Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

What we are working on

August 30th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Here is a quick update on some current work at Pontydysgu. With funding from the European Lifelong Learning Programme G8WAY project and the European Research Framework Mature-IP project, and working with a growing community of partners, we have been developing a series of Web 2.0 tools to support careers guidance. At the moment we are developing a  new web site which will give full access to these tools and applications, as well as to research about the use of Web 2.0 and social software for careers information, advice and guidance. Below is a summary of these tools. If you are interested in finding out more about any of these tools or about our approach to using technology to support careers guidance please get in touch.

Labour Market Visualisation Tools

We are developing tools and applications for visualising Labour Market Information in order to provide young people with an informed basis for decision making around career directions and to support the careers guidance professionals who advise young people. This work has been undertaken in conjunction with the Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick and Careers Wales.

RadioActive

RadioActive is a project using internet radio to assist young people, particularly those from a NEETS (Not in Employment, Education, or Training) background in developing decision making and communication skills. This approach focuses on informal learning and the development of communities of practice through the use of new technologies. The approach is being piloted in conjunction with the University of East London, Yoh, a Hackney based youth agency, and Inspire!, the Education Business Partnership for the London Borough of Hackney.

Storiboard

Storiboard is a Web 2.0 tool for storytelling. In the first year of the G8WAY project we found that storytelling is a powerful tool for developing and reflection on careers biographies. Storiboard allows young people to use multimedia including video, audio and graphics to tell their careers stories and aspirations. It is initially being tested  through using the original stories collected in year one of the project and will then be piloted with UK based careers services.

Webquests

We are developing a series of Web 2.0 webquests designed to support professional development for Careers Guidance professionals. The first two are on the use of the internet for Careers Guidance and on careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Along with our technical partners, Raycom, we are developing a lightweight repository which combined with the Storiboard interface, will provide for easy editing and development of Webquests.

Open Badges, assessment and Open Education

August 25th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

I have spent some time this morning thinking about the Mozilla Open Badges and assessment project, spurred on by the study group set up by Doug Belshaw to think about the potential of the scheme. And the more I think about it, the more I am convinced of its potential as perhaps one of the most significant developments in the move towards Open Education. First though a brief recap for those of you who have not already heard about the project.

The Open Badges framework, say the project developers, is designed to allow any learner to collect badges from multiple sites, tied to a single identity, and then share them out across various sites — from their personal blog or web site to social networking profiles. The infrastructure needs to be open to allow anyone to issue badges, and for each learner to carry the badges with them across the web and other contexts.

Now some of the issues. I am still concerned of attempts to establish taxonomies, be it those of hierarchy in terms of award structures or those of different forms of ability / competence / skill (pick your own terminology). Such undertakings have bedeviled attempts to introduce new forms of recognition and I worry that those coming more from the educational technology world may not realise the pitfalls of taxonomies and levels.

Secondly is the issue of credibility. There is a two fold danger here. One is that the badges will only be adopted for achievements in areas / subjects / domains presently outside ‘official’ accreditation schemes and thus will be marginalised. There is also a danger that in the desire to gain recognition, badges will be effectively benchmarked against present accreditation programmes (e.g. university modules / degrees) and thus become subject to all the existing restrictions of such accreditation.

And thirdly, as the project roils towards a full release, there may be pressures for restricting badge issuers to existing accreditation bodies, and concentrating on the technological infrastructure, rather than rethinking practices in assessment.

Lets look at some of the characteristics of any assessment system:

  • Reliability

Reliability is a measure of consistency. A robust assessment system should be reliable, that is, it should yield the same results irrespective of who is conducting it or the environmental conditions under which it is taking place. Intra-tester reliability simply means that if the same assessor is looking at your work his or her judgement should be consistent and not influenced by, for example, another assessment they might have undertaken! Inter-tester reliability means that if two different assessors were given exactly the same evidence and so on, their conclusions should also be the same. Extra-tester reliability means that the assessors conclusions should not be influenced by extraneous circumstances, which should have no bearing on the evidence.

