Archive for the ‘CoP’ Category

Taccle2 on track

May 20th, 2013 by Jenny Hughes

We are really excited about the Taccle 2 project – 5 hard copy handbooks and a website bursting with practical ideas on how to use web 2.0 apps and other e-learning tools in your classroom.

The project has reached its half way mark and we are so far on target. The E-learning handbook for Primary Teachers has just come back from the layout artist and is in its final proof reading stage. (There is a temporary version available if you want to take a look)

The E-learning handbook for STEM teachers is waiting for the layout artist to make it look pretty and the E-learning for Humanities is in its draft version. This will be available on the site within the next week.

The next book, E-learning for Creative and Performing Arts has just been started – we are still at the stage of collecting ideas but they are coming in thick and fast. The final book, E-learnig for Core Skills 14-19 is at the planning stage. All books will be ready for printing by April 2014.

Meanwhile, check out Taccle2 website It has 280 posts at the moment and our rough estimate is that there are well over a thousand ideas that can be navigated by subject, age, software, language, format and more. Even better, judging from the number of visitors who return and the number of contributions and comments, there is a growing community around the Taccle2 site which will expand rapidly once the Taccle2 training starts next month.

Please come and join us and spread the word – tried and tested ideas for using technology in the classroom, created by teachers for teachers. No theory, no research just inspiration!

PS you can also follow us on Twitter #taccle or on the Taccle2  Diigo group or on Scoop.it – so no excuses!!

Linking mobile learning to real world artefacts and tools

February 5th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

More on work based mobile learning.

One of the major problems with Technology Enhanced Mobile Learning has been the split between the digital and analogue worlds. The digital world enables all kinds of personal interactions and interactions with digital artefacts. Some things are easier to digitalise than others. So books, diagrammes, audio, video can all easily be transmitted through digital media. But some artefacts are more difficult to capture in digital media – for instance a hammer, a saw, an earthmover. Of course it is possible to simulate some of these things – for instance flying an aircraft.

It is much more problematic to capture the haptics of using a hammer. Thus Technology Enhanced Learning has tended to focus on cognitive processes of learning. When it comes to practice we tell learners they should use their computers to assist in the process of reflection. That is fine but it is not enough. Many areas of work require real world interactions with both people and with physical artefacts. And I think that is why Technology Enhanced Learning has made only a limited inroad into work based learning and for that matter into learning in Small and Medium Enterprises.

The importance of tools and physical artefacts should not be underestimated. Artefacts are closely linked to practice. Wenger (1998) points out that amongst other features a Community of Practice is defined by “what capability it has produced – the shared repertoire of communal resources (routines, sensibilities, artefacts, vocabulary, styles, etc.) that members have developed over time.”

There are different approaches we can take to integrating physical artefacts with applications and technology for learning (and in a further post I will outline some ideas). At a more abstract level I think we have to progress beyond seeing technology (like Learning Management Systems) as a container for learning into using mobile technologies as a tool for working and learning. In other words mobile technologies themselves become an artefact, on the same level as other work tools. We also need to look at integrating learning with the increasingly sophisticated data that many machines and artefacts produce – data that at the moment often exists in a silo.  Of course that means integrating learning in the work process, and bringing together digital work tools with digital learning tools. That learning needs to be scaffolded seems obvious. But the scaffolding should move seamlessly between the use of digital devices and interactions with real life objects.

And that again requires co-design approaches, involving potential suers from the start in designing and developing learning processes and applications. Learning layers is making good progress with this and I am increasingly confident that the project can transcend the divide between the physical and digital worlds.

The participatory web in the context of academic research : landscapes of change and conflicts

February 5th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

A few weeks ago we reported that Cristina Costa had successfully completed her PhD. And now the thesis has been published on the web. You can access the document here. Below we reproduce the abstract.

