Category Archives: jiscel10

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #068: That’s my idea! No it’s mine!

Ideas, sharing ideas are discussed along with Java and Screenr problems, discussion forums, Bloom’s taxonomy and the 1% rule.

With James Clay, David Sugden, Lilian Soon, and Dave Foord.

This is the sixty eighth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, That’s my idea! No it’s mine!

Audio MP3

Download the podcast in mp3 format: That’s my idea! No it’s mine!

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

Since this show was recorded a recent update 3.6.13 to Firefox for OS X has “fixed” the Screenr bug we discussed at the beginning of the show.

In the recording we refer to a podcast I made for the JISC Online Conference.

Audio MP3


You’ve been quiet!

Regular readers of the blog will have noticed that things have been a little quieter than usual with me posting a lot less.

The main reason for this is that I have for the last week been attending the JISC Innovating e-Learning Online Conference 2010 which has been taking place in… well online as you might expect. I am going to write a more evaluative piece on the conference later.

I was the conference blogger at the conference so as a result I was posting a lot of blog entries there instead of here… Most of the blog entries on the conference blog (which is not available to non-delegates) were about the conference itself, however some were on more general web and e-learning issues. These will be expanded upon and published later on this blog – so you won’t miss out.

Running a conference blog has been fun, if exhausting, but I’ve had a lot of nice positive comments back from people, so well worthwhile.

A conference blog is something that you sometimes you see at other conferences, but I certainly would recommend that other conference organisers think about having a conference blog for their conferences.

It’s not too late…

Tomorrow the reading and activity week starts for the JISC Innovating e-Learning 2010 Online Conference. This week before the conference allows delegates a chance to plan their time for when the conference starts proper, familiarise themselves with the Elluminate and asynchronous discussions platform, meet other delegates and presenters for a virtual coffee, view the have-a-go area and go on tours of Second Life.

It’s not too late to sign up and at £50 is really good value more money. There are many advantages to attending the conference, but reduced travel and accommodation costs, no travel time and no need to leave the office, is one key advantage.

Sign up to the JISC Online Conference.

The future of education – are we having the right conversation?

From JISC.

We need to re-engage civil society in a debate about educational purpose.  These are the powerful words of Professor Keri Facer, keynote speaker at the forthcoming JISC innovating e-learning conference.

Listen to the interview with Keri Facer.

According to Facer, we need to stop using qualifications as a proxy for a debate about educational success – “how many people need to get up to Level Two skills, how many people need degrees” – and instead start really thinking about the  competencies, skills and attributes students may need to thrive in uncertain times.

In the context of the row over HE funding the UK has neglected the fundamental question about what institutions are for and instead has focused simply on the issue about how to pay for universities as they currently exist.  Facer puts this in the context of the uncontested idea of the knowledge economy which has dominated the discussions about the future of socio-technological change. “For me the critical issue is that we have been working with one idea of the future for nearly twenty years.  The idea of the knowledge economy seems to imply that if only we make sure everybody is educated enough and ensure that they have enough technological skills then we will have a future where everybody will be economically secure.  I think this is contestable when we look at some of the economical and environmental developments that are likely to come about in the next ten years.  If we look carefully at the lived reality of a future ‘knowledge economy’, for example, it may be one of radical polarisation, inequality and injustice.  This is not necessarily an empowering future. As educators we need to start thinking about the other sorts of futures we may want to support our students to create and inhabit.” Facer encourages the audience to start imagining different futures and to examine the kinds of future lives that are offered by this widespread discourse of the knowledge economy.

She urges universities in their governance to be much more closely tied to the needs and aspirations of their communities and to set in place mechanisms for engagement in real debates about how to build sustainable economies. “If we want to imagine different futures we need to create the right kinds of spaces to be able to debate those, public spaces where people are equipped to get into a serious debate about the sorts of socio-technological trajectories that we will be looking at over the next ten to twenty years.”

Prepare for a lively debate on 23 November!

Book your place.

Find out more about the advantages of online conferences.

Why an online conference?

Last week I wrote a guest post on Marieke Guy’s Ramblings of a Remote Worker blog about the forthcoming JISC Innovating e-Learning 2010 Online Conference where I will be the conference blogger.

