Archive for the ‘Disciplinary differences’ Category

Same words – different meanings

December 11th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Here is a fun article from the WalesOnline, reporting on the publication of a new book looking at mistranslations between English and Welsh.

Examples include “the badly translated shop sign which reads “wines and ghosts” in Welsh and “the baffling bilingual road sign that warns Welsh- speaking motorists to beware of “exploding workers”.

But there is a serious side to this. Firstly, despite recent advances in machine translation there is still a considerable way to go. And even when machines can translate language literally, it is much more difficult to translate meanings. We are confronted with this constantly in international projects where whilst the lingua franca might be English and we all think we know what we are talking about, the meanings we make of different ideas and concepts may be very different. In most European languages there is a word sounding something like competence. But our understandings of the meanings of that word vary greatly depending on culture. Secondly, in developing Technology Enhanced Learning we continue to struggle to develop common understandings between different disciplines, with educationalist and developers often seemingly talking completely different languages.

Maybe we need bi-lingual roadmaps!

Supporting learners in transitions

February 14th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I’ve been thinking about educational transitions today. this is part of the European funded G8WAY project which aims to use social software to support learners in transitions. In particular the project aims to focus on three transitions – from school to work, from school to higher education and from higher education to work. and being a well designed project, the first phase involves the elaboration of a pedagogic framework for the project.

This – I think – needs to link a number of things. Firstly we have to look at what are the issues in transitions, secondly look at different pedagogic approaches to supporting learners n those transitions and thirdly find a way of linking social software tools or rather the affordable of different social software tools to different activities which could be included in a pedagogical approach. Not so easy. I have just finished reading a two papers by Grainne Conole which have an interesting take on developing models for this kind of work although I am not sure how they can be used in practice, Mapping pedagogy and tools for effective learning design – cowritten with M. Dyke, Martin Oliver and J. Seale puts forward a model “that supports the development of pedagogically driven approaches to learning. Grainne follows this up in a more recent paper called ‘New Schemas for Mapping Pedagogies and technologies. In this paper she looks at Web 2.0 and argues that “the current complexity of the digital environment requires us to develop ‘schema’ or approaches to thinking about how we can best harness the benefits these new technologies confer.”

I will return to these models and schema in a post later this week.

in this post I want to briefly brainstorm the issues in transitions for learners – both as notes for myself and also in the hope that readers may be able to point be in the right direction or suggest things I have missed.

School to Work Transition

  • change from school based subjects to work based applied competence
  • change from school based class organisation to team or hierarchical work based organisation
  • increased responsibility for own work
  • increased responsibility for own learning
  • different forms of work based learning
  • may have to deal with customers or members of other work organisations
  • may have to follow quality processes and procedures
  • different forms of assessment of learning and /or performance
  • different ways of reporting on work and achievements
  • changes in identity (school student to worker)
  • different social groups 0 integration in work community and / or communities of practice
  • increased informal elarning

School to university transition

  • Different forms of subject organisation
  • different forms of time organisation – with increased responsibility for own time management
  • different forms of assessment
  • greatly increased responsibility for own work
  • frequently accompanied by leaving home – having to organise own life (financial management)
  • different forms of study
  • need to manage own time
  • need to select course modules (learning pathway) and consider post university career
  • new learning tools (increased use of technology)
  • new identity as student
  • different social groups integration in student community

University to work transition (largely same as school to work transition)

  • change from university based subjects to work based applied competence
  • change from university based faculty organisation to team or hierarchical work based organisation
  • increased responsibility for own work
  • increased responsibility for own learning
  • different forms of work based learning
  • may have to deal with customers or members of other work organisations
  • may have to follow quality processes and procedures
  • different forms of assessment of learning and /or performance
  • different ways of reporting on work and achievements
  • changes in identity (student to worker)
  • different social groups 0 integration in work community and / or communities of practice
  • responsibility for planning own professional development and career progression
  • increased informal learning

Can anyone add to these lists?

Changing Practice

January 12th, 2010 by Cristina Costa
Today’s been a complicated day, if for nothing else because I hate chairing meetings!!!!!  On top of that this was a meeting that touched on a very sensitive area: changing practice. Although this allows me to kind of stick my nose into someone else’s practice and look at ways how it could be improved, especially [...]
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    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

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    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


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    The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. Minorities of teens describe that effect as mostly positive (31%) or mostly negative (24%), but the largest share (45%) says that effect has been neither positive nor negative.


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