Friday, June 20, 2008

Developing student identity: values and employability skills through the use of video blogs

Andrew Oliver, Myles Dyer, Sally Graham (University of Hertfordshire)
This was really Myle's session. He's a Psychology student who has been using YouTube prolifically, outside of his studies. As the title suggests, he was making connections between the skills you can develop as a video blogger and employability. The odd thing was that as this was an educational conference he felt obliged to connect the potential of YouTube to formal education. Actually, I think he proved that this is not necessary. He described how getting out there onto YouTube has really helped him to develop his creativity and confidence - and of course he did this for himself.
Here are a few notes I made (my laptop went down so this may be slightly more considered than other posts from the conf).
He said that he felt vlogging was "the purest form of creativity" - this is extreme but very useful. Putting yourself in the limelight does really force you into an interesting situation of considering your own image, identity and context. No student with any sense is going to abuse this platform as it will quickly backfire on them if they do.
"You only realise how much you've developed when you look back" - yes this is connected to PDP. Do we talk about looking back enough? You learn as much in looking back as in recording what you are doing.
This practice "encourages creativity and active self-exploration" he says again. "Education is so black and white." Well, no it's not really, though it can be, and it can certainly be perceived in that way I'm sure. Getting your hands dirty with video certainly shifts those perceptions.
"Academic autonomy and self-direction" - Myles was very articulate and I loved the words he chose! Yes - what can we do to harness YouTube. Strangely I've had a google doc on the go for the last few months trying to answer this question. Maybe I should invite him in.
Interestingly he saw it as an opportunity to close the perceived generation gaps. This is really forward thinking I believe. He refers to the notoroius Peter ( and how he met him to do a YouTube posting together.
He said that his videos are getting 350,000 views. That's not a bad stage to learn to speak from. He posted a video called 'How to make your 1st vlog' and this generated a lot of connections for him. He describes all those people who followed this video as people "starting their own legacies."
In terms of its educational connection he described himself as being comfortable in this medium and he said that students should be able to use the medium in which they are most comfortable. There's a lot to be said for this, however it doesn't pay to operate in your comfort zone too much. Learning requires personal challenge and I think in this digital age we should all have the opportunity and expectation to explore several media.
You can see more of Myles on YouTube here: and here is general:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Audio feedback - timely media interventions

Andrew Middleton (me)

Phew! I went in with 5 models of audio feedback based on what we're doing in Sheffield Hallam and came out with six new ideas following a nifty little activity I threw in when I realised I was doing the after lunch slot. I needed something to kep me awake following a 4.30am start!
Great (obviously buzzing). I can't remember what those ideas were right now, but guess what? I was recording the session.

The Blended Learning Conference site

Blended Learning Curriculum Design workshop

Mark Russell and Peter Bullen, BLU, UoH

It's about harnessing tech for better LTA eg better f2f, greater flex,new ways to communicate
Hey! They mention 'extending', enhancing and replacing the classrooom.
Extending inc prevision, putting up resources ie doing more. extended in time and content.
But you've got to set out to enhance - not just extend.
Discussion: what constitutes a good learning experience? (What a huge question - generated an essays worth of responses in pair work).
Here are some answers from the floor: tailored, personalised, activity and engagement, motivated, meaningful for each and every student, broadening/widening, clear with shared expectations, negotiated perhaps, knowing you have progressed, a way to measure yourself, (they're also asking students in their work how they would answer the question), an engaged tutor (to model subject passion), not being sponn fed (like school).
Is it the same for a tutor and a student?
BLU at UoH use and promote '7 principles for good practice in undergraduate education (Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson, "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education," AAHE Bulletin, vol. 39, no. 7 (March 1987), pp. 3–7, )
encourages contact between students and faculty,
develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
encourages active learning,
gives prompt feedback,
emphasizes time on task,
communicates high expectations, and
respects diverse talents and ways of learning.
Capture what you find yourself saying eg why do my students always... rely on me, ask what's on assessment, turn up late, etc
Ask academics to put those principles on likert scales (without numbers) and discuss. Where are they compared where they want to be?
Good Curriculum design exercise.
The principles/scale helps you to prioritise.
They use this in a Change Academy context, but may be useful if it is properly supported for use in isolation.
Win Hornby method of assessing Efficiency against Effectiveness.
ROI comes into this. Sally Brown says see a £4K price tag above every student's head. Yuk.
Q: By making it easier for the academics are we making it harder for the students? A: don't technologise what you're doing. Q: No, by going open-ended w're making it harder for studs. A: move away from a 'stuffed curriculum'.
Model of what they've introduced:
"How do I get my students to study outside of class?"
"What are they doing in independent time?"
"Why do they rely on me?"
(Principles inc: Time on task...)
Solution: bloggs for studs and staff modelling reflective practice
Impact: studs more prepare in f2f, studs online more effectively, better quality assignments, more questioning studs, established a supportive culture.

Finally, they note the value of teams in curriculum redesign (but that's difficult on resourcing re/design..)

The impact of read/write web approaches on the curriculum priorities of PG Cert HE students

Richard Hall and Heather Conboy

Richard Hall prefers 'Read/Write' over Web 2.o - so do I.
Students or participants? Participants he says. Yes, that's is much more useful when thinking about integration of such ways of working.
What are the academic implications of these tools?
How can we work on an ongoing basis to integrate these tools?

