Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CAL 2009: Saint or sinner

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Saint or sinner: Engineering creative disruptions with ambivalent technologies
Tom J. Hamilton, Diane M. Brewster; University of Sussex

Telling a story of how technology is being used. Idea is to take people out of their normal "headspace". What is meant by disruption? Technology can disrupt learning - for example, students can get distracted by the technology rather than subject. Taking about the InQbate space. They have 16 projectors that project images all round the room. {Just realised this is the same idea as the first session I saw about Brighton's Creativity space - different university, same project.}

Look at two tools - immersion and contradiction. For immersion look at product design and teaching. Using contradiction in Drama and Engineering. In product design, lecturer wanted students to see how colours and images affect people's perceptions.

Contradiction. For example, in Engineering, students worked with creative writing students to create poetry (a video podcast) based on fluid dynamics equation.

Were the students engaged with the technology or the content? There were some problems - buggy software and unrealistic expectations. However, some students saw the positive benefits for particular uses. The engineers looking at fluid dynamics equations seems to have been very positive.

Monday, March 30, 2009

CAL 2009: Digital Dentists

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Measures to assess students’ spatial reasoning relating to using Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)
Margaret J. Cox, Jonathan P. San Diego, T. Newton, J. Hindmarsh, P. Reynolds, S. Dunne, et al; King's College London

PHANTOM project: Design, develop and evaluation of haptic and synthetic devices applied in dentistry. (Haptic - sense of touch.) Interdisciplinary team looking at Technical, Curriculum & Context and Educational Evaluation. Gathering evidence of students' attitudes under three headings and hope to see which factors have the biggest impact. Compared "traditional" method where students practise drilling on a mannequin while being observed by tutor and then final result is also assessed.

Technology Enhanced Learning methods used spacial relations tests, measure fine motor skills (identified by clinicians as an important skill that may improve with practice), gross motor skills, etc. Also developing a PHANTOM Workstation - a virtual mannequin. Virtual mannequin will allow students to rehearse techniques over and over again. Also, the students' performance can be replayed and assessed.

The research will also capture experts using the PHANTOM tool and then students can compare their performance against the expert.

CAL 2009: Does Technology Enhance Learning?

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

The dark side of learning in digital worlds - ‘technology never enhances learning!’
Esyin Chew, N. Jones, D.A. Turner; University of Glamorgan

Technology has not had the impact on Learning and Teaching that we might have hoped for. There remains a group of unconvertables who will not use technology in their teaching. (See The University of Google.) There is a school of thought that says technology does not impact on learning in the same way that a lorry delivering vegetables has no effect on nutrition.

Research looked at a number of universities and noted that elearning had positive effects such as ease of access, any time learning etc. However, they also reported "discomforting experiences" for example academics complained about time and discipline issues whereas students complained about no synchronous feed back and misuse of online forums. Lecturers complained about lack of time and student complained lecturers are not up to date.

See the Evaluations of Learners' Experiences of e-learning (Special Interest Group) site for more information on learners experience of blended learning. Both students and lecturers complain about technical problems. Also different ways that the academics use technology. For example, Science lecturers tend to use the technology to "preach" whereas social scientists use it to discuss.

Mutual communication would be beneficial. "The value of an educational technology reflects the values of those who make it and use it." A student said, "It's not the technology that doesn't impress me. It's the lecturer that doesn't impress me." {Once again, it's not the tech, it's the teach. DM}

Saturday, March 28, 2009

CAL 2009: Digital natives

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Digital natives: Who are they and what do they look like?
Rebecca Eynon*, Ellen Helsper University of Oxford (Oxford Internet Institute)

What factors may describe a digital native? Is there an age factor.

If it is true that younger people work and learn in different ways, this has implications for education. Important to see how young people are using technology in their daily lives. There is some research that shows a higher proportion of young people use the Internet but are there significant differences in the way young people use new technology?

Research based on Oxford Internet Survey - the 2007 survey is based on responses from over 2000 people. General characteristics of digital natives were described. {But I missed the chance to copy them down! Curses. - DM}. Some aspects of the survey results show that age is a factor. For example, 14-17 year olds are the highest users of the Internet and are more likely to be surrounded by technology. When asked how skilled they are at using the internet, again, 14-17 year olds are more likely to say they are skilled. First port of call for information - again, 14-17 most likely to go to the Internet for more tasks. Multi-tasking by age also shows 14-17 as highest. However, there is not the dramatic drop that Prensky might suggest after 25. Main significant drop happens after 55.

