With the A Level results last week and the GCSE results this week, it reminded me of how we use learning technologies to support and enhance teaching and learning, but when it comes to assessment, we almost always rely on pen paper and those dreaded exam conditions.
BBC news had an interesting opinion piece on whether learners should be able to bring laptops into (some) exams in order to be able to use the internet.
We are in the process of looking at Facebook because our learners are wanting to use it to engage and interact with the college. It is in the main for the social and sports side of college (which is why a lot of learners come to (and stay at a college)).
The University of Bristol is conducting research into the impact of 1:1 access to mobile learning devices at KS2 and KS4. Five schools, which are part of the Learning2Go or Hand-e-Learning projects, are being investigated.
This Development and Research project is using mixed methods to evaluate impact in terms of learners’ learning skills, attendance, behaviour and attainment. It will also review the success of the implementation and sustainability of the schools’ PDA initiatives and provide examples of emerging good pedagogic practice.
The final reports from the project will be available in Winter 2008.
The initial implementation of mobile projects is logistically challenging.
The open negotiation of contracts of acceptable and responsible use with learners and parents can be very useful in clarifying issues and building mutual trust.
When learners expect devices to be used, they are more likely to bring them to school every day and keep them charged. When all pupils in a class have their devices with them, the learning benefits are optimised.
Teachers need to play an integral role in choosing software and content to ensure that it is relevant to learners’ needs. They are then more likely use the devices.
Where possible, all relevant staff – especially teaching assistants, ICT co-ordinators and teachers – should be provided with mobile devices.
Implementation – technical
It is beneficial to ensure reliable wireless connectivity.
It is useful to consider systems for dealing with breakages and temporary loss of use of devices. This may involve planning for temporary loan stock.
Systems for storage of and access to work need to be developed. Teachers and learners need to access digital work to provide and receive feedback.
Consideration can usefully be given to possible software solutions to teachers’ issues around observing process, tracking progress and formative assessment.
Professional development of teachers
Teachers benefit from having time to explore what the devices can do before integrating their use into planned learning.
Using mobile devices is likely to increase learner autonomy. Teachers need to ensure that learners are able to evaluate resources, think critically and reflect.
It is important to consider the ways in which mobile devices are integrated with other (ICT and traditional) tools in learning at home and at school.
So there I was on leave, when I got a phone call from work, someone needed access to JORUM. Though they had an Athens account, they probably weren’t part of the staff group we have which allows access to JORUM (as JORUM is a staff only resource). So using my Athens Administrator account details I tried to login to Athens from home, only to find that I couldn’t because it was also restricted by IP address! So unfortunately the member of staff will have to wait till next week, because the other Athens administrator is also on leave (come on it is August, virtually no one is around).
Now I suppose if we had a VPN at work I could have logged into that and then I could have access. Or if I had my home IP address “added” to the list of safe IP addresses (I have done this before with other IP restricted resources). However at this point neither of those are possible, so the member of staff will have to wait a week!
Will Shibboleth solve these issues? Maybe, maybe not, as you still need to administrate accounts with Shibboleth.
TechDis have published the third of their accessibility essentials guides. This third guide can tell you all you need to know about creating accessible presentations in PowerPoint.
As multimedia presentations are increasingly favoured as a means of delivering lectures, the importance of making them accessible to all learners becomes crucial. Software such as PowerPoint can present barriers to some learners, but it can also support others, and this Guide to Creating Accessible Presentations can show you how.
It has four sections:
Using Microsoft PowerPoint Accessibly within Teaching and Learning
Implementing Inclusive Practice
Delivering Presentations Inclusively
Good Practice in Providing Alternative Outputs to Support Accessibility
The guide also looks at the importance of making PowerPoint components accessible for others to re-use.
The JISC-funded TechWatch service recently published a major – and hugely popular – report on Web 2.0 and its implications for education and research. In this Podcast Philip Pothen speaks to TechWatch’s director Gaynor Backhouse about the work of the service and why the report has been so successful.