Web 2.0 Potholes

         The electronic revolution poses both benefits and dangers for all teachers, no matter what their subjects are, but, as I now realise, teachers must try to keep up with this expanding tool-kit, or else become fossilised in the eyes of their learners as well as missing out on some interesting learning opportunities.

            These resources are always available, ICT can offer a range of perhaps more interesting routes to achieve a lesson learnt. Sometimes learners can be given resources that suit their level and learning styles, including colourful images and interactive quizzes. These allow learners to gain confidence without feeling that they are competing directly with their peers and learning at a pace that suits them. It also allows the teacher to track progress and quickly identify learners who need support using a VLE Web 2.0 platform such as Moodle.

            It can be quite bewildering for teachers like me to embark on introducing ICT into my lessons and to find that, to my surprise, suitable ICT resources could indeed make my teaching area become more interesting for my learners. To decide how to do this I need to not only identify and study these resources, but also to continually keep up with new innovations. I now realise that I should try to keep a little ahead of my learners to do this and hopefully gain some ‘street credibility’ in the process. I also realise that I should only use these resources to support teaching, not replace it.

” ICT is a tool that extends and enhances good practice rather than constituting a replacement for traditional delivery”

Wikipedia (2012)  Information and communication technologies for development [online]. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_and_communication_technologies_for_development  [11.5.14]

            A classic example could be to have hyperlinks to You Tube clips that I have already approved and posted on the course Moodle site so that learners can pre-visit and revisit a demonstration of a particular skill that they will need to practice and eventually need to be assessed in. If I can’t find such a clip, then I could film myself or a capable learner performing it (I have already started to do this), then post this clip as a podcast or estream.

            What I need to eventually strive towards is to include such links in my scheme of work and lesson plans as a reminder to myself and anyone else who might stand in for my lesson. As far as my course is concerned, the teacher needs to have a tight control of what ICT resources, or at least what type of resources the learners use – for several reasons.

            Firstly, not all FE learners place their subject learning as their main priority in life, particularly when internet access also enables them to be able to check their Facebook pages, or email messages. As mentioned earlier, there are many unprofessional recipes and you tube clips which could hinder learning. Recommended sites could also be screened for viruses, technical problems and excessive pop-ups. The likelihood of other issues such as bullying, grooming, fraud. Internet identity and images could also be screened, particularly for learners under 18 years old, before recommending these resources.

            There is no reason, however, why tasks couldn’t be set for learners to source certain resources, such as recipes and information that will help them to complete assignments, as long as the tutor gives a list of recommended sites from which these resources should be gleaned. There are a great many cookery sites on line, ranging from good to poor. Some of the least useful sites give recipes that, to a trained eye, will give learners real problems, give foreign names for known ingredients, or obscure measuring units that will probably confuse people in this country.

            Tutors can suggest recommended recipe sites such as www.bbcgoodfood.com and www.foodily.com , cookery blogs to view and join in, such as scramblingeggs.blogspot.com and londonfoodout.blogspot.com as well as recommend some great twitter sites, such as @foodimentary and @chow.com to read and tweet on. Many of my students already ‘meet up’ on Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites to compare notes, but these sites can be misused with images and corrupted by malicious software, not to mention become embroiled in rather uneducational gossip about learner’s nocturnal pastimes. Many learners lateness can also be attributed to online gaming the night before – another obsessive web 2.0 facet that doesn’t help teachers.

      I have set up a blog page on the course Moodle site and tried to encourage learners to respond to blog posts, but with limited success. Perhaps these sites are just not as appealing for young people as social networking sites which have developed cunning tricks to persuade users to become almost obsessed with using them daily. It is this side of web 2.0 that teachers need to be wary of, lest they become implicated with matters that have nothing to do with educating the learners.

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Whet Magazine (2012) Social Networking in ICT [Online]. Available: https://uk.images.search.yahoo.com/images/view [11.5.14]

  

 “We have created a world for students where they cannot focus because we have given them all this really cool stuff that is distracting. We’re teetering on the balance – too much time online can lead to health problems and narcissism”.  Rosen 2013

Rosen, L. (2013) Kids Who Do Facebook Do Worse In School [online] Available URL.

http://healthland.time.com/2011/08/08/kids-who-hang-out-on-facebook-do-worse-in-school/   [11.5.14]

            Some schools and colleges who understand the value of ICT in the classroom have tried to bar social networking sites from their computers and this may prove to be the way forward, but the value to these sites of having users online means that they may find more devious methods.