Digital nativeness - age is an indicator, but so are other factors such as previous experience.

Activities online - shopping is the most common. Middle age group more likely to shop and do e-government type activities. Formal learning, fact checking and current affairs may also be age dependent. Age is important but many other factors are important too.

Younger people do tend to have access to a greater range if ICT, more likely to go to Internet for information online and more likely to multi task. However education, experience of using the Internet and breadth of Internet use are important. There is therefore some support of the digital native concept but age is not the only factor. In other ords, parents and teachers can learn to speak to digital natives. For example, online experiences need to be contextualised and this is an area where teachers could help.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fun on Friday #25: Collider

I am not convinced that this serves any useful purpose but it is strangely fascinating and even beautiful. It is called Social Collider and claims to reveal connections between Twitter conversations.

CAL 2009: Mobile Learning

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Context sensitive mobile learning: Adding relevant information on the move to objects and activities to augment understanding Carl Smith*, John Cook, C. Bradley; London Metropolitan University

CONSENS project. Vocational, context based mobile learning. Attaching information to space - "The world itself becomes the interface". Knowledge formation in the clickable world. There is an increase in scanning and capturing real world. You can then look at overlaying multiple views of real world objects to reveal more information. The hope is that the data can be interrogated rather than just passively viewed. Learner control of the objects - linking 2D, 3D representations of objects with real world.

Reflection in context. For example, accessing data about a street while you stand in the street and record thoughts on phone as a sound file or by creating video podcasts. Reflection in situ - no written notes. Used Mscapes to overlay digital information based on GPS positioning material. Also looked at QR codes and pattern recognition as well as technology such as Photosynth.

Researcher described how they investigated the technology - described how students first went on an "analogue tour", that is a lecturer walked round a city with them and told them about what they were seeing.

Question was also asked about what was meant by "context" - more than just location or even location + time. Do you tell the system you are an architect or does it work it out?

For more detals, see the M-Learning pages at CETL Reusable Learning Objects site or go to the researcher's web page.

CAL 2009: Capturing semantics

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Capturing semantics in enterprise systems education S. Polovina*, I. Launders, S. Andrews; Sheffield Hallam University

Only 15% of business critical information is stored in a structured form. The problem is of course that computers like structured information. Humans like concepts - the 85% that sits outside the information system and that is hard to compute. Businesses are not happy for their strategies to be constrained by their IT structure. Further complication because businesses want to conduct their business over the web.

This research tries to capture concepts in a diagram - Conceptual Graph. This has the advantage of being visual for humans, captures the context and is computable. However, computers can't process it, question the model and students can't add unconscious knowledge. Desire is to harmonise creativity of humans with the productivity of computers.

"All models are wrong... but some are useful" {I like that! - DM}

CAL 2009: Paperless Assessment

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Using tablet technologies in marking paperless assessment
Hilary A. Cunningham-Atkins, Wendy A. Fisher The Open University

Practised what she preached - first thing she did was pass round a tablet for people to sign in and give their email. :-)

Biggest part of lecturers' job is marking! Researcher's university moved to paperless assessment in 1999. Meant that lecturers were constrained in where they could mark - had to be at desktop PC. Previously they could mark papers with pen anywhere. Also, how do you annotate a diagram. Example was given of an essay with tutor annotation compared with pro-forma feedback on electronic assessment. By going paperless, there was an impact on the quality and quantity of feedback. Filling in a pro-forma removes the location of the comments from the assignment being commented.

Researcher wanted to see if tablet allowed paperless assessment but with at least some of the advantages of hand-written annotation. Used software that comes with the tablet to annotate document (.doc, .html, .pdf, ...). Tutors can write in document' existing white space, can highlight sections and (if necessary) can create extra whitespace. Annotations and document saved together as a pdf. Used in conjunction with pro-forma but gives richer feedback to students.

The technology now costs around £600. They tried using a £20 graphic tablet but, although you can do most of the same things it is significantly harder!

Students liked the personalised feel of the feedback. They felt the handwritten notes were much more personal. Tutors gave significantly better feedback - perhaps even better than written feedback.

Use of technology by lecturers is individual and dependent on their pedagogical views as much as their technological skills.

