#ocTEL Week 3 Catch Up

Seeing as last week was my final week of university I got a little behind with #ocTEL, so I thought I can catch up this week.

Week 3- Activity 1

I thought I would have a look at screencast-o-matic. Firstly I am going to have to say something about the name. I really do not like it.

On the other hand, using the tool is extremely simple, the fact that you do not have to sign up to use it is an added bonus for me. The interface is extremely useful and the fact that you can change the size of what you want recording is brilliant. One downside is that it will only record up to 15 minutes, but most of the things I do with something like this would not last that long. The other issue is that you only can seem to publish your file rather than download it, this is an option I would like to see.

Activity 2
With regards to the four different activity basis, I would like to think that the activities I create take into consideration all four of the areas. However, I would assume that one will feature more heavily but this would change depending on the activity. Mostly, this would be the pedagogical approach for me. Coming from an educational studies background, the pedagogy behind any activity will always be at the forefront as it is something I have constantly been exposed to in my studies. This would then influence the technology I use, not the other way around. The pedagogical approach and purpose to an activity is key for me, technology is just the medium I use to deliver what is necessary.

Activity 4
Although I have come across many different theories such as this throughout my studies, Kolb’s reflective cycle is the one that I have used most predominantly. I have most times before I have completed an activity I have practiced it many times before taking into consideration Kolb’s learning cycle. By recoding myself or recording my slide timings, technology has allowed me to practice my timings and presentation skills very well. Not only that but through the use of forums I have been able to gain opinions around the activities I plan on completing. My learning styles do change if technology is included as I believe less reflecting is needed to be done, if things like recording is included. This allows a user to reflect upon themselves without the use of peer feedback. In other ways, I do attempt to gain feedback through technology such as text wall so that it can remain anonymous thus making it more honest and reliable.

Activity 5

◾How easy was it to find a relevant resource? What feature of the search function was useful to you in your search, and why did that appeal to you? Conversely, what feature was missing or prohibited you from easily finding a resource?
Although it was fairly easy to find resources with the search criteria I used, there were a lot of resources that came up that were not relevant too.

◾Are there any limitations to the use of your preferred resource for your learners (e.g. copyright licence; login requirements)?
Sometimes I did have issues where a resource looked perfect to what I wanted, and then it was not freely available. It was either restricted and you had to pay for it or it was behind a login.

◾How will this help your learners?
Just giving more options to where they look for resources will be helpful. Most people are restricted to either the university search service or google scholar.


#ocTEL Week 3. TEL ONE

Within this activity I decided to watch one of the Khan academy videos, the one I chose was explaining vectors and scalars. The questions are listed below, with my answers.

-What elements of these do you think are appealing to different learners?
The clear audio is essential to these videos, enabling learners to understand a new concept very easily. As well as this, the diagrams and notes that are displayed are extremely useful. The fact that they are aesthetically pleasing, which should assist in engaging learners.

-What learners, if any, would they be inappropriate for and why?
For learners who engage well with instructions and explanations in a passive form, this type of learning will be extremely useful to them. However, for learners who prefer to get physically engaged with a subject, other resources may be needed.

-How do each of these resources differ from that of the resources we’re using in ocTEL? Do they promote social learning, re-use of their materials, or open access?
The whole concept of the Khan academy is based around distance learning and the re-usability of the resources. It also promotes an open access and education for all as the resources are free to access.

#ocTEL Activity 2.5

Activity 2.5

Firstly, I believe I need to admit to something slightly embarrassing. I have come across the game Runescape before, when I was younger, playing many hours on it. However, the embarrassing part is that since I have come to university I have found myself procrastinating on the game on a few occasions. But we all do embarrassing things whilst at university!

Anyway the game allows users to learn basic computer skills to start off with. This is simply using different shortcuts, mouse clicks and interacting with other people. However, the further people delve into the game the more content seems to elude. It can be through simple thinks you pick up along the way (copper and tin make iron) or it could be through the interactions you have with other players. Sometimes intellectual conversations take place in these games (well rarely) and that can be with anyone from around the world!

