on again for young and old…

Be there or be square, the gang meets again next week… such nostalgia I am feeling.   http://www.alt.ac.uk/events/jisc-digital-literacy-webinar-multimodal-profusion-massive-open-online-course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the mission

reminding myself of our mission here at edcmooc, in preparation for the launch…

This is my current interpretation, or breakdown, of what we’re being encouraged to do in this mooc – there is an emergent file on this in FB if others would like to contribute to it, please do – I’m sure we all have quite different ways of interpreting the learning objectives

1. to learn the tools of trade in digitised education (beyond my institution’s LMS)

  • blogs, tick – have already been using them for a few years and can’t live without them, either in teaching or in recording teaching experience for reflection, or in writing my thesis – I find the blog to be an effective, easy and pleasant way to compose and categorise thoughts and make notes on readings
  • FB, tick – used to only have an account in order to keep in touch with kids and their parents, but now see some purpose and value of it in professional context too
  • twitter, tick – occasionally read, but never used until I signed up for this course, and now see the value of quick, easy access to any kind of conversation, as well as cross-linking between different social media
  • flickr, tick – learned how to use it at least, though just playing at this stage, have no sense of need to use yet
  • youtube, tick – very glad I learned about playlists here, and will learn about personal channels soon. Obviously essential tool for the course in that much material will be delivered through it, but maybe also the platform for delivering my own teaching material… not yet sure. I have played with podcasting in my apple mac account, but mainly feel compelled to use institutional CMS and LMS – especially as we have just moved from blackboard to moodle and I am required to be informed about it and advise others, I have to keep focused on that… so I’m thinking about all these other tools in terms of how when and where to plug into Moodle sites that I am developing for the subjects I teach…
  • Gmaps, tick – love this simple tool and will use it with students in week one for sure, as all my students come from overseas
  • G+, tick – have been using for a few weeks now, getting my head around circles, communities, hangouts and various other options down the left side menu – not yet using pages, but wanting to learn if it’s the same, different or better than files in FB… and how it relates to Google sites and Google docs… I use Google drive every day for my research projects and find it absolutely brilliant and indespensible when working between devices and platforms, and in collaboration with others… but I haven’t really had time yet to get my head around how these various Google tools inter-relate…
  • scoopit, tick – have been reading others’ for a year or so, but just became a user a couple of weeks ago – really like this tool, and am thinking about how to use it effectively with students, possibly getting them to curate pages on their disciplinary topic as preparation for language development and reflective tasks… and in relation to teaching them how to search more effectively with Google
  • synchtube, tick – well, I’ve only looked briefly and signed up, I haven’t actually played with it yet
  • the rest no, not quite, not yet – I’ve looked at them, but haven’t become a user of more than the few above yet, as I don’t feel the need for more yet and will explore them during the course I guess, IF I can see from other participants and teachers that they might help me do my job – I don’t want to waste time thoughintegration of tools, sort of gettin’ there – I have learned how to link some tools, but I haven’t quite cross-linked everything because I’m still thinking about what and when I need to have them linked – like should I automatically have a blog post tweeted and notified on FB or G+, or should I make different choices each time? Will I piss people off with too much notification and sound like a self-promoting wanker, or will I piss them off by under-notifying and giving them ‘work’ to find the utterly fascinating stuff I post? I figured out how to get something I tweet to automatically appear on this blog, but should I also link my tweeting to my G+ and my FB and god knows what else? or should I stop worrying about it ?! I don’t know, I have work to do, forget it!

2. to explore common perceptions in our culture of great ‘promise’ and ‘peril’ with the advent of new technologies

  • in relation to MOOCs, tick – I’m organising new information I glean from others about moocs into a debate construct, that I will turn into a poster, probably as an assignment in this course, if that seems an appropriate and useful thing to do
  • in relation to other ‘tools’ of digital education…? well, I started last post to think about popular perceptions of twitter, and the history of simultaneous enthusiastic and worried responses to new literacy and mass media tools… and how uninformed notions affect the potential academic use of the twitter talk tool… and how I enjoy some of the silly, humorous tweeting of otherwise very smart people, and I am reminded as I write now of all the nonsense some people talk about the terrible dangers to literacy that txting supposedly represents – which seems nothing more than the sort of creativity stifling grammar police nonsense that Stephen Fry vents about here
  • currently I’m thinking more about AI though – more than I normally do anyway, because of some things that Laurie and others have posted recently, and because of the theme of the course, but also because of the thesis I’m trying to write, which is as much about perceptions of language in higher education as anything else… so I’m particularly interested in how people define and generally refer to ‘language’, and in this course where ‘artificial intelligence’ is likely to be a central point of interest in the imagining of both promise and peril in the digitisation of our lives, of how we know, and of how we represent knowledge, it interests me how we think about the ‘intelligence’ that is ‘natural’, or supposedly unmediated by ‘technology’… because the one defines the other, no? What is artificial is only so in relation to what is believed to be natural… and because AI is to date remarkably uninfluenced by any other theory of language than Chomsky’s, the assumptions made in the imagining and pursuit of computational intelligence and ‘language’ can be pretty hilarious (from my point of view)… and that’s where my focus will be through the course, as well as on which tools might be used effectively in the sort of language education I’m employed to do… my working hypothesis is that most of the hype on either side of the fence – the promise and the perils of technology in relation to ‘humanity’ – stems from some pretty questionable metaphors of mind and communication that have no theory of semiotics

3. to view, read & reflect on popular stories we tell about the use of technology, as either normal and integral part of our development, or as challenge to our understanding of what it means to be human

  • I haven’t started viewing the course videos yet, or reading the readings – I mean there aren’t any for our part of the course, the mooc, yet anyway, but I did have a browse in the EU part – the credit bearing course that is starting next week I think, because I am curious how the students’ in it (who will become our mentors in the mooc) are being primed to think about it…. but last time I looked the video material had been banned for breach of copyright. I found one of the readings in my university library, and it gave me much to critique! and will no doubt find its way into my thesis as an example of the problem I am focused on in that discussion…

4. to think about how popular ‘cyber cultures’ relate to formal educational practices

  • not sure about this one yet, haven’t had time to think about it

5. to consider & demonstrate in our own practice what difference digital makes to the presentation of academic knowledge

  • this interests me most of all I think, having dared to do a very non-traditional poster presentation at an academic conference in November, which was well received, and because I’m thinking about the nature of knowledge in my thesis, and encouraging my students to present their experience and understanding of academic English in different, storytelling, ways