  • Validity

Validity is a measure of ‘appropriateness’ or ‘fitness for purpose’. There are three sorts of validity. Face validity implies a match between what is being evaluated or tested and how that is being done. For example, if you are evaluating how well someone can bake a cake or drive a car, then you would probably want them to actually do it rather than write an essay about it! Content validity means that what you are testing is actually relevant, meaningful and appropriate and there is a match between what the learner is setting out to do and what is being assessed. If an assessment system has predictive validity it means that the results are still likely to hold true even under conditions that are different from the test conditions. For example, performance evaluation of airline pilots who are trained to cope with emergency situations on a simulator must be very high on predictive validity.

  • Replicability

Ideally an assessment should be carried out and documented in a way which is transparent and which allows the assessment to be replicated by others to achieve the same outcomes. Some ‘subjectivist’ approaches to evaluation would disagree, however.

  • Transferability

Although each assessment is looking at a particular set of outcomes, a good assessment system is one that could be adapted for similar outcomes or could be extended easily to new learning.  Transferability is about the shelf-life of the assessment and also about maximising its usefulness.

  • Credibility

People actually have to believe in the assessment! It needs to be authentic, honest, transparent and ethical. If people question the rigour of the assessment process, doubt the results or challenge the validity of the conclusions, the assessment loses credibility and is not worth doing.

  • Practicality

This means simply that however sophisticated and technically sound the assessment is, if it takes too much of people’s time or costs too much or is cumbersome to use or the products are inappropriate then it is not a good evaluation!

Pretty obviously there is going to be a trade off between different factors. It is possible to design extremely sophisticated assessments which have a high degree of validity. However, such assessment may be extremely time consuming and thus not practical. The introduction of multiple tests through e-learning platforms is cheap and easy to produce. However they often lack face validity, especially for vocational skills and work based learning.

Lets try to make this discussion more concrete by focusing on one of the Learning Badges pilot assessments at the School of Webcraft.

OpenStreetMapper Badge Challenge

Description: The OpenStreetMapper badge recognizes the ability of the user to edit OpenStreetMap wherever satellite imagery is available in Potlatch 2.

Assessment Type: PEER – any peer can review the work and vote. The badge will be issued with 3 YES votes.

Assessment Details:

OpenStreetMap.org is essentially a Wikipedia site for maps. OpenStreetMap benefits from real-time collaboration from thousands of global volunteers, and it is easy to join. Satellite images are available in most parts of the world.

P2PU has a basic overview of what OpenStreetMap is, and how to make edits in Potlatch 2 (Flash required). This isn’t the default editor, so please read “An OpenStretMap How-To“:

Your core tasks are:

  1. Register with OpenStreetMap and create a username. On your user page, accessible at this link , change your editor to Potlatch 2.
  2. On OpenStreetMap.org, search and find a place near you. Find an area where a restaurant, school, or gas station is unmapped, or could use more information. Click ‘Edit’ on the top of the map. You can click one of the icons, drag it onto the map, and release to make it stick.
  3. To create a new road, park, or other 2D shape, simply click to add points. Click other points on the map where there are intersections. Use the Escape to finish editing.
  4. To verify your work, go to edit your point of interest, click Advanced at the bottom of the editor to add custom tags to this point, and add the tag ‘p2pu’. Make its value be your P2PU username so we can connect the account posting on this page to the one posting on OpenStreetMap.
  5. Submit a link to your OpenStreetMap edit history. Fill in the blank in the following link with your OpenStreetMap username http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/____/edits

You can also apply for the Humanitarian Mapper badge: http://badges.p2pu.org/questions/132/humanitarian-mapper-badge-challenge

Assessment Rubric:

  1. Created OpenStreetMap username
  2. Performed point-of-interest edit
  3. Edited a road, park, or other way
  4. Added the tag p2pu and the value [username] to the point-of-interest edit
  5. Submitted link to OpenStreetMap edit history or user page to show what edits were made

NOTE for those assessing the submitted work. Please compare the work to the rubric above and vote YES if the submitted work meets the requirements (and leave a comment to justify your vote) or NO if the submitted work does not meet the rubric requirements (and leave a comment of constructive feedback on how to improve the work)

CC-BY-SA JavaScript Basic Badge used as template5.