Context: Reflective, situated, informal/formal practice
They want their academics to be able to make savvy/informed decisions about the use of technology
How can they get a more Connected (as in Siemens) curriculum design?
Their proposed model:
Encourages reflective practitioners to develop an action plan to use various tools, to report back to learning sets and offered Activity-based, Dialogic, PBL, and Modelling, 1-2-1

They tried to connect practitioners into a broader faculty-based network that includes champions with specific areas of knowledge including technical expertise.
e-learning to extend f2f work and student-led learning.
RH notes a tendency for the students to be content-centric and Bloggs and Wikis compound this. Soc Nets however are more 'touchy feely' and may have helped to move away from these content producers inate tendencies!
They've introduced a Ning as a social learning space. But trying to get them to critique each other is like pulling teeth.
Do you need to scaffold this more? - yes, they'll use 3 dedicated case studies.
How can you scaffold the crit process as a safe peer assessment process so that they do get involved online? Maybe model with with papeer exercise first.
Is Blackboard too constraining? Is that why you're using Ning? - to bring in more informal networks (colleagues, friends, etc, etc).
What is thye instutions feelings about using tools outside of Bb? - there's a growing mature across the sector. Adults making adult decisions. They're thinking that a university hosted approach is where they may go.

Keynote plenary

Plenary panel

Summative self-assessment? - D.N.: how about asking students to estimate the
mark they should get and rationalise that estimate.

To what extent does the teacher need to be involved in the curriculum design
process? P.G.: In HE you can't separate subject and pedagogic specialism.
(Everyone agreed)
D.N.: teacher, ped exp, student, tech expert makes a good mixMartina Doolan: studs and teachers together to direct

How should we view technology and its good/bad capacity to affect the learning? - It (eg YouTube) can excite learners. D.N. says students will notice very quickly if it is an unnecessary add-on (ie creepy tree house I suppose)

Blended Learning Conference 2008

Here are my notes from day 2 of the conference, beginning with the 2nd Keynote from David Nicol
He mentioned Gibbs and Simpson 2004 and guidelines on effective formative assessment:

*capture enough study time in and out of class
*are spread out evenly across timeline of study
*lead to productive activity (deep vs surface)
*communicate clear and high expectations
etc (I'll put link in to shared presentations at some point)

ie steers learning


nicol and macfarlane-dick (2006) formative assessment and self-regulated
learning: a model and seven principles

Consider self and peers as much as teachers as sources of assessment and feedback
Self-assessment is under exploited
See feedback as part of a cycle within cycle - not as a simple message.
Scaffolding self-regulation: 7 principles of good feedback

1. helps clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, expected standards);
2. facilitates the development of self-assessment (reflection) in learning;
3. delivers high quality information to students about their learning;
4. encourages teacher and peer dialogue around learning;
5. encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem;
6. provides opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance;
7. provides information to teachers that can be used to help shape teaching.

Now extended to 12 principles
ensure that summative assessment supports formative learning processes
involve students in decision making about asessment policy and practice
support dev of learning groups
support dev of learning environment

Broadcast feedback - teacher acknowledges contributions
A repeatable framework helps students to know what is expected of them

7 principles in case study tapped into intrinsic motivation
Self-assessment is important - feedback on their self-assessment (MCQs can help) - but s a is setting goals and giving them a way to self-evaluate against goals.
Students can create MCQs and feedback for wrong and right answers (and then teacher has the exam questions pre-made!!!)

Why Principles? he asked...
easy to understand but not simplistic
set high level aspirations
research support
helps define technology requirements
Principles can support incremental change

Don't need to apply all of them all the time

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Closing plenary

There is funding to get people from the Emerge projects into our institutions. I will be contacting Scott Wilson about ARGs and the audio people and possibly the second Life people.
Consider: What thoughts are being invoked by the challenges from the last 24 hours? (Break out)
-----Discussion from group leaders -----
James Farnhill:
A lot on Fb. They are complementary to the inst. We don't have to integrate them and allow for person choice.
I want to express myself in different ways online. Multiple identities are good/OK.
Online Web 2.0 soc net is great, but people see each other in RL everyday. Understand the blend.
How much will studs relate to inst.s? Is this bound to change?

Craig Windruff (?) (Dir of U&I intiative)
Not all studs are tech savvy and so we might still need to look at sharing what the tech savvy are doing with them.
Inst. vs Web 2.0 tools? A lot of debate and no prevailing thought.
People looking for guidance on what, when and how with Web 2.0 tools rather than being led by a simple 'fashion' approach.
The apps all have different cultures and we need to be aware of that (and devlop staff about this?)
Attitude should be "Not roll out of technology but roll in of users."
IPR and copyright is a minefield where we're all going to be sued! (Web2rights toolkit?)
Rob ? (I was in this group and his feedback sounded very different to discussion):
Enjoyed the networking opportnity. Eyes well and truely opened. Went in to sessions cynical but came out more enlightened.
There's capacity in the techs we have that are not being fully exploited.
How do we (individuals and insts) support and operate in a diffused set of systems?
How can we aggregate or manage communications? And audit it if necessary?
We need to develop DF in students and staff in order to cope with the complexity of the opportunities (that was me :-))
Beta World requires constant learning in all our job descriptions.
Funders have false friends and future enemies but JISC are promoting deep thinking in this community.
Lawrie Phipps
Next Gen Env 3 event next year - evaluate, implementation and effect of the U&I programme. Good solid stuff that will transfer. Good modelling (10/11 March 2009).

