Interesting presentation (especially the screen shots in the latter half) on personal and informal learning. "Key learning points: Early adoption examples of dynamic social learning in real-world scenarios; How to use social media to create personalised learning experiences; The role of digital learning in large scale transformation; How Tin Can API [aka Experience API] changes the landscape of e-learning." See more from Brightwave here.
We need to "stop thinking about pageviews or other traffic-focused metrics, and start thinking about measuring actual attention or engagement," says Chartbeat founder and CEO Tony Haile as his company is set to open access to the company's metrics and procedures. Although these metrics are intended for the web content industry, it's hard not to think that they will be relevant to e-learning as well. They are, after all, a prima facie indicator of engagement, which is a primary indicator for learning. It would also be interesting to see cross-industry analysis - one wonders how a MOOC really does compare to a newspaper website, YouTibe channel, or advertising campaign.
According to this post, Colleges and Institutes Canada has released a report describing "the programs, support services and innovations that Canadian colleges are using to increase access to post-secondary education for vulnerable groups." The report (60 page PDF) is organized as a series of 55 or so one-page articles, each describing a case where someone uses one of the services (it would make a great series of blog posts). Topics include Indigenous learners, language support for new arrivals, learning disabilities, the transition to college, mental illness and crime. "Reducing the barriers that prevent young people from entering and completing post-secondary education is key to improved self-confidence, employment success and economic prosperity."
I've used the phrase 'free learning and control learning' in the past to highlight the same distinction, but while my terminology didn't really take off, perhaps Jane Hart's 'social learning and fauxial learning' will fare better. I'm not betting on it. But the distinction is valid, and so is the recognition that people can depend on people other than teachers to support their own learning. "Organizations can no longer exist in silos -- either internally or in relation to the external ecosystem. Cooperation and collaboration will yield greater benefits than competitiveness. Employees will no longer tolerate being treated like replaceable cogs."
Can autodidacticism be taught? That is, can you learn how to learn for yourself? It would seem obvious that you can - for example, you can be taught to read, which is a major component of learning for yourself, you can be taught experimentation through examples such as Mythbusters, and you can be taught learning strategies, logic and inference. Most of us could be taught these at a fairly young age. I was, through a standard public school education supplemented with a voracious reading of classic literature. But, I guess, most people aren't.
Why does this matter? It matters because I have encountered yet another blog post (citing people like Paul A. Kirschner yet again) making the claim that "learners don’ t know what’ s best for them." The argument boils down to two major premises: that students can't (or won't) make good choices, and they can't (or won't) tackle difficult tasks. The slightest observation of people out there on their own actually learning (everything from digital photography to road cycling to bird-watching to home repair) refutes both points. But evidence isn't sufficient for people like the aforementioned Kirschner, who prefers to use cherrypicked facts and carefully designed studies. But this should give people pause: what is the evidence that people cannot learn how to learn for themselves? I contend that it does not exist, and that merely citing studies of people (like hairdressing students) who have not yet learned proves nothing.
Although Tony Bates considers this book "essential reading for anyone who wants to take a professional, evidence-based approach to online learning (distance or otherwise)" he suggests that "we need a better way to disseminate this research than a 500 page printed text that only those already expert in the field are likely to access." It doesn't help that there's no open access version (at least that I could find). Moreover, writes Bates, "I groaned when I first saw the list of contributors. The same old, same old list of distance education experts with a heavy bias towards open universities."
Tony Bates surveys some advantages and disadvantages of MOOCs. One item he focuses on is the demographics of MOOC users. "most MOOC participants are already well-educated and employed. The work by Kop and Fournier (collected here (I don’ t know why everyone cites the 2014 EdX research but ignores this earlier research)) on the population served by MOOCs also found that it was an older and well-credentialed demographic. But I wonder how relevant this is. The 1994 surveys of internet users show that the average user was North American, educated and professional. They were also overwhelmingly male. But it would have been incorrect to conclude from this data that the internet would not have a broad society-wide utility or appeal. It shows, simply, that there is a characteristic demographic that benefits from innovation earlier than everyone else.
Join EDEN's Eighth Research Workshop (EDENRW8), to be held in Oxford on 27-28 October 2014 ('zero day' 26 October). We are pleased, that the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mohammed Abbasi will honour the Welcome Reception with his presence.
See the invitation video of the EDEN President: VIDEO
In collaboration with:
founding member of EDEN
The theme and scope of EDENRW8 reflects the current challenges facing researchers and the intersection of their work with ‘doing better things’ for key stakeholders.
When an organization is leading its field as EDEN does, it needs to break through uncharted ground. Building a roadmap becomes therefore a critical task. Our network should feel proud on how it is successfully finding its way through a rapidly changing landscape.
Jisc is enabling researchers across the UK to safely and securely share health data to progress their research with a collaborative initiative.
This initiative is showcasing how the UK’s research and education network Janet, provided by Jisc, can offer additional controls and safeguards for researchers working with sensitive data.
