ocTEL Activities

Week 1 - stories about how technology has enhanced learning

Here are five stories about how technology has enhanced learning. Pick two that interest you. Review the evidence we’ve provided and decide which one you think is more powerful and relevant for you. Write down and share why you feel that way. Then find someone else who has argued for a different example. Discuss with them, and see if you can articulate and settle your differences. 
  • How Eric Mazur brought peer instruction into the lecture theatre using simple ‘clicker’ technology in his lectures – watch Mazur’s 2012 keynote from 18 min 25 sec for about three minutes
  • How Sugata Mitra designed a physical and social environment around computers so that young children would self-organise and teach themselves new skills through peer interaction and ‘emergent learning’ – watch Mitra’s 2010 keynote
  • How Stephen Downes and George Siemens pioneered the development of massive open online courses where the participants’ knowledge and understanding is developed and co-created by articulating ‘connectivist’ links between resources and people on the web – watch Howard Rheingold’s interview with George Siemens from 1 min 27 sec for 4 minutes 10 secs and from 17 min 47 secs for 1 minute 50 secs
  • How Margaret Cox and colleagues developed technology that could simulate the tactile and visual experience of drilling a tooth, so that dentistry students can achieve mastery before they are set loose on our teeth – watch the HapTEL video from 25 seconds for four and a half minutes and the HapTEL booklet (PDF)
  • How Helen Keegan devised a full Augmented Reality Game (ARG) with a fake identity that unsettled her Advanced Multimedia students and gave them a truly vivid experience of the power of social media and digital identity – watch Keegan’s spotlight talk from 12 min 2 sec for 25 minutes
(If you’re feeling ambitious, or have more time, you can either review three of the stories or, better, find more evidence about the two you have reviewed and see how it colours your original view.)Please share your ideas on your blog or via Twitter (using #ocTEL tag), on this forum topic, or via the JiscMail list.

I've chosen:

  • a physical and social environment around computers so that young children would self-organise and teach themselves new skills through peer interaction and ‘emergent learning’ 
  • Augmented Reality Game (ARG) 
More to follow as I progress with this task...

Week 0 - About Kayla; Teacher, Educational Technologist and Student #ocTEL

This week’s task is to write a short intro about yourself.
You might want to include
  • your previous experiences with TEL and what technology was involved
  • what about the technology made the way you absorb, reflect, discuss, act different
  • your experiences as a student, a teacher or a learning technologist or indeed some other role.
  • if this is your first experience of TEL, the expectations you have of it.

When I was studying for my A'Levels, our Russian teacher brought 
in her computer with a Cyrillic keyboard (ok, an "ordinary" one, with stickers for the Cyrillic letters!) for us to type up our essays (mine were about Chekhov's short stories and the Soviet/Russian Space Programme). I was excited to have access to information outside the school and local library via the internet, but I was frustrated by having to book computer slots in advance and I found it really challenging to get technology to work using more than one alphabet.

Professionally, I began in the public sector as an IT Trainer - firstly in the classroom, and then for blended and online courses. As a Learning and Development Consultant, I developed courses for non-IT subjects, too, which included facilitating online training and eTutoring. We had our own VLE, virtual classroom and used several authoring tools to produce bespoke blended training. We offered tutoring/mentoring and work-based projects to put the focus on supporting colleagues to actively learn what they needed for their roles. The technology made it possible for colleagues from around the country to  learn together in a time and cost effective way.

In 2011, I started working in elearning at the University of Manchester. I've worked with academics, elearning colleagues, librarians and students to enhance elearning on postgraduate taught programmes in Engineering and Physical Sciences and Humanities. We use a VLE (Blackboard) and various authoring, media editing and online communication tools. I've enjoyed dabbling in student-generated content and I'm interested in the developments in mlearning and what this might offer in terms of rich and engaging learning experiences to students. 

I've also recently refreshed my training as a Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), at The Manchester College. Using the Interactive White Boards (IWB) with students was fun, useful for some areas of TESOL and handy for providing electronic notes to students quickly and easily; which neatly brings me to my current studies...

I'm studying for an MA in Educational Technology and TESOL by distance and I've been amazed at the changes since my undergraduate days - online journals, referencing software, programs/apps that sync across devices, online assignment submission and feedback, online communities and live communication... such an improvement on dial-up days! It can be much easier to concentrate on content nowadays as accessing resources is generally much quicker and it's great to be able to connect with folk around the world so easily. But, it is also easier to distract yourself trying out new technologies, instead of knuckling down to some study!

I'm following this course as I haven't yet experienced a MOOC, and I'm curious! I'm pleased to have the opportunity to participate with like-minded folk and learn more about the what, how and why of the technologies that others are using. So far the quantity of communication is a little bewildering, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. This is very much an extra to my postgraduate studies, though, so I may have to follow the "If you only do one thing..." approach until the end of semester, hence the title of this blog...

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