Tag: Glyndwr Uinversity

MSC TECHNOLOGY AND LEARNING: Build your brand online


You go for a job interview.

After the initial small talk, the interviewer produces an iPad with a selection of images you posted to Facebook some five or six years ago.

The interviewer asks you to talk them through the images and offer an explanation for them.

This uncomfortable scenario is, I learned today, increasingly common.

We eulogise the use of Web 2.0 to expand and enrich learning but we also need to be aware of how we use these technologies personally as well as professionally.

Social Media Police eTreble9, offered thoughts on how they can advise and manage your social media profile to highlight the positives.

It was a thought-provoking morning and you can check out the Prezi: Your brand online.

Take a moment to think. And then delete your Facebook accounts – learners and tutors alike.

The social media Big Brother is watching.

Your view? Post below.

MSC TECHNOLOGY AND LEARNING: A few thoughts about e-learning


Glyndwr University hosted its fourth Technology-Enhanced Learning symposium today.

The event included a keynote address from Mark Stiles, Emeritus Professor of Technology Supported Learning at Staffordshire University, plus a series of shorter, mainly on-topic presentations from both Glyndwr staffers and external speakers.

On a grey Wednesday in Wrexham, it got the grey matter working again – just in time to start delving into the next section of the MSc Learning and Technology.

Stiles, in particular, was scathing about the way universities fail to make innovation work.

“Decision-making processes in universities are almost universally dreadful,” he said.

He also criticised Vice Chancellors who want to have a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “just because their neighbour has one” – without understanding it.

Henry Platten of online security firm eTreble9, welcomed the use of picture-sharing media, such as Instagram, to promote the use of infographics in learning, but warned of the nefarious dangers of social media.

“Although you may think you’re not on a given social network, actually you may be,” he said.

So, from social-media learning to the way the biggest barriers to change in universities are the universities themsleves, here are seven things I learnt today:

  • Social media in e-learning is a fast-moving trend [source NMC Horizon Report 2014] but we haven’t got our heads round it yet
  • “Making online learning natural will, frankly, happen” [Prof Stiles]
  • Moodle is often deemed unpopular with students; some HE colleges now use an e-portfolio and Google hangouts
  • Serious games as a sector now makes more money than the film industry
  • “Instant messenger platforms are the next step in social media” [Henry Platten]
  • The university is being unbundled [source IPPR]
  • “Dull stuff [governance] is very important” [Prof Stiles] to make innovation “stick and spread”

Further reading

NMC Horizon Report 2014

An Avalanche is Coming

Mark Stiles on Twitter

Social Media Police blog


MSc Technology and Learning: The network is the medium


* This is my first post for the MSc Learning and Technology course I’m now following at Glyndwr University. Subscribe to the RSS or follow me on Twitter for updates.

Olivia, three, is at the pre-operational stage – in the parlance of the educational theorist Piaget.

Her sister, Maya, aged seven and a half, is at the operational stage.

What do I observe about learning from my daughters [pictured above]? How do they learn? And, as I’m chief homework monitor around the house, how do I facilitate learning in between episodes of Scooby Doo and playing on scooters in the park opposite?

For me, there are some basics:

  • A safe, stable environment with a regular routine
  • Quality one-on-one time whereby we sit and read, talk together
  • Time for free play to read, play, jigsaws etc.
  • Me sharing nuggets of learning through out the day eg. talking about using nice describing words in a story over dinner, or counting in tens while we walk to school

But my daughters are not typical students.

Many students never even access the news – on radio, TV or online. Many lack support in secondary school with their writing.

What to do with them? Can we apply historical educational theories of Piagetian Cognitive Development to this group?

And, while my personal approach borrows from the ideas of Vygotskean Social Cognition in relation to Maya and Olivia, will factoring in the social environment be enough to inspire?

In the age of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), the parameters are shifting.

The traditional theories worked before but now it’s time for a rethink.

I favour a new connectivism approach, based around open conversations to spark new ideas, as espoused by George Siemens of the University of Manitoba. He says:

“Learning is fundamentally networked. When we connect to other people and other ideas, we gain a depth of knowledge in a subject.”

Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor of learning technology in the Plymouth Institute of Education at Plymouth University, writing on his blog Learning with ‘e’s, addresses this in terms of rhizone theory.

How can, he asks, we reach a place in education where students find their own level and make their own pathways through learning? In a well-argued blog post, he calls for a living-curriculum approach and support for students to create their own personalised learning pathways.

“The self-determined pathway to learning is fast becoming familiar to learners in the digital age, and is also the antithesis to the formal, structured learning found in traditional education”

Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island writes a slightly less accessible post, Rhizomatic Education : Community as Curriculum, taken from his rather cluttered Dave’s Educational Blog, in which he goes one further.

The design is poor but the idea strong. He says:

“The community is not the path to understanding or accessing the curriculum; rather, the community is the curriculum.”

So, it’s time to rip up the rule book.

Step back from the PowerPoint and encourage learners to find their own path, trying to facilitate this via increased social online learning.

Besides, by the time Maya and Olivia are filling in their UCAS forms, the view from the ivory tower could look very different.

What do you think of the views expressed in this post? Post your comments below.