Category Archives: Blog Hub

New to Me Resources

Here’s a list of new (to me) open resources:

Institutional Support for OER

An emerging motivation for uptake of open education resources and practices at UBC is the increased presence of University policies and programs that support OER. The 2016/17 edition of the Guide to Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Procedures at UBC (pdf) includes contributions to open educational resources and repositories as a possible criteria for evidence of educational leadership (p. 16, 19 & 51) for those instructors in the educational leadership stream. I believe that the inclusion of open resources and repositories in a promotion and tenure guideline is pretty unique at this point (although many institutions have open access policies).

Additionally, both the 2018 UBC-V Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund and the 2018/19 Aspire Teaching and Learning Fund at UBC have priority focus areas for the development or integration of open educational resources that are intended to be used in a course, multiple courses within a program, or across several programs. The 2018 TLEF call for Large TLEF proposals is now open and letters of intent are due July 14, 2017.

Dealing Critically with Reality

David Moscrop recently wrote in Maclean’s that “the right to speech is meaningless unless it is underwritten by a public that knows things—that is, an educated public.” However, in his book The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire writes that education is not neutral; instead he states:

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘practice of freedom’, the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.

Recently, the UBC Library hosted an open mic event on Freedom of Expression in the Post Truth Era and I had the opportunity to listen to amazing students, professors, librarians, and poets reflect on the state of truth and knowledge in today’s world. As I listened, I was reminded of Freire’s framing of education as a means to “deal critically with reality” – a framing that I think gets to right to the role of the university. If we are, indeed, in a post truth world, it’s not simply enough to read, learn, or know something, we also have to be able to critique and evaluate what it is and how we know it.

Lately, I’ve been involved in a number of conversations about how to embed digital literacies into curriculum; put simply, how do we help students learn the skills needed to evaluate whether something is true or not? I often promote the pedagogical model known as the student as producer model. This model came out out of  a project at the University of Lincoln where they were shifting from research informed teaching to research engaged teaching; I partly interpret this as pushing the values and processes of research into the undergraduate curriculum. Why this model is important is that I think that many aspects inherent in research lend themselves to the sort of competencies involved in critique and digital literacies.

In his open textbook Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, Mike Caulfield outlines four strategies for getting closer to the truth of an online claim:

  • Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research.
  • Go upstream to the source: Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information.
  • Read laterally: Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network.
  • Circle back: If you get lost, or hit dead ends, or find yourself going down an increasingly confusing rabbit hole, back up and start over knowing what you know now. You’re likely to take a more informed path with different search terms and better decisions.

Or, as one faculty member at the open mic event succinctly framed it: “don’t be gullible and lazy.”

What I enjoy about these strategies is how common they are to research. Knowledge is not created in a vacuum and research is often a critique on the current understanding. Writing a literature review is an exercise in evaluating sources, following the discussion, and trying different search approaches to find additional context.  Publishing research is the act of creation and the act opening ourselves up to critique.  Embedding the values of research into teaching and learning embeds the processes of acquiring digital literacies into the student experience.

Martin Weller writes in his open textbook The Battle for Open that, increasingly, the narrative around the role of the university is “one of a straightforward investment  transaction –  students pay a certain fee, and in return they receive an education that will allow them to earn more money later in life.” However, if this becomes the prevailing role of the university, I think we all miss out. We must value inclusivity and empathy and we must also promote critique. We should question what we know and how we know it, so, as Freire wrote, education becomes the practice of freedom.

Getting Comfortable with Gaming?

Samorost Grab
Three years ago I noticed a Strange ‘Game’, (the game is no longer at the url links from that post).
I played the game for a few minutes and got nowhere, it looked lovely so I just linkdumped it for my class and forgot about it.
Recently I’ve saw mention of it (on KimP’s Blog and Ewan’s) so I looked again. It still looked cool and I still got not very far.
This afternoon, I was delaying going to music (my least favourite bit of the curriculum) so I fired up Samorost on to the wall and gathered the children round.
They had a ball, giving me advice and solving the puzzles to work through the game. As a class they took about the same time as Ewan and a lot faster than Derek;-)

I realise that there are lot of areas (as well as music) that I don’t get. I recall getting the first version of Myst along with HyperCard 2.3 and not getting that at all, I spent a wee bit of time wandering in an aimless fashion then a good deal more time gently hacking into the game to check out it’s Hypercard roots.

Anyway there is not much time left this session and we are getting a refresh of hardware tomorrow which might slow thing up, but I hope to get my class to follow the AllStars progress using Samorost and perhaps replicate some of their activities> I might get to see what I can get out of this type of gaming. Moving a little way out of my comfort zone.

