Learning Outcomes

By completing this assignment, you will demonstrate your achievement of the following learning outcomes:

  • Describe and understand the importance and use of a range of online technologies in learning, teaching, and course design in contemporary education
  • Develop an evidence-supported argument for selecting particular technologies to support an online component of your own course.
  • Demonstrate independent enquiry and reflective practice

I am not overly happy with the evidence I have supplied for each element: I should have spent more time on this aspect. I found the word counts extremely limiting but they provided a good level of challenge for me! I found being forced to consider the technology decisions I was making in this much detail extremely valuable indeed and I will do it more often, though perhaps not in quite so much detail. Having now read my peer feedback, I know that my initial description of my activity was not clear enough. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of providing feedback on peers’ assignments as it was really interesting to see the approaches others had taken to the task, the choice of technology and to learning with their classes. I marked two more assignments that I needed to, just because I found it fascinating!

Briefly describe your chosen activity, assessment or resource, and the technology you think is appropriate to support it (100 words if you choose written submission format or 1 minute recording if you choose to submit video format).

My learners have a coursework submission which requires them to compare the works of two authors they are unfamiliar with (see syllabus here). I give learners free choice of the texts (rather than me teaching texts to the whole class) so that they can personalise their learning; feeling more motivated and engaged as a result (National College for Teaching and Leadership, Date Unknown).

Their first project will be to present (Brown University, Date Unknown) the initial research with connections they’ve identified: comparisons/contrasts for 6-8 authors on the set list to the class. The outcome will be that they have a shortlist of comparisons to explore before deciding on their final research question.

(96 words excl. references)

Brown University (Date Unknown) Student Presentations, Available at: http://www.brown.edu/about/administration/sheridan-center/teaching-learning/effective-classroom-prac… [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

National College for Teaching and Leadership (Date Unknown) Personalised Learning, Available at: https://www.nationalcollege.org.uk/transfer/open/adsbm-phase-3-module-1-enabling-learning/adsbm-p3m1… [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Explain why have you chosen this particular technology instead of other technologies for supporting your chosen activity, assessment, or resource (300 words if you choose written submission format or 3 minute recording if you choose to submit video format).

The challenge with this project is in making the high level connections between authors’ works. Online mindmapping tools have the capacity to incorporate images, links and videos so that learners can initially curate content they’ve discovered and then arrange it; adding the connections they can see. Another advantage of using technology is that the project can be shared via our Google+ community for the class to reference after the final presentations: for peer assessment, further discussion and collaboration (Go Conqr, Date Unknown).

There are a number of technologies I have considered:

Popplet fits my requirements and an added benefit is that after the project has been presented, learners who are exploring similar connections between authors’ works can be connected so that they can collaborate (Dooly, M, 2008)

ThingLink allows the learners to tag an image of an author with the research they’ve conducted but the higher level of comparison and contrast isn’t demanded in the way the site is set-up.

Bubbl.us appears to only be free for 30 days, which is disappointing and rules it out immediately.

XMind has links to Evernote, which could be useful for my few learners who use that as it enables them to connect this project with other aspects of their learning on the course.

Coggle has integration with Google Drive so that, like Popplet, the opportunities for collaboration and peer assessment are available to us.

MindNode would be the app option on this list. It provides the opportunity for learners to add in icons alongside their ideas; this could help learners in connecting themes across authors.

As mentioned above, I feel choice is an important tool in and out of the classroom to engage learners with their work and I will be recommending the use of Popplet, Coggle or MindNode and they will make the final decision together (Perks, K, 2010, p.2).

(297 words excl. references)

Dooly, M (2008) ‘Constructing Knwoledge Together’ in Telecollaborative Language Learning. A guidebook to moderating intercultural collaboration online. M. Dooly (ed.). (2008) Bern: Peter Lang, Available at: http://pagines.uab.cat/melindadooly/sites/pagines.uab.cat.melindadooly/files/Chpt1.pdf [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Go Conqr (Date Unknown) Benefits of Using Online Mind Maps for E-Learning, Available at: https://www.goconqr.com/en/p/213485-benefits-of-using-online-mind-maps-for-e-learning-mind_maps [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Lirenman (2013) Providing My Students with Choice- The Why and How I Get Started, Available at: http://learningandsharingwithmsl.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/providing-my-students-with-choice-why.html [Accessed 19/07/2015]

Naomi, M (2013) 4 Distance Learning Benefits of Using Mind Mapping Software, Available at: http://elearningindustry.com/4-distance-learning-benefits-of-using-mind-mapping [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Perks, K (2010) ‘Creating Effective Choices to Motivate Students’ in Student Choice and Engagement, Available at: http://www.ohiorc.org/orc_documents/ORC/Adlit/InPerspective/2010-03/in_perspective_2010-03.pdf [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

ThinkBuzan (Date Unknown) How can I improve my study skills with mind mapping? Available at: http://thinkbuzan.com/articles/view/how-can-i-improve-my-study-skills-with-mind-mapping/ [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Turner, D (2010) Student-Centered Teaching: A Look at Student Choice in the Classroom, Available at: http://www.usma.edu/cfe/Literature/Turner_10.pdf [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

University of Birmingham (2015) Mind mapping, Available at: https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/studentservices/disability/learning-support/effective-learning/… [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Is your chosen technology open access, or institutionally-supported (see Module 2: Open and Institutionally Supported Technologies for definitions)? What are the benefits and risks associated with the technology you have chosen? Think about the relevant benefits and risks of open and institutionally-supported technologies in your answer. (500 words if you choose written submission format or 5 minute recording if you choose to submit video format).

