educational apps to shooting video, scavenger hunts, note-taking, accessibility, podcasting and beyond.  They're a rich resource at your fingertips!
  • ... and to complement that last link, Top 25 Mobile Apps in Academia compiled by Online Universities.  Some you'll definitely have heard of, some you most likely won't - but there's a good range from free to paid-for here and if you're just starting out using a smartphone for learning purposes, this is a good place to begin.
  • Oh, and if you're not sure whether using one at all is a sensible thing to do, then Mashable reported that Low income students' test scores leap 30% with smartphone use and while the research was done by a communications group the point about the ubiquity of devices and the increase of access to the internet it provides is an interesting platform from which to widen participation...
  • I feel a theme is emerging... how about a nice infographic which shares 10 Surprising Facts About Mobile Usage around the world?  As with all infographics, for the real info follow up on the sources at the end of the visualisation - but there are some eyebrow-raising numbers tucked away in this one!
  • If you're interested in other ways to expand the walls of your classroom, have you thought about using a Google+ Hangout or getting your students to use them? Not sure where to start? 32 Tips for Hosting a Successful Hangout with your Students is great and a real confidence booster as you have a go.
  • Talking of extending the classroom, MOOCs have been in the news a lot lately but there was a counter-view to their benefit expressed in Nice Publicity, Shame about the Pedagogy which turned up in the Times Higher.  What do you think, are they spreading 'lousy pedagogy'? I've tried a few and got benefit from at least one but not the same quality of learning experience I received from other online courses.  But we aren't comparing like with like, are we?  Interesting debate.
  • The Guardian also reported that Sixth-formers pay up to £350 to cheat university admissions system - while I don't imagine for a second that this is especially new thing (getting someone else to put together your statement), it is another example of 'cheating in the system' which breeds a culture which jeopardises academic practice.  
  • I normally like to sprinkle in some technie bits, so Now you can search from your email, docs & spreadsheets right from the main Google box is one which, for your personal Google account (not for Google Apps accounts yet), you might like to look into as it's currently in field trial.
  • And if you really want to get down with the nuts and bolts of it all Who controls the internet? is a meaty look at the future of internet communications and a fascinating battle between the giants such as Google, Microsoft and Cisco and the International Telecommunication Union.
  • Finally, Dark Social: We Have the Whole History of the Web Wrong and a walk through the invisibility of so much social traffic.  Social isn't just social media... people have been behaving socially on the net for a long time before it turned 2.0.  Bit of a thought-provoking one here!
I have a video for you this week (I always like to find something interesting!), this week's one is a fabulous RSA Animate of Dan Ariely's talk about Dishonesty - which links nicely to the article about cheating student admission statements above...  enjoy!

Hope you found something to get you thinking in the links above... and I hope you have a great weekend and, as ever, if you find something that I missed... drop me off a comment below!

Until next Friday...


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