The thing that I originally found engaging was the level of customisation to the game. There are so many elements that allow you to change your gaming experience. This also meant that there were many different focusses that the player could have throughout the game. Alongside this, were the ‘quests’ that the player could take part in. This gave another level of purpose to the game. It also meant users could develop their abilities to follow specific instructions.

The demotivational aspect of the game for me was the repetitive nature. In order to advance further through the game the player must ‘train’ their character. This would then unlock more and more content and quests. This for me really discourages the learning side of the game as the hours that need to be put into developing the character, do not seem to justify the learning that takes place.

#ocTEL Activity 2.4

Activity 2.4

Title of activity

Exploring Geography through Twitter for trainee teachers.

Intended learning outcome(s)

  • To understand how social media can influence teaching methods
  • To understand the connectedness of people within teaching activities
  • To apply geographical knowledge to a new situation.

Activity description

The activity is designed for students who are studying primary education at university. Geography is the subject chosen, but the same method can be applied to many other subjects. Each participant will need a twitter account.

The purpose of the activity is to allow students to go and wander freely around, the campus, city or specific area of your choice (whichever you feel suitable). Using smartphones or tablets they must each take a photo of three locations, of which you can add simple instructions if you like. (somewhere manmade etc.). This will provide the different levels or purpose to the activity depending on the subject you are covering. The students must then tweet their photos using a specific hash tag (something that is specific enough to bring up your tweets only. After the activity has taken place the students can the come back to the lecture theatre and the tweets can be displayed via an application like TweetWally. Discussion can then be stimulated around the wide array of pictures that have been taken.

Timeframe for activity

15 minutes for the discussion. The preparation to the activity can be given a time frame in lesson, or it could be an ongoing activity to do over the week.

Prerequisites (e.g. existing academic knowledge and skills, technical skills required)

Knowledge of Twitter is essential.

Knowledge around the subject should be prepared for previously.

Links to the technology to be used



#ocTEL Activities 2.1, 2.2, 2.3

Activity 2.1

With this activity it seems apparent for me to reflect back to my university course again and the module that included the assessed forum. As this was an assessed assignment it would assume that the organisation is key for most people. However, it was apparent that participants were simply dropping in and out of the forum whenever they had chance. The motivation for most people was that it was something they had to do to get their degree, (not ideal but true). Most liked the idea of the assessment being broken down into many parts and the fact they did not have to write another ‘boring’ assignment. However, many people did not enjoy the idea of learning about a new technology and a new way of being assessed. For me then, the people who engaged with the forum were mainly taking a surface approach, using it as a means to an end. Although some participants did delve deeper into the activity.

Activity 2.2

Upon trying to recall a TEL activity that addresses diversity issues, I seem to be really struggling. This is no doubt because I am fairly new to the field. However, I do have a thought surrounding the simplistic nature of digital theory. Thinking to Prensky’s theory around Digital Natives, and yes although he has moved on from this, we still seem to use the terms frequently. His terms for me have created a sort of oligopoly of digital students. However, for me it is a much more complex, diverse group. The idea of students needs to be problematised in terms of the digital age, not just two extremely simple groups. Arguments for what the problematic nature may be are probably going to be very different, but acknowledging the diversity of students is the first step.

Activity 2.3

A key learning theory that I have used and wrote about before is constructivism, with close links to scaffolding theory. This is one of my preferred ways of learning, as in building upon previous knowledge. By creating an online resource which caters to different levels, it will allow the participants to be able to build upon their previous knowledge. This would then cater for a diverse participant range as they would be able to work at a level that is suitable to them. Although I have no experience of this type of learning in TEL environment, I have used this in many other area, especially museum education, and the principles are quite transferable.

