Interesting concept for a website. According to the promo blurb, "We make it easy for teachers to virtually invite industry professionals into the classroom to bring real world relevance to curriculum topics, to help evaluate student projects and to engage and inspire students in STEAM!" By 'STEAM" they mean Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (poor old Humanities just can't catch a break). The site is called Nepris.
There have been numerous reports in recent weeks about sweatshop conditions in technology companies, for example, Amazon.com, and while some people just don't care, others have advocated remedies such as unionization to address these conditions, as for example is happening at Gawker. This post is a poorly informed argument against unionization. Here are its major arguments and my responses:
"It's impossible to take individual performance into account when attempting to set collective compensation practice" - nonsense. I work in a unionized environment where people have very specialized skills and pay and promotions are based on performance, not time served
People opposed to the working conditions "would quickly be displaced by another person willing to make those sacrifices" - not true. In a unionized environment individuals are protected by the possibility of collective action by everybody. You aren't on your own in a union.
I am in favour of unionization. Historically, non-union workplaces feature lower pay, harsher working conditions, fewer benefits, and weaker job security. People arguing against unionization are either uninformed, like this person, or they are advocating on behalf of company owners and management. They stabilize the economy, create wider social benefits, and increase productivity.
This is a review of an open source alternative to Premiere or Microsoft Movie Maker. It's called OpenShot and the only real drawback is that it is only available for Fedora and Ubuntu Linux - though if you're using an open source video editor you probably already use Linux.
18-21 September 2015, Athens, Greece
In collaboration with: Ellinogermaniki Agogi
PROGRAMME IS COMING SOON!
Trainings that are applicable to teachers' everyday practices, best practice demonstrations, scholarly papers and synergy initiatives will ensure lively and highly interactive experience. The registration to the conference is free of charge, but online registration is required.
While most of us are still catching their breath after such an intense and truly memorable week in Barcelona at the #EDEN15, it is safe to say that the conference was a great success, indeed. The topics chosen, all innovations introduced in the format and the networking opportunities provided were fully embraced by the EDEN community. In today's guest post Antonio Teixeira invited Alan Tait to share with us a brief account of the preparations of the EDEN's 25th Anniversary Year. Visit the President's blog to read the guest posts as well as other invited articles by Executive Committee members and former EDEN presidents.
We are happy to announce that Dr. Ing. Diana Andone and Ebba Ossiannilsson, PhD, have been elected by the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Barcelona to serve as new members of the Executive Committee of EDEN from June 2015.
The first Senior Fellow and Fellow Awards, launched on the initiative of Professor Alan Tait, former EDEN President, were presented at the 2007 Annual Conference in Naples. In 2015, this tradition was continued in Barcelona, at the Welcome Reception of the 2015 Annual Conference - #EDEN15. The 2015 Awards were announced to the Senior Fellows and Fellow present at the event, while those who couldn't join the Conference Reception were mentioned with applause.
The EDEN Senior Fellow Award is given in 2015, based on the decision of the EDEN Executive Committee to:
Keeping your information secure can seem like a constant battle on all sides. Instead of trying to secure everything, Andrew Cormack, chief regulatory officer, Jisc technologies, advocates adopting a strategy to allow what activities you can, and defend your most valuable information assets. Read the original blog post.
Recently Jisc opened a call to find 50 of the most influential HE professionals on social media in the UK. But what actually constitutes good practice among university and college staff? Tom Mitchell, group social media manager, offers his advice. Read the original blog post.
Listen to the podcast and then join in the discussion, using the hashtag #jisc50social.
In the 12 months since the first shared data centre for research and education was launched by Infinity SDC and Jisc, many of the country’s top universities, colleges and research institutions have joined to improve efficiency, decrease costs and advance collaboration on world-leading research.
A year ago research in the UK was given a boost when the first shared data centre was created to support the requirements for academic research; becoming the first shared data centre of its type in the world. It is offered by specialist data centre provider, Infinity, through a framework agreement with Jisc.
Now, eleven leading UK institutions are utilising the facility for high performance computing and core IT infrastructure; resulting in increased collaboration with significant research projects, improved efficiency across core IT and on-premise data centre facilities being repurposed for teaching.
For researchers, being directly connected to the core of Jisc’s Janet network, the high capacity network for education and research, allows the quick and secure linking of large data storage and high performance computing facilities at national and international levels.
“In the short time since launching, the shared data centre has proved a great success. Conversations with the sector show it to be in full support of the initiative, seeing it as an important step in allowing universities and colleges to be more efficient, effective and increasing collaboration that push the boundaries of research.
"The fact that eight of the UK’s leading institutions have already moved into the facility is further support for the data centre and we are in talks to welcome more tenants before the end of 2015.”
Commenting on why they selected the data centre, Nick Leake, CIO at King’s University College, says:
“Power flexibility was a very important reason for us moving into the facility. We required a data centre to provide a range of power densities per rack, as well as the flexibility to change the power allocation within the data hall when needed to meet the processing power required for biomedical research. The facility certainly helps us with this and is a vast improvement over our previous on premise data centre.”
Spencer Lamb, business development director, Infinity adds:
"Colocation providers have rarely delivered services for research HPC clusters as the majority of these have been kept on premise by the user. The Jisc shared data centre has bucked this trend by providing a flexible home for these systems, laying the foundation for collaboration between these institutions, something that was very difficult to do in the past.
"Furthermore an ecosystem is being generated to deliver further services to all the existing and future users as the Jisc shared data centre matures."
Flipped classrooms are turning education upside-down: students watch videos in their own time, then come together in a curated discussion to interact and learn together with their teacher. But what about flipped learning for professional development?