Users experience of e-learning panel ie not student strangely

Pat Parslw, Terry wassell, Lindsey Martin were co-opted

Lindsey: (Edge Hill Uni, Solstice Research Co-ordinator and Learning Services Co-ordinator. Manage ACES LTA type team, and a teacher Info Management) Also a learner MA e-learning (blended model). Challenge is knowing what ed developers take for granted compared with what staff are just clueless about. Talks about primary data on YouTube.
Pat: (he has Bryan Alexander's beard) (Reading) Interested in digital identity and the idea of self and collaboration. Interested in how identities can be extracted from Web 2.0 interactions. RedGloo is a Soc Net site they've built based on Elgg. Using it instead of the inst. Bb provision in geeky engineering software. He says that 30% of self-organising students prefer Facebook as a VLE.
Terry: (Leeds Uni) Teaching fellow Sociology. Boddington champion at Leeds. Staff dev role. He feels there has been a significant shift for him with Web 2.0: extended and dispersed learning system. Learning with and from the edublogosphere. Creating a paper on Twitter with colleaague in Florida who he hasn't met yet. Democratising. He notices changing in the way he writes. Leeds have an Elgg called Leeds Blogs - a soc net (for staff and studs?). Uses Facebook and Twitter continuously. Fe has never befriended a student in Fb and wouldn't but he has subsequently met them in the corridor - they wouldn't email him but are more relaxed by establishing contact in Fb because the hierarchy is different (power base?). "A more neutral territory." "Another channel of comms" They spend a lot of time there so perhaps it's realistic to be available there?
----Questions for panel---
Q1 Do you see a difference between yourself and younger/older people? Can co-exist but don't have to engage with them in soc nets. There is a separation of user contexts that's more important than age (I've heard several people make this point). Fb is a place for general stuff - but occasionally a dilema when academic networks appear (eg what photo/username do you use to represent yourself across all your contexts?); Pat has multiple Fb identities; need to be clear about what 'integration' means - eg "I can use Google Docs, but I don't need technical integration." Integration through what you do rather than expect the institution to provide.
Q2 Should inst. say all staff should have a Fb presence because you have said there are benefits to inst? (strange q) Terry: No. My use was emergent. I did it to find out about alumni and it's grown. Pat: Some studs need/love it, some don't so you could never see it as a key provision or requirement; Lindsey: a lot of academics are anti Fb.
Q3 why did you build RedGloo Pat? Some students just weren't interacting. It's been running about 3 years. It has led to RL socialisation for a small number of people. It doesn't cost anything. If it keeps just 2 people a year from dropping out it's got to be worth it.
Q4: Has Fb improved your teaching? Pat: yes, because students communicate. Using email 'disturbs the target person. (perception for some)' Fb etc provides a lighter, more equal, communication tool.
Q5: How do you handle criticism of staff in soc nets? Terry: Every customer complaint is an opportunity to sell them something (or learn something at least); academic staff can come across as a bit more human (and vice versa!) - it's democratising.
Q6: Email used to be perceived as informal and familiar. Do the new soc nets take that familiarity a stage even further and is that useful? Email is for older people (perception) and used when you need to recognise the authority/hierarchy; also more private. Lindsey: it's important for us to understand the formality of the various genres of comms technologies - it's a DF issue. Terry: and it's important to know eg Reply to All syndrome.
Q7: Should insts provide versions of Web 2.0 tools? Terry: wiki and blogging tools in VLEs aren't very good and don't compare well with outside world. They need to migrate stuff and skills beyond the inst VLE. Pat: I'd like to see tools better integrated into inst services, but it's not going to happen; Lindsey: all these pockets of tools out there offer a very inconsistent student experience (I disagree: isn't that the Real World and Web 2.0? Consistency is a romantic notion of the past!!!)
"Email is where information goes to die"

Too much of a good thing? Institutional and individual responses to emerging technologies

Steve Boneham and Will Allen
Spoilt for choice with Wb 2.0 so are we happy and productive?
Do individuals want this stuff embeded beyond the niche?
Uncertain perpetual beta (Shift happens media intervention!)
Inst big stick? or individual carrot?
Do people think I'm an evangelist or nutter? (Aah!) Credibility - how do you manage credibility?
Is the grass always greener?
(Lovely use of photographs with these simple questions - cliched but clear)
Now open discussion: how is it for you? Break out....

------------Break out feedback--------
Individual perspective:
Individuals want to do what they do at home at the inst (expectations)
IPR, data management, copyright - individuals need to be aware
Institutions should make it clear where they can get answers but not necessarily set about training everyone.
Institutions needs to manage user expectations
Q: Is there a changing relationship between the academic and the institution? How does this affect the institutional tie?
Educational development perspective:
How do you measure the educational value
How do you breaking down the student/academic power relationships?
Using students as a resource to do educational development on emerging technologies. If students know more or are more inspired they could be brought in to flag up the need for change
Create an induction facility for new students.
Institutional perspective:
Many bottle necks
How do measure the benefits (at the end of the prod line or ongoing)
This is a poor session. The questions are two big and complex and people are doing a lot of superficial note comparing rather than delving.
Leeds Met have outsourced their email to Google mail. I know that others are doing this too.

Beginning day 2...

  • Emerging questions from the JISC programme:
    Assumptions about learners
    Emerging evidence base
    What are students/users saying about the projects
    What do we know about the dynamic of social networking spaces?
    Convenient and inconvenient truths about Web 2.o and how do we address them?