#OCtel Activity 1.5

Online Readiness Quizzes

As we were asked to complete the online readiness quizzes and reflect upon them, I decided to just reflect on two that stood out to me. I completed all of them but the two I am going to comment on is the Penn Stat quiz and the Illinois one. These were two completely different quizzes, but they had many similarities.

Firstly the Penn State quiz was quite long and in depth, asking many questions on a topic, to which the answers were a scale of whether you agree or not. However, the Illinois quiz seemed to only ask one question on each of the subject, and only asking yes or no questions. The results that were given also seemed to reflect how in depth the quiz was. The Penn State one gave a long feedback section, which gave information related to the questions, whereas the Illinois quiz just said whether you are ready for a MOOC or not.

With regards to the content, they both seemed to focus on similar things. There were many questions about your self-motivation and ability to work in an isolated environment and often on your own. Similarly there was many questions regarding your use of technology and whether you could use it well enough and whether you had the correct equipment to fully take part in a MOOC. However, one interesting difference was that the Penn State asked where you were located. Although this may just be for their own information, it implied to me, where you was located had an effect on whether you was ready for a MOOC or not. This was something that I thought MOOCS were supposed to help with.


#Octel Activity 1.4

 Professor Sugata Mitra

Personally, I have come across Professor Sugata Mitra’s work before. I was fascinated when I first saw his TED talk and ended up actually using his work for a university assignment. His experiment with the slums, began to show me the power of new technologies being introduced to groups. It shows how we, adults and children have an inquisitive nature around new technologies. Even If we have not seen a technology before, we are not scared of delving in, using it and learning how to use it. Further to this, his theories around the type of screen are also quite interesting. It really begins to show how much thought needs to be put into the choice of technology we use, for what activity and for what audience. Overall, his work really begins to show the influence and effect that technology has on children in modern societies, whether they have had exposure to technologies or not. I would be interested to see his experiments done with adults to compare the results.

Eric Mazur

Eric Mazur’s keynote around his use of blended learning and peer instruction to help with assimilation, begins to address a difficult concept within learning. Although simple technology, the clicker, is used, he has addressed a more serious learning issue. His lecture for me begins to show how even simple technology has begun to bring together different educational ideas, peer learning, assimilation and feedback, through the use of technology. With ideas such as this, it could begin to show how difficult learning tasks can be made much easier through the medium of technology.

#ocTEL Activity 1.1

Hello everybody,

I was reading another blog post around this activity and it inspired an idea for my answer. As I am currently a student the teaching part of this activity is difficult to apply. However, after reading the blog post i mentioned, something rang true with a workshop I ran as part of a marked assignment. Soon that basis, I will attempt to explain the workshop and hopefully try to convey my thoughts clearly.

So as a basis to the activity, we were asked to think about an activity we have ‘taught’ before in terms of the following grid, placing the activity in the relevant quadrant.

Dimensions that affect teaching and learning

The workshop I was reflecting on was to peers on the same course and it was designed to introduce a ‘new’ topic to them using activities and a presentation. The topic I chose was museum visits to support curriculum learning in primary schools, using a Prezi to convey the theory and completing activities that would be done with primary school children. I attempted to use a few technologies throughout the session, to different successes, but the specific activity in question was simply using resources. The activity surrounded ration books and the three steps were as follows.

1) Read the paragraph that describes ration books

2) Look, feel, investigate the real life ration books that are being handed out.

3) Reflect upon which you enjoyed more and which gave you a better idea about the subject.

The activity was designed to be a very basic way of showing the participants that hands on experiences with artefacts stimulated learning more than simply reading around a subject. Personally I would assume that this activity would have fit into the individual and directed quadrant. However, as I was not specific in my instructions, the participants reflected in pairs, adding a social context to the activity. As I like to go with the flow of activities, I then brought everybody together and spoke as a group, making the activity last longer and adding more depth. This then pushed the activity further into the social quadrant.

