I’m delighted to announce on behalf of EdTechRoundUp that we’ll be having a (completely online) ‘TeachMeet’ on Sunday 6th December 2009. It’s called TeachMeet ETRU edition 09 and will hopefully be the first of many!
If you’re not too sure what a TeachMeet is, watch the excellent explanatory video by the BrainPOP team below:
Please do sign up to do a 7-minute ‘micro’ presentation, a 2-minute ‘nano’ presentation or to be an ‘enthusiastic lurker’. The idea is that we’ll be using Adobe Connect Pro for the TeachMeet. Presentations can be done live, but I for one will be pre-recording mine! 🙂
I noticed that TeachMeet Falkirk had a QR code* to make life a bit easier for those publicising the event. Here’s one containing the URL of TeachMeet ETRU edition 09
Finally, please remember to include the tag TMETRU09 when discussing the TeachMeet on Twitter, uploading Flickr photos, YouTube videos or blogging about it! 😀
* A QR code, for those who don’t know, is kind of a barcode that stores information – in this case the URL of the wiki page (more at Wikipedia). Try it by downloading the software from qrcode.kaywa.com.
A few weeks ago our Executive Principal introduced the Teaching & Learning team to Carol Dweck’s ‘mindset’ theory of motivation. I wanted to find out more and was informed (via Twitter) that she was keynoting SLF09. Spying an opportunity, I asked for (and was granted) permission to attend – on the proviso that I produced some type of ‘video podcast’ to inform staff of what I’ve learned.
The 8-minute video at the top of this post is a sneak peek at what I’ll be distributing to colleagues at the Academy this week. I’d very much welcome your feedback! 😀
(Dweck’s book Mindset: the new psychology of motivation can be found at Amazon and, as they say, ‘all good bookshops – and probably some average ones’….)
Poets talk of a ‘muses’ and people talk of inspiration ‘just coming’ to them. Me, I’m a believer that connections come when you completely immerse yourself in something. About an hour ago I had a breakthrough with my thesis, the tentative title of which is What does it mean to be ‘digitally literate’? A Pragmatic investigation.
I’ve been looking for a way to organize the multitude of definitions of ‘digital literacy’ that there are – almost as many as there are writers on the subject! Then, as I was looking for categories, I noticed that almost every category I used began with ‘C’! I quickly wrote down eight and tweeted it out:
Josie Fraser, herself quite the expert on digital literacy, responded that I really needed a ‘critical’ element in there:
She had a very good point and I noticed that the similarity between the things I wanted to put in the ‘cultural’ and ‘community’ sections I’d demarcated. Hence, I changed it round to come up with this, the 8 C’s of digital literacy. Each of the following I believe to be an element with which any definition of the concept must deal:
I haven’t numbered them as they’re in no particular order. I will, no doubt, be thinking and reflecting more on the subject. I just wanted to get this post out before anyone else tried to claim this as their own! 😉
I didn’t realise until this evening that today is ‘Leadership Day’. The hashtag is #leadershipday09 if you’re interested in media relating to it. I haven’t got time to do anything else, I’m afraid, other than link to this Diigo list of relevant blog posts and make a list of those on this blog you may find interesting!
Over the past week I’ve been working on policies and documents relating to E-Learning and electronic resources at the Academy. The following are links to the Google Docs that were created with feedback from my Twitter network. They are very much still in draft form and I would therefore appreciate further feedback! 🙂
The idea is that the Acceptable Use Agreements stay relatively static, with the ‘Digital Guidelines’ and definition of what the Academy deems ‘inappropriate’ being more flexible and fluid.
All of these policies and guidelines are available under a Creative Commons license. You must give attribution, not use them for a commercial purpose, and share any derivative works using an equivalent license. Other than that, use away!
I’d like to thank Andrew Churches, whose excellent Digital Citizen AUA was the starting point for the Primary and Secondary AUA’s above. 😀
Productivity is big business. After all, who wouldn’t pay good money to find out how to become faster and better at work and play? The less reputable books, blogs and podcasts available would lead you to believe that there is some kind of ‘dark art’ or ‘magic formula’ to becoming more productive.
That’s simply not true.
Productivity boils down to three very straightforward things:
Let me explain…
These three key elements to productivity are actually somewhat hierarchical. At the bottom of the hierarchy comes motivation. This can come from a variety of sources but all lead to a realisation that your day-to-day routine can be made faster, better and more interesting by making some changes.
Some of the best ways to get motivated that I’ve found are:
Getting up early
Reading something motivational (including the Bible)
Finding an audience (e.g. through blogging)
Holding yourself accountable to someone else
Having a goal in mind (e.g. spending more time with family, achieving a target amount of something)
Efficiency is doing things you already do, but faster and/or better. It’s like replacing You 1.0 with You 1.5.So instead of using a paper calendar you use an online calendar. You multitask. If there’s a way to use keyboard shortcuts in an application you use routinely, you seek them out and start using them.
Motivation must be present before time-savings and productivity boosts through efficiency can be found. It’s far too easy to maintain the status quo and do things in the same old tried-and-tested way. Efficiency involves experimentation and, as such, can be tiring as you are exercising your mental faculties more. This, of course, is good in the long run for mental development and memory retention.