“This thesis presents the results of a narrative inquiry study conducted in the context of Higher Education Institutions. The study aims to describe and foster understanding of the beliefs, perceptions, and felt constraints of ten academic researchers deeply involved in digital scholarship. Academic research, as one of the four categories of scholarship, is the focus of the analysis. The methods of data collection included in-depth online interviews, field notes, closed blog posts, and follow up dialogues via email and web-telephony. The literature review within this study presents a narrative on scholarship throughout the ages up to the current environment, highlighting the role of technology in assisting different forms of networking, communication, and dissemination of knowledge. It covers aspects of online participation and scholarship such as the open access movement, online networks and communities of practice that ultimately influence academic researchers’ sense of identity and their approaches to digital scholarship. The themes explored in the literature review had a crucial role in informing the interview guide that supported the narrative accounts of the research participants. However, the data collected uncovered a gap in knowledge not anticipated in the literature review, that of power relations between the individual and their institutions. Hence, an additional sociological research lens, that of Pierre Bourdieu, was adopted in order to complete the analysis of the data collected. There were three major stages of analysis: the construction of research narratives as a first pass analysis of the narrative inquiry, a thematic analysis of the interview transcripts, and a Bourdieuian analysis, supported by additional literature, that reveals the complexity of current academic practice in the context of the Participatory Web. This research set out to study the online practices of academic researchers in a changing environment and ended up examining the conflicts between modern and conservative approaches to research scholarship in the context of academic researchers’ practices. This study argues that the Participatory Web, in the context of academic research, can not only empower academic researchers but also place them in contention with traditional and persistent scholarly practice.”

 

Learning Layers – Remarks on the role of professional networks (communities) of users

November 21st, 2012 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous post I presented in a nutshell two ‘user stories’ that were produced as videos to support the proposal for the project “Learning Layers”. The partners from Leeds recorded a video in which John Sandars reflects his work as medical doctor (General Practitioner) and how he could benefit of the web support provided by the project. The ITB team from Bremen produced several videos in which the head of the trade guild for electric installation (Elektroinnung) Mr Siever presented similar views, how his technicians could benefit of the project in making their ‘work process knowledge’ transparent and shared across the company.

At this point it is worthwhile to raise the question, are we only talking of individual users (GPs) or individual companies as target groups and potential beneficiaries. Here it is worthwhile to note that neither John from Leeds nor Mr Siever from Bremen were speaking only for themselves. They both had a view on their professional communities (or networks) and on more general patterns for knowledge sharing.

Firstly, we know that in the area of Leeds there are active networks of GPs who have already been developing cooperation and knowledge sharing with each other and that public health authorities have supported this development. Also, we know that the GP practices have the obligation to revalidate themselves and the doctors have to provide evidence of their professional development. In this context the perspective of making the work process knowledge of doctors transparent across the community helps all of them to fulfill their obligations and to benefit from each others’ observations and findings. Here, it is worthwhile to note that the GPs are well aware of thew confidentiality issues and do not want to share sensitive details without anonymising the cases.

Secondly, we know that the trade companies in electric installations are competitors to each other. Yet, Mr Siever emphasised that most problems and problem-solving strategies to be treated by the ‘living system’ should be treated as a common possibility for the trade guild to promote the competences of the member companies and their employees. Altogether, the guild has an interest to raise the profile of the occupational field (both regarding client enterprises and young people who may be interested to choose the trade).

Here again, interesting parallelities could be seen between the two occupational fields and the respective professional communities. However, this is not yet the whole picture of the ‘user stories’. On the contrary, these were the starting points. Already at this stage the first meetings and skype conferences have brought forward more issues and ideas. Thus, the story goes on …

How do we capture and share our community learning?

July 5th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Well it is PLE2010 Conference week so no apologies is that is the theme of the week. And in pre-conference reflection mood I wanted to reflect on some of the things we have done well and some we have done less well.

Fist of all, PLE2010 has some 70 or so presentations and over 100 delegates. Considering we set out with no large organisations or associations backing the conference I think this is pretty good. The conference has been put together through the hard work of a fairly inexperienced organising committee backed by the experience and enthusiasm of the community – edupunk working at its best!

