Blog posts

Future of Technology in Education Conference 2013

The annual Future of Technology in Education (FOTE) Conference took place last month at Senate House, London. A wide range of topics were covered from changes to work based learning, to open access and online pedagogies.

Dr Nicola Millard, from British Telecom (BT) discussed the changing nature of the workplace and highlighted elements of her report entitled ‘the future of the office’, which looks at the growing trend of non office based workers.

There was a ‘fireside’ question and answer session, where the panel discussed what worked well and what did not in technology projects. The panel agreed that technology projects were more about the people than the technology.

2014 – the year of the SPOCs

Following on from my previous article in February, around Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), this article looks further into what has happened in this area over the past few months. MOOCs have been mentioned on BBC’s Newsnight to conferences. The number of providers and courses have increased. This article examines what role, MOOCs can play as a technology that could bring about a wider change in the higher education sector.

A new UK based MOOC provider, FutureLearn launched on the 18th September 2013 at the British Library in London, with guests including the Universities Minister David Willetts. FutureLearn joins some of the biggest US providers such as Coursera, EdX and Udacity.

Flipped Classrooms, Blended Learning and MOOCs Learning Design in the 21st Century

By Dr Maria Toro-Troconis E-Learning Strategy and Development Manager, Faculty of Medicine Centre

Mobile and web 2.0 technologies are changing the way we access information and learn in the 21st century. On one hand, mobile technology makes access to factual information possible on the Internet anywhere, anytime. On the other hand, social media is harnessing the use of mobile technology providing access to powerful online community experiences.

Factual information that used to be owned by educators and was only available in a limited number of books in the library, is now available at our finger tips on the Internet. This phenomenon is clearly having a knock on effect on the way learning is delivered.

Lessons from the East and West

The Learning Landscape is changing and not just in the title of the Higher Education Academy’s Programme entitled ‘Changing the Learning Landscape’. Central to some of this change is the role of technologies to facilitate learning and teaching. There are many examples of this from the rising universities in the east (in Singapore for example) and the more established universities in the west (in the US for example).

Last month, Professor Daniel Tan, Director, Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore gave a keynote presentation entitled ‘Learning that clicks and connects’ as part of Education Day, which illustrated many aspects of how changing learning spaces and using technologies such as lecture capture set ups in these new spaces and the use of virtual learning environment activities are allowing learners to learn not just from the lecturer but also from each other in a way that wasn’t possible but the advent of technology and therefore learning at a much deeper level.

Batteries not included: the rise of the virtual voting applications

Whether you are teaching a small class or a large co-hort of students or training staff, the ability to know what they have understood is crucial to good teaching or training and allows you to pitch your sessions better in the future. This is why physical clickers several years ago were so beneficial in teaching. Despite being really useful in many situations, they are largely expensive, sometimes difficult to set up and for these reasons the purchase and take up of such devices has not been widespread in many universities.

With the rise of various mobile devices form factors and the culture of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) from students and staff alike, using their smartphones and tablets to access institution systems, the idea of having a virtual voting application (also referred to as ‘audience response system’) that can be accessed on any mobile device becomes increasingly desirable.

The MOOC Phenomenon

This post is both a brief summary of thoughts and my reflects on the MOOCs movement which I have observed and continue to observe as a participant, including talks I have attended. If you are in Learning Technology (or even if you are not), then you will not have failed to see the rise of the MOOC (that’s Massive Open Online Courses). Here’s a video explaining the concept too.

The Annual Draper’s Lecture at the Teaching & Learning Conference at Queen Marys, University of London was the first MOOC themed talk I attended on the 16th January, presented by Vice Chancellor of the Open University, Martin Bean, entitled “MOOCs, Napster and the Tyranny of Conventional Wisdom: Where’s the Next Giant Leap for Higher Education?” The talk highlights many of the challenges to the higher education section in the UK and some examples of how other industries where change has been slow have seen their customers go elsewhere.

Learning Technology Trends for the New Year

Happy New Year! Skipped posts in December! I thought I’d write a post about Learning Technology trends for the new year. Newspapers, Magazines and websites such as the BBC are awash with  predictions of things to come!

Anyone interested in education couldn’t have missed MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses, first brought to our attention in this country by the three main US providers Coursera, edX and Udacity. The idea is simple, a mass participation in a course using the web. Seems like the next step in distance learning? Maybe. The idea of the MOOC has been criticised by several educationalists.

London Festival of Education 2012

I thought I’d start this blog off with an event I attended which was the inaugural London Festival of Education took place at the Institute of Education in London on Saturday 17th November. The event was the first of its kind, with a variety of speakers including the Education secretary, Michael Gove, writers Michael Rosen and Anthony Horowitz and many others talking on a variety of topics including the use of technology in education and debating various points of view in depth. The quality of the discussions and the presentations were excellent!

There were several sessions on how technology in education, including the team behind the Raspberry Pi computer, a cheap computer for children to engage with coding on, demonstrating the Raspberry Pi.