Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

Wales to encourage schools to make full use of social networking technologies

August 31st, 2012 by Graham Attwell
Leighton Andrews, Wales Assembly Government Minister for Education and Skills, has announced an ambitious agenda in response to an independent review of digital classroom teaching. Of particular note is the commitment to “a new approach to the use of social networking technologies in education” through “encouraging schools to make full use of social technologies in order to engage learners and improve learning outcomes.”
Andrews says:

In previous years, local authorities have been asked to block access to social networking sites in schools, libraries and youth clubs, as a result of very understandable concerns about online predators, cyberbullying and the risk of disruption to classroom activities. However, this policy can have adverse effects. It deprives schools of access to tools and resources which might otherwise be used creatively and constructively in education both within and beyond the classroom. More importantly, it means that children are most likely to be using these sites outside the school, at home, or on mobile devices, in environments which may be unsupervised and where they have less access to informed guidance and support on how to stay safe online.
In 2008, Wales was the first country in the UK to introduce the teaching of safe and responsible use of the Internet into both the primary and secondary school curriculum. The underpinning approach was that we first teach children to use the Internet safely under supervision, and then help them to develop the skills and understanding they need to manage their own risk as they use the Internet independently. Enabling access to social networking sites in schools will be consistent with this approach, providing pupils with the opportunity to learn safe, responsible and considerate online behaviours in the context of supported educational activities. It will also help schools to include parents in these activities.”

We have long argued that blocking of social networking (and other web sites) in schools was a backward and futile step. Lets hope that other countries follow the lead of Wales.

Using Google interactive charts and WordPress to visualise data

August 25th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

This is a rare techy post (and those of you who know me will also know that my techy competence is not so great so apologies for any mistakes).

Along with a university partner, Pontydysgu bid for a small contract to develop a system to allow the visualisation of labour market data. The contractors had envisaged a system which would update automatically from UK ONS quarterly labour market data: a desire clearly impossible within the scope of the funding.

So the challenge was to design something which would make it easy for them to manually update the data with visualisations being automatically updated from the amended data. Neither the contractors or indeed the people we were working with in the university had any great experience of using visualisation or web software.

The simplest applications seemed to me to be the best for this. Google spreadsheets are easy to construct and the interactive version of the chart tools will automatically update when embedded into a WordPress bog.

Our colleagues at the university developed a comprehensive spreadsheet and added some 23 or so charts.  So far so good. Now was the time to develop the website. I made a couple of test pages and everything looked good. I showed the university researchers how to edit in WordPress and how to add embedded interactive charts. And that is where the problems started. They emailed us saying that not only were their charts not showing but the ones i had added had disappeared!

The problem soon became apparent. WordPress, as a security feature, strips what it sees as dangerous JavaScript code. We had thought we could get round this by using a plug in called Raw.  However in a WordPress multi-site, this plug in will only allow SuperAdmins to post unfiltered html. This security seems to me over the top. I can see why wordpress.com will prevent unfiltered html. And I can see why in hosted versions unfiltered html might be turned off as a default. But surely, on a hosted version, it should be possible for Superadmins to have some kind of control over what kind of content different levels of users are allowed to post. The site we are developing is closed to non members so we are unlikely to have a security risk and the only Javascript we are posting comes from Google who might be thought to be trusted.

WordPress is using shortcodes for embeds. But there are no shortcodes for Google Charts embed. There is shortcode for using the Google Charts API but that would invalidate our aim of making the system easy to update. And of course, we could instead post an image file of the chart, but once more that would not be dynamically updated.

In the end my colleague Dirk hacked the WordPress code to allow editors to post unfiltered html but this is not an elegant answer!

We also added the Google code to Custom Fields allowing a better way to add the embeds.

Even then we hot another strange and time wasting obstacle. Despite the code being exactly the same, code copied and posted by our university colleagues was not being displayed. The only difference in the code is that when we posted it it had a lot of spaces, whist theirs appeared to be justified. It seems the problem is a Copy/ Paste bug in Microsoft Explorer 9, which is the default bowser in the university, which invalidates some of the javascript code. The work around for this was for them to install Firefox.

So (fingers crossed) it all works. But it was a struggle. I would be very grateful for any feedback – either on a better way of doing what we are trying to achieve – or on the various problems with WordPress and Google embed codes. Remember, we are looking for something cheap and easy!