And most of the publicity has been generated not through traditional media but through the4 us eof social media especially Twitter – just look at #PLE_BCN for proof. There are still barriers to the do it yourself cvonference model – we had big problems setting up payments systems that worked> And whilst the opens ource EasyChair system is sort of OK it does have its quirks (it would be very useful if someone could do some more work on the software).

As I told yesterday, I am very happy about our mix of traditional calls fo contribution (needed for researchers to gain travel grants form institutions with more unconferencing formats for presentation. I am sure the event is going to be a lot of fun.

The issue I think we have not paid sufficient attention to is what we do with the outcomes of the conference. True all the papers etc. are available as on-line proceedings. But how do we represent the outcomes of the different sessions to the wider community? How can we capture ideas and use such ideas in practice and in future research? How can we use the conference as a live event in our community generating new shared knowledge and experience?

Face to face events are valuable, not just for the participants, but for the community as a whole. But I am not sure we make best use of them at the moment. Your ideas would as ever be very welcome.

Looking forward to seeing some of you in Barcelona. :)

Apprenticeships in Computing: a Vygotskian approach?

February 28th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I am much taken with David Hoover;s Top 5 Tips for Apprentices, based on his book ‘Apprenticeship Patterns‘, and reported on by James Taylor in the O’Reilly Radar blog. Although the book is looking at the Computer Industry the pedagogic approach could hold true for any knowledge intensive industry. Critically Hoover sees computing as a craft skill.

James Turners says:

“According to Hoover, one way to ease the transition into real life development is to use an apprenticeship model. His book draws on his own experience moving from being a psychologist to a developer, and the lessons he’s learned running an apprenticeship program at a company called Obtiva. “We have an apprenticeship program that takes in fairly newcomers to software development, and we have a fairly loose, fairly unstructured program that gets them up to speed pretty quickly. And we try to find people that are high-potential, low credential people, that are passionate and excited about software development and that works out pretty well.”

Hoover bases his approach to apprenticeship on Vykotsky’s idea of a Significant Other Person who he describes as a mentor.

“For people that had had successful careers, they only point back to one or two people that mentored them for a certain amount of time, a significant amount of time, a month, two months, a year in their careers.”

He also points to the potential of a distributed community of practice for personal learning, including finding mentors outside a company the ‘apprentice’ is employed in.

For me personally, I wasn’t able to find a mentor at my company. I was in a company that didn’t really have that many people who were actually passionate about technology and that was hard for me. So what I did is I went to a user group, a local Agile user group or you could go to a Ruby user group or a .net user group, whatever it is and find people that are passionate about it and have been doing it for a long time. I’ve heard several instances of people seeking out to be mentored by the leader, for me that was the case. One of our perspective apprentices right now was mentored by the leader of a local Ruby user group. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re working for the person, but you’re seeking them out and maybe you’re just, “Hey, can you have lunch with me every week or breakfast with me every other week.” Even maybe just talking, maybe not even pairing. But just getting exposure to people that have been far on the path ahead of you, to just glean off their insights.

And he points out the value of being that Significant Other Person to those providing the mentoring.

At a certain point in your career, your priorities shift from learning being the most important thing, to delivering software is the most important thing, then mentoring becomes part of your responsibilities. It’s something you take on if you’re following the craftsmanship mentality of apprentice to journeyman to master. And transitioning from apprentice to journeyman, part of that is taking on more responsibility for projects and taking on more responsibility for mentoring.

Although there is no explicit reference to Vygotsky in James Taylor’s review of Hoover’s book, the Top five Tips for Apprentices correspond to Vygotsky’s model of learning through a Zone of Proximal Development.

