Is data privacy more important than ever?

Interesting and thought provoking

Posted in Uncategorized

Sitting in the driving seat

It is often difficult to explain what I do, most people listen attentively and slowly over a few seconds they glaze over, and if I continued either fall asleep or seem to slip into a coma. This can be very discouraging as I think I have one of the best jobs in the world, I certainly love it.

What is it, what do I do, well put simply I stand between educators and technology and try and get them both talking, if not working together, not always successfully but always creatively. Take this blog, it was initially set up for me to collect together some of my thoughts and help me build a professional portfolioIo, that I hope to use for professional accreditation. So yes there is stuff you can not see,and pages you generally will never see. This is not because it is controversial , but just because it only concerns me as an individual and the work I do. The only people I will give access to this material to are any future mentors or assessors.

Here is the rub, e organisation I work for want students to build a reflective personal, professional portfolio, one which supports there time in education but also is portable, so for those who master reflection, it can be used in the future for their Continuing Professional Development. At the moment we are trying to use a common virtual learning environment, a closed box, yes you can export your portfolio as as set of files and text pages, but any linkages or interaction is lost unless you can work in the dark arts of XML.

So this is what I do, I allow a few tutors to see this blog, I open the door to me and try and help them see the opportunities that a flexible web based blog tool can offer in the area of PErsonal Professional Portfolio. We will see where we go from here?

In a nutshell this is what I do, I look at an educational outcome, and think how could we do this better, do we need to change how we do this, is there a tool we could use that removes barriers to learning and supports the dialogue between educators and students,

I enjoy it, very lucky to be in this position

Posted in Learning Technologist, Personal

A newbie

Just signed up andy….so how do these blog things work then????  How do I reply to your posts??

Posted in How To Blog

BBC News – Net access: EU survey shows geographic divisions

BBC News – Net access: EU survey shows geographic divisions. interesting

Posted in Personal, personal Learning Environment, Technical, Web Site

Thought for the day

I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.


I like to break the rules !!

Posted in Personal

Getting ready

I have a presentation to deliver this week! For a few days now I have been considering how to fill 2 hours, how to entertain staff and fill the time allotted. How wrong you can be, in the cold light of day how wrong an attitude this is, it is not two hours I need to fill but I need to retouch some of the passion for blended learning I had when I first came into this field.

Personally Blended learning is probably one of the most dynamic and exciting fields of education around today. It is constantly changing, morphing and challenging the status quo. Just take the development from web 1.0 to the burgeoning of web 3.0.

In web 1.0 we consumed, looked, read followed the hyperlink trails, walled in by the web designers, web 2.0 brought us the write web, where as pilgrims on the web we could contribute, this blog a child of that time allows me to express my thoughts and ideas as no generation before could. Now on the horizon is the possibility of web 3.0 the

semantic Web

moving from just contributing and rehashing to a semi autonomous web which helps us think and see the links between data, the ability to recombine and reuse data to create new information and perhaps new horizons of belief and understanding. To paraphrase


it does not get any better than this !

This is just one area of learning and teaching which offers new horizons for learning one which is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Imagine not filling the students head with information ( notice I don’t use the word knowledge ) but give them the questions to ask and the skills to search and evaluate, then let them loose on a web which supports an inquisitive mind, what might they find and could we cope as educators not being the centre of their learning but a guide alongside them.

This I find exciting and being a firm believer in ” I still have much to learn” what might I discover not closing myself off as the all seeing eye but allowing and acknowledging I am still a pilgrim in the landscapes of learning.

All I need to do now is figure out how to communicate some of this excitement and passion for this kind of teaching to the Faculty at the college?

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Posted in Learning, Learning Technologist, Presentation

Just revisiting deep and Surface approaches to learning

Notes to self:

Although learners may be classified as “deep” or “surface”, they are not attributes of individuals: one person may use both approaches at different times, although she or he may have a preference for one or the other.

They correlate fairly closely with motivation:

  • “deep” with intrinsic motivation
  • “surface” with extrinsic

they are not necessarily the same thing. Either approach can be adopted by a person with either motivation.

