Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

Assessemnt for learning or assessment of learning

June 28th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

I never thought I would be interested in assessment. But, the more I look at how we can develop and implement new pedagogies – especially to take advantage of the potentials of computers for learning – we hit the barrier of assessment systems. In the UK it almost seems that the whole education system is being driven by assessment.

 In this context the following article – from the Guardian newspaper – is interesting. Also interesting to see the kneejerk reaction from both the government and the opposition.

“The watchdog for teaching in England yesterday put itself on a collision course with ministers by calling for all national school tests before the age of 16 to be scrapped.

The intervention by the General Teaching Council for England (GTC), which added new weight to long-running demands for a reduction in the testing regime, was firmly rebuffed by the government and the Conservatives…..

Compulsory standard assessment tests (Sats) are taken in England at seven, 11 and 14. Pilot schemes launched in January could lead ultimately to the tests being taken when pupils are ready, rather than at fixed points in the year, but ministers regard their existence as non-negotiable.

In evidence to the Commons Education Select Committee’s inquiry on pupil assessment, the GTC says most children take an average of 70 different exams or tests before the age of 16, making them the most tested in the world.

The GTC wants “sampling” of standards, covering a few primary and secondary schools, to guide national policy, along with internal school exams held by teachers when they thought appropriate.

The move is significant because the GTC is notionally independent of both the government and the unions. It is responsible for registering teachers and has banned them from helping pupils in Sats exams.”

e-Portfolios in Action

June 23rd, 2007 by Graham Attwell

I’m often being asked if I can show examples of effective e-Potrfolios. And that is not so easy.

So I was delighted when Cristina Costa sent me the url to 2007 Senior Portfolios. The e-Portfolios were produce through the Key Learning Community who explain their mission as to “research and develop innovative practices      in teaching to celebrate diversity in our population and our communities      and to personalize education by building upon each student’s strengths      in the following intellectual areas: Linguistic, Musical, Logical-Mathematical,      Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Naturalistic, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal.”

As part of Key’s graduation requirements,      seniors must complete a  portfolio documenting their growth over      4 years. This year, for the first time, the portfolios are web-based and      available for viewing.

Its a great example of the creative use of e-Portfolios. And it neatly illustrates another dilemma in developing both e-Portfolios and Personal Learning environments. These e-Portfolio have been developed using Apple iLife software, which for all its limitations, is great for multimedia and is based on services layers between the different applications.

I am always caught by the dilemma between viewing the PLE as a collection of everyday software tools, and thus a process or approach, and the bundled (usually web) application seeking some sort of tool integration to make life easy for the user.

More about Blended Learning?

June 21st, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Why am I suddenly so interested in Blended Learning. Well…partly because Pontydysgu, for whom I work, is a partner on a project producing a handbook on Blended Learning.

Previously I tended to think the term is a little silly. As Frances Bell says in a recent blog post, all learning is blended so why use the term? But I think the various understandings of Blended Learning reflect a movement towards wider and more pedagogically considered use of ICT for learning within the ‘traditional’ curriculum, rather than being confined to Distance Learning or project based contexts. And that surely is to be welcomed.

A team of researchers from the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD) has completed a review of the UK literature and practice relating to the undergraduate experience of blended learning. The study aimed to review existing research and practice on blended e-learning, identify key studies and issues, and make recommendations to guide future policy and practice.  The review team combined traditional desk research, with institutional visits and interviews with key personnel.           

The review report  addresses the current meanings of ‘blended learning’ across the sector, the underlying institutional rationales for blended learning, the monitoring and evaluation strategies being adopted for ensuring and enhancing the quality of blended e-learning.  The review has found that the student response to the provision of online information to supplement traditional teaching is overwhelmingly positive.  It is clear from the uptake of this area of technology by institutions, the rise of the use of the term ‘blended learning’ and the number of evaluative studies identified in the review, that institutions and practitioners are attempting to engage with blended learning and are doing so successfully.

This is certainly worth a read.

No room for Socialists in Facebook

June 16th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

I like Facebook. It looks good, its fun to use and all my mates are getting accounts.