Extension project is looking at recording audio or video annotations and embedding in the document.. {Record facility in Word? - DM}

CAL 2009: Using tag clouds

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Getting our heads out of the clouds: Using tag clouds to reflect on the emphasis of materials presented in powerpoint slides Damian T. Gordon*, Deirdre M. Lawless Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland

Started with a description/definition of a tag clouds and produced a tag cloud of the CAL website. Learning was the dominant word. Moved onto talk about knowledge management. Three aspects identified:
  1. Process
  2. Technology
  3. People
Most of the effort has to go into the People part. Researcher suggested that most students only read lecture notes the night before the exam, so we have to make sure our notes are good! Tag clouds may be a tool to help focus lecturers minds. Showed tag clouds of a set of his notes/powerpoint slides on research methods. Showed for example how "Research" featured strongly in first three lectures but hardly at all in his lecture on statistics. This shows some of the (perhaps unintended) messages given in the lecture. Also showed how you can see the major word, say "research", and then take it out of the cloud to see what other words come to the fore.

Went on to show a comparison of tag cloud for lecture notes with tag cloud of learning outcomes. Or compare with assessment. For a more student centred approach, a student could compare a tag cloud of an assignment with a tag cloud of their submission. Could help them reflect on their response and perhaps help them with a redraft.

Tag clouds could be used as an introduction to a topic or as a revision of a previous topic. Tag clouds give semantic and syntactic view but present it in a visually stimulating way. Presenting the information in multiple ways can help the learner.

Two useful tools are Convert Powerpoint {can't find this... maybe I wrote it down wrong. - DM} and Wordle.

CAL 2009: Institutional policy

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

A study of the relationship between institutional policy, organisational culture and eLearning use in four South African universities
Cheryl Brown, Laura Czerniewicz, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Is there a relationship between institutional policy and use? (Note, there is no national policy or funding drivers in South Africa.) The researcher identifies two elearning policy types: structured and unstructured. They also identified four cultural types of university: Corporate, Collegian, Bureaucratic, and Enterprise.

Policy existed in the two structured type universities. They were both embedded within broader teaching and learning policies. The biggest difference in impact is in availability of good teaching facilities. The two Corporate cultural types did much better. There was however an acknowledgement that some universities were "historically disadvantaged". In general, the Bureaucratic, unstructured university fared poorly, for example in frequency of use, variation of use, encouragement to use, availability and accessibility, ...

There is a crucial relationship between policy and use. Staff use is higher in unstructured collegian type universities. Policies are needed but they should be supportive, flexible and non-restrictive policies. These are the most use for for supporting innovation.

CAL 2009: Interactive Whiteboards

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Using interactive whiteboards to orchestrate classroom dialogue Sarah Hennessy, N. Mercer, Paul, Warwick; University of Cambridge

The Interactive Whiteboard can be a tool for supporting dialogue in whole class teaching. In particular, conceptualising dialogue for aspects such as developing reasoning. An Interactive Whiteboards could be a great tool but whether it is or not depends on the pedagogical approach of the teacher. {Again, it's not the tech, it's the teach! - DM}

Therefore this project worked with teachers that they knew were already using dialogic teaching approaches. They were not looking for "whizzy" uses of IWB but rather uses that supported the purposes of the lesson. Examples given included annotating a piece of text and adding their own explanation of the vocabulary. Using storyboarding based on a poem and then showed YouTube video for "Paths of Glory". Children put things on IWB (annotations, spotlight areas, underlining, sketches...) for class to see but then had to justify and explain to class.

The researchers found the IWB could support rich dialogue. The teacher relinquishing control of the IWB developed a sense of co-enquiry. Important though for teacher to acknowledge pupil's contributions and for pupils to build on the work of others. The IWB can open up more space for new forms of dialogue, for example, non-verbal dialogue or multi-modal dialogue.

How as educators can we exploit this rich opportunity for rich dialogue? Can we use the layering of different modes?

Finished with and advert for the Research Into Teaching with Whole class Interactive Technologies (RITWIT) conference.

In questioning it was pointed out that most of the examples shown could have been achieved with an OHP. Is this a method of teaching that was lost by the introduction of IWB technology that is now being re-discovered? Response was that the research took a pragmatic approach - IWB is the technology that is in the classroom, so how can it be used more effectively. Also, part of value of IWB is the ease of collecting, storing and retrieving different annotations on the same source material.

CAL 2009: Using an e-portfolio

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

‘There was a lot of learning going on.’ Using an e-portfolio to support learning activities in a professional course for new HE lecturers
Sarah Chesney and C. Marcangelo, University of Cumbria, UK

Using e-portfolios with staff doing post-graduate certificate. The university uses PebblePad but realised what they were doing was creating a Personal Learning System rather than a simple ePortfolio.

