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Finding your tribe

One of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I have read this year has been Sir Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds"  and my ref...

Sunday, 21 November 2010

digital literacies

Useful post on Steve Wheeler's blog. He proposes the following digital literacies:
•Social Networking skills
•Transliteracy skills
•Privacy Maintenance
•Identity Management
•Creating content
•Organizing content
•Reusing/repurposing content
•Filtering and selecting of content
•Self presentation
I think these are really important. Each would take a deal of unpacking but they are demonstrable and could be integrated with language skills to form a scaffold for online language use. Such skills are a vital part of the armoury of any online activity for tutors. Of course we'd have to replace that z with an s :)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

visualising language

One of the major PR problems for language is that the press don't know how to represent it. The same clichés appear: people talking, speech bubbles, multi ethnic groups...
maybe tagxedo and wordle can help?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

reflections on feedback

I presented at ALT-C in September and recently re-discovered a blog posting relating to the event from Gabi Witthaus. Gabi's feedback set me thinking again about where I stand on comfort zones. As an educator, I believe in the importance of drawing people out of themselves to take risks, allowing them to feel safe enough to operate beyond their usual frames of reference. This is not difficult to do in my language teaching capacity, it is an area I have operated in for many years. In a technology for language teaching domain, working alongside others I am more cautious. It reminds me of my horse-riding days. Over facing is the concept of asking a horse to cope with a task (such as a jump) that is beyond its normal reach. This requires trust and sensitivity from the rider. Once over faced, a horse can become very nervous and will resist taking even the smallest risk. If however they become over confident they will rush at a fence and chaos ensues! Often tutors who are enthusiastic about a particular use of technology want to dive into something that is complex and demanding. Naturally I want to support them in this, the challenge is to facilitate their understanding of the complexities of what they want to achieve, to slow them down in order to ensure that they have thought about the implications of what they are doing. Student feedback is probably the key. Not necessarily whole group surveys, but the support of one or two interested students who can give honest input without fear of judgement and so help to shape the tutor's innovation. Thanks Gabi :)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Categorising Web 2.0 Apps for Education

Enjoyed this presentation at ALT-C, really useful way to encourage reflection on technology use in education.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

James Clay's ALT-C 2010 vid.

endless journey

The journey metaphore so often used to refer to the learning experience has been troubling me of late. When I embark upon a journey I usually know where I will depart from, where I'm going, and what I need to take with me. None of these are elements I would necessarily find if I reflect upon the situations from which I have learnt. The most marked learning experiences I have had in life have been relatively unplanned, dramatic events which have lead me to places I did not expect to see. I have not been prepared for them and that has made them all the more memorable. Some journeys are more to be endured that enjoyed, they leave you tired and with fewer resources than when you embarked upon them. I doubt we would like the same to be true of learning. Deep learning takes place within an affective context that has perhaps more in common with a major event, something striking and even life-changing - being there when Kennedy or John Lennon was shot, scoring the winning goal, missing that vital catch...

Can I please ask that we rethink the references to learning journeys? There must be a better metaphore!!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Exciting development

Heard today that Russell Stannard is to join Warwick at CAL. Thrilled to get a DM on twitter on his first day. Looking forward to a good ol' chinwag!

Saturday, 11 September 2010


On my way to the final day of the ALT conference I was driving along the Derby Road at about 8.45 whan I heard a bang behind me. A white van had hit a post at the zebra crossing. People ran towards it, presumably to help. I was grateful that I had been in front of it as I imagined the hold-up to the rush hour traffic.
Musing over this and the importance of timing. Right place, right time vs right place, wrong time. How consequences change according to their relative timing.

Our bodies it seems like things to be in sync : psychological science publications
so maybe we get a particular buzz when we share experiences and connections with others? Certainly seems the case for me at ALT-C.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

end of day 2 alt-c

Time really does fly when you are enjoying yourself. Have enjoyed all my conversations here whether they were work or social. Am I detecting signs of the drawing together of techies, geeks, academics, technologists ( who may overlap the aforementioned categories!) uniting in a common purpose? I admin I'm an optimist but what a lovely bunch of people. Maybe austerity does bring out the best in us, let's hope so :)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

ALT-C conference from a linguist perspective

A couple of matters mentioned at today's proceedings were red flags to me so they can't go unmentioned! Blackboard presentation: mention was made of the psychological impact of voice in provoking greater response. (Yes, people connect through their voices, I seem to remember being unable to ignore my childrens' cries! its a primal thing)
Assessment presentation: Physicist remarks that if you try to create algorithms for marking passages of human writing you could lose the will to live (LOL)

At last! are people getting it? Language is one of the most complex human phenomena (and the most unlikely, to quote Pinker) could it be EVEN more complex than Physics :)

journey to alt-c

Helpfully smooth journey to conference this morning. Highlights included getting my Chris Evans fix and singing along to "Build me up buttercup" God, my kids would be embarassed! But then I am probably one of the oldest geeks in town! Relieved to hear (several times)  that Donald Clark is 54 (or will be in Dec) He's setting the bar for growing old disgracefully, love it!! Certainly got everyone talking and tweeting...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

la rentrée

Only had a week off but got so chilled that the thought of getting back to work is quite scary! So much to do, so many people to meet and plans to execute...deep breath!
Created first ever cloud http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/4545 ready for ALT-C 2010.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Hoping to find others who understand...

Today I showed my husband my abstract for my short paper to be delivered at ALT-C 2010. I don't blame him for not showing enthusiasm, to him my e-learning work is just another time consuming activity that distracts me from being more available to home and family. Some of my colleagues at work are also bemused by my desire to encourage online interaction and voice over the internet in language teaching. However, I am looking forward to meeting others who get it when I join the ALT-C in Nottingham in September. So excited about the possibility of finally finding my "niche" :)
Facebook page here

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A week of breakthroughs

We now have a moodle, complete with suitable logos and a choice group of users. We also have a suite of social networking tools for the Language Centre (facebook, netvibes, youtube channel and of course twitter has been going for a little while)All of a sudden we're off!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

moodle mash ups

ok so now we get underway with moodle. Looks like it is worth visiting http://moodle.org/course/view.php?id=5 with a guest access.
We may find out how to integrate our repository here: http://moodle.org/mod/forum/view.php?id=1807
Good to see some work going on around integrating social networking.
Language thread: http://moodle.org/mod/forum/view.php?id=43
and they have a lounge :)

Lots to test now...