I'll invite the presenters of the two audio projects to SHU. The Bob Rotheram audio feedback experience at Leeds Met would provide a timely opportunity for those who are thinking about it at SHU and good to have an external voice for a change. I missed the second presentation (from Bradford) about using audio to enhance learning - I had to do my duty and go to the session on ARGs, which is much more important for us right now. A good decision I think. But hoping he'll come and repeat it just for me! I'll see if i can find someone who attended that to find out how useful it was first.

Keynote: Learners, learning environments, and classrooms of the future

My wifi went down yesterday and when I hit submit my notes went to some strange parallel universe never to be seen again. The good news is that the reconstructed notes will be briefer.
Looking at the title again I notice that this was a case of let's agree a title months in advance and I'll think about what I'm going to do at the last minute. He was a good presenter but I don't think he brought the right notes!
Essentially he demonstrated that learning and learners are very complex and that our assessment methods are totally inadequate. Rather than leaving us stranded with that thought he discussed baseball (substitute cricket - it worked form me). He showed how cricket has been analysed in minute detail, ball by ball, for years. You'll probably be familiar with the manipulation of statistics that results in wisdom (W) and any number of records that seem to be broken every time England collapse or Australia do whatever it is they do. Now think about TV coverage, multiple cameras, animations, table of figure, names and goodness knows what. He showed a baseball nerds website where similar data was manipulatable by your average fan. A simple game (learning) could be represented in many sophisticated ways for access by admin, teachers and students.
The most interesting thing about this presentation for me is about the effect of intensive blogging on my recall - I remember the point he was making, but I don't remember the details such as the 4 principles and 4 challenges he presented. This episode needs to be recalled in the AI workshop I am doing with Louise, but whether I'll remember...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Learners experiences of e-learning

Paul Bailey chairing (Emerge project)
We have post cards. I've just Twittered you to ask for questions for the students. I hope you send me something.
Themes: Access, preferences, personalisaion, beliefs, expectations, what makes effective e-learners (strats, beliefs, intentions).
Luke: Graphic design, Ravensbourne. Is literate. uses RSS readers and soc bkmrkinng. Talks about Mac-based wiki: Get ideas down quickly and simply before they disappear. Just type. Can add photos. Collapse and expand. Get other people's opinions. Half his class are dyslexic (Art and Design). Uses it for ideas generation.
Mabel: UoHerts. used wiki to promote active learning. They could post up pictures on videos. She's personalised here portal page with a background image. Like wacky and weird MySpace SHUspace. She's talking through HER portal page. She complains that the new wiki doesn't support media (I like her!). She's talking about lecturers posting podcasts and about how the variety is great. (I must remember to pay her that fee, even tho she was probably talking about recorded lectures).
Dave. Ox Brookes. Mentioned he uses PebblePad. Brookes Virtual (another inst portal!). Clicks on Discussion board to demo - 5 threads, 0 messages! Oh well... (Rona Sharpe was meant to be here, but isn't. Was this guy primed?
Peer Assisted Leaning group set up on Facebook.
Paul (Leeds) ICT and Education. First Class, (dyslexic) Dragon, Talkr converts text-only blogs into podcasts, NVDA screen reader open source, iPod for pods and vods (creates his own), Second Life (he's involved in CIPL CETL! and that's his SL reference - he's developing a KB there). Praises First Class. (He's a Coventry e-learning tech too).
What about studs in more esoteric subjects: Yes (Eng and Hist studs are just as much into it)... it depends on age of student. Or person. In A&D student says that the art and design students don't take to it as easily.
Do the panel see any difference between e-learning and learning?! One response is e includes informal; more interative; more autonomy in e-learning.
Do any staff have more facility with these technologies? "No"
What about your use of non-institutional technologies? It can come together in the future; one likes the separation - one for friends and one set for studies, but she can see it coming together; A&D student says his peers are warey of academics venturing out (treehousing); facebook is for you whole life including friends from school - it doesn't mix well with academic work.
Personalisation of inst portal? - it was boring and looked like everyone elses so I changed it.
RSS integrating with inst. tools - easy? no, but getting better. DL learner expects there to be podcasts.
What dio you value more flexible access with peers or access to tutors? Peers; lecturers giving time is valued, but likes online discussions where peers and tutors.

ARG for orientation, socialisation and induction - Scott Wilson, U of Bolton

Alternate Reality - sci-fi history; another way of experiencing the world; Urban play, subway parties (transport parties), challenges and activities that develop awareness of the urban environment and enable confidence and movement
These urban games are almost
ARGs turn the real world into a game. Nokia and Microsoft have used them as marketing devices getting people to buy-in in a deep way.
Now all kinds of new generes but very few in education.
Collection fiction project called 'World about Oil' where people adopt characters.
Flash mobs.He's saying that it was actually Perplex City that inspired their project.
Challenges are undertaken: solitary, social, real life, online
They use existing and simple technologies and can promote greater literacy of these (email, IM, forums, etc)
Can be fun - or scary and alienating if you don't design them well.
ARG terminology - Puppetmaster (organiser, designer, facilitator)
Can use existing non-game-like services and incorporate them (eg Bb I suppose)
From ARG to ARGOSI (this project):
Developing confidence and reducing anxiety in induction. Teaming up with library to develop lit skills in an interesting way.
Traditional games are very expensive to develop. ARGs affordable but demand creativity.
Brighton game: Who Is Herring Hale? (not funded) (see
She found great satisfaction and sense of community. Non-traditional academic backgrounds. International students liked it.
It WILL be a niche activity he says. Don't expect everyone to take part.
ARGOSI is based at Manchester. Not exclusively for students... because it's game.
Will use blogs, email, mobile phones for pictures.
Pupetmaster team: researchers, support staff, student volunteers
Game site: challenge and leader board.
Reading lists: book passing message passing
Stud support officers: door-based cipher collection (they have to work together to cover all the campuses)
Watch H&S video: keyword bingo
Orientation: camerafone, flash mob activities