Used a "patchwork text" technique where a number of short pieces are written over time and then sewn together using reflexive commentary at the end. {Fairly sure she said "reflexive" rather than "reflective". Is that right? - DM} Important that the drafts of their short texts were shared at regular intervals for comment from peers and tutors.

Feedback was gathered through online survey (anonymous) and focus groups over two different cohorts. Themes investigated included Formative Feedback and Use of the ePortfolio.

One danger of formative feedback raised was a concern that it would be plagiarism to use peer feedback to improve work. Also concern that formative feedback didn't match the summative criteria.

Use of ePortfolio - participants tended to critique the software rather than discuss the concept of learning portfolio. Also, some were concerned that concentration was on presentation rather than content.


Do we need to recognise process outcomes as well as final outcomes. From a course point of view, how do we deal with tools that will be in perpetual beta?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CAL 2009: The Net Generation

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

The Net Generation entering university: The experiences of first year students
C.R. Jones*, R Ramanau: Open University

See The Net Generation Encountering eLearning at University Project for more details.

Started by challenging the whole concept of the Net Generation. Is there a generation with a new outlook on learning and if there is, how does this show itself?

Focus in this presentation was to look at five different types of universities and a range of subject disciplines concentrating on first year students.

Figures showed 38.1% own desktop but 77.4% own a laptop. Broadband access 55.6% only but 13.4% had wireless mobile connection (interesting because this is a new technology but already reasonably high take up).

They also look at differences between use for life and use for study. There are a small minority who never or rarely use email. Also, there is a very low use of virtual worlds - the educational use of virtual worlds is not being driven by the young people. Roughly 50% are using SMS for learning.

They are not a generation! There is no consistency and often low take up. For example, 21.5% contributed to a blog, 12.1% contributed to a wiki. There is no coherent effect.

In general use exceeds requirements to use but students are also unclear about what is required!

If they are using tools for social life and leisure, they are more likely to use in learning. There are some age differences but their are also big differences within age groups. However there are some age related differences. For example over 50% of younger people who download documents read them on screen. There is however a moral panic, see for example Baroness Greenfield's comments on Facebook. {See Bad Science for an excellent citique of the Baroness' comments. - DM}

Questions raised the wifi access finding and pointed out the rise of pay as you go services and links with broadband connections may mean this is reaching into groups that it would normally not have considered wifi connections.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day

I have just discovered that today is Ada Lovelace Day. There is a bit about Ada Lovelace on the BBC and more can be found without too much trouble - let me Google that for you. :-)

Analytical Engine
Originally uploaded by Gastev
I think the claim that she was the first programmer is pushing it a bit however, she was clearly a stunningly clever person. I heard a radio programme about her a few years ago and the part that impressed me the most was her realisation that Babbage was trying to build a general computational machine not just a number cruncher. Remember, she was writing about a machine that was never built but she realised that although it would work on numbers, those numbers could be made to represent anything. If the numbers represented colours, the Difference Engine could produce art. If the numbers represented musical notes, it could produce music. To make that kind of leap showed true brilliance.

So, Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

CAL 2009: Mediating media studies – stimulating critical awareness in a virtual environment

Live blog from #cal09

D.K. Herold; Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Main argument is that teaching in second life is very easy. :-) Example described showed the Second Life area set up including virtual library with links to all the material they need and a virtual lecture theatre where guest lecturers can speak to students.

Interesting opportunities arise to talk about choices students made in their (unprompted) design of avatar. Interestingly, for an institute in Hong Kong, not one student created an Asian look for their avatar. Also, issues to do with sense of audience comes in, e.g. how to Reuters represent themselves in Second Life compared to how Sky News represents itself. How are real cites represented in Second Life? What does it say about people's perceptions of the places they live?

A bizarre problem the described by the researcher is he had to be in a physical classroom with the students while they were in Second Life or the university did not see it as teaching!

Caution: Second Life is very time intensive. For example, have to do a fair bit of Second Life setting up before you can turn to educational set up.

CAL 2009: Quality in the writing process: exploring blog micro-content from discipline specific perspectives

Live capture from #cal09

CAL 2009: Teachers and technology: Professional development for transforming practice in schools

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Caroline Daly, University of London, UK

Described a project that took place in secondary schools as it was felt that's where there was the greatest need for ICT development. Becta talks about a "persistent deficit" - a lack of impact on teachers' everyday practice. - See the Harnessing Technology Review 2008. The majority of teachers are having CPD but it is not having an impact on classroom practice.

