Friday, 19 October 2012

Away from the Chalk Face!

The Friday Ladder:  Grimes Graves, Brecklands  

Friday at the finishing post!

A Friday morning, still dark at 5.45 am (UK time),  time to see where we have been since Monday morning.

The picture of 5000 year old industry to the right is a very apt hook for this blog.  On Monday I started the odyssey away from the Chalkface.  

The semester for edX's CS50x (see link above in bar) commenced on Monday .  Semester strange term to the English eye, where terms are more usual linked around the major holiday periods.  Eleven weeks for the lecture cycle.  This is an example of MOOCs ( see previous Blog), an interesting experience of viewing lectures remotely.  A little bit of Scratch was introduced (something that I have used in a Summer School that I ran), an assignment to be completed.

Wednesday saw the start of an interaction with Bank Street College of Education, New York.  In this interaction/course, with online resources and courses interaction seems a better description of the experience,  we are as a group seeking to push forward our collective and individual understanding of VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments) for want of a generic term.  There at the moment does not appear to be a classification yet of the different types of learning experience available on line.  To this end I have created a GoogleDocs Spreadsheet for viewing trying to classify the types of learning experience and some of the terms used.  As with all new areas different people have used what to them is the most appropriate term.  As an educator I am more interested in the learning outcome based upon these tools rather than the elegance of the tool.  If it takes 10 hours to produce a whizzy presentation that lasts five minutes that is 9 hours and 55 minutes too long in an ideal world!

So having had the traditional platform of undergrad teaching transferred to the digital world with edX this week, what is happening next week?  Further exploration of the topics on the edX course will happen, I have to say that I am impressed by the level of support materials provided.  How this translates into something that can be used in the Virtual Classroom ( there another term ) would be an area to explore within the  OFTL interaction with Bank Street College.

A clear link for classroom teachers between learning  objective and learning outcome needs to be made with appropriate selection of the best IT resource.  Interactive Whiteboards are fine but not if the wall on which it is mounted moves due to poor workmanship (have experienced), or the room is the wrong shape for projection with pillars at inappropriate places.  (Architects please note this when designing new buildings).  

The cost implication is also a consideration in the especially in the UK at the moment.  The investment in computers we made many years ago has produced the model where we are often tied to particular delivery equipment and mechanisms. This is often due to the fact we have bought a system rather than analyse first what we want to with it!  (Headteachers are often guilty of being impressed with the look at the package what it can do in the hands of the salesman and say wow must have this, then it sits under a cloth in the corner of the room to be wheeled out when Inspectors arrive!)  And more importantly we may have neglected to audit the training requirement of staff who are going to use the equipment.  This is actually more difficult to do than it would at first seem owing to the human factor.  A period of sending round survey forms asking which IT resources staff used and what they would like often drew a blank, but many good intentions to fill out the survey to shape the experience.  This is because  most teachers in my experience are still not  100% confident the technology will work when they want it to work!  It is an after thought!    

To see the spreadsheet, initially, if you email me through the Google+ network or leave a comment I will email the link.  The spreadsheet is work in progress.  

So weekend maybe have a look at some Sicilian food!  There is life beyond the Chalkface!

No comments:

Post a Comment