Is this a good approach to induction?
Does it make them happy?
Achieve induction objectives?
Do enough participate to make it worthwhile? Is the niche the right target (drop outers)?
Incentives? - it's a game
What's winning? - having a leader board. Prizes equal competition and less of a game.
Planning and dynamic design - they'll watch to see what happens and respond dynamically. Don't expect to cross every T and dot every i before hand. they expect some ideas will be too hard and some too simple so they expect to be busy intervening and developing as they go.
Not everything will appeal to all, so some things will be targetted at small groups in the expectation that they'll play their social role in feeding back to all through the forum etc.
Sustainability? Maybe get the students to do it all next year.
Promoting it? Some people will join any game going, flyers, trail points, ambiguous hints. Others will be offered the learning objectives through library induction. Chalenge to balance the appeal to variety of students.
Will the JISC project deliver tools? Tools aren'tv really important though they will codify the process and make that available.
How to evaluate? Measures for engagement, achievement.
Game will run from August to early October. They will track some participants into the future to look at impact.
Use video diaries for collecting data. It will be difficult to find out why people didn't.

Hear! Hear! using audio to enhance to enhance the student learning experience through feedback, self-reflection and collaborative learning Part 1

Bob Rotheram (Leeds Met) - Sounds Good, an audio feedback (AF) U&I project
I've communicated with him before on AF work. He's good and wrote something for the SEDA publication recently.
Coursework feedback (x2 formative then summative)
Using MP3 recorders and/or Wimba in Bb. Piggy-backing or connecting to the health students on Jill Taylor's DST/mobile tech at Leeds Met.
Outputs will be guidelines of AF and how to integrate AF technically.
Little activity where he models good AF very well.
Felt like a personal approach. Empathy. Sensitivity. Easy to be patronising. Linearity allowed him to structure the feedback as he wanted (including mark). 4 mins 34 secs. More words than he would write, but in less time.
Only criticism is that this exmple was really well crafted - in reality our AF is much rougher. He says most lecturers will take to this like ducks to water.
He's just reffed our work.
He distributes by email. Hmm not satisfactory. Who has an answer? Someone suggested Ning groups.
Project website:, blog and podcast.

JISC Next Gen Environments conf introduction

Prof Mark Schofield: Understanding needs unravelling complexities and applying practices

Users and Innovation (UI): Next Gen Technologies and personal e-admim to support teachers and researchers
Career 'media intervention' youtube vid using chimps to explain the madness of PowerPoint.
UI: Dialogue and engagement hearing voices of users evaluators and researchers.
Purpose (P)+ audience (A)=(determines) Form (F)(tech/ped)
"Doing things better and doing better things" (Louis Elton)
Complexities: learner needs; impact; efffect; future gazing.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Authentic Critical Reflection: Critique_It in Second Life

Michael Connors, Associate Professor, Digital Printmaking, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Abstract: Critique_It is an online virtual classroom critique system originally developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Croquet and ported to Second Life. The critique is a rudimentary instructional methodology in the arts that can be applied to most other disciplines. Critique_It provides an environment for simulating authentic learning strategies and allowing the possibility for feedback from peers and experts from outside the campus.


My notes

Student exhibition in SL. Old style grand Vic gallery.

They've developed a HUD (Heads Up Display). The HUD features information about each work of art in the gallery and links to further information. It links out to a wiki they've set up to record the seven stages of the critiquing process the students undertake.

He's sharing SLURLs eg:

Wiki is actually not a wiki - its a bb called punBB (free, open source available at:

This appears to be an NMC sponsored project. Access to the SLURL is available to NMC members.

Brave/confident user of SL to do this live!

They're also using a mediawiki as a #gallery space' ie articles and pix.
Student exhibitions are certainly good examples of authentic learning and Second Life heightens it. He just said that students can sell their work in SL and presumably can to real world sales from there too?
Cost of setting up this gallery and exhibitions? - The space in SL funded himself to begin with. Wants an island for the University. Then had some TQEF-type funding. Started in Croquet which was very expensive and time consuming. Decided to migrate to an environment that was already fabricated. Now confident about moving to other environments. He mentions that both Google and eBay are working on 3DVWs.
He has drawn upon programmers from NMC who built the HUD.
We ought to think about demo spaces beyond the art student eg what would a poster session look like in SL? perhaps uing SL as a dress rehearsal space for peer review?
Time to go.

Digital Documentaries Using Primary Access

Bill Ferster, Director, Primary Access, University of Virginia
PrimaryAccess ( is a Web 2.0 digital tool developed at the University of Virginia's Center for Technology and Teacher Education that allows teachers to integrate primary source documents into the curriculum through student-created digital documentaries. This session will demonstrate the tool and discuss its use in the K–12 classroom to stimulate participant ideas for transferability to higher education.

My notes

He uses word 'frictionless' (I use the Red Button for the same thing) - basically technology without technoligical inteference - user friendly design for non-techies.

I love the tool. We saw this in earlier session. Reminds me of VoiceThread (which we can't get a free licence for).

Primary Access is teacher driven exercise.

You can do similar thing with iMovie/WMM and Google Images but this is a firehose approach (ie tool too powerful and media is unmediated I suppose)

This is Web 2.0 type tool. Tool has built-in voice recorder

The tool he's describing is great. It would be brilliant for DST.

