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.