Teachers have to be at the centre of developments - teachers are the main agent of change and account has to be taken of their deep seated beliefs. There has to be a change in teachers. There is a feeling that there is a continual need to chase a skills deficit and just as you get the hang of one thing, the next big thing comes along! Alex Couros and the Networked Teacher is an alternative model or the Diffused Teacher model (Davis 2008) where the extreme interconnectedness is acknowledged and it is recognised that just working on ICT in isolation is not always helpful. The researchers developed a programme that did not just teach ICT skills but teacher enquiry is built in from the start as part of their CPD - to challenge how and why it might be used. The programme was practice focused. Teachers had to blog their experience as the project progressed.

Collaboration was a core strategy with many opportunities to talk and discuss. Technologies were not just for production of resources but they were for creative task making and for shared practice and collaboration. For example, teachers were expected to upload their digital pictures to Flickr. Enquiry based practices however can create challenges. For example, it can lead to a desire for fundamental shifts in the ways that learning is organised - something that was not always welcomed by schools. How teachers appropriate new technologies in their personal, social and professional lives is an important pre-requisite for use in their classrooms. Important aspect of the programme is that it was inter-disciplinary.

CAL 2009: Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

G Beauchamp, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, S Kennewell, Swansea Metropolitan University

Described two year project to see if there was any difference in teaching with and without ICT. Found that teacher talk was a key determinant rather than ICT use. Therefore they looked at classifying how teachers interacted with class: from lecture to individual.

There emerged a framework that allowed them to analyse group and individual activities. Match activities and ICT use to the classification of teacher interaction - from level 0 (lecture) to level 4 (synergistic).

Skills are important - do teachers have the ICT skills to know they can move things forward. If teachers see the value though they can apply their pedagogic knowledge, see how ICT can contribute and jump right in there.

Age did not predict impact of ICT - if an experienced teachers saw the connection, their skill in pedagogy meant they were willing to have a go. Perhaps younger teachers were more confident with the technology but less confident with the pedagogical connections.

CAL 2009: Keynote 2

Learning in digital worlds: What are we playing at? Live blog from cal#09

What do you think?

CAL 2009: Towards a naturalistic conceptualisation of technology integration in classroom practice: The example of school mathematics

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

K.B.H. Ruthven, University of Cambridge

Innovations change schools but more importantly, schools change innovation. You have to look at the place of technology in the classroom. Project looked at the practical theory and craft knowledge that frame teachers action when using technology. Wanted to develop a model that would describe how teachers use technology.

Teachers saw "Assisted Tinkering" as useful but did not always connect this into their model of technology use. The project found a great deal of "craft knowledge" that had grown up around the use of technology yet there was very little research exploring this craft knowledge. For example using computer based tools and resources often involved changing teaching room and will more often require a shift in classroom routines - what effect does this have on experienced teachers who have built up successful routines and are then asked to change this because of the introduction of technology. Can be helpful to consider:

Activity Formats - templates for action and interaction.

Curriculum Script - the set of options a teacher has to help them teach a topic. They may feel under pressure to abandon a curricular script when adopting new technology but this does not necessarily make sense - their curricular scripts are vital.

Time Economy - how do teachers manage the rate of teaching. Also worth noting that new technologies very rarely completely replace older technology. Almost always they run alongside each other.

In response to question, there was an observation that teachers did not always connect what was done with (for example) hand geometry instruments (e.g. protractors) and dynamic geography tools. Curricular documents seemed to perpetuate this by listing ways protractors should be used to measure angles but not acknowledging role of dynamic geometry tools in doing this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

CAL 2009: Creative digital spaces for transformative learning: Bridging the gap between formal and informal learning

Captured live at #cal09, posted late. :-)

Maggie Hutchings, Bournemouth University, UK

Institutional VLEs are compared with against personalised/social learning environments. (Prensky Bennett et al 2008: 780) This work challenges Prensky's assumption - variations and differences in population will have greater impact than similarities.

Precipitate activities are activities designed to bring transformative experiences. For example, designing realistic and challenging activities. The students recognised that this led them to learn by doing. By creating a state of doubt that leads to questioning and development.. "Reflection involves not simply a sequence of ideas, but a consequence." (Dewey 1933: 4-5). This leads to deep approaches. Time is significant - students need time for the reflection to occur. Practical order choices - e.g. may go online but not contribute or social order choices, e.g. access to PC at home or peer group pressure. Archer's model has three aspect: Natural Order, Social Order both of which are linked by Practical Order.