There is a third form, known as the “Achieving” or strategic approach, which can be summarised as a very well-organised form of Surface approach, and in which the motivation is to get good marks. The exercise of learning is construed as a game, so that acquisition of technique improves performance. It works as well as the analogy: insofar as learning is not a game, it breaks down.

Conceptions of Learning

“Learning” means different things to different people. SÄLJÖ R (1979) “Learning in the Learner’s Perspective: 1: some commonplace misconceptions” Reports from the Institute of Education, University of Gothenburg, 76. 

classified the conceptions held by respondents in his interview-based study into five categories:
  1. Learning as a quantitative increase in knowledge. Learning is acquiring information or “knowing a lot”
  2. Learning as memorising. Learning is storing information that can be reproduced.
  3. Learning as acquiring facts, skills and methods that can be retained and used as necessary.
  4. Learning as making sense or abstracting meaning. Learning involves relating parts of the subject matter to each other and to the real world.
  5. Learning as interpreting and understanding reality in a different way. Learning involves comprehending the world by re-interpreting knowledge.

(Read more: Deep and Surface learning
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives )

Surface approach:

The student reduces what is to be learnt to the status of unconnected facts to be memorised, which means that the learning task becomes to be able to reproduce the subject matter at a later date

The student reduces what is to be learnt to the status of unconnected facts to be memorised. The learning task is to reproduce the subject matter at a later date (perhaps in an exam):
It would have been more interesting if I’d known that I wasn’t going to be tested on it afterwards, ‘cos in that case I’d’ve more, you know, thought about what it said instead of all the time trying to think: ‘Now I must remember this and now I must remember that’.

Deep approach:

The student attempts to make sense of what is learnt, which consists of ideas and concepts, and involves the student in thinking, seeking integration between components and between tasks, and ‘playing’ with ideas (Gibbs, G. (1992). Improving the Quality of Student Learning. Plymouth UK: Technical and Educational Services Ltd.)

The student attempts to make sense of what is to be learnt, using ideas and concepts. This involves thinking, seeking integration between components and between tasks, and ‘playing’ with ideas:
I tried to look for … you know, the principal ideas … I tried to think what it was all about … I thought about how he had built up the whole thing.
An approach is not the same as a skill. It is primarily about the learner’s intention. It can be helpful to make the learning process explicit by discussing students’ intentions with them. Ask the students what they were trying to do and what they were thinking about, for example when they were making notes or writing their essay.

Course characteristics & a surface approach

  • A heavy workload
  • Relatively high class contact hours
  • An excessive amount of course material
  • A lack of opportunity to pursue subjects in depth
  • A lack of choice over subjects and a lack of choice over the method of study
  • A threatening and anxiety provoking assessment system
Course characteristics & a deep approach
  • The engendering of intrinsic motivation in the students; students wanting and needing to know
  • Learner activity
  • Interaction with others
  • A well structured knowledge base – i.e where content is taught in integrated wholes and where knowledge is required to be related to other knowledge
11 conditions under which assessment supports learning 2 (Gibbs and Simpson, 2002)
  1. Sufficient assessed tasks are provided for students to capture sufficient study time (motivation)
  2. These tasks are engaged with by students, orienting them to allocate appropriate amounts of time and effort to the most important aspects of the course (motivation)
  3. Tackling the assessed task engages students in productive learning activity of an appropriate kind (learning activity)
  4. Assessment communicates clear and high expectations (motivation)
  5. Sufficient feedback is provided, both often enough and in enough detail
  6. The feedback focuses on students’ performance, on their learning and on actions under the students’ control, rather than on the students themselves and on their characteristics
  7. The feedback is timely in that it is received by students while it still matters to them and in time for them to pay attention to further learning or receive further assistance
  8. Feedback is appropriate to the purpose of the assignment and to its criteria for success.
  9. Feedback is appropriate, in relation to students’ understanding of what they are supposed to be doing.
  10. Feedback is received and attended to.
  11. Feedback is acted upon by the student
Posted in Learning, Learning Technologist, Teaching