But the choice of political views in the personal profile is sad. You can describe yourself as:

  • Very liberal
  • Liberal
  • Moderate
  • Conservative
  • Very Conservative
  • Apathetic

or

  • other

I’m down as other. I certainly aren’t any of the rest. I am a socialist. I am proud to be a socialist. And I don’t think there is anything to be ashamed of about being a socialist. There are many, many socialists throughout the world. So why can’t I delclare myself as a soc ialist and meet up with other socialist in Facebook? Or doesn’t Facebook want socialists to join?

Smoothies

June 14th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

More on last weeks B-learning project meeting.

I invited Tony Toole from the University of Glamorgan to speak at the meeting. The CELT centre at the university is doing some interesting work which deserves a bigger audience. I’ve never been particularly keen on the term blended learning. On the one hand it seems to state the obvious, on the other hand it is difficult to know what it means. The CELT website itself says: “The phrase ‘blended learning’ can mean many different things to different people. Indeed the definitional complexities take up lots of pages of academic reflection. Phrases like ‘e-learning’, ‘online learning’ and ‘technology enhanced education’ are also equally open to a range of interpretations.”

However, I can see the attraction of the term in allowing a focus on pedagogic approaches to the use of technology enhanced learning. The CELT web site goes on to say: “At Glamorgan we have adopted a definition of blended learning which is designed to locate the development of these activities within the wider University agenda of enhancing learning and teaching. We would argue that Blended Learning involves:

The thoughtful integration of face-to-face classroom (spontaneous verbal discourse) and Internet based (reflective text-based discourse) learning opportunities. It is not an add-on to a classroom lecture nor an online course; it is a fundamental redesign. It allows for an optimal (re)design approach to enhance and extend learning by rethinking and restructuring learning and teaching to create blended learning (Cf. Vaughan and Garrison 2005).”

CELT has produced an excellent handbook on blended learning – called ‘Smoothies’. It is available for free download from the web site and is well worth a look. I particularly like the practical approach and the provision of templates both for reflection and to develop additional resources for the web site.

I’m not being aggressive – I’m Italian

June 11th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

The endless round of pre-summer meetings goes on. All last week I was in Pontypridd where I organised a meeting of the Leonardo da Vinci b-learning project. The project is pretty good – it is well focused in aiming to produce an on-line handbook and examples of practice for designing and implemented blended learning programmes.

Liek mots European Commission funded projects it involves parters form different organisations in Europe – in this case including partners from Estonia, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria and Wales. The real challenge of these meetings is to establish common understandings and meanings – not easy when most participants are communicating in a second or third language.

And of course discussions can get heated at times. So it was on Friday with a particularly loud exchange between our Italian and Estonian parters. After the exchange the Italian partner explained “I’m niot being aggressive, I’m Italian”. I love it.

Solidarity with Tinky Winky

June 1st, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Tinky WinkyI’m in Poland for a meeting and conference organised by the European MOSEP project. You think the UK education policy is not always brilliant. Well this is the latest nonsense from the Polish government.

“The Teletubbies are set to be banned in Poland after a government media watchdog decided they encouraged homosexuality.

The children’s TV programme has fallen foul of Poland’s government-appointed Children’s Rights spokesman, who believes the show is “gay propaganda”.

A special committee has been appointed to examine the claims including allegations that Tinky Winky’s handbag was breaking down gender barriers and encouraging homosexuality.”

Source: Ananova

After a couple of beers last night we decided on a solidarity campaign with Tinky Winky. Agnieszka did a great job getting us the screen shots and Serge Ravet slipped this wonderful picture into his presentation on e-Portfolios at the conference today.

Â

e-Portfolios and personal Learning Environments

June 1st, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Last month I spoke at a conference on Web 2.0 and learning organised by the Danish Knowledge Laboratory in Odense. And a great onfernce it was too. Made some good new friends and hope we will stay in touch.

I made a presentation on Personal Learning Environments and e-Portfolios. Anyway, they had a film crew at the conference and at lunchtime they interviewed me. They asked some hard questions – very good questions. And they have published the results on the web. You can watch the video here. Like the way they have done it with access to sections – anyone know how that is done?

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information


    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”


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