Pretty clearly this assessment scores well on validity and also looks to be reliable. The template could easily be transferred as indeed it has in the pilot. It is also very practical. However, much of this is due to the nature of the subject being assessed – it is much easier to use computers for assessing practical tasks which involve the use of computers than it is for tasks which do not!

This leaves the issue of credibility. I have to admit  know nothing about the School of Webcraft, neither do I know who were the assessors for this pilot. But it would seem that instead of relying on external bodies in the form of examination boards and assessment agencies to provide credibility (deserved for otherwise), if the assessment process is integrated within communities of practice – and indeed assessment tasks such as the one given above could become a shared artefact of that community – then then the Badge could gain credibility. And this seems a much better way of buidli9ng credibility than trying to negotiate complicated arrangements that n number of badges at n level would be recognized as a degree or other ‘traditional’ qualification equivalent.

But lets return to some of the general issues around assessment again.

So far most of the discussions about the Badges project seem to be focused on summative assessment. But there is considerable research evidence that formative assessment is critical for learning. Formative assessment can be seen as

“all those activities undertaken by teachers, and by their students in assessing themselves, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged. Such assessment becomes ‘formative assessment’ when the evidence is actually used to adapt the teaching work to meet the needs.”

Black and Williams (1998)

And that is there the Badges project could come of age. One of the major problems with Personal Learning Environments is the difficulties learners have in scaffolding their own learning. The development of formative assessment to provide (on-line) feedback to learners could help them develop their personal learning plans and facilitate or mediate community involvement in that learning.Furthermore a series of tasks based assessments could guide learners through what Vygotsky called the Zone of Proximal Development (and incidentally in Vygotsky’s terms assessors would act as Significantly Knowledgeable Others).

In these terms the badges project has the potential not only to support learning taking place outside the classroom but to build a significant infrastructure or ecology to support learning that takes place anywhere, regardless of enrollment on traditional (face to face or distance) educational programmes.

In a second article in the next few days I will provide an example of how this could work.

Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens

August 22nd, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Ilona Buchem proposed to me and Ricardo Torres that we should undertake a systematic review of literature on Personal Learning Environments as our contribution to this years PLE conference held in early July in Southampton. We set out to review some 100 journal articles and blog posts in three langauges.

The major challenge was how to classify and analyse the material. We set out with an original framework comprised of  three tiers of analytic categories:

●      A top tier with the three dimensions: “Personal”, “Learning” and “Environment”;

●     A  middle tier with two domain perspectives: “Pedagogy” and “Technology”;

●      A bottom tier with a set of core concepts and a scale from “high” to “low”.

However, the first reading and analysis of selected literature led us to the conclusion that focusing only on the three dimensions at the top tier level as described above leaves out other central aspects related to PLEs. At the same time the three original categories are too broad and encompass different notions that need further disaggregation.

Thus we decided to use Activity Theory as a basis for our analysis reasoning that the idea of PLEs places the focus on the appropriation of different tools and resources by an individual learner and there is a general agreement on viewing learners as being situated within a social context which influences the way in which they use media, participate in activities and engage in communities. Learning outcomes are considered to be created in the process of tackling the problems and challenges learners meet in different contexts by using tools and resources leading to outcomes. The perspective on learning as tool-mediated, situated, object-directed and collective activity is the basic tenet of Activity Theory (Engeström 1999; Engeström, 2001).

Overall, I think the approach works well. We found that the core concepts around PLEs such as ownership, control, literacy, autonomy or empowerment are often mentioned in the literature but seldom defined, theoretically grounded or differentiated. This obscures the overall picture and understanding of PLEs. We identified a series of ‘open research questions’:

  • What types of ownership and control are relevant to PLEs?
  • What motivates and demotivates learners to establish own PLEs?
  • Which norms and values guide the development of PLEs in different contexts?
  • What roles are played by different actors in a PLE?
  • What is the relationship between ownership and collaboration in a PLE?
  • How do PLEs contribute to identity development?
  • How to balance power between different participants in a PLE?
  • How to support the development of literacies necessary to establish a PLE?