Bridging the gap between formal and informal learning

CAL 2009: Information and communications technology in the music classroom: How theories of multi-modality can illuminate classroom practice

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

N. M. Breeze University of Worcester and University of Bristol

Composing music with ICT tends to be a group activity in schools with children spending five to six weeks on a composition. Students use computer software to compose. Music is a compulsory element in England and every child is expected to compose. The composition activities typically split into two functions with one student playing the midi keyboard and another pupil playing with the software. {Interestingly, the presenter corrected himself and said, "not play with... I mean operate the software" - but I like "playing"!}

Multi-modality - Two aspects of the theory were applied in this research
  • Modes of communication, e.g. linguistic, visual, gestural, spatial and musical.
  • Design and transformation - available resources for design, importance of prior design and interested action (i.e. what motivates them)
The classroom is a site of multimodal signs. Methods used to capture this was primarily video but also included music notation files, screen grabs, field notes, pupil interviews. Researcher developed his own analysis tool {as you do!} which he felt allowed him to explore his very rich data set more effectively than existing tools such as nvivo.

Findings: The whole learning environment was important in mediating the composing process. (Previous studies have focused on only one element but this researcher found it impossible to separate the aspects out. Headphones can preclude both inter and intra group collaboration. Pupils brought their own musical ideas into the classroom and this motivated them to transform. A lot of detail is missed if you only appraise the product - it is therefore important to appraise all the stages of the composition process.

CAL 2009: The role of research in building capacity for harnessing technology.

First attempt to use CaptureItLive. :-) Session at #cal09

CAL 2009: Rethinking educational digital tools as means for fostering student creativity

Live(ish) blog from #cal09

M. Ott, F. Pozzi (Presenter), Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche - CNR, Italy

Is it possible to foster creativity through an educational activity? One model of learning puts creativity at the top of a hierarchy and so there was a desire to develop and test a model for evaluating creativity.

How do we define creativity? No agreement and multiple views of what it means. Some aspects this research group thought were important care illustrated by Archimedes and Alan Turing because they were creative in different ways. Archimedes has the flash of inspiration where as Turing reasons, links and assembles. Revolutionary creativity verses evolutionary creativity. A creativity of product rather than creativity of process. There is also a distinction between individual and social creativity. However, these terms should not be seen as dichotomies but rather aspects that interact with each other.

The model they came up with concentrates mostly on the creativity process and divides into three dimensions:
  • Affective
    - Involvement /immersion
    - Satisfaction
  • Meta-cognitive
    - Self-evaluation
    - Process monitoring
    - Awareness of Outcome
  • Cognitive
    - Generation
    - Plan
    - Production
The model was tested in two contexts:
  • School education - Children in a school involved in game based learning over three years to promote logical skills but the desire was to see if the logic games also promoted creativity. Children worked as individuals.
  • Lifelong learning - An online course where people worked collaboratively to perform role playing activities.
They found that the model could be used to investigate the creative process and can shed light on the creative process both at individual and group level but it needs further refinement, for example the indicators are not yet stable enough.

CAL 2009: Technology and creativity at the Brighton creativity centre

I was hoping to live blog much of the CAL 2009 conference but unfortunately not all of the rooms are networked. :-( Here however is a cut and paste of what I typed during this session. It will need tidied up as there will undoubtedly be spelling misteakes ad typos. :-)

R Morris, Steve Kilgallon (presenter), P. Martin, and A. Rogers; University of Brighton, UK

University of Brighton have a Creativity Centre with two learning spaces/rooms/ One is called called Leonardo and the room can be divided in different ways using the whole space or different sections as appropriate. Have floor to ceiling whiteboards, rear screen projection area and lots more. A second room, Gallileo, with audio links to other room also has a 3D projection system.

with Leonardo you can theme the room in any way you want. For example project jungle scenes, pipe in jungle sound effects and jungle smells. (Yes... smells!) Bean bags, chairs or walk about, the choice is yours.

The whileboards can easily be moved around which the researchers thinks takes away some of the fear of writing on the board. In fact because the room is a blank space that you can organise in any way you want, the is researchers think this leads to more creative uses. For example, one group lined all the whileboards up, blacked out the windows and created a camera obscura. Even just interacting with the students while they are standing up changes the dynamic and the learning.

