Learning and Teaching Matters

Archive for December 2009

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the University’s Academic Skills website, which is maintained by LATEU, comes up as the #1 entry when you search Google for ‘academic skills’. I don’t keep an eye on our ranking – but was just creating a sample screenshot about how students search for resources on the web.

If I had to say why we have achieved this ranking, it is because the materials provided are good quality and openly available for all to use. We regularly get emails from around the world asking if it is OK to use them – and we always say “yes, provided you attribute the University”.

(but if you search for ‘study skills’ we are only number 22 – so we won’t let it go to our head!)

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Fiona Harvey attended a lecture by Prof Andy Stanford-Clark, Master Inventor at IBM UK today.  It was an absolutely fascinating talk about pervasive innovation and its uses within IBM’s Smarter Planet agenda.   Andy talked about and showed us how his house has been wired up to detect power and water usage and how he has a variety of security checks so that in essence his house can tell him (via Twitter) if he has locked the front door or not.  Not only can he do this but he has also managed to work with a variety of colleagues from across the University to look at flood warnings – Floodnet and has developed a new messaging protocol (MQTT.org)

Andy provided us with a huge range of examples of how he has been using pervasive technology to save time and money – much more than we could post here – take a look at this from Andy’s web site.

Andy also features as part of this Twitter Power User video from EpicFu.com

Fiona Grindey attended this event last week – all online and very interactive.   The conference was based on two themes – Theme 1 was ‘Finding the Way’ and Theme 2 was  ‘ Meeting the Challenge’.   Each of these themes had a series of resources relating to them.  There are resources relating to the presentations and discussion forums at the event which were either a live presentation using Elluminate or discussion forums, each with a whole set of resources and reading material, which could sometimes included video.

Theme 1 posed questions such as:

  • What are the needs and expectations of learners using technology in their learning? How can we distinguish between the myths and the reality, and respond effectively?
  • Is there a role for social media in supporting, engaging and retaining learners?
  • How can technology enhance the broader canvas of curriculum delivery?
  • What are the benefits and challenges posed by open educational resources?
  • What will educational institutions look like in the future?

The keynote for this theme was from Charles Leadbeater via Elluminate was ‘The role of innovation in education’.  At which there was a lively discussion and a very good attendance.

Theme 2 posed questions such as:

  • How can institutions respond with more agility to the changing needs of the workplace?
  • How can institutions engage employers and professional bodies in curriculum design?
  • Adopt or avoid? Can virtual worlds open up new routes to learning?
  • How can the design of technology-rich physical learning spaces be informed by research?

The keynote for this theme was ‘Becoming an edgeless university’  with Peter Bradwell,  an independent researcher with Demos, who looked at how institutions could explore ways to prepare for the future. Peter’s presentation is based on the 2009 Demos report, The Edgeless University.

All the resources from the event will be availble via the JISC website in January 2010.

There was  recent post about the conference on the JISC e-Learning Programme blog.

If you would like to know more about the conference please let me know.