            In conclusion, teachers need to become familiar with the latest ICT tools and work out how they can use some of these tools to make their teaching more interesting, give their learners more ownership of their learning and also, by using a web 2.0 VLE platform, help teachers to identify and help learners who need support. Teachers also need to be aware that not all web 2.0 tools are useful to ICT. In fact, some of the more distracting and in some cases, obsessive facets of web 2.0, namely online games and social network sites can become a hindrance to unwary teachers.

 

Reference List

http://healthland.time.com/2011/08/08/kids-who-hang-out-on-facebook-do-worse-in-school/

https://uk.images.search.yahoo.com/images/view

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_and_communication_technologies_for_development

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Techno Pedagogy and Do Ostriches Tweet?

Yes, but it’s not something I need to be concerned with? 

If I just put my head in this hole …

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Well, you know what? After thinking that none of these innovations could help my learners (cookery students), but going along with it anyway, I’ve been looking objectively at relevant resources and, you know what, there is a surprising amount of cool gear that, when I mention it to my students, I find that, to my surprise, some of them are already using it.

I knew that there was lots of rubbish on youtube, but there’s also such a lot of good cookery videos there too and I intend to download some onto the course Moodle site, which is already split up into it’s various cookery units. I am also following  many food experts on twitter  and doing a bit of tweeting myself. As a new blogger, I am following some food sites and will encourage my learners to do the same. I’ve tried to set up a blog on the course moodle site too and a few students have added to it, but, as one learner said to me, “We already do that on Facebook” – fair comment!

I’m also experimenting with estream  and padlet, as I filmed one of my learners cooking prawn masala. You can see it on stream, but I can’t seem to edit it, or transfer it into anything else. Once again, my problem is that I’m always teaching when support is available.

In short, I still have a very long way to go, but as I’ve now got my head out of the sand at least I can see the dangers.

In short,

Web 2.0 for Learning and Teaching – an idiot’s guide

            I have to admit that before embarking on this ICT and eLearning voyage I hadn’t even heard of Web 2.0, so I suppose I have the dubious benefit of boldly going into the unknown with my eyes wide open.

          Having embarked on the journey I was even a little disappointed not to tumble over the edge of the world as I reached my known horizon – In fact, I’m so Web 2.0, I don’t even know it. It’s hardly surprising, as anyone using a social network site such as facebook, youtube, twitter, podcast, tag, blog, wiki, trackback, videoblog is actually using what has become known as Web 2.0.

          Because this social software is so interactive it is naturally evolving, creating new and more advanced ideas at a seemingly accelerating pace. There are literally hundreds of Web 2.0 innovations, each with its own lingo; from blogs we can indulge in blogging, blogrolling,  hyperlinking, entering discussion threads in posts. We can now tweet on twitter, shuffle podcasts and truncate wikis. It is now an exciting, even pioneering birth of the electronic globe-shrinking communication revolution. Future generations will probably look back at our clumsy ideas as we regard the 1970s Amstrad computer today.

         But how can any of these Web 2.0 features be useful to teachers and learners? Well, let’s look at it this way, How much do ALL students learn in a classroom? Are they all engaged, challenged? Spoon-feeding information won’t let the ‘penny drop’ and instil deep learning. Should we be trying to teach, or guide HE learners? How will HE teaching look in another 25 years? Of course, we can’t see into the future, and investing time and money into guessing now may be seen as foolish later, but it’s already clear that there are a couple of very useful Web 2.0 ideas that are already being used in HE education; folksonomies (social tagging) and wikis.

          In folksonomies, tags can be arranged into concept maps called “tag clouds. The social bookmarking innovator automatically reminds users of previously deployed tags, suggests some tags, and notes tags used by others. People tend to tag socially. That is, they learn from other taggers and respond to other, published groups of tags, or “tagset. The practice of user-created tagging can offer new perspectives on one’s research, as clusters of tags reveal patterns (or absences) not immediately visible by examining one of several URLs. The ability to create multi-authored bookmark pages can be useful for team projects, as each member can upload resources discovered, no matter what their location or timing. Tagging can then surface individual perspectives within the collective. Following a bookmark site gives insights into the owner’s (or owners’) research, which could play well in a classroom setting as an instructor tracks students’ progress. Students, in turn, can learn from their professor’s discoveries.