Jisc is working in partnership with leading UK universities to support three new initiatives. Rather than each of the research programmes and organisations developing one-off solutions to manage collaborative secure communication and user authentication between partners, Jisc is securing the networks across the organisations so that approved researchers working in one partner organisation can gain access to the data they need wherever it is stored.
The first is the development of the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, a UK-wide virtual organisation with four connection points and ten funding organisations. The Farr Institute provides a cutting-edge collaborative infrastructure for the safe use of patient and research data for medical research. This will lead to advances in preventative medicine, improvements in NHS care and better development of commercial drugs and diagnostics. It will also allow researchers to discover new insights into the causes of ill health, which in turn will lead to new therapies.
The second initiative, Medical Bioinformatics, is funded by the Medical Research Council, and will provide capacity for the safe use and analysis of biological and patient data for medical research across all diseases.
Jeremy Sharp, Janet's director of strategic technologies, says:
“Providing researchers with controlled access to data and resources through the network is key to enabling them to focus on their research. In validating this use of the Janet network for sensitive, anonymised health data, we are ensuring that the UK’s investment in Janet will reap larger returns in the future and continue to respond to the considerable challenges facing those people who are doing valuable work analysing large quantities of data.”
The longer term aim is to create the conditions for a national infrastructure for secure access to data for researchers across various academic disciplines.
John Ainsworth, senior research fellow at the University of Manchester and e-infrastructure lead for the Farr Institute, says:
“The network is changing the way we do data analysis. It will provide a secure infrastructure for collaboration and the sharing of resources for data science. This will enable researchers to concentrate on what they do best – discovering new knowledge.”
Successful proposals will have to demonstrate considerations of metadata, ‘curriculum mapping’ and Creative Commons licences are an integral part of the proposal to ensure the resources are discoverable, relevant and recyclable.
The aim is that these online interactive resources will help to improve access to and exploitation of open educational resources (OERs). The commissioned content will be deposited on the national repository for open educational resources, Jorum and made available for teachers and learners to share and exploit.
Ruth Hansford, manager of the interactive learning resources for skills project at Jisc, says:
“There is a time-honoured teacher tradition of spending evenings creating learning materials, taking them into work and swapping them over the photocopier. But how do teachers in the FE and skills sector locate and exploit suitable learning content in the digital age?
We’re offering the possibility to create varied and high-quality multimedia and interactive content which will be available to all in the sector.”
Hairdressing students and their lecturers will now be able to access Jisc's pioneering Hairdressing Training videos any time, anywhere through their mobile.
From today the award-winning service Hairdressing Training will be available as a mobile app. The app showcases the existing portfolio of hairdressing and barbering training videos developed by Mimas, a part of Jisc.
There are many benefits to mobile learning. Research by the former Learning and Skills Network (LSN)1 has found that the use of mobile technologies in work-based and vocational learning contexts can result in increased:
engagement with the topic
flexibility of learning
learner retention and achievement
personalisation of learning
access to learning resources
To maximise these benefits further the videos included in the app were created by those who teach NVQ/SVQ Levels 1-3 in further education in the UK, ensuring accuracy for learning and teaching.
The app is an easy way to view over 60 educational hairdressing training and barbering video tutorials – all mapped to the NVQ curriculum. Users will be able to save their favourite videos to a playlist and even share them socially. The videos are organised into different categories, making searching simple, and new content will be added when available.
Susanne Boyle, senior manager for learning, teaching and professional skills at Mimas, a part of Jisc, says:
"The Hairdressing Training service is a mature and highly valued service. It is much-loved and well-used and has grown over the years, with training videos amassing 1000s of hits on YouTube. It’s predominantly used by further education teachers and students but also by those who work in salons, both in the UK and abroad.
The launch of the mobile app is another exciting development and offers our users the benefits of flexible access 24/7, supplying quality resources at their fingertips."
Lorraine Estelle, Jisc’s executive director digital resources and divisional CEO of Jisc Collections, said:
“Our vision is to ensure that learners and teachers realise the benefits of mobile technology by delivering content onto any device, at any time and anywhere. This app is an important step in realising this vision and improving the student experience.”
Currently the app has been optimised for use on mobile devices only. A version for iPads and other handheld tablets may be looked at in the future.
The Hairdressing Training app is available to download for iOS devices from the Apple Store and for Android devices from Google Play.
Research in the UK has been given a boost this week as specialist data centre provider, Infinity, has secured a five year framework agreement with Janet, the UK’s national research and education network, provided by Jisc.
The deal sees the creation of a Jisc data centre to support the requirements for academic research and will be the first shared data centre for medical and academic research in the UK. The funding of approximately £900,000 to make the facility happen has been provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
At launch, in September 2014, the Jisc data centre will house the IT of a consortium of six of the UK’s most successful scientific and academic organisations.
Tim Marshall, executive director Jisc technologies and CEO Janet said:
“By having the shared data centre users can access off-site data storage and services. This world-leading facility will mean that users can consolidate their sensitive data in one safe environment and increase collaboration, whilst saving money both in terms of their operational costs and by not having to repeatedly procure facilities.
