Archive for the ‘My Learning Journey’ Category

EU funded ICT course for teachers

June 11th, 2013 by Cristina Costa

This year I taught again on the Comenius / Grundtvig funded course called TACCLE . It is a week long course for teachers who want to learn more about technology.  Teachers can now apply for a grant  to participate in the course with their National Agency. Deadline for grant applications is September 17th. Jens Veermersch just sent me details and I though I would share them here in case you would like to participate in it.

Urbino, Italy

Urbino, Italy


 Registrations are now open for the 6th edition of the TACCLE course in April 2014.

You might be interested to learn that we are organising a new edition of our TACCLE course in April 2014 in Italy.

With this fifth in-service training, which will run from 6 until 13 April 2013 in Urbino, Italy (reference number: BE-2013-268-001 Session 2 Comenius or BE-2013-267-001 Session 2 Grundtvig) our aim is to help teachers to develop state of the art content for e-learning in general and for learning environments in particular. We try to achieve this by training teachers to create e-learning materials and raising their awareness of e-learning in general. TACCLE will help to establish a culture of innovation in the schools in which they work. The training is geared to the needs of the classroom teachers but teacher trainers, ICT support staff and resource centre staff may find it useful too!

 This course is not aimed at advanced users of ICT.

 The course is organised by GO!, the state education network in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium


Participation fee and how to get a grant to pay it all

1335 Euro (700 Euro for full board en-suite accomodation in single rooms in Hotel**** Mamiani + 635 Euro for tuition and course materials). For both participation fee and travel expenses to Italy you can request a grant from the LLP National Agency in your country, which will cover all costs. You can find the address of your LLP national agency here.

Only participants living in one of the 28 EU member states, a country in the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or FYROMacedonia, Switzerland or Turkey can register for the sixth TACCLE course and apply for a grant. Unfortunately Italian participants are not entitled to receive a grant since the course will be organised in Italy.


Deadline for grant applications with your LLP national agency is September 17th 2013!

Pre-registration are possible on-line:


Here is one of the slide decks I used this year:

Maybe I’ll see you there! ;-)

How I manage to keep active in so many networks

June 5th, 2013 by Cristina Costa

I was asked this question the other day and I thought it was a good one to explore in a blogpost.

For some people my constant tweeting, facebooking, skyping, emailing…. must be a bit overwhelming! And I know for a fact that the colleagues with whom I share an office think I’m a bit mad and waste all my time in these social networks. Well, (maybe) true – I’m a bit hyperactive, but I don’t see my activity online as “wasting” time. It’s actually really valuable to me, and it is only a reflection of how it has progressed. It was not always like that … it rather evolved to become what it is today!

At first it’s unfamiliar, then it strikes root – Fernando Pessoa about Coca-cola

As many people I know, I didn’t immediately see the value of twitter, I resisted to get on to facebook, and I only signed up to skype because I needed to join a group meeting online. For me these things need to make sense, add something to what I am already doing, and be easy to use. But ultimately, I need to try it for myself to see how it makes a difference in my work flow. Hence,  I had to stick to it for sometime until it started to make sense. Needless to say, it took me a long time (Internet  time, that is) to get to the super active stage I am currently at.

… OK, enough rambling… how do I do it?

First, I think it’s important to remember that working and participating online requires you to change the way you work… or at least, to acknowledge that the way you work is not the way your mother imagines you work. Working from 9 to 5 in academia is just unrealistic. Concentrating for long periods of time just doesn’t work for me. [To be honest, it never has, but, you see, now these networks “betray me” in that way as they make it visible though my participation. Do I care? Not really!]

When I am at my desk I work in 20-30 minutes chunks. That’s how much I can handle. In between those sometimes rather productive sessions I check my networks. If there is something I think it is worth a mention, I’ll re-tweet it, re-post it or like it. And then I go back to what I was doing. And I repeat this as many times as I lose my concentration. It helps me re-focus [strangely enough!]

I also try to share things I read – like newspaper articles. And sometimes I engage in conversation. I answer people’s questions, make a comment on someone’s tweet/post or try to crack a joke [not really great at it, but there you go!] The chatting is important. It’s the glue of any networked experience. It brings people together. And sometimes I also tweet/ post silly stuff cause life ain’t always serious. I give you access to a more social me in that way. [If you like it, it's altogether another story; I enjoy it!]

* I don’t distinguish between professional and private networks. They are all socio-professional to me. If I don’t want people to know something about me/ what I am doing, I just don’t publish it online. That is my rule of thumb, but that would be another post.

Build your networks
Building your personal learning network doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to build confidence to post “your own stuff”. And it takes equal effort to build your network. It’s important to choose the people you follow because they will be the ones providing critical content. Collective intelligence is the hook to your participation and existence in these networks [in my humble opinion, that is]; the social interaction what brings it all together.

My network is very important to me because it provides me with an alternative platform to test my ideas, to build new ideas, and to learn from other people’s ideas. And their distributed location just means that they travel well … anywhere I go! Having recently moved to a new institution, new city, and for that matter, a new country, has meant that my then local professional and social networks are no longer within my reach. Being active online has somehow given me a sense of continuity  that has eased my settling in.  Moreover, as it often happens, I work in a section of the Institution that deals with a variety of knowledge areas, not all of them technological minded. This is great because it challenges my perceptions and balances my views. Yet, the online networks keep me updated about my own field and enable me to feed that back into my work.

Anyway, in short:

  • Acknowledge that people’s working patterns are different and that their use of social networks during working hours is not merely a form of distraction. For me, it’s a form of breaking up a working routine, especially when I reach a point where “I am stuck”. Then I need a network break!
  • Build up your network with people who can contribute to your knowledge from different perspectives. You can also follow people who you don’t know face to face. You’ll be surprised at how much they can contribute to your knowledge.
  • Don’t judge it before you try it. Allow some time for it to start making sense.
  • Have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously, because no one else will. So post whatever, whenever  it’s important to you. Sharing is a way to show you care!

Anything else you would like to add re: how you manage your networks and how important they are for you?

  • Search

    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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