Web-based so finished work can be shared widely.

It can connect to Flickr as well as specified local repositories or other academic sources of images.

It has a great built-in image zooming tool that works like Camtasia Studio.

Stories or shows are published and shareable via a URL. I would love this tool!

Wow! It's free and opensource:

They're also working on a tool called MediaMixer - a more open ended tool for integrating various media.

Integrating Community History, Technology, and Service Learning: The Digital Durham Project

Trudi Abel, Director, Digital Durham Project, Duke University
This presentation focuses on a collaborative local history project between Duke University undergraduates and Durham eighth graders. Through their research seminar, Duke students conduct original research in local archives and then mentor eighth graders in how to use technology, particularly the Digital Durham website
My notes
Creating exhibits (hmmm, like my new idea for curating online exhibitions)
Louise is chatting at length on the benefits of the described approach and notes 'audience' as a factor. Yes as with blogging and podding - should we look at addressing the issues associated with student publishing (accuracy copyright and ethics). This should be within remit of DF
She says "very rich iterative process" - yes. Why haven't we got a project like this yet? Oh, Louise continues: "these were English Lit students where the course was on kiddult fiction." It takes me to go stateside virtual to find out about stuff at home...

Authentic Learning in History and Social Sciences: How "Real" Can We Make the Classroom Experience?

Scot A. French, Associate Professor / Director, University of Virginia

Abstract: How can we bring authentic learning, with real-world outcomes and assessments, into the history/social science classroom? This session will discuss the presenter's efforts to design and teach digital history seminars in partnership with museum professionals at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Monticello.

My Notes

Yesterday's sessions are available for everyone online:

Partner with non-profit cultural orgs
Partnership mentoring K-12s
Smithsonian Art Museum partnership where History majors can fill a gap interpretting paintings in the S's collection. Taging them and making them relevant to K12 teachers.
Also partnered with Primary Source Learning who work with Lib of Congress.

How could the images of life between the wars help teachers tell a meningful story of life between the wars and connect to K12 standards?
Inventing the course on the fly - it suffered from that.
Majors were trained to think like teachers and be aware of their constraints (eg emphasis on testing).
Connections being made in the back channel to Digital Storytelling and authenticity (Oral history approaches). It's worth thinking about DST in terms of authenticity. Later...
Must follow up on some of the DSTs shared (saved to my Delicious account and with SHUCDT and DST tags).

Great timeline visualisation being shared:
Pachyderm tool for building stories mentioned in chat. I think that's an NMC tool. We looked at it briefly years ago. Must take another look.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This provides a useful framework for discussion about authentic learning

Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper

Andreas Brockhaus, Manager, Learning Technologies, University of Washington BothellMartha Groom, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
Abstract: To enhance the learning experience of a term paper, students were required to publish their papers in Wikipedia. Publishing for a large audience provided authentic feedback and encouraged students to do their best work. Using Wikipedia also allowed students to connect with a vibrant community and share their knowledge by making their papers publicly accessible.
My Notes
Publishing for a large audience with blogs and podcasts is something I don't hear enough about. I have heard a lot of k-12 teachers talking about using Wikipedia as an outlet on various podcasts before. For younger kids this is undoubtedly rich.
Technology (Wikipedia) is manageable - yes this is so important in all our work.
A smile when the students think about how many people might be actually looking at their contribution.
George Siemens said in ELI in jan: "Wikipedia content is 'relaible enough' - most importantly is is current and accessible." Currency and accessibility are surely an important attributes of authenticity.
There's a poll going on: What do you think is the greatest barrier to using Wikipedia as part of a class project? and Reliability of content (even in this group) is still seen as main issue people have followed by finding a topic to publish.
He demos how a student's wikipedia article comes up as #1 in Google. That makes them feel good.
There's discussion about whether this is manageable and some are saying setting up a private wiki would be preferable - missing the point! It's not about using wikis it is about contributing to global knowledge on a global stage.

The New Virtual Field Trip: A Perspective from NC State's Entomology Bug World

Len Annetta, Asst. Professor of Science Education, North Carolina State UniversityMarta Klesath, Lecturer, Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University
Abstract: The presentation will give a development perspective to incorporating a virtual field trip into a newly created online entomology course. The field trip in the traditional course took students to a local farm to uncover the varying species of bugs at the farm, as well as where they lived and what they ate. As the course went online, the 3D virtual environment enabled virtual students to share experiences similar to those of the traditional students while learning the same content.

My notes
Using a 3DVW to study bugs! A virtual field trip.
How to integrate 3DVW with teaching? (hmm, tech led, but let's see...)
Useful for visualisation and adding taxonomy - better than real life field trip.
Not so interesting a session but people are asking if it is important that the students are made to walk in a 3DVW (when they could fly or teleport). I thought flying or teleporting was like hyperlinking, hence loss of immersion and authenticity.
Mike Kelly says, "flying is also very useful - leads to survey knowledge vs route knowldege."

Q: Why Active Worlds over other 3DVWs?
Adobe Atmosphere was his first favourite space. Then Adobe stopped. First inclination Second Life but at the time Linden Labs weren't interested in Education. Also SL quite pornographic then. Active Worlds was set up for Education and he has since accumulated scripts and content for AWs. Communitiies and Help good for AWs.

Back channel: "The academic environment in SL has more or less separated itself from the rest of SL." Not sure what this means but i think the suggestion is SL is big enough to have many factions that needn't affect each other.