You can read the full paper below or download a copy. We would very much welcome feedback from readers.

Thanks especially to Ilona for all the hard work she put in in getting this paper ready for publication.
Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens

Educational transitions and career adaptability

August 19th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

I have spent much of the afternoon reading the UK Commission for Employment and Skills report on The role of career adaptability in skills supply. The report was written by my colleagues Jenny Bimrose, Alan Brown, Sally Anne Barnes and Deirdre Hughes from the Institute for Employment Research at Warwick University. It is particularly pertinent to our ongoing work on career transitions and Web2.0 and this post forms the first of two looking at some of the central ideas in the report.

Research in careers is limited yet careers choice and careers guidance are increasingly important with fast changing technologies and the world financial crisis rendering many occupations and jobs increasingly insecure. Few young people today will spend their entire working life in one occupation. The report based on empirical research undertaken in the UK and Norway looks at how people adapt to such a situation and how we can better support people through career transitions.

The term career adaptability, the authors say

describes the conscious and continuous exploration of both the self and the environment, where the eventual aim is to achieve synergy between the individual, their identity and an occupational environment. Developing career adaptability has a focus on supporting and encouraging individuals to be autonomous, by taking responsibility for their own career development. The operational definition of career adaptability used for this study was: ‘The capability of an individual to make a series of successful transitions where the labour market, organisation of work and underlying occupational and organisational knowledge bases may all be subject to considerable change’.

Central to the ideas of the report – and paqrazelling the development of Personal Learning Environments – is the aim of  supporting autonomy and recognising that

‘career’ belongs to the individual, not to the employing organisation (Duarte, 2004).

The report identifies a set of five career adaptive competencies:

  • control emphasises the need for individuals to exert a degree of influence on their situations;
  • curiosity emphasises the value in broadening horizons by exploring social opportunities and possibilities;
  • commitment stresses how individuals should experiment with new and different activities and projects, rather than being focused narrowly on getting into a particular job, so that new possibilities can be generated;
  • confidence relates to believing in yourself and your ability to achieve what is necessary to achieve your career goal;
  • concern refers to stimulating or developing a positive and optimistic attitude to the future. (Savickas et al., 2009, p.245).

Learning is obviously important in developing career adaptive competences, particularly learning through work.

The role of learning in developing career adaptability at work has four dimensions. The first involves learning through challenging work: mastering the practical, cognitive and communicative demands linked with particular work roles and work processes. The second has a primary cognitive focus and involves updating a substantive knowledge base (or mastering a new additional substantive knowledge base). Knowledge updating may play an important role in extending adaptability beyond a focus on the current work role. The third dimension has a primary communicative focus and comprises learning through (and beyond) interactions at work. Finally, the fourth dimension focuses upon how career adaptability is facilitated by individuals becoming more self-directed and self-reflexive in their learning and development.

One special aspect of being self-directed, illustrated by the quotes above, relates to being self-reflexive, able to identify your current skill set and how this might be enhanced and extended. Those who made successful transitions all seemed to be self-directed in either or both their learning and development and their career more generally. The link between being self-directed in your own learning and development and making successful transitions is transparent: if you can learn to adapt and continue to develop in your current job, even in less than ideal circumstances, then this provides a basis for making successful transitions in future. Several participants also pointed to the psychological dimension of how being self-directed and successful in making a major transition reinforced your confidence that you would be able to do this again in future, if required.

Those individuals who see that their skills can be transferred to other contexts have significant advantages in changing career direction over those who define themselves almost exclusively by their occupational and organisational attachments (Bimrose et al., 2008). This advantage stems from the former having a dynamic sense of themselves as being able to navigate their own route through the labour market, whereas the latter are dependent upon the pathways linked to a particular organisation or occupation.

However, the research based on a psychological-social approach, also recognised the importance of opportunity in careers transitions and the multiple-disadvantages many face in the labour market, especially in the UK, as opposed to Norway where class plays a lesser role. It also recognises the role that different labour market and education structures (and regulation) can play with regard to opportunity.