  1. Understanding where you’re at.
  2. Find mentors who are ahead of you in the field
  3. Find some peers to network with.
  4. Perpetual learning.
  5. Setting aside time to practice

I haven’t read the book but intend to. It is rare to find an such a model for learning in an advanced knowledge based industry like computing. And the drawing of parallels with the craft tradition of apprenticeship provides a potential rich idea for how learning can be organised in today’s society

EXTEND is discussing about Sharing Practice: how and where

February 18th, 2009 by Cristina Costa
The EXTEND project team, funded by JISC-EMERGE Benefits and Realisation, are holding an asynchronous discussion event from Sunday 15 Feb-Sunday 1 Mar 2009 where we will be exploring the topic Sharing practice: how and where. Along with JISC-EMERGE colleague Janet Finlay from PLANET, we would like to invite you to join us in this conversation [...]

EXTEND is discussing about Sharing Practice: how and where

February 18th, 2009 by Cristina Costa
The EXTEND project team, funded by JISC-EMERGE Benefits and Realisation, are holding an asynchronous discussion event from Sunday 15 Feb-Sunday 1 Mar 2009 where we will be exploring the topic Sharing practice: how and where. Along with JISC-EMERGE colleague Janet Finlay from PLANET, we would like to invite you to join us in this conversation [...]
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    Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE from the Online EDUCA Berlin 2013

    We will broadcast from Berlin on the 5th and the 6th of December. Both times it will start at 11.00 CET and will go on for about 40 minutes.

    Go here to listen to the radio stream: SoB Online EDUCA 2013 LIVE Radio.

    The podcast of the first show on the 5th is here: SoB Online EDUCA 2013 Podcast 5th Dec.

    Here is the second show as a podcast: SoB Online EDUCA 2013 Podcast 6th Dec.

    News Bites

    Open online STEM conference

    The Global 2013 STEMx Education Conference claims to be the world’s first massively open online conference for educators focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and more. The conference is being held over the course of three days, September 19-21, 2013, and is free to attend!
    STEMxCon is a highly inclusive event designed to engage students and educators around the globe and we encourage primary, secondary, and tertiary (K-16) educators around the world to share and learn about innovative approaches to STEMx learning and teaching.

    To find out about different sessions and to login to events go to http://bit.ly/1enFDFB


    Open Badges

    A new nationwide Open Badges initiative has been launched by DigitalMe in the UK. Badge the UK has been developed to help organisations and businesses recognise young people’s skills and achievements online.

    Supported by the Nominet Trust, the Badge the UK initiative is designed to support young people in successfully making the transition between schools and employment using Mozilla Open Badges as a new way to capture and share skills across the web.

    At the recent launch event at Mozilla’s London HQ Lord Knight emphasised the “disruptive potential” of Open Badges within the current Education system. At a time of record levels of skills shortages and unemployment amongst young people all speakers stressed need for a new way to encourage and recognise learning which lead to further training and ultimately employment opportunities. Badge the UK is designed to help organisations and businesses see the value in using Mozilla Open Badges as a new way to recognise skills and achievement and and connect them to real world training and employment opportunities.

    You can find more information on the DigitalMe web site.


    Twitter feed

    Apologies for the broken Twitter feeds on this page. It seems Twitter have once more changed their APi, breaking our WordPress plug-in. It isn’t the first time and we will have to find another work around. Super tech, Dirk is on the case and we hope normal service will be resumed soon.


    MOOCs and beyond

    A special issue of the online journal eLearning Papers has been released entitled MOOCs and beyond. Editors Yishay Mor and Tapio Koshkinen say the issue brings together in-depth research and examples from the field to generate debate within this emerging research area.

    They continue: “Many of us seem to believe that MOOCs are finally delivering some of the technology-enabled change in education that we have been waiting nearly two decades for.

    This issue aims to shed light on the way MOOCs affect education institutions and learners. Which teaching and learning strategies can be used to improve the MOOC learning experience? How do MOOCs fit into today’s pedagogical landscape; and could they provide a viable model for developing countries?

    We must also look closely at their potential impact on education structures. With the expansion of xMOOC platforms connected to different university networks—like Coursera, Udacity, edX, or the newly launched European Futurelearn—a central question is: what is their role in the education system and especially in higher education?”


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