Learning technology – always moving forward


Block 1, Activity 14: Evaluating an innovative pedagogy

The Innovating pedagogy reports have been published by The Open University since 2012, they explore ‘new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation’. The 2015 report is a succinct summary of current trends, all ranked in terms of potential impact and time scale for adoption. Key trends in this most recent report are

  • Crossover learning – connecting formal and informal learning
  • Learning through argumentation – developing skills of scientific argumentation
  • Incidental learning – harnessing unplanned or unintentional learning
  • Context-based learning -how context shapes and is shaped by the process of learning
  • Computational thinking – solving problems using techniques from computing
  • Learning by doing science with remote labs – guided experiments on authentic scientific equipment
  • Embodied learning – making mind and body work together to support learning
  • Adaptive teaching – adapting computer-based teaching to the learner’s knowledge and action
  • Analytics of emotions – responding to the emotional states of students
  • Stealth assessment – unobtrusive assessment of learning processes

Which comes first the learning theory or the pedagogical innovation? Is pedagogical innovation dependent on emerging technology or the new use of an existing technology? Taking just one innovation, context based learning, it is the technological developments – sophisticated apps using powerful handheld devices – that allow learning to be promoted by creating technologically recreated or enhanced contexts. This development seems linked to  cognitive learning theory  and situated cognition explored by  John Seely Brown .


Chroicocephalus ridibundus

DSCF3123Block 1, Activity 5: Are OER both open and innovative?

This, is a photo of the Black-Headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), spotted in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire on January 26th this year. I know this to be (very probably true) because the image was uploaded as part of a citizen science project developed by the Open University called iSpot.

The project, which stretches across the world, gives users the chance to upload and identify images of wildlife, fauna and flora. Other users help identify images too and participants gain credibility for their skills of identification. A neat Google map shows the location of the sighting, twitter feeds add to the connections made between the project and participants. You can sign in with Facebook too. The funding for the project looks substantial and sustained, meeting one of the challenges of OERs.

The collaborative power of this resource is evident straight away. I particularly liked the confidence rating feature: someone uploads an image and states what they think it is, other iSpot users then state if they agree – producing a confidence rating. Links to information on the particular upload are also available. Much like citizen journalism, I think the bottom up power of citizen science is great, combining enthusiasm with expertise, sharing it widely and building communities of interest. iSpot strikes me a great innovation in using the web to develop connections, knowledge and learning amongst participants.

Learning to value the long tail

Block 1 Activity 4: the long tail

It was interesting to read the Seely Brown and Adler (2008), ‘Minds on fire: open education, the long tail and learning 2.0’ to set the background for both open source software, developments in ways of working – I really like the idea of legitimate peripheral participation – and to read about  the early projects aimed at learning in different ways. The long tail is such a useful concept too in thinking about what happens to all these courses/podcasts/videos and links that people put out there.

I took a look at the Hands on Universe project, whose mission is to ‘train teachers onImage result for hands on universe astronomy the use of modern tools and resources for science education and engage students in international scientific projects’. The website is impressive and sets out fairly clearly the different areas of activity the project is involved with including training teachers how to engage and motivate students in astronomy, software products and access to telescopes. Interesting to see that since the project started that his helped established many HOU partners throughout the world; utilising the web to establish a distributed network but also to share the learning and software resources. A quick google scholar search revealed a few articles have been written citing the methodology used in the project to discuss ideas about how children can learn through project based work e.g Anthony J. Petrosino (2004) Integrating Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in Project-Based Instruction: A Case Study of an Experienced Teacher




Dry January or perhaps not

Berger & Wyse: dry January Block 1 Activity 3 – setting up your blog

Well, I love the fact you can set up a blog in about thirty seconds and I’m of age where I am unduly impressed by impressive graphics and pictures that just appear. However, I’m always a little bit stuck about what to write! There is tension between having lots of ideas all the time but thinking “is this any good?” Anxiety levels rise and I content myself with a re-tweet or two (@RDL7), such as this Berger & Wise cartoon from the Guardian. What I did discover studying a previous MAODE module (H800) is that lots of people feel the same way (about blogging, but probably about Berger & Wise too).

Kerawalla et al (2008) proposed five different types of student blogging behaviour:

“(1) Blogging avoidance, (2) Resource network building, (3) Support network building, (4) Self-sufficient blogging, (5) Anxious, self-conscious blogging just to complete the suggested course activities”  (p24)

I guess I started at blogging avoidance, I am currently engaging in number five but hoping that working with student colleagues on H817 I’ll move towards support networking building.