 

Help desks

August 25th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

One of my favourite thing about the summer is the cricket test matches. Cricket on the radio is a true joy. And, if no time for the radio, I follow the matches on the Guardian newspaper blog. One of the art forms of both media is what to do on those long periods when nothing happens especially if it rains. And rain it did, on last weeks match in Cardiff! Almost all day until the match was finally abandoned at about 3 in the afternoon.

And so resident blogger Rob Smyth resorted to crowd sourcing content. “Something to talk about given that there is bugger all chance of a completed match today”. he said. . ..”what would you put in Room 101 and why?” Don’t know what Room 101 is? Here is the wikipedia entry.

I loved the replies about helpdesks.

Room 101,” says Daniel Maxwell. “How about putting in telephone helpdesk people who, after satisfying the most simple query, and despite the finality of your closing tones, insist on asking ‘Is there anything else I can help you with sir?’.”

When they do that you should just hit them with a list of problems. “Well the cream the doctor gave me isn’t really working. Also, I get a little lonely sometimes … I have intimacy issues … I cry myself to sleep most nights …

And this provoked a reply from Miv:

I’m at work on an IT helpdesk as we speak (well type) and the reason we ask if there’s anything else we can help with is because we are told to do so by strict call specs set by the client we work for,” says Miv. “Not doing so can lead to warnings & dismissals believe it or not. It’s not like we actually give a monkeys about the caller or their problems, I’m currently typing this, listening to my iPod in one ear while listening to some poor sod whine about lost emails in the other. A chat about his personal problems would be a godsend rather than take the next call from some muppet who can’t drag and drop. There I said it – I feel better.

 

Technology Enhanced Learning, Dialogicality and Practice

August 21st, 2012 by Graham Attwell

I like writing position papers! This is the second submission for the  Alpine Redezvous  workshop on the topic of TEL, the Crisis and the Response. This position paper is co-written with Dirk Stieglitz and Ilona Buchem.

We are aware of the increasing concerns about the commodification, monetarisation and privatization of education and academic labour. We also acknowledge the concern that the current mode of [neo-liberal] late-capitalism relies on “the continuous extension and validation of the infrastructure and the optimistic discourses of the new information technologies” (Hoofd, 2010)

However, rather than focus on concerns about the role of technology in the organisation and control of the educational infrastructure, in this position paper we which to examine the potential – and potential contradictions – of technology for learning. This in turn, leads to a focus on pedagogy, defined here as the theory and practice of teaching and learning. Technology is not pedagogically neutral – all technology enhances or hinders particular approaches to learning.

It is not hard to criticize the uses of educational technology in institutions. In its earlier phases technology was used to manage learners rather than facilitate learning. In its latter phase technology is being deployed both to commodify and monetarize knowledge (and the academic labour which produces such knowledge) and at the same time to sell education as just another consumer product (hence the present hype around so called learning analytics). Almost inevitably, attempts to develop an alternative ecology or milieu and an alternative pedagogy – such as MOOCs – are being absorbed by the dominant culture. Interestingly, in this regard, we can perceive the contradiction between an understanding of academic staff who wish to open up new horizons for learning to students with the concerns of the students who wish only to receive the necessary knowledge to achieve the credentials for which they believe they have paid. This in turn reinforces push technologies to support funnel delivery of learning objects to receivers (clients or customers). And despite the hype about the uses of technology by digital residents, repeated surveys have shown very limited use of social technologies by students to create, rather than consume digital artefacts and knowledge.

However, there is an alternative perspective. The almost indecent rush to commodify academic knowledge through the use of technology[1] may, to some extent, be driven by a realization that knowledge has escaped from the walled garden of the academy.

We would argue that the education systems grew in response to the needs of industrial capitalisms (in this respect it is informative to note that many Victorian schools in the UK were deigned to look like factories and were organised on a factory model). Despite the efforts of communities and organisations such as the Miners Hall, the Workers Educational Association and the Mechanics Institutes (and similar bodies and movements in other countries than the UK), access to education – and knowledge – was largely a monopoly of the education system, which in turn was ideologically driven by the needs of capitalist enterprises.