The thoughts that I have around this subject reside around this concept of crossing multiple quadrants. In my imagination I can only think that most activities will cross more than one of these quadrants, especially if they have different stages, as my example did. So for future practice I would aim to narrow down activities, keeping them to specific learning quadrants. This would be easier in a session where multiple activities are used, as it would be possible to get the cross section by doing an activity that conforms to each quadrant. However, as I said before, I like to go with the flow with activities, and this approach would require me to direct the activities a lot more in order to keep them in the correct quadrants. So I am torn to whether I would want my easy going guided approach and cross many quadrants in one activity or the opposite where I have much more of an influence.

Either way the grid is useful to think about how to plan activities and I look forward to reading other people’s posts, especially from people who have much more teaching experience.


ocTEL Week 0- Catch Up

As I had a bit of a busy week, I seem to be having to play catch up. However, I am determined to keep up with the activities and wanted to get them done before this weeks webinar. So I thought I would take a bit of inspiration from @philvincent‘s post yesterday and try and tackle the remainder of the activities all in one go.

Activity 0.2 Small Group Reflection

As Phil mentioned, there are a few participants of the course who all work at the university. I have been lucky enough to join them in their group and talk about the ocTEL course and reflect with them. I have also been looing through the groups on the ocTEL page, however, as I had a busy week I did not get chance to interact with any posts. I am happy that I got chance to familiarise myself with the layout and some of the topics that were being discussed.

Activity 0.3 Exploring and Experimenting

Although I have had chance to look through the #ocTEL site at the groups and forums, I am going to base this activity around the use of blogs and twitter. Straight away I loved the idea of using twitter to post about the course as it was something that I was familiar with and knew how to use. However, as I have never really set up a blog (properly anyway) it was a bit daunting for me to use this as my main form of communication. But  I was willing to have a go, and here I am blogging away, probably doing things wrong, so let me know if I am. But I will keep practicing and hopefully pick up some tips and tricks along the way.

Activity 0.4 Active Listening Online

I seem to have been doing a lot of this, and not participating much with things this week. I have been looking at everything including the forums and groups. As I am quite active in many different forums around the internet, I feel that the participation in the ocTEL forums is yet to really take charge. I assume this is because it was only week 0, which is understandable really. But for now I think one of the most successful ways of communicating and I will continue to use this.

Activity 0.5: Interesting examples of Technology Enhanced Learning


#ocTEL Activity 0.1

Firstly, hello everyone, I am Ricky, a current student at York St John. I am gaining some work experience within the TEL department there so hopefully this course will help me along my way.

One of the main aims for me throughout this course is to find out how others are using Technology Enhanced Learning in different roles. I would like to say I am quite on top of current general trends with technology but I would like to see the specific technologies, activities and roles people are using. Although I have seen a lot about learning with technology through my degree (Education Studies), I have moved on to investigating how people are teaching with technology. My most recent project, actually my dissertation, was to investigate how primary school teachers can use mobile technologies (specifically the iPad) to enhance learning and productivity. This was looking at specific applications and demonstrating them to trainee teachers, in order to gain some feedback and investigate how easy the uptake of this practice would be. As I have had a lot of experience around mobile technologies, I am keen to find out more around other areas, such as the flipped classroom, blended learning and experiences with online courses, so any opinions or examples on these would be much appreciated.

Other than this, something I would like to note is a previous experience with completing a marked assessment as an online forum. Through one of my modules which investigated the future of learning, we had to interact with an online forum for a summative assessment. Although at first this was really daunting, I soon got used to the format, writing style and layout, which allowed me to concentrate easier on the content. Although I felt that I had not done as well as I could have, I ended up getting one of by best grades in it. After a bit of reflection though it turned out that there were some extremely high grades and extremely low ones; a much larger range than usual. I just wondered if anybody had any similar experience with being a student in something like this?

All in all, I look forward to the rest of the #ocTEL course and hope to here about other people’s experiences with TEL.