Assembling the heterogeneous elements for (digital) learning

And it starts again, edc3100 in 2013

It’s that time of year again – week 1, semester 1 – and after almost three-quarters of a year there are face-to-face students to tutor and lecture. Have to love the pedagogical assumptions built into the fabric of the technology that is a University education (a good example of technology becoming mythic). The following captures a few thoughts from the first lecture/tutorial.

The need to define ICTs by example?

The first is the need to define what ICTs actually are. The tutorial reinforced that this was a good idea and that perhaps there needs to be a bit more of it.

Apparently, the Google doc into which we’ve been asked to contribute the ICTs we’ve seen and used includes a laminator. At least that’s the report from some of the students. I think this is perhaps one of the flaws of a few of the activities this week. The students are being asked to contribute, but they aren’t necessarily getting feedback (good or otherwise) on those suggestions.

Wondering if there’s an online tool we could use to have different folk sort a list of technologies into ICTs and not-ICTs? Do it collaboratively so you can what others have said, see what the expert said and perhaps raise a challenge. i.e. give the argument why you think X does/doesn’t belong to a certain category. A crowd-source answer perhaps, save having the expert give an answer?

This also suggests the potential need for more work around the students discussing their understanding of pedagogy and the combination/integration of ICTs and pedagogy.

Time, repetition and something unique

The lecture went longer than I thought, a standard worry. More importantly it has me wondering about how to distinguish between the online and the on-campus cohorts. The course site has the collection of activities and resources that I want the students to engage with. I don’t want to create something brand new for the on-campus students (workload and the online students miss out) but there’s the need to make appropriate use of the f-t-f medium.

Blended learning as a concept doesn’t seem to fit too well. The activities for the solely online students are designed for them. “Blending” those activities into the on-campus lectures/tutes is difficult because of variability amongst the online students. Some have worked through all or most of the online activities leading to repetition and boredom. Other students haven’t looked at it yet. Blending appears to require a more fixed specification of what is done online and offline. This static, fixed approach doesn’t cater well to student variability.

Will need to think more about how to better “blend” the online and the offline when the online is designed to be stand alone.

There’s more to a PLN than technologies

So far the students are starting to use blogs, Diigo and even Twitter, but I’m not sure most of them are really building a

  • personal – one that is unique to them and is designed to respond to their needs.
  • learning – with a focus on learning about ICTs in teaching.
  • network – with an appropriate size and variety in the network connections.

Next week will need to build on these.


The assessment of learning journals – ideas for BIM


Diagnosing a BIM problem


  1. Just completing the first week of on-campus teaching of EDC3100 I have a perspective to contribute. The HIGHLIGHTS:
    First off, I use a blended 3 hour workshop approach. Therefore, there is no separate lecture and tute. Rather, we engage in some bi-lateral communication regarding the structure of the course, the assessments and the related modules. A strategic tour of the Learning Journey for week 1 allowed me to move into targeting the intended concepts we are trying to instil in the students regarding ICT and pedagogy. Once I felt the proper scaffolding was completed and key questions were answered, I let them work on some of the tutorial activities such as looking at the Diigo and edublogs site and having discussions about their potential for use in enhancing learning. Then I set them free to teach each other how to create their blogs, invite others, subscribe to feeders etc, etc.. The buzz in the classroom was amazing to witness. Then we went into the activity for the Postmans’ 5 things to know about technological change. This created some interesting reflections. I pointed out that they should be remembering all their reflections from today and consider using some of them in their blogs and posts. Then we looked into the CPF section of the learning path. All in all, a great start for this on-campus cohort with no problems using the on-line material to run the f-t-f workshop.

    • Thanks for the update. Good to hear the semester is off to a good start. I’m hoping/planning to reflect a fair bit more about the course on this blog this semester. In large part, to model to the students what is expected of them. Us interacting like this only adds to that.

      The 3 hour workshop approach sounds like a good way to run this. Pity the Toowoomba cohort, timetable and rooms don’t allow it.

    • And David, I should also point to your blog as well.

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