Despite the efforts of institutions and others – including publishers – to maintain control of knowledge, the internet allows an abundance of access to knowledge and learning, especially through informal and self managed learning. In a study we undertook of the use of information and communication for learning in Small and Medium Enterprises in six countries in Europe, in 106 case studies we found only one instance of the use of ICT for formal learning. Yet we found numerous uses of technology for informal learning (although often the users did not recognize this as learning themselves). We found:

–       the web was the platform for learning

–       in most cases the managers did not know such learning was happening

–       there was more likelihood of learning taking place where people had more control of work processes

–       learning was sometimes driven by just in time needs stemming from the work but was often driven by learners’ interests

–       learners had little interest in formal accreditation or credentials and no interest in assessment

Such learning often took place through contacting friends or through participating in informal, online communities of practice. Support for learning was through peers or those who Vygotsky called a More Knowledgeable Other and learning was largely self-directed.

Learning was heavily contextual, depending on both the subject and level of learning, the nature of the problem or the culture of the community.

Through a combination of the physical workplace and subject based culture and the culture of the online interactions, users were making new meanings for their own practice. This chimes with Bakhtin’s reasoning that others or other meanings are required for any cultural category to generate meaning and reveal its depths.

“Contextual meaning is potentially infinite, but it can only be actualized when accompanied by another (other’s) meaning, if only by a question in the inner speech of the one who understands. Each time it must be accompanied by another contextual meaning in order to reveal new aspects of its own infinite nature (just as the word reveals its meanings only in context). (Bakhtin, 1986, pp. 145–146).”

Akkerman and Bakker suggest that boundary crossing and the understanding of learning as a process that involves multiple perspectives and multiple parties is “different from most theories on learning that, first, often focus on a vertical process of progression in knowledge or capabilities (of an individual, group, or organization) within a specific domain and, second, often do not address aspects of heterogeneity or multiplicity within this learning process.”

Akkerman and Bakker advance “four dialogical learning mechanisms of boundaries:

  1. identification, which is about coming to know what the diverse practices are about in relation to one another;
  2. coordination, which is about creating cooperative and routinised exchanges between practices;
  3. reflection, which is about expanding one’s perspectives on the practices; and,
  4. transformation, which is about collaboration and co-development of (new) practices.”

The interesting point here is the relation to practices, and to dialogical learning processes, as opposed to the reified and top down nature of knowledge acquisition through institutional online learning and traditional TEL.

We suggest that if the TEL community is to contribute towards a response to the crisis, that response requires a move from a focus on formal knowledge transmission through educational technology controlled by institutions, to a perspective of supporting community knowledge acquisition and self directed learning focused on practice.  It equally requires a change in developmental approaches with technology co-developed with the communities of practice. Interestingly, it could be argued that such a change, although explicitly opposed to the use of TEL to commodify formal education, would provide a better social and economic use of technology in existing economies.

References

Akkerman, S. F., & Bakker, A. (2011). Boundary crossing and boundary objects. Review of Educational Research, 81, 132-169, http://rer.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/0034654311404435v1?ijkey=4LKMx60v0wQzc&keytype=ref&siteid=sprer

Bakhtin, M. (1986). From notes made in 1970-71 (V. McGee, Trans.). In C. Emerson, & M. Holquist (Eds.), Speech genres & other late essays (pp. 132–158). Austin: University of Texas Press.

Hoofd, I. (2010), The accelerated university: Activist- academic alliances and the simulation of thought, in ephemera 2010 www.ephemeraweb.org volume 10(1): 7-24



[1] See for instance http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/coursera-hits-1-million-students-with-udacity-close-behind/38801 although it is notable that this trend differs in different countries and economies

Innovating Pedagogy

August 19th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

The UK Open University have launched an interesting new series, Innovating Pedagogy. The series of reports is intended to explore new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation.

Mike Sharples explains:

We wanted to distinguish our perspective from that of the EDUCAUSE Horizon reports, which start from a consideration of how technologies may influence education. I would argue that ours aren’t ‘technology-driven opportunities’, but are rather an exploring of new and emerging forms of teaching, learning and assessment in an age of technology. All innovations in education nowadays are framed in relation to technology, but that doesn’t mean they are ‘technology driven’. So, for example, personal inquiry learning is mediated and enhanced by technology, but not driven by it.