Here is a copy of what I wrote…

Over the years I have attended many conferences, online and in physical locations.

This November JISC are running their fifth online conference, Innovating e-Learning 2010. For the third year running I will be the official conference blogger, adding my thoughts and opinions on the conference and posting tips and advice to those new to the format. I really do enjoy attending these online conferences and find they do challenge me and my assumptions, make me think and influence my practice.

A bit of background perhaps may be in order.

At the 2006 JISC Online Conference I presented a piece entitled Mobile Learning on the VLE.

This was seminal piece of work that has had an impact on a lot of what I have done since. It was a key factor in my involvement in the MoLeNET programme and a big influence on how I view the use of mobile devices to enhance and enrich learning.

I really did enjoy not just presenting at the conference, but also taking part as a delegate in the other presentations. One of the key factors for me was the depth and breadth of discussion that took place, something that is often “missing” from a physical conference. This discussion was textual and asynchronous and took place over a day or so rather than in the few minutes for questions you normally get at a physical conference.

2007 saw me jointly present with Helen Beetham, more of a challenge, but I presented from Weston-super-Mare, whilst Helen presented from Devon. At various online conferences I have attended people have been able to present from all over the world. Any conference is going to have an impact on the environment. With hundreds of people travelling hundreds (if not thousands) of miles this will contribute to the carbon footprint of the event. Now it has to be said that an online conference can help reduce the environmental impact of an event. If you are like me you probably have a laptop with you at a conference, so if you are staying at home or in the office and using the laptop at the online conference this will have a negligible impact on the carbon footprint as you would be using the laptop at both kinds of events.

2008 was my first as the official conference blogger. This was a big change for me, as before I could focus one day on presenting and then enjoy the rest of the conference. As the official conference blogger I was expected to help in the build up and blog over the conference. I think when asked to do this my own e-Learning Stuff was only about a year old (though I had a blog in my previous role before then) and blogged a few times a week, so at first I wasn’t sure exactly what was wanted. I knew I would need to blog a quite a few times a day, so this was quite a challenge. I also had the “day job” so needed to fit it all around that too. So after much thinking, I really threw myself into the role, and as well as using text, I also made use of audio and video. I made short videos and uploaded them to the blog. Some of these videos were edited and put together in advance.

Others were shot during the conference (sometimes on a phone) and uploaded within minutes of taking them.

These video summaries were appreciated by the delegates as was my textual commentary, advice and help.

So perhaps it was no surprise that in 2009 I was invited back again as the conference blogger.

So here we are back in 2010 and once more I will be blogging at the JISC Online Conference.

So what is it about an online conference?

For me the main reason for attending an online conference, as well as the excellent presentations, is the engagement between the delegates. Most physical conferences I have attended have in the main been passive affairs, I sit, I listen, I think, digest and reflect. Discussion and debate does happen at these conferences, but usually informally over coffee. At the online conference the debate and discussion takes place using a textual asyncrhonous discussion forum over two days. As a result it allows for reflection, it enables delegates to refer and check other papers and sources, and for all delegates to read that discussion and if they want to, add their own comment.

Other reasons why I like online conferences, is that I can attend the conference even when doing other things. I can still attend meetings, see people in my office, teach, even go to other places. At the last two online conferences I have had to go to London during the week of the conference, and have using 3G and coffee shop wifi hotspots continued to take part in the conference even though I am away from my desk.

Having said all that it is useful too to make time for the conference, shut the office door, work from home for a bit, wear headphones, move to a different office, work in the coffee spaces in the college or university.

You can see presentations again, you can ignore them and (virtually) walk out without feeling you may be offending someone as their talk doesn’t relate to you as you thought it did.

Unlike a physical conference, the JISC Innovating e-Learning 2010 Online Conference remains open for reading until the 31st December to allow participants to catch up on what they missed. So unlike missing the train to a physical conference or falling ill, it is possible to still get a lot out of the online conference.

There are advantages to attending the conference, but reduced travel and accommodation costs, no travel time and no need to leave the office, are additional advantages.

Of course the real value of the online conference is the programme, one that will inspire and challenge you. It has variety and interest.

So if it is proving difficult to attend all the conferences you want to, one you shouldn’t miss is the JISC Innovating e-Learning 2010 Online Conference.