Using Computer-Simulated Case-Based Scenarios to Improve Learning

David M. Segal, Assistant Professor, College of Health & Public Affairs, University of Central Florida
Abstract: An online virtual case-based management system was developed to provide an interactive learning portal using simulated case scenarios, collaborative learning, decision support, and real-time assessment of student motivation and decision skills. Learn how to dynamically create and implement online case scenarios using virtual characters, speech, and other media-rich content.
My notes:
Case Based Learning allows students to focus on processing skills rather than teacher content.
How can technology mediate this?
A range of technologies: paper, word, powerpoint, wimba, animations, immersive worlds, mannequins, etc
(But) the focus can become more technology than content.
CBL supports most of Blooms Taxonomy.
How do you design CBL? Start with outcomes eg proficiency with content, critical thinking, evaluation, etc
Attributes of CBL: Relevant, Relealism, Engagement, Challenge (useful words for media interventions) Good diagram that I'll have to revisit. It describes how each of these attributes can be managed to heighten the learning experience.
Using a CBL system called My CaseSpace (portal). You can interrogate patients (subjects) by selecting patients in a line up (waiting room). There are various types of data behind each patient case (lab tests, histories, physical examination notes, etc, etc). Student has to propose a diagnosis by examining all of this data and then recommend a treatment.
At the end students can feedback on the exercice and play a video feedback file on the case.
This system (My CaseSpace) was developed by David himself using ASP and MySQL.
Someone asks: how long does it take to develop a case? - with all content ready it takes 15 minutes to assemble it.
UW-Madison has open source case tool under development - must look out for it.
A lot of people seem to be interested in having a CBL system. (follow up:
The system was developed with no funding from his uni - he's made a great tool as a lone ranger. Is this good? People like this will build before they even look for existing tools perhaps. We shouldn't feel so bad for him.
University of Huddersfield (I think - have a CBL tool I saw a few years ago.
I'm impressed by CBL approaches across the curriculum.
Question: have you found differences in responses between human and cartoon avatars?
Students relate better to real human pix that cartoon semi-realistic avatars.

Making Learning Real: Turning Sim City into "Sim Science"!

Diane Jass Ketelhut, Assistant Professor of Science Education, Temple University
Abstract: Current theories suggest that learning is facilitated when embedded in the context in which it will be used, but the constraints of the traditional classroom make implementing this difficult to impossible. This session will focus on exploring how new technologies such as virtual environments can situate learning in a "real" virtual context, motivate students while helping them develop scientific habits of mind, and support teachers in leading complex scientific inquiries.
More info

I came in late unfortunately - I had a meeting that I just had to go to. However it seems people attending get the idea and understand the value of authentic learning and even in using 'virtual real' environments. But the questions in the back channel ask:
"Right now the question is time - time and money for faculty to develop these scenarios." My response is, so how can some people like Diane do this while the rest of the world asks about time. I think you just have to do it. This is again about proving and modelling the concept. Slow and painful though that process might be. How can we as a university help people to 'do it' more often?

Conference resources

Authetic Learning for the 21st Century resources from Educause can be found here:

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2008 Online Spring Focus Session

I'll be attending thr ELI Focus Session over the next 2 days and will leave notes here. I'll also be creating a podcast commentary of the experience with the purpose of comparing real and virtual attendance at an event such as this. The podcast will appear at in a couple of days time.
The theme of the focus is authenticity in learning - a really important topic in my own work.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Real-time Collaborative Art Making workshop notes

A Methods Network Workshop,
20 July 2007


Dr Gregory Sporton, Director, Visualisation Research Unit (VRU)
This is one of a number of e-Science workshops which intend to explore the questions 'what is e-Science and how can it benefit the Arts and creative practice? What are the issues?'
He says there is a neglected potential for the integration of creative arts and technology given the emergence of 'digital natives'. It's seen as a peripheral activity. He notes that it can be expensive to get involved with technology. Nevertheless technology and creative practice is 'a hot issue'. Dissemination through networks, rather than galleries, seems to be the way to go.
By and large specialist processes have gone (eg the many processes and associated skills of darkroom-based photography have largely been replaced by digital photography). At the moment such new technologies are used to improve workflow rather than being used as creative disruptive opportunities. ('Disruptive technology' is my take on this message).
There is a small minority who feel that using computers goes against all that is good in Art. How do we culturally begin to accommodate the 'e'?
Disruption comes from 'new functionality through distribution.' (That connective -ist thing again!).
The opportunity to see what artists are doing holds a lot of potential for the creative arts. Web 2.0 and other collaborative technologies offer this potential.
Now is the time for 'the Creatives' to take ownership of the use of technology from the technologist and begin to impose ideas (their own language?) onto the technology.
The VRU are also trying to move away from screens and keyboards.
The technology can be the potential locus of creativity in and of itself. This can feel and be quite intense. However there's a risk of becoming dependent upon the technology.
How do they acquire sufficient resources given the scale of the cost of technology supported art compared to existing areas of practice? It's of a different order to other areas of creative practice?
He noted some concerns.
There is an emphasis today in this workshop on playing with the technology - trying to get it to do things for which it wasn't originally designed. As we have noted in education generally, we are increasingly faced with technologies that have not primarily been designed for us.
There are some genuine security issues and the resultant firewalls. These help and hinder. IPR is also an issue for artists - putting your stuff out there means people can nick it.
He also asks, "How genuinely real are 'virtual' experiences , such as SL?"
See for resources relating to this workshop.
(Video conferencing with Edinburgh held things up for a while at lunch. I'm not sure why there was a connection to Edinburgh other than to demonstrate that a performance can be witnessed in another place using an access grid. The conversation between the two places was delivered using Skype and Greg used a conference PZM microphone on the floor which apparently worked well.)