The data centre will be connected to the Janet network core and part of its backbone, therefore facilitating access, reducing costs and meeting the bandwidth requirements of large data sets. As space becomes premium on campus this is a significant step on the journey to the cloud and already indications are that this will be a major breakthrough for the UK education and research community.”
Infinity will operate the data centre at its flagship Slough data centre in the UK. The design combines a traditional three tier datacentre with a flexible range of low to high power rack densities and an aggregated discount pricing structure across all organisations using the service, ensuring that the infrastructure is workload focused and value driven. This is the first large scale example of high performance computer environments being placed in an outsourced co-location facility.
Stuart Sutton, Infinity’s CEO, says:
“Infinity is immensely proud to be selected as the best in class data centre provider for the development of this nationally important facility. The work that the education and research sectors do can be life changing and the technology used will further the UK’s position as a global leader in medical and academic research. We are extremely pleased to be a part of that.
The creation of an unsurpassed community of interest for the education and research sectors here at Infinity Slough is a fantastic opportunity for us and something that we are very excited about. Infinity’s flexible and innovative approach to data centre services was key to securing this deal.
This is a great example of Infinity’s opinion that the outsourced DC market is no longer a place for property transactions – it is a flexible, scalable, partnership that delivers an important component to the overall IT solution. We look forward to working collaboratively with Jisc.”
The new Jisc data centre which will grow to more than 800 racks’ capacity will be a significant enabler in achieving its aims of improving the speed and quality of UK research. This will allow the community to share large swathes of data, helping to push the traditional boundaries of teaching, learning and research methods. For researchers, the high capacity of the Janet network backbone allows the linking of large data storage and high performance computing facilities at national and international levels.
The BBC calls on developers, publishers, digital agencies and startups to help students, teachers and researchers get the most out of online educational resources.
Working with the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) and Jisc, the BBC is looking to fund the development of software applications which will improve learning and study by facilitating access to a vast range of online resources which have been licensed for educational use.
The funding comes through the BBC Connected Studio team and is the latest stage of the Research and Education Space (RES), a three-year programme of activity which aims to bring together an extensive catalogue of publicly held resources which can be used as the basis for educational software, learning resources, classroom teaching aids and research tools.
Drawing on material from libraries, museums, galleries and broadcasters, RES will provide a platform for developers and publishers to build new products, tools and services with the aim of enhancing education and research. A preview version of the RES open platform, Acropolis, is now available and the RES Connected Studio will bring developers, publishers, digital agencies and startups together to work on ideas and prototypes for RES-based tools, some of which will be funded as pilots and assessed by the BBC.
As RES is a partnership between Jisc, the BUFVC and the BBC, it will cover material relevant to education and research at all levels, from primary schools to post-doctoral research.
Tony Ageh, controller of archive development and digital public space at the BBC, said:
“We’re really excited about what developers might produce when they get access to the RES catalogue, and the Connected Studio has a track record of encouraging innovation around the latest technologies.
We want the best people coming up with the best ideas, so we can really explore the potential of RES in education.”
Ben Showers, Jisc’s head of scholarly and library futures, added:
"This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who wants to really make a difference to educators and their students in the UK and beyond.
We know that the most innovative ideas could come from inside or outside our schools and universities, so we welcome applications from all talented individual developers or teams that have experience of creating this kind of content."
The BBC has released a creative brief that gives more detail about the types of proposals it is looking for, and is inviting developers to register for the BBC Connected Studio Briefing, which is taking place at Shoreditch Village Hall at 17:30 on 4 September 2014. This will explain the process in detail and the information from the briefing will be posted online on 5 September 2014.
RES is an open platform that anyone can work with, and the briefing will provide the background information needed to develop applications, but will also be relevant for those who are not part of the Connected Studio process.
In the recent article “Simulating Learning Networks in a Higher Education Blogosphere – At Scale“, Fridolin Wild and Steinn Sigurdarson introduce into a simulation model built from the iCamp trial data and educational model assumption: they wanted to see what would happen, if trials are scaled up an order of magnitude. The simulation results are [...]
One year after we succesfully went through iCamp project’s last official review, we are wirting down a new post for wellcoming a new version of our Handbook. This is the time for its Spanish version, issued by Win-Win Consultores, with the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Turism under its “avanza2” [...]
The iCamp partner AGH – the University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland, has published recently a Polish version of the iCamp handbook on how to use social software in education. Please click here to get the electronic version.
Since the iCamp experience was very successful in making use of new media for cross-cultural collaboration iCamp competes for the MEDEA Awards, respecively in the European Collaboration Award.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
We now received the final review report where our external reviewers commend us on our excellent work and our valuable contribution to European research in Technology Enhanced Learning.
Here are some quotes from the report, which can also be downloaded:
… In the opinion of the reviewers the products and outcomes of the project are of considerable [...]