Flipped learning, blended learning, mixed-mode instruction. The terms change, but the concept stays the same. Learners study material at their own pace, typically through watching videos, and then benefit from an interactive group session. Tutors spend time doing what they do best: working with individuals, guiding discussions, creating hands-on activities, and less time presenting. The pedagogy is starting to gain interest among educational researchers, too. A study in 2011 split a class of undergraduate physics students during the 12th week of their course, with half the students taught in person as usual and the other half taught through flipped learning, without a formal lecture. At the end of the week, they were tested. In the control classroom, students gained an average score of 41%, but the flipped learners scored an average of 74%.
So could this be applied to training the staff themselves? And if tutors were more confident having been on the other end of this practice, would they feel better about using the technique with their learners? Samantha Broom, head of modern foreign languages at St Mary's Catholic Academy in Blackpool, definitely thinks so.
Higher level learning
As someone who regularly flips her continuing professional development sessions, Samantha sees a number of benefits:
“Flipping is extremely effective as it gives everyone the opportunity to engage with the learning materials at their own speed, and this then gives you more time to go deeper into the learning during training time with professionals.”
That face-to-face learning between mentor and learner is what turns straightforward distance learning into flipped learning. These sessions may also give learners more time to engage in one-to-one discussion with the tutor, something they couldn’t do in a lecture or workshop scenario. Writing in the US publication Faculty Focus, Dr Penne Restad, who uses the flipped model to teach history at the University of Texas, has said:
"Working in class along with a master of the discipline (you), they learn to think more critically, communicate more effectively, and have a greater appreciation for the unique importance and logic of the subject."
With such a diverse range of staff working in any learning provider, the flexibility of this approach can be particularly useful. Martin Compton is a teacher trainer and elearning specialist at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College. He uses flipped CPD to train teachers from various subject areas in one room. They may have watched subject-specific material before the session, but can discuss it more generally with colleagues from other departments.
Isabel Boothby, a participant on the eteaching course that Martin runs, explains,
"I am given tasks to do without a huge amount of support which means that I have to actually research the methods and find a way of being able to do these tasks myself. It’s the process of discovering that not only can I do it, but I can do it without a lot of scaffolding, that has been really really empowering."
Another benefit of flipped learning is in the longevity of materials. Having an online home for a course can provide a space like this one for participants to refer back to and update themselves for continuing professional development in the truest sense.
Flipped learning and technology go hand-in-hand
Harry Wheatcroft talks about the impact and benefits of introducing online health and safety training for staff at Loughborough College
Apart from keeping people happy, Martin Compton argues that teaching using flipped learning is “a no-brainer because it’s so much easier than other forms of training”. If shared openly, the resources only have to be created once, and can then be used across different training providers. The flipped approach is starting to become more and more integral to the second year PGCE course that Martin runs, especially in modules on curriculum development for inclusive practice, which he maintains on Blendspace, an online platform for sharing different kinds of media.
“You could do flipped learning without technology but they go hand in hand. Cloud-based technology is the perfect flipping tool.” In some colleges like Uxbridge, the virtual learning environment is beginning to be replaced by a series of cloud resources. Martin says, “It’s also possible to massively decrease the photocopying budget; you could use a QR code to allow staff quick access to relevant resources.” Expensive projectors and screens, which can cost up to £5,000 per classroom, are replaced by instant access to the technology online. The face to face sessions tend to be lighter on the tech and more focused on peer and trainer interaction.
But it’s not all plain sailing. Doing things differently and taking staff out of the classroom and on to their computers for the presentation part of their learning, can raise eyebrows, at least initially. Martin says, “People panic – managers panic, even the people doing the courses panic. It’s so counter to the norms. It’s requiring them to be independent. They like classrooms and registers.”
But when it comes to actually doing the courses, Martin has been surprised. He says, “I can’t believe how positive everyone is. What we are doing is to do is showing that you can release people to have the confidence to do this.”
If learning providers want to promote this kind of upside-down thinking then they need to empower people at the grassroots, Martin argues.
“The most effective change happens through the pressure of individuals. My desire to share has been supported by an information learning technology, or ILT, strategy.”
That support drives a critical mass of people to become involved, which helps to drive change.
Dr Paul Feldman, currently an executive partner at Gartner UK, has been appointed as Jisc’s new chief executive with a start date in mid-October 2015. He has extensive experience of working at a senior level in large, complex IT organisations. Paul takes over from Professor Martyn Harrow who, over the past four years, has transformed the organisation to better meet the changing needs in UK universities and colleges.
He has a track record in introducing innovative solutions, was in the vanguard of the first moves to use the internet for commercial purposes, and led the work that resulted in same-day payments between bank accounts.
Dr Feldman said:
“Jisc plays a pivotal role in helping the UK’s higher education, further education and skills sectors reinvent, adapt to change and make savings through the shared services, collective deals and advisory support it provides. Now, more than ever, universities and colleges need this kind of body and advice to help them take advantage of the opportunities digital technology offers to transform research, teaching, learning and organisational culture.
“Martyn and his team have made great strides in transforming Jisc. I look forward to building on this success and the solid foundations he has laid.”
"Our organisation exists to help colleges, universities and learning providers to thrive and perform at the forefront of international practice by fully exploiting the power of digital technologies.
“I want to pay tribute to the work Martyn Harrow and his team have done here. Jisc today is significantly different from the organisation he came into four years ago; we are stronger, sharper and more agile, with a solid customer service ethos at our heart.
“Paul's appointment will help take us to the next level, further supporting the critical work of universities and colleges.”