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