Digital Technology & Performance

Greg then demonstrated his use of technology in his performance work. He said, "We expect problems because we are breaking new ground." And I think that is part of the art of this performance - the degree of unpredictability it introduces. The performance (or was it drawing?) was based upon dancers holding bluetooth pens designed for drawing on flat surfaces. The movement of the pens it captured by a technology called E-beam ( I gather the sensor and pens are designed as whiteboard-like devices for offices. The movement of the pens is tracked by the sensor device when the pen's stylus is depressed. Normally you would mount the sensor on a window and draw onto the window. This is then captured and presented on computer-based whiteboard application. You can change the colour of the pens and their thickness. The pens were not pressure senstive apparently - either on or off and there was no way with this technology to represent speed of movement from what I could see.
In the dance work Greg placed the sensor at hand-height and each dancer holds a pen, the movement of which is captured on the whiteboard. This is then saved as a JPG or AVI depending on whether you wish to capture the time aspect of the performance or just the resultant product (a still drawing). This is essentially drawing in space. He said, " We're not dancing, we're drawing. Producing a drawing through dancing." Learning how to use it was he thought analogous to getting a decent sound from a theramin.
It's hard to predict when the sensors will register a mark.
The rhythm is represented in the drawing. There are latency issues over the network and this becomes one of the properties of the performance.
In terms of creativity and technology I think the remarkable thing to note here is that the technology is very basic - pens are either switched on or off and not reliably captured by e-beam anyway - therefore the art, like other artistic media (eg any process mediated art - think about drypoint for example) is defined or understood by the technological constraints within which it is made. In discussions I had at lunch there were several ideas for technologies such a the Wii, motion graphics, light exposed to film and others, where more detail could be captured. That presumably is not the point. As my interest at the moment is in Web 2.0 technologies and the concept of 'extending the studio' this is useful - don't think how can web 2.0 replace the studio, but how it adds to the creative toolkit with its new opportunities and constraints.
He also showed a couple of videos of other technology performance work which is distributed via YouTube.(eg
This is a film based on exercises. The work involved a sound file author, video maker and dance/movement/subject= collaboration.
He describes his work as projects "with technology".
He usefully referred to 'extended techniques'. A term used in music that recognises the mediation and impact of the musical instruments on the art. They are technology extensions that facilitate the creativity. He sees the technologies he is using in the same way.
I spoke to someone later who noted that the Wii could have been used as a much more reliable interface (as noted above) He is doing some work on haptics at Birmingham and says there is a software developer kit for the Wii and he hopes to develop a drawing tool for the Wii. Nintendo however are apparently only interested in releasing the SDK to games developers at the moment. I would like to see how the Wii could be used by artists and designers .
Greg says, "It's very intense and engaging working with technology. The risk gets you wound up." He saw this as a benefit - or at least given the difficulty in establishing the access grid connection he was maybe putting a brave face on it!

Technology performance

In the afternoon session we were invited to a technology enhanced performance. This was intriguing. It's very hard to describe the impact this made on me, which was great, but I will try.
The piece (?) was performed by four people, three of whom were operating various new and old media technologies. The other was a dancer. On entering the gallery/white cube space there were various flat screens on the floor presenting various images. Some of this was layered video made of up layered artefacts and some of it was automated slideshows driven by shared image photos. Audio was being used. Various activities were being mic-ed up, though I later found out that the sound from the previous day was being played back. This intentionally connected one performance to another even though the voices and sounds were obviously from a similar event. There was a mixture of technology essentially capturing, relaying and acting upon words originated by the dancer. The dancer would speak a word every now and then into a radio mic she was wearing, this would be heard by the audio guy, who typed the word on an archaic typewriter. An index card was produced and the word was catalogued using a made-up taxonomy. A video camera was focussed on the index card and a microphone recorded the clack of the typewriter (all of the performers were too young to have ever used a real typewriter before!). The typewriten index card was taken to another person who did a Flickr search based upon the words. He was constantly blogging the procedings. The Flickr images were printed and given to the last member - the videologist who constructed footage in real time for the tv screens. There were various other bits and pieces going on. The performance on this occasion lasted about 20 minutes though other versions have lasted hours.
At first it was the dancer's performance that grabbed your attention as she worked through a series of choreographed movements. The attraction of the human figure seemed to provide the intial focal point for others I spoke to too. The dance was quite repetitive. Then the videologist came in a grabbed a load of images of her on a stills camera. There was a fair amount of bleeping and typing noises and the sound of voices occasionally. However it was very disjointed. It appeared to be coming from the performers (but of course it was yesterday's performance recording).
What was the relationship between these four people? How choreographed was the collaborative performance? How choreographed were the individual performances? Occasionally the videologist would scan a Flickr photo, or rip it up, or stick it up on the wall.
The piece seemed to be about networking and the sharing and mediation of data. The passing of data was explicit, but what was most intriguing was the implicit social networking and its affect on the performance. How had it been planned? How were they responding to each other (apparently they were not consciously responding during the event).
I interviewed Matt Gough afterwards for the podcast and discussed some of the many issues that were raised. Facinating!
Also see Let's Talk about Collaborative Art Making site and Matt Gough's blog

Labels: , ,