The term ‘opportunity structures’ itself contains the tension between openness and flexibility on the one hand and structured pathways on the other. Both are valuable and it is finding an accommodation which works well for most members of a society and also provides opportunities for those who do not fit initially. This should be the goal of a Continuing Vocational Training policy, informed by concerns for individual career developmen

The research approach was particularly interesting. In the EU funded G8WAY project we have been looking at the potential of storytelling, both as a research methodology or tool., and for helping young people reflect on education transitions. The career adaptability study also adopted a story telling approach.

The research study reported here adopted a retrospective and reflective approach – asking adults to reflect on their experiences of labour market transition, comment on the strategies they deployed and what, with the benefit of hindsight, they might have done differently. This approach has analytical power in that it enables individuals to ‘tell their career stories’, who invariably respond well to being given an opportunity to do so. Most individuals in our sample constructed coherent career narratives that had a current value in offering perspectives on where they were now, had been, and were going in their work lives. It could be argued that the career stories of some individuals may have been partly based on past events that have been reinterpreted from how they felt at the time they occurred. However, this misses an essential point about career adaptability: it is how the past is interpreted and reinterpreted which can act as a trigger to positive engagement with education and training when faced with labour market transitions. Hence, it is the stories in which we are interested, rather than searching for an unobtainable ‘truth’ about their attitudes and behaviours in the past.

This reflective approach has provided deep insights into dominant features that characterise an individual’s career adaptability profile, namely: individual (personality) characteristics; context and opportunities (opportunity structures); learning and development; and career orientation. These features are in constant and dynamic interaction, one with another.

One final aspect of being self-directed surfaced in many of our participants’ replies – people can learn from their lives through the stories they tell about them. Many of our participants recounted powerful narratives of where they had been, where they were and where they might be going. They were in charge of their own stories and such a perspective itself is an important component of adaptability.

UK parody of apprenticeship not a way forward

August 15th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Having spent much time in Germany working as a researcher around vocational educatio0n and training I am a big fan of apprenticeships. True, the German dual system of apprenticeships has its weaknesses, but in general if offers a respected and high quality training to over half the age cohort. As Wikipedia explains,  there are some 342 recognized trades (Ausbildungsberufe) where an apprenticeship can be completed. They include for example doctor’s assistant, banker, dispensing optician, plumber or oven builder. The dual system means that apprentices spend about 50-70% of their time in companies and the rest in formal education. Depending on the profession, they may work for three to four days a week in the company and then spend one or two days at a vocational school (Berufsschule). This is usually the case for trade and craftspeople. For other professions, usually which require more theoretical learning, the working and school times take place blockwise e.g. in a 12–18 weeks interval.

I have also long bemoaned the poor apprenticeship system in the UK, which was largely abolished with the demise of the Training Boards in the 1970s. Many young people are forced into inappropriate university courses which provide poor training for their career and result in large personal debts. So in theory I should be happy with today’s House of Commons library research, as reported in the Guardian newspaper, which shows that the coalition exceeded its target of creating 203,200 apprenticeships for people over 19 in the 2010-11 financial year, creating 257,000 new apprentices. And I am sure that the headline will be seized on by apprenticeship advocates in Germany and other parts of the world as welcome news that the UK has indeed at last re-established a reputable apprenticeship training system.

Sadly this is not so. The research shows that the biggest increases in apprenticeships are in health and social care and retail; indeed one of the most dramatic increases was in the “cleaning and support service industry”, where 1,930 apprentices were created in the academic year 2010-11, compared with 360 in the previous academic year. In other words the majority of the apprenticeships have been created in low skills service industries.

One of the major problems for comparative researchers is how apprenticeship is defined in the UK. Apprentices are defined as paid employees who gain practical skills in the workplace as well as receiving training outside work. In other words any programme which provides external training for employees as well as some form of practical skills training can be counted as an apprentice and therefore employers are able to draw down subsidies for the training. This goes some way towards explaining why the largest increases were for ‘apprentices’ aged over 25 where numbers nearly quadrupled, from 36,300 to 121,100. And perhaps the most telling figure is in the average length of the so called apprenticeships. In Germany most apprenticeships take three years to complete. But in the UK, apprenticeships lasting longer than a year rose by under 2% while those lasting less than a year increased by over 30% on 2009-10.Overall, the proportion of apprenticeships lasting longer than a year dropped from 47% to 41%. Indeed many appear to have been shorter than 12 weeks!