“With social media, instructors can foster collaboration and discussion, create meaningful dialogue, exchange ideas, and boost student interaction.”

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2012/01/19/pros-and-cons-of-social-media-in-the-classroom.aspx

        Wikis allow people to set up their own web page. Sites include; Writeboard, Writely, and JotSpotLive each let users rapidly create a Web page focused on an item of writing content, prominently visible in the browser. Writeboard (http://writeboard.com/) restricts editors to those invited, via e-mail, by the creator of a page. Writely (http://www.writely.com/) also closes access to those not allowed by the creator of a page but lets the creator export the resulting content in several formats, including HTML for a Web page and Word.12 JotSpot Live (http://www.jotlive.com/) differs in aiming at groups that are editing multiple documents. It can display what documents other users within a team are working on and are responsible for, hearkening back to the earlier days of groupware. These days groups of learners can form communities of Practices, seeking out knowledge together. However, the wheels of education may turn too slowly to keep up with this revolution.

“Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are becoming steadily more integrated within a variety of apps targeted at learning. Real-time news feeds and instant accessibility make them a tool that can be used quickly and efficiently — but due to its changeable nature, it can be difficult for school systems to keep up and compensate.”

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/the-pros-and-cons-of-social-media-classrooms/15132

       Certainly information is much more readily accessible to learners than it was before and because of the social writing platforms of; blogs, folksonomies and wikis, there seems to be an information explosion. The point is, though, from an education viewpoint, learners can access precisely the information they need very easily, thanks to Web 2.0.

      Does this make the teacher’s job easier, or just different?  It doesn’t seem that long ago when teachers considered themselves to be maps to the fountains of knowledge. Perhaps soon it will be more about setting tagsets to reach targets.

Strawberries Lower Cholesterol

I bet someone lost a few pounds anyway _ out of a pocket. This is a very interesting study and I’m sure it the results will please strawberry-lovers. However, I’m intrigued why this study was carried out at this time of year with expensive and relatively tasteless forced strawberries, rather than when strawberries are naturally sun-ripened (and considerably cheaper).

Cooking with Kathy Man

A team of volunteers ate half a kilo of strawberries a day for a month to see whether it altered their blood parameters in any way. At the end of this unusual treatment, their levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides reduced significantly, according to the analyses conducted by Italian and Spanish scientists.

Several studies had already demonstrated the antioxidant capacity of strawberries, but now researchers from the Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM, Italy), together with colleagues from the Universities of Salamanca, Granada and Seville (Spain), conducted an analysis that revealed that these fruits also help to reduce cholesterol.

The team set up an experiment in which they added 500 g of strawberries to the daily diets of 23 healthy volunteers over a month. They took blood samples before and after this period to compare data.

The results, which are published in the ‘Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry’, show that the total…

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Finding the Whole Egrail

Now I get it!

The amount of times I’ve watched Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks (Da Vinci Code) trying to figure it out as they go along, you’d think the penny should have dropped by now. I suppose I may be indoctrinated into how much help we have to give FE students (yes, even wiping that part of their anatomy) that it’s taken me this long to realise that as an HE student, I’m supposed to figure it out for myself.

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Thanks to reading Sandra’s blog (Thanks Sandra) about Webquests, the penny finally dropped and I finally realised that I’ve just got to stop feeling sorry for myself, just because my 60+ contact hours a week prevent me seeing a college computer and finally get my finger out. It’s time I did some work (not just because its now the Easter holidays) and find the whole estuff as I’ve now run out of excuses. I’m now hereby vowing to also stop being cynical about this assignment, probably..

Oh, in case anyone else didn’t know about Webquests and because I’m allowed to rob from our very own cop (thanks again Sandra), here’s a little inspirational info;

Webquests are all about getting people to source their own web sites in order to find the information they need to complete the quest. I can’t remember the guy’s name who came up with the idea (and I’m afraid to reopen Sandra’s blog in case mine decides to vanish forever), but whoever he was, his acronym for Webquests is FOCUS. (hey, DIY is an acronym too, isn’t it?)

Find great sites
​Orchestrate your learners
​Challenge your learners to think
​Use the medium
​Scaffold high expectations

PS      So that’s why Jesus had high expectations when he was on the scaffold.

           Now where did I see that grail?