Ultimately, though, being productive means making the correct choices, constantly improving workflows and having a decent feedback system. One of the best ways of doing this is by being part of a self-improvement community. Churc communities – at least the more evangelical ones – are naturally like this, but they can be found elsewhere.
Twitter and other social networks are good places to find motivated, enthusiastic people willing to share ideas and tips on becoming more productive. Some of the absolutely top tips, however, come from the comments sections of productivity blogs.
Here’s 5 productivity-related blogs you should definitely subscribe to:
Tomorrow, I’m off to a school – the one I attended as a teenager – that will form part of Northumberland Church of England Academy. I’m going there as Director of E-Learning after my successful Twitter-powered interview. I start officially in September! It’s the first of a series of meetings looking at the ICT/E-Learning systems for the Academy and we’ll be looking at ‘Devices and Learning Spaces’. This post, therefore, is a result of my reading around this subject and interaction with colleagues on Twitter. 😀
Any time I want to get up-to-speed quickly with an area of educational technology or the future of schools, I head straight for Futurelab. I’ve worked with them many times as part of their Teachers as Innovators programme, was interviewed for their website, and have presented with them at the BETT Show. Futurelab’s Publications, reports & articles section has freely-available PDFs and, if you’re in the UK, you can request hard copies to be delivered for no charge!
In terms of learning spaces and mobile devices, I believe the following Futurelab reports to be most useful:
Futurelab have also been responsible for some great projects that use mobile technologies – read about them in the project reports section. They’ve also got a project called Beyond Current Horizons that looks into the future of education in 2025 and beyond. Interesting stuff!
Suggestions from my Twitter network
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the people that form my network on Twitter were most helpful when it came to mobile devices: most of them are educators rather than school designers (with the exception of Christian Long who is – or has been – both!)
Finally, there’s Becta’s Next Generation Learning site. There are, no doubt, many resources and sites that should be added here. If you know of one, please let me know in the comments section and I’ll add it! 🙂
I don’t know about you, but I’m never sure where to link to when I want people to know a bit more about me. For example, when emailing someone who might like to know who I am and where I’m coming from, do I link here, to my blog? To my Twitter stream? To my FriendFeed? Sometimes I just pick the one I think most appropriate, sometimes I hedge my bets and link to all of them!
You should probably claim your preferred username (e.g. ‘dajbelshaw’) ASAP in case someone else claims it. Once you’ve got it, you can use your favourite URL-shortening site to make it even easier to remember and add wherever you wish – e.g.
I’ve already been contacted a couple of times via my Google Profile and really like the way it brings my accounts together into one, easily accessible place. I don’t think it will be long before typing ‘Doug Belshaw’ into Google will result in landing at my Google Profile. And, I reckon, that’s no bad thing… 😀
There are blog posts I plan in advance and there are those that happen as a result of serendipity and need blogging straight away. This is very much one of the latter. :-p
Earlier this week I was following with interest the tweets of Jenny Luca, an Australian educator, as she sat in the audience during one of Stephen Downes‘ presentations. Before the whole thing even started, she overheard Downes:
In her next tweet she simply wondered how that squared with connectivism, a learning theory of which Downes is an advocate. I thought up several responses, but didn’t have time to get into a debate and so kep them to myself. Jenny’s reflections on the event, if you’re interested, are here. That particular event isn’t the focus of this post. 🙂
Today, during an Easter Sunday afternoon in which I’d run out of things to fill my leisure time, I turned to my feed reader and came across this from Hugh McLeod:
It’s actually a remixed (and, to be honest, improved) version of an original by Patrick Brennan.
These two coming so closely together made me reflect upon my online interactions. Now, before I go any further I need to point out very explicitly and clearly that I greatly value the interactions and conversations I have with individuals. I’m certainly not aiming to devalue that in what I’m about to say.
The power in a network comes from the amplification of individual contributions and connections to make it more than the sum of its parts.
I think this is may be where Downes was coming from in terms of ‘following topics not people’ on Twitter and where McLeod (via Brennan) means r.e. ignore everybody.
Yes, you need to learn the heuristics of the network.
Yes, you have be able to argue for your point of view.
…but when it comes down to it, you need to be your own person, using the network for your own ends. Not in some manipulative, Machiavellian sense, but in a ‘give-and-take’ way that means that the network truly does become more than the sum of its parts. 😀
Further to my previous blog post setting out what I was going to do at interview, I’m delighted to report that I was successful! Many thanks to my Twitter network for their support. As of next academic year (September 2009) I shall be ‘Director of E-Learning’ at Northumberland Church of England Academy.
This is a significant promotion for me and, as the Academy comes into existence as I assume the role, means I’ve got (almost) a blank slate with which to work. Hence the need for me to have a clear and coherent plan as to the E-Learning ecosystem I want to create.
I’m embarking on a series of blog posts over the Easter holiday period which, provisionally, I’m going to title:
Attendance: what are the pros and cons of SIMS, Serco and Phoenix?
Behaviour: what are the e-options for real-time monitoring and tracking of student behaviour?
Communication: which tools are available to enable anyone within an organization be able to appropriately communicate and collaborate with anyone else?
Design: what are the standards upon which pedagogically-sound learning design can be constructed?
Engagement: which technologies lead to confident engagement in learning?
I have perhaps phrased some of the above clumsily so I’d welcome your feedback! 🙂