Whilst any increase in work based training is welcome, the new programmes being introduced in the UK are a parody of the idea of apprenticeship. And sadly the credibility of apprenticeship training as a whole is likely to be reduced, both in the eyes of young people and from the viewpoint of employers.

The digital divide is widening

August 12th, 2011 by Graham Attwell
Jen Schradie, a doctoral candidate in sociology at UC Berkeley
Center for New Media, has analyzed data from more than 41,000 American adults surveyed between 2000 and 2008 in the Pew Internet and American Life Project. She found that college graduates are 1.5 times more likely to be bloggers than are high school graduates; twice as likely to post photos and videos and three times more likely to post an online rating or comment.
But perhaps most significant is her finding that class is likely to be the major determinate in online participation
clipped from newscenter.berkeley.edu

Overall, the study found, less than 10 percent of the U.S. population is participating in most online production activities, and having a college degree is a greater predictor of who will generate publicly available online content than being young and white.

The results suggest that the digital divide for social media users is wider between the haves and have-nots than it is between young and old, and underscore growing concerns that the poor and working classes lack the resources to participate fully in civic life, much of which is now online. That chasm is unlikely to break down until everyone has a host of digital production tools at both home and work, Schradie said.

  blog it

San Marino’s first live internet radio broadcast

August 12th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Last week we traveled to San Marino to organise a workshop on internet radio at the San Marino Arts Festival (SMIAF) and to broadcast the festival.
The SMIAF web site says:

100 music events, theater, circus, photo, art, culture and appetizers-meetings, the event gives voice to young artists of Knowledge, professionals and creators of San Marino, Europe and the World. The Festival creates a “social network” real and human in the ancient Land of Liberty to meet, interact, learn and create new knowledge. SMIAF Project aims to promote, also throughout the year, a new and more valuable visibility for the country both locally and internationally.

But this fails to convey the real excitement. The festival is run by volunteers – young people from San Marino. They have only a small budget and much of that is money raised by them. And there is a real buzz about it – enhanced by the venue. The old city of San Marino is perched 800 meters up on a mountain with small winding streets. There are ten festival stages with steep climbs between them.

We met for the workshop at about four in the afternoon on the Friday. The workshop, held outside in one of the main squares, was a little complicated in that we did not speak Italian and most of the volunteers spoke only limited English. But with help from Anthony, our Maltese translator we got by.
This is the fourth internet radio workshop we have run this summer and although they vary a little according to time and numbers, the format and content is much the same. We introduce them to the equipment and to how internet radio works, then we run a storyboarding workshop to get ideas for content and formats for the broadcasts. This is usually followed by a session where participants decide what roles they will take responsibility for – producers, floor managers, technicians, music, journalists etc.

Then it is down to the hard work of preparing content and getting out publicity through social networks whilst at the same time practicing interview techniques and how to use the microphones. The workshops are always pretty chaotic but a lot of fun. With previous workshops teh aim has been to produce a 30 minute programme. In this case we ended up broadcasting from four in the afternoon until ten o’clock on the Saturday and on the Sunday we ran on to well past midnight.

What is particularly satisfying is the enthusiasm and speed of learning which happens when participants have a real and authentic task – to broadcast live radio. And the live element provides an adrenaline rush which a participant at a previous workshop described as being “better than drugs”. It is also great to watch how participants fuse together as a team and take on different roles and responsibilities in the process.

The SMIAF radio programme has a longer term aim than the festival. San Marino has only one radio station and that is government controlled. To the best of our knowledge the festival marked the first internet radio broadcast from San Marino. And our intention is to develop internet radio in San Marino starting with a podcast serie4s from the autumn and leading to the launch of live internet radio next year.

It was a great weekend. Thanks to all who helped us – the SMIAF organizers, the technical support but above all all those who joined the SMIAF radio team over the weekend. We hope to see you all again soon.