Two types of users:
  • Hands off
  • Want it all
Also two types of use:
  • Passive
  • Active
Give the students time, very creative uses are possible.

There are institutional hurdles. For example, "Moving walls - No!" say Health and Safety". Or IT Services taking a month to open a Firewall port. In many institutions, the culture is that if you use the handed down solution there is no problem. For example, courses on Word, Powerpoint etc. - no problem. However, if an individual wants to do something innovative or unusual, it can be a different story.

"The presence of a committed local champion continues to be the strongest influence on the rate at which Technology Enhanced Learning... [missed the end]." 2008 Survey of Technology Enhanced Learning from Cambridge [? Missed the source and the end of the quote! Bah! I'll try to track it down later.]

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fun on Friday #24: Anomic loners

Picture the scene. You're giving a lecture and the words are flowing. It sounds something like this:

I think it's fair to say that we live age where we are surrounded by anomic loners musing over their fate. Alienation and ... what!? Why are you interrupting? I was in full flight...

You don't understand? ... You don't know what "anomic" means? ...


Let me Google that for you.

With thanks to Stephen Fry (yes, the Stephen Fry) for drawing today's Fun on Friday site to my attention.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Digital Natives: Fact Or Fiction?

When Prensky first published his paper on Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, it seemed to capture peoples imagination. Certainly, the name and the concept spread quickly thrugh the education community and the phrase (and explanation) was widely quoted.

"G" is for Geeked Out
Originally uploaded by DefMo
Other people expounded similar ideas with different names, e.g. the Net Generation, Homo Zappiens and Generation C, however, the term Digital Native seemed to spread with extraordinary rapidity and to take hold widely.

Yet now there seems to be a backlash. People are questionning the concept, including some of the people who helped spread the word in the first place. However, it seems to me, that there must have been something in the idea in the first place for it to have captured people's attention and imagination so effectively.

It struck me that our PGDE(S) course might be a good place to look for evidence to support or undermine the Digital Native thesis as it is a large course (currently over 400 students) with a wide spread of ages. Also, I have six years worth of questionnaire data on students' ICT skills and their attitude to ICT in education. I am therefore trying to write an dissertation on Digital Natives: Fact Or Fiction using evidence from the PGDE(S) course and background reading and student interview.

I would welcome any comments you have or suggestions for what I should read to inform my thinking. All thoughts, facts, wild speculation or considered opinion welcome.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fun on Friday #23: A blast from the past

Another self-indulgent Fun on Friday. Sorry.

I really liked HyperCard and I was a bit scunnered when Apple canned it. However, I was very pleased to discover that someone is re-creating HyperCard... as a web application! It's called TileStack and to be honest I'm not sure if it is brilliant or barmy. At the moment I'm leaning to brilliant but it's still in beta so it's a slightly frustrating and clunky brilliant. :-)

What is especally impressive though is that the stacks you create can be embedded in a blog/website, or turned into a Dashboard Widget, a Google Gadget or a Facebook application. Very clever.

Here's my first attempt (or at least my first working attempt). It doesn't do much... but it is a bit better than a "Hello World". :-)

HyperCard was billed as "Programming for the rest of us" and certainly it was used to produce goodness knows how many teacher created stacks, including two that I had a hand in creating in cooperation with the BBC - Jacobites: The Lost Succession and 1707 - The Lost Parliament. However, it wasn't just a tool for amateurs like me, it was also used as a professional development tool to produces applications such as Myst and Xplora 1.

More importantly however, it got a generation of people interested in programming and in computers. (For example, if you ever meet him, ask John Johnston what a difference HyperCard made to him.) I'm not sure that TileStack will have that kind of impact - it will need to become quite a bit slicker and easier to use first. However, I hope to keep an eye on it and see where it goes. In the meantime I've had fun this Friday. Hope you have fun with it too. Please post the links here if you create any TileStacks.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blogs by Primary Student Teachers

Just a quick post to give you a list of blogs started by a group of BEd 3 students. As usual they are a mixed bag with some getting the hang of blogging faster than others. If you feel you can offer encouragement or advice I am sure they would appreciate a comment.
BEd3 2008-2009 blogs

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

YouTube Orchestra Update

Quick update: I wrote a post on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra last year. I notice that the finalists have been chosen, the YouTube community has voted and all is set for the concert in April.

The mashup of the video entries is being prepared and will be premièred at the concert on the 15th of April and posted to YouTube the following day.