We had a long discussion over ‘pedagogies’. The problem is that there isn’t a word in English that means ‘the processes of teaching, learning and assessment’. I would argue that in current usage ‘pedagogy’ has broadened from a formal learning experience conducted by a teacher, as we have become more aware of the opportunities for peer learning, non-formal apprenticeship etc. See e.g. http://www.memidex.com/pedagogy+instr . The origin of the word isn’t ‘teacher’ but “slave who took children to and from school” We were careful to indicate in the Introduction our usage of the word: “By pedagogy we mean the theory and practice of teaching, learning, and assessment.” So, within that usage are practices that might contribute towards effective learning, such as creating and sharing annotations of textbooks.

The ten trends explored in the first report are:

Although the list may seem as little idiosyncratic, authors emphasise that the themes are often interlinked in practice. I wonder though, if there is something of a contradiction between Assessment for Learning and Learning Analytics?

I am also interested in the definition of rhizomatic learning: “supporting rhizomatic learning requires the creation of a context within which the curriculum and knowledge are constructed by members of a learning community and which can be reshaped in a dynamic manner in response to environmental conditions. The learning experience may build on social, conversational processes, as well as personal knowledge creation, linked into unbounded personal learning networks that merge formal and informal media.”

65% of today’s grade school kids will end up at jobs that haven’t been invented yet

August 19th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

I am fascinated by the growing use of visualisations (although my own efforts to date are less than impressive).

Anyway, I very much liked this visualization which is the result of a collaboration between the design for learning experts TFE Research and emerging technology strategist Michell Zappa. They say: “this visualization attempts to organize a series of emerging technologies that are likely to influence education in the upcoming decades. Despite its inherently speculative nature, the driving trends behind the technologies can already be observed, meaning it’s a matter of time before these scenarios start panning out in learning environments around the world.”

You can download a high resolution copy of the poster from their site.

Diversity and Divide in TEL: The Case for Personal Learning Environments

August 19th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

Ilona Buchem and myself have submitted a proposal, Diversity and Divide in TEL: The Case for Personal Learning Environments, for the workshop on TEL, The Crisis and the Response, to be held at next years Alpine Rendez-Vous.

The digital divide cannot be discussed only as a gap between technology haves and have-nots. Below the inequalities in access and usage, there is also a problem of a divide between contexts, domains and communities that different learners operate in. The need for empowered learners as citizens engaging in cross-boundary, problem-solving has been advocated as a necessary means for social innovation. It is through boundary-crossing or bridging the divides that individual and sociocultural differences can become a resource. However, mainstream TEL has not fully recognised the potential of boundary crossing and engaging diverse learners in collective action related to solving real life problems. Much of TEL is developed to fit the prevailing educational paradigm, focusing on ever more efficient management of learning and more reliable methods of assessment rather than encouraging learners to explore diverse ideas, experiment with diverse formats or build bridges to diverse communities.

Can promoting diversity through TEL be a response to crisis? Certainly, in view of the growing complexity of societal, environmental and economic challenges and the ever increasing amount of information and communication possibilities, diversity may raise new questions, challenges and concerns. However, both research and practice provide evidence that diversity, in terms of individual or group attributes as well as in terms of different content, resources and tools provides valuable opportunities for intellectual engagement, personal growth and the development of novel solutions.

In this position paper, we discuss whether current TEL promotes diversity or divide and the current barriers in promoting diversity in TEL. We discuss these issues based on the example of Personal Learning Environments (PLE), which is as an approach to TEL aiming at empowering learners to use diverse technological tools suited to their own needs and connecting with other learners through building Personal Learning Networks. We argue that this approach to TEL promotes diversity through boundary-crossing and responding to the diverse needs and prerequisites that each individual learner brings in. At the same time we discuss how the PLE approach challenges current educational practices and what tensions arise when Personal Learning Environments are implemented in educational institutions.

Personal Learning Environments, as an approach to TEL, focus on the learner-controlled and learner-led uses of technologies for learning with no centralised control over tools, information or interactions. This strong focus on autonomous, literate learners as agents and decision-makers taking control and claiming ownership of their learning environments is of course in contrast with regulated and planned processes at schools and universities, demanding radical changes in the prevailing educational paradigm. TEL, based on the Personal Learning Environments approach, vests learners with control over learning processes and outcomes, including planing, content, interactions, resources and assessment. In this way, the PLE approach challenges not only the prevailing educational paradigm, but also TEL approaches inspired by this paradigm, such as Learning Management Systems and pre-programmed, locked-down systems, such as some types of video games or mobile apps, which place learners in the role of recipients and consumers of systems devised by others, while failing to foster both generativity and boundary-crossing.

