Open Thinkering


Month: October 2012

Mozilla Web Literacies v0.9 (#mozweblit)

The whole Web Literacies white paper I’ve been working on isn’t completely finished, but the web skills / competencies / literacies grid is certainly usable for playtesting at the Mozilla Festival.

Short URL for sharing:

Browser basics
(e.g. URLs, copy/paste)
HTML basics
(e.g. adding images, linking)
(e.g. etiquette, curation)
(e.g. cookies, privacy controls)
Search engine basics
(e.g. keyword search, filtering)
CSS basics
(e.g. fonts, positioning)
(e.g. co-creation, wikis)
Security basics
(e.g. HTTPS, password management)
Web mechanics
(e.g. view source, hyperlinks)
Web design basics
(e.g. affordances of the web, designing for audiences)
(e.g. social networks, embedding)
Rights online
(e.g. copyright, open licensing)
Browser skills
(e.g. cookie management, add-ons)
Javascript basics
(e.g. programming basics, javascript syntax)
Contributing to web communities
(e.g. distributed working, collaborative curation)
(e.g. personal information curation, tracking management)
(e.g. trustworthiness of websites, evaluating information)
Advanced web design
(e.g. responsive design, accessibility)
(e.g. multimedia, augmentation)
Security & encryption
(e.g. data protection, basic encryption)
(e.g. mashups, hackable games)
(e.g. hosting, domains)
Open practices
(e.g. open standards, open source)
Legalese on the web
(e.g. privacy policies, terms of service agreements)

Thanks to everyone at the Mozilla Foundation (especially on the Learning Team) for their feedback. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have some great input from people like Cathy Davidson, Jon Udell and Howard Rheingold.

Finally, thanks to Jess Klein for the colour scheme and way of setting out the grid and to Erin Knight and Laura Hilliger for their constructive feedback. 🙂

Time for a NICE-r kind of education?

Teaching may be as much of an art as a science, but there’s stuff that we know works in education. Whilst context definitely matters there are things – like timely, formative feedback – that can be done well no matter where you are and what situation you’re in.

To my mind, we should have something like the NHS Evidence website for things relating to pedagogy. It could provide answers to questions like:

  • Where’s the evidence for using tablet computers in education?
  • Where can I find out more about different forms of assessment?
  • Is there a sound research basis for giving homework?

The NHS Evidence website is provided by NICE – the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. We have nothing similar for education. Although health is as much of a political football as education, at least they’ve got a research basis.

If there’s no political will to separate politics and education, perhaps it’s time for a non-profit to do this kind of stuff? Or perhaps they are and they need more publicity?

More thoughts on iPads and one-to-one initiatives.

Ships have rudders. There’s a good reason for that: without one it would be very difficult to get to where you’re going. It would take a very long time to reach the end of your journey.

When it comes to projects, programmes and initiatives we too are presumably heading towards a destination. And whilst it’s absolutely OK to enjoy the journey, the whole point of an intervention is to change something. When you’ve effected that change, you’ve reached the end of your journey. And, if you’re doing it properly, another one beings.

So to get to a destination with initiatives we need ‘rudders’. These are absolutely crucial for technology initiatives as we’re all easily distracted by shiny shiny technology and the promises made by manufacturers. We need some guiding principles, some values.

After my DMLcentral post on iPads and one-to-one initiatives I was accused in the comments section and on Google+ of being an ‘idealist’.

As if that were a bad thing.

You know, I’ve worked in schools. I’ve worked in the senior leadership of schools. I’ve worked nationally (in the UK) as part of educational technology and e-learning in the Further and Higher education sectors. I’ve studied digital literacies for six years. And nowadays I work worldwide with Mozilla.

I’m not saying this to say my opinion is correct and to smack down other people – of course not. I’m just saying that a principled, valued-based approach to educational technology, in my experience, works a whole lot better than jumping on the latest bandwagon.

I’ve explained the perils of shiny shiny educational technology before. We should absolutely use what’s available to us at any given time, but perhaps hitchhiking is a better metaphor than bandwagon-jumping?

Image CC BY-NC lin_susanna