I still think this is a brilliant idea and would have loved to have had the musical talent necessary to take part. (I never got beyond second trumpet in the school brass band - i.e. can make a vaguely musical noise and can be trusted not to ruin things as long as surrounded by people who can actually play!)

Did any edubloggers make it into the final stage? Anyone from Scotland?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Fun on Friday #22: Thinkeractive Funducational!

You have to think but it helps to stand up and walk it through yourself. You're having fun but it is educational. It's thinkeractive funducational! It's Light Bot!

Robot Joe
Originally uploaded by FlySi

Program a robot. Solve the problems. (Learn about programming) Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Music lessons

I almost put this post in my music blog but at the last minute decided it deserved to be on EdCompBlog.

Originally uploaded by Alberto_F
I recently came across the Squeeze My Lemon music blog and I wanted to share one of his recent posts titled: I Feel Like Going To Church - Nodody's Fault But Mine. It is a brilliantly simple idea. The post presents three YouTube clips with versions of the same song. One by
Blind Willie Johnson (a Gospel influenced Blues version), one by Pops Staples (a Blues influenced Gospel-ish version) and one by Led Zeppelin (a Rock version with a clear Gospel/Blues lineage).

Fitzgerald, the blog's author, says his intention is to:
"...show the connection between the blues and other music forms with gospel music. I grew up listening to gospel, blues, soul, rock, country and other music forms and did not always separate them in my mind. And I noticed that as I get older, that newer bands are doing the old songs, but not really understanding where they come from."
I know Daughter Number 2's guitar tutor would echo that sentiment. He despaired sometimes at how little his pupils knew about where the music they liked had come from. Or who had influenced their guitar heroes.

However, the reason I include it here is I thought the idea of using YouTube to chase the same song through different genres (and different eras) was brilliant. I wondered if music departments were doing this sort of thing.

Monday, March 02, 2009


I was reading some posts about TeachMeetBorders (specifically Stuart's and Andy's posts) and for some reason it connected in my head with my recent rant.

Essentially, I wondered if there was mileage in setting up a TeachMeet specifically for student teachers to help engender enthusiasm and practical ideas for the use of ICT in classrooms? I was sitting beside a student teacher and a recently qualified teacher at TeachEat and we talked about how beneficial something like TeachMeet would be to student teachers but somehow, at the time, it never occurred to me that a TeachMeet specifically for student teachers might be a good idea. An event like TeachMeet that got students excited about the possibilities before the staffroom cynics could exercise undue influence might be the very dab.

However, I wondered if there would be enough interest to make it work. If I set something up in Glasgow, it would be a bit of a stretch for Aberdeen and Dundee but should be reachable by students at Stirling and Ediniburgh. Certainly it should be close enough for Strathclyde, Glasgow and UWS students to attend. Also, at each institution there are a range of courses: BEd, Joint Honours, PGDE(S), PGDE(P)... so even if only one person from each year of each course signed up and committed to bringing a friend it should be possible to get viable numbers.

I also wondered if there would be enough students willing to present at a TeachMeet - perhaps they would be happier sitting back and watching. Then I thought of Stuart Meldrum who is barely out of his probationary nappies (no offence Stuart) but organised and ran a stunningly successful TeachMeet. To me, the strength of TeachMeet is the way it supports the sharing of enthusiasm and so the enthusiasm of student teachers could be the greatest asset of a TeachMeet for student teachers.

So, this is me flying a kite. It is definitely a idea that's good enough to criticise rather than a concrete proposal. What I really need is people who read this post to comment and help shape my thinking. I would be grateful therefore if you could help me answer the following questions:
  1. Is this a daft idea? {Obviouly if the answer is "Yes", you can stop reading.}
  2. Would there be enough interest from student teachers to make it viable? In particular, would there be student teachers willing to do presentations? {I would especially value comments from student teachers on this one.}
  3. What could it be called. {I've suggested TraineeTeachMeet in the title of this post because I liked the aliteration but I think it may give the wrong message.}
  4. Where would be the best location for a student TeachMeet? {The easiest thing for me would be to book somewhere at Jordanhill but that may make it too "official". Somewhere else on the Strathclyde campus might be better (the Computing Science Department or the library?) but somewhere completely neutral might be better still (albeit more expensive!).}
  5. Who might be interested in funding such a venture?
  6. Should it be open to student teachers only? Should probationers or newly qualified teachers be invited too?
  7. What other questions should I have asked but have failed to think about?
Over to you. Help to me work out what I think.