Such pre-programmed, quality-controlled and locked-down approaches to TEL have led to “walled gardens in cyberspace”, isolating different learners and learning contexts, posing external constraints on what learners can do in such environments in terms of activities, resources and tools. Alternatively, learner-controlled uses of technologies, as embodied in the Personal Learning Environments approach, have facilitated boundary crossing and merging multiple learning contexts, domains and communities.

The postulate of boundary-crossing through the PLE approach has a human and technological dimension. On one hand, the PLE approach calls for learners to claim and make use of ownership and control over their learning environment, exerting agency in terms of the human capacity to make choices and uses those choices in real world interactions. On the other hand, the PLE approach calls for openness, decentralisation, connectivity and permeability of technological systems.

With learner ownership, control and agency combined with openness, decentralisation, connectivity and permeability of technological systems being the core attributes of the PLE approach to TEL, diversity becomes natural. The PLE approach promotes diversity of social interactions, diversity of learning contexts and diversity of learning practices. Personal Learning Environments entail diverse people and communities coming together, diverse technology tools and platforms used and combined by learners, diverse content production and consumption modes, diverse access points and modes of learning.

However, diversity promoted by the PLE approach is a source of conflict when PLEs and other systems interact. Specifically, tensions arise at the points traditionally considered as legitimate divides in the education system including TEL, for example (a) private vs. public access, (b) course members vs. non-members, (c) disciplinary knowledge vs. practice-based knowledge, (d) formal vs. informal learning context, (e) expert vs. novice, (f) individual vs. collective practice, (g) assessment vs. reflection, (h) planning vs. implementation, or (i) standards vs. innovation.

We argue that challenging these presumably legitimate boundaries in TEL as postulated by the PLE approach is a way to innovation which may bring viable responses to the crises.

Investing in education is important

August 15th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

For a long time we have said that investing in education is key to employment and to the future of our communities and society. The trouble is we have not been able to prove it. Some comparative studies have suggested the higher levels of investment in high quality initial vocational education and training in Germany as opposed to the UK is because German companies have a longer term accounting for the returns on investment. In turn, this may be because of the higher proportion of industrial capital in Germany whilst in the UK investment capital is much higher.Equally Return on Investment (ROI) studies are usually look over a relatively short period. Also such studies are generally conducted on a micro level – looking at the return on investment for individual enterprises, rather than on communities or society as a whole.

A new UK study by the Centre for Cities provides a fascinating new insight.

As their web site explains: “The research, which uses Census data to understand the economic stories of our cities in 1901, also compares how cities have progressed across measures like population, employment, and wages to understand how some cities have become more successful than others.”

The report, Cities Outlook 1901, “highlights the extent of the long term scarring effect that poor skills can have on a city and the people who live there.  The research shows that the skills spectrum across cities in 1901 is mirrored in their economic strength today.  Seven out of eight of the best performing cities today had above average skills levels in 1901; while 80% of cities with vulnerable economies in 2012 fall into the bottom 20 cities for skills levels in 1901.

Skills, they say, “are the most important factor determining long-run urban success, and therefore are a key area for policy intervention.”

The policy implications drawn from the report are quite general and modest. But they are important, nevertheless.

Cities Outlook 1901 illustrates the way that lack of investment is compounded over time. Failure to invest in skills or infrastructure in 1901 had knock-on long-term impacts on a place and its people over decades,while targeted investment in infrastructure and ongoing investment in skills succeeded in helping some places and people improve performance.

For policymakers seeking to learn lessons from the past when confronting today’s economic challenges, three themes stand out:

1. Short-term cuts in expenditure on the key drivers of urban success are likely to result in a big bill in the medium to longer-term.

2. Skills are the biggest determinant of success for cities, and are critical to the life chances of individuals.

3. Targeting investment in infrastructure can have a significant impact upon the economic prospects of a place.

Boundary Crossing and Learning

August 13th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

I have been long interested in the idea of boundary objects especially in relation to the use of technology for learning in the workplace. In general I think one of the issues with Technology Enhanced Learning is that we have tended to ignore the importance of physical objects in learning and practice.

Following the presentation by Alan Brown and myself on Technologically Enhanced Boundary Objects (for use in careers guidance) at the final Mature-IP review meeting, Uwe Riss kindly referred us to two papers:

This is Not a Boundary Object: Reflections on the Origin of a Concept by Susan Leigh Star

and

Boundary Crossing and Boundary Objects by Sanne F. Akkerman and Arthur Bakker.

