Activity – comment on video
The message was loud and clear for me; the use of digital technology affords greater freedom and flexibility for both teachers and students. This is exemplified by the electronic submission, originality checking, and marking tool Turnitin, which I noticed featured prominently in the video. The ability to research, write, and upload an assignment to a VLE from anywhere and at any time – while then similarly receiving timely, legible and rich feedback ahead of the next assignment represents end-to-end blended learning in action. I’ve led and supported many blended learning projects, and none have been as widely accepted and successful as online marking.
The closing comment of the final talking head, “The idea of using technology in education is a necessity” says it all for me. Not only is the use of technology an necessity, it is irreversible. There a few, if any, examples in business, health, finance, and other aspects of modern life where digital technology has been adopted and then abandoned. E-Learning is part of the landscape, despite its relative immaturity.
I find that technology plays a crucial role in responding to the demands of today’s students. Communication with and between students, is supporting institutional change. Effective communication means multi-platform, instantaneous and responsive – and only digital technology can provide this.
Education has been slower than other fields to adopt technology, but quicker by its own standards to recognise, and begin to adopt learning analytics. This suggests a growing acceptance of E-learning and a very welcome quickening of the pace of change. In addition to this, would like to see greater agility among institutions, vendors, staff, and students in the provision and evaluation of blended learning – and far greater input from students.
What is Twitter?
Twitter can be described as a hybrid of blogging and SMS messaging, or a severely cut-down version of Facebook.
Twitter asks its users – Twitterers – “What are you doing?” and provides a limit of 140 characters in which to answer, with what is known as a ‘Tweet’. Users can reply to this question and to the posts of others either by visiting the site or by SMS text. Updates can be received this way too and by RSS (Really Simple Syndication). This is similar to the Facebook status updates but with the ability to reply directly to the user, a feature Facebook has recently added to its interface.
Twitter offers many benefits:
• it’s a very simple way to keep in touch with friends, colleagues, cohorts, customers and users
• it’s a very direct, open and efficient way of reporting on conferences or projects
• it offers powerful privacy settings; users can open their ‘tweets’ to ‘twitterers’ of their choosing
• it can support communities of practice
• it supports ‘metacognition’ – the practice of thinking and reflecting upon learning
• because of the SMS-like limitations on length but a very public display, it forces twitterers to be brief and to the point – an important skill in thinking and communicating clearly.
Prominent users include:
• The BBC which has started using Twitter to disseminate breaking news
• Stephen Fry keeps in touch with over 116 000 fellow twitterers
• Barack Obama, who used Twitter as a publicity mechanism on his way to winning the US Presidential election
• The University of Texas at San Antonio College of Engineering, which is using Twitter to relay information to students.
This message summarises the information bookmarked at the following link:
Del.icio.us is a free, web-based service allowing users to bookmark sites and, rather than keep them in a particular pc and browser, share them online with friends, colleagues, and people with similar or overlapping interests.
my del.icio.us bookmarks
1. Title of webpage/website: This is by default defined by the page creator. Most websites are helpfully titled (the BBC, Times Higher Education and the Guardian are good examples). Some academic/personal pages may not be so usefully titled, but this can be changed when saving the page to your del.icio.us files.
2. When saved: Useful to know when you originally found the webpage, especially if you save and then read later.
3. User-defined tags: When saving a page, the user can add ‘tags’ to it which will make it easier to organise, retrieve and share pages between browsers, pcs, colleagues and the del.icio.us community. Rather than bookmarking in a browser you can bookmark on line and send your reading lists, resources and (small r) research to those who are intersted.
4. How many others have saved page: This provides an insight into how the webpage is perceived by others…how many people also thought it was useful? Who exactly has saved it? Clicking on the link shows who else has saved it and any comments they added to their tags. This is useful in adding ‘authority’ to a webpage.
This is a good place to begin, my own bookmarked resource on using del.icio.us! – http://del.icio.us/edc_rhul/getting-started-with-del.icio.us