All of the tools I am exploring are open access (Engard, N, 2015). Learners will need to remember their login details but I will ask them to use their Google account details: this way, the institution can remind them of their password if necessary but one login for everything should prevent them forgetting the details.
Another potential risk is that any one of the sites may close down and this would mean our project is at risk of being lost. I will keep an eye on social media for any such announcements as usually, a site would give notice of such an occurrence (Hein, G, 2003).

A huge benefit is that learners are autonomous: creating and curating their own learning entirely on this project using these tools (EduTech Wiki, 2010). The benefit of offering choice to the class is that they can pick the technology tool they are most motivated and engaged by. The challenge will be in, this time, agreeing on the same tool as a class so that we can collaborate effectively after the project.

One advantage an LMS could provide, is the data on an activity if it provided its own in-built mind-mapping tool. I will be updating each of the learners’ records to indicate that the project has been successfully completed in place of such data tracking.

One short term risk we may have is that the technology may be blocked via the College network. I will test this out for myself over the next couple of weeks and request that IT Services unblock it for me. I will keep an eye on this issue as the new term begins in case the unblocking is reset at any point.

For MindNode, which is only available via devices, I will need to explore BYOD with the learners even more this year, set the project as a solely out of class activity and/or request that the app is uploaded to the mini iPads available for loan to us. There is a potential risk if I am unable to make any of these elements work due to any of the learners not having their own suitable devices or not having access to the iPads for loan when we need them.

I am comfortable with each of the tools I have selected, which means that I can be of help to the learners; this will help to build their confidence.

My institution no longer has an LMS in the traditional sense. We have transferred to the use of Google Apps and Google Classroom, where I would set the assignment. Rather luckily, I share an office with the learning technologies team so I am able to ask for their support with any tools I choose to use. If there is a fault with the tool then I or my learners will need to contact the owners of the product directly, which may prove a challenge if they do not respond in a timely fashion.

(484 words excl. references)

Anderson, M (2014) What on Earth is Blended Learning, Available at: http://ictevangelist.com/top-5-tools-blended-learning/ [Accessed 19/07/2015]

Anderson, P (2007) What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education, Available at: http://21stcenturywalton.pbworks.com/f/What%20is%20Web%202.0.pdf [Accessed: 17/07/2015]

EduTech Wiki (2010) Learner Autonomy, Available at: http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Learner_autonomy [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Engard, N (2015) What is Open Source? Available at: https://opensource.com/education/15/4/how-teach-others-about-open-source [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Hein, G (2003) Open Source Software: Risks and Rewards, Available at: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ECR0405.pdf [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

JISC (2006) Effective Use of VLEs, Available at: http://tools.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/downloads/vle/what-is-vle.pdf [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

JISC (2013) How can my Institution use Open Source Software? Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/how-can-my-institution-use-open-source-software [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Lakhan, S and Jhunjuhnwala (2008) Open Source Software in Education, Available at: http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/open-source-software-education [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

UNSW (2011) Learning Management System or the Open Web, Available at: http://online.cofa.unsw.edu.au/learning-to-teach-online/ltto-episodes?view=video&video=159 [Accessed: 17/07/2015]

Optional. What are your institution’s policies or strategies about the use of different technologies for online learning and delivery approaches (i.e. technical support, pedagogical guidance, availability, usage restrictions, privacy, etc).

My institution has an ethos rather than a strategy that drives our digital culture. The two things that are most important in this ethos are putting technology in the hands of learners and ensuring that technology is not used for the sake of it (Pennington, C, 2015).

Working within a vocational education context, it is vital that I meet the need of employers by giving learners the skills and attributes they will need to be successful in the future (Pullen, C and Varley-Winter, O, 2014, p.33).

Learners must be empowered and not constrained by technology: being in control of their privacy, curation, creation and use of learning content (Harrison, B, 2014, p.5).

(98 words excl. references)

Harrsion, B (2014) FELTAG: Further Education Learning Technology Action Group, Available at: http://feltag.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/FELTAG-REPORT-FINAL.pdf [Accessed 19/07/2015]

Pennington, C (2015) Creating a Digitally Enabled Culture, Available at: http://thinkoutloudclub.com/author/cheryl-pennington/ [Accessed: 19/07/2015]

Pullen, C and Varley-Winter, O (2014) Culture, Coaching and Collaboration: How to Unlock the Potential of Digital Technology in Vocational Teaching and Learning, Available at: http://www.cityandguilds.com/~/media/Documents/about-us/broadsheet-news/Culture%20coaching%20and%20c… [Accessed: 19/07/2015]