Sadly neither is available for open access (I have university access but I find it very frustrating when there is no open access to important work).

I haven’t read Star’s paper yet, but found the paper by Akkerman and Bakker very useful. They define boundaries as “sociocultural differences that give rise to discontinuities in interaction and action.” They have undertaken an extensive literature review of the use of the idea of boundary crossing in education. In particular I think that Baktin’s idea of ‘dialogicality’ helps explain how learning takes place with multiple sources of ideas and knowledge (which some are referring to as ‘abundance’, through the internet as well as through structured, course based learning.

Bakhtin’s basic line of reasoning was that others or other meanings are required for any cultural category to generate meaning and reveal its depths:

Contextual meaning is potentially infinite, but it can only be actualized when accompanied by another (other’s) meaning, if only by a question in the inner speech of the one who understands. Each time it must be accompanied by another contextual meaning in order to reveal new aspects of its own infinite nature (just as the word reveals its meanings only in context). (Bakhtin, 1986, pp. 145–146)

This Bakhtinian notion of dialogicality comes to the fore in the various claims on the value of boundaries and boundary crossing for learning: learning as a process that involves multiple perspectives and multiple parties. Such an understanding is different from most theories on learning that, first, often focus on a vertical process of progression in knowledge or capabilities (of an individual, group, or organization) within a specific domain and, second, often do not address aspects of heterogeneity or multiplicity within this learning process.

In the second part of their research Akkerman and Bakker look at the “four dialogical learning mechanisms of boundaries”:

  1. identification, which is about coming to know what the diverse practices are about in relation to one another;
  2. coordination, which is about creating cooperative and routinized exchanges between practices;
  3. reflection, which is about expanding one’s perspectives on the practices; and,
  4. transformation, which is about collaboration and codevelopment of (new) practices.

Running Live internet Radio from Festivals

August 8th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

 

 

Photo: Sal Borg

Last year we organised a workshop on web radio at the annual San Marino International Festival (SMIAF). This year we followed it up by launching SMIAF radio broadcasting directly from the main stage at the festival.

Although tiring – I think we put out about 15 hours of live radio – it was great fun. We had a team of four – I directed the broadcasts and co-hosted along with the wonderful Annalisa Schembri from Malta. And Michele Ghiotti! from San Marino, who participated in last years workshop did an amazing job dashing around the different festival sites gathering interviews with performers, vendors, festival volunteers and just about anyone who would stay still long enough to be interviewed. As always Dirk Stieglitz manfully manned the computers and somehow kept the broadcast going out, even when the tangle of feeds seemed mind boggling.

Although we have done many live shows from conferences and events we had never broadcast from a  festival before. It was a fairly steep learning curve but hard to see how we could have learned so much from another way than just doing it. We learned how important coordination and collaboration with the sound technicians and stage manager is. We failed in advance to realise how long sound checks can take and had to plan our way through that on the go. Live festival broadcasts require a great deal of flexibility and very quick decision making. Artists do not always turn up for sound checks at the time they are supposed to, acts do not always stick to the  timetable and nor do artists turn up for interviews at the exact time they say they would!

One issue which worried us prior to the festival was copyright for music. We could not even find out what the copyright laws were in San Marino. In the event we approached the artists and asked them for agreement that we could use their material. and they all readily agreed. This is not a big festival with super groups. The bands at the festival, just like the majority of performers all over the world, are desperate for any publicity they can get for their music. If people listen to a podcasts of their live performance they may buy their records or just as important may go and see them at a live gig. Indeed a number fo the bands asked if they could have copies of the interviews we made with them.

We also recorded a one hour informal discussion between the SMIAF staff and volunteers with Nobel prize winning writer and painter, Dario Fo. Unfortunately my Italian is fairly non existent but the bits a did get sounded extremely interesting.

We will be post processing the Dario Fo session, like all the other festival interviews and performances and releasing them on both the SMIAF website and the Pontydysgu site over the next month or so. And we will be very happy to provide copies to anyone who wants them.

Finally many thanks to the  core organisers from SMIAF, Meri, Matteo and the Tommies for all their help and support. And not forgetting Elio Balestrieri for keeping us supplied with beer!

 

 

Photo: Mariorosa di Nublia

 

 

 

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