Open Badge Ecosystem for informal learning

August 3rd, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Badges seem to be the coming thing on the tech developers horizon. Soon we will have badges for everything. Cynical as I might be I am very interested in this Mozilla project to develop badges to recognise learning. It is really a very simple idea. The Open Badges framework, say the project developers, is designed to allow any learner to collect badges from multiple sites, tied to a single identity, and then share them out across various sites — from their personal blog or web site to social networking profiles. The infrastructure needs to be open to allow anyone to issue badges, and for each learner to carry the badges with them across the web and other contexts.

I think the project is interesti9ng in that it recognises the increasing diversirty of learning pathways and contexts. It also recognises that in the future it is on line web presence which will for4m the primary iddentioty for a job seeker, ratehr than teh now old fashioned CV.

But rthere are still potential issues. The credibility fo the badges swil depend on the credibity of the organisationw hich issues them. And attempting to classify differents orts of badges holds many perils. I don’t agree with teh distinction between badges for ‘skills’ and ‘community /peer’ badges.

but i would love to see this project rolled out – possibly linked to Open Education Resources – anyone ideas for a trial around it?

Evaluation 2.0 – the Slidecast

August 2nd, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Late last year Jenny Hughes made a keynote presentation on Evaluation 2.0 for the UK Evaluation society. And pretty quickly we were getting requests for the paper of the presentation and the presentation slides. The problem is that we have not yet got round to writing the paper. And Jen, like me uses most of her canvas space for pictures not bullet points on her slides. This makes the presentation much more attractive but it is difficult sometimes to gleam the meaning from the pictures alone.

So we decided we would make a slidecast of the presentation. But, half way through, we realised it wasn’t working. Lacking an audience and just speaking to the slides, it was coming over as stilted and horribly dry. So we started again and changed the format. rather than seeing it as a straightforward presentation, Jen and I just chatted about the central ideas. I think it works pretty well.

We started from the question of what is Web2.0.Jen says “At its simplest, it’s about using social software at all stages of the evaluation process in order to make it more open, more transparent and more accessible to a wider range of stakeholder.” But editing the slidecast I realised we had talked a lot more than about evaluation. This chat really deals with Web 2.0 and the different ways we are developing and sharing knowledge, the differences between expert knowledge and crows sourced knowledge and new roles for teachers, trainers and evaluators resulting from the changing uses of social media.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Learning about technology

    According to the University Technical Colleges web site, new research released of 11 to 17-year-olds, commissioned by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity which promotes and supports University Technical Colleges (UTCs), reveals that over a third (36%) have no opportunity to learn about the latest technology in the classroom and over two thirds (67%) admit that they have not had the opportunity even to discuss a new tech or app idea with a teacher.

    When asked about the tech skills they would like to learn the top five were:

    Building apps (45%)
    Creating Games (43%)
    Virtual reality (38%)
    Coding computer languages (34%)
    Artificial intelligence (28%)


    MOOC providers in 2016

    According to Class Central a quarter of the new MOOC users  in 2016 came from regional MOOC providers such as  XuetangX (China) and Miríada X (Latin America).

    They list the top five MOOC providers by registered users:

    1. Coursera – 23 million
    2. edX – 10 million
    3. XuetangX – 6 million
    4. FutureLearn – 5.3 million
    5. Udacity – 4 million

    XuetangX burst onto this list making it the only non-English MOOC platform in top five.

    In 2016, 2,600+ new courses (vs. 1800 last year) were announced, taking the total number of courses to 6,850 from over 700 universities.


    Jobs in cyber security

    In a new fact sheet the Tech Partnership reveals that UK cyber workforce has grown by 160% in the five years to 2016. 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15% higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7% on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12%.


    Number students outside EU falls in UK

    Times Higher Education reports the number of first-year students from outside the European Union enrolling at UK universities fell by 1 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

    Data from the past five years show which countries are sending fewer students to study in the UK.

    Despite a large increase in the number of students enrolling from China, a cohort that has grown by 12,500 since 2011-12, enrolments by students from India fell by 13,150 over the same period.

    Other notable changes include an increase in students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and a fall in students from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.


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