(Note to self Samorost2, thanks Ewan).

technorati:

    Session over

    Class in a box box

    Although I am ready for my holidays rather a lot of interesting things have appeared on the horizon in the last couple of weeks.
    On the software front I finally got round to using scratch with the children, samorost is inviting and we tried out slideshare. As usual I underestimated the amount of time I’d have to teach in the last couple of weeks of term and suddenly we have no time left!

    A couple of weeks ago our pcs were refreshed and this should really make a big difference to using ict in the school, the old ones were getting really slow. At the start of this week I had another flurry of excitement when our class in a box box arrived, the laptops to go with it have not got here yet but hopefully this is going to be a great resource to use ict flexibly across the curriculum next session.

    My job next year is going to be rather different than what I’ve been doing this year.

    This year I’ve been teaching with ict across the stages using our new media room, unfortunately for me this didn’t really work out as planned, term one the suite was not ready, term 2 went as planned, but staff leaving and a lot of staff absences kept me in class most of term 3, term 4 saw the switch from the mitel managed service to dell and put our network out of action for 4 or 5 weeks.
    From my point of view this has been pretty disappointing.

    Next session or staffing number change for the worse and I’ll be changing roll.
    It looks like I will be spending a fair amount of time on Emotional Literacy, working with children who have problems in this and other areas of their learning. Pretty challenging, especially as a lot of the things I’ve been doing over the last few years have worked best with our more confident and motivated learners, how much blogging, dv, podcasting I will be involved in is in question I think.
    I’d be really interested in anyone who has experience in these areas passing on ideas and tips, especially ones involving ict and Web 2.0

    I am also looking for a wee summer project, hopefully involving being paid for something I enjoy (edu, blogs, html etc) again ideas gratefully received.

    I will be continuing to blog a bit over the holidays as I have a few things to think about that I’ve not had time for.

    Have a great summer

      Playing with Hackasaurus and popcorn

      Popcorn Hackasaurus

      Yesterday I heard a few intriguing boos from Mozilla Festival by Doug Belshaw and Leon Cychwhich sent me on a day trip round the internet. I discovered:

      Hackasaurus makes it easy to mash up and change any web page like magic. You can also create your own webpages to share with your friends, all within your browser. for which there is an educators guide and even a lesson plan.

      and:

      Popcorn.js is an HTML5 media framework written in JavaScript for filmmakers, web developers, and anyone who wants to create time-based interactive media on the web. Popcorn.js is part of Mozilla’s Popcorn project.

      among a host of other interesting things. Rather than blog about it I used these tools to create somethings:

      A spoof 2015 BBC News – X-RAY GoGGLES improves pupils performance in exams

      Playing with hackasaurus and popcorn

      I think that hackasaurus in particular could be very useful in the classroom. Popcorn gives us a way to make complex media projects in particular HyperVidio and HyperAudio which act in the same way as HyperText. I’d love some feedeback on this stuff, if you think it could work in your classroom?

        Edutalk at Teachmeet Strathclyde

        Edutalk fist

        Last night I went along to Teachmeet Strathclyde at Jordanhill college, I had signed up a couple of days before and stuck my name down to talk about edutalk.cc.

        I noticed there were nearly 70 folk signed up and quite a crowd was gathered eating cupcakes when I arrived. This was the first TeachMeet I’d attended when I had not really though much about it or had any involvement with before hand. The participants were mostly students which gave the meet a slightly different energy, slightly more formal and organised than some TeachMeets, the crowd was quietly energetic and motivated.

        A couple of the usual suspects were in attendance but I didn’t know the vast majority of attendees.

        As usual for teachmeets the presentations were all interesting, with lots of things I either nodded to or was completely surprised by. The compare Paul Campbell kept everything running smoothly.

        I was nice to have a round table break in the middle, I went to a Games Based learning table organised by Morven Skinnder, Jen Deyenberg was in the group and has extensive experience in gbl. I suspect learning in Jen’s infant class would be wonderful with or without the high tech additions as I can’t imagine an object or situation she could not animate with learning.

        I’ll not go into details of the different presentations or the round table as I am currently chopping up the audio recording I took and posting to Edutalk I had my two minutes talking about Edutalk, should have done 7 as I expect that most folk went huh; without the chance to listen, or see a demo. I am quite pleased with the slide though.

        Edutalk is fairly pushing out the episodes at the moment, with the purpos/ed crew adding one a day for their #purposedfutured campaign and the audio from TMLothians11 – TeachMeet Lothians & Borders 2011 which I am (with permission) reposting on Edutalk.

        There is still plenty of room for move voices on Edutalk, see the How to EDUtalk to find out how easy it is to join in.

        My photos from Teachmeet Strathclyde on my John’s posterous site and there is a Teachmeet strathclyde Edition – Stuff from the strathclyde Teachmeet posterous waiting to be filled up.