I notice that colleges which seem to excel in the Learning Technology area tend to have a well-staffed ILT team that designs digital learning resources in collaboration with teaching staff. They tend to have a robust digital infrastructure that enables rather than hinders easy use of mobile devices. Examples are Uxbridge College and Loughborough college and of course Borders College discussed in the Getting Started part of this course.
Heart of Worcestershire and the Designlearn network have contributed a lot to the sector both with establishing these diplomas and the Blended Learning Consortium.
End of week 1 discussion
I heard of a project in Kenya where teacher training is delivered through texts which are free for the education sector. PowerPoint slides are sent as an MMS. But I agree with campaigning for provision, particularly for education. I think if the Internet had emerged before the era of privatisation it would perhaps have been rolled out like electricity and water.
(Course reference: Blended Learning Essentials Embedding Practice, 1.8)
This is a very interesting and somewhat daunting topic. There are many complexities like privacy and data protection; does the data support the analysis? is the data reliable? does a focus on learning analytics lead to an overemphasis on quantifiable indicators?
I thought George Siemens of SOLAR gave a very useful definition of learning analytics.
Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs.
I welcome the focus on learners and their contexts and he emphasis on improving learning.
As educators, we owe it to learners to offer them the best opportunities to learn effectively. If learning analytics data shows that medical students learn anatomy faster with longer retention of information if they use an interactive app allowing them to see 3-d renderings of particular parts of the body, with in-built quizzes to test their own knowledge compared with using a textbook, then the app should be the resource provided.
For millenials who have grown up in a digitally sophisticated world, there are habits of acquiring information rapidly from digital content designed to be absorbed quickly. And this is not merely infographics, but interactive apps which make it possible to find relevant information from huge datasets. Think of the laborious process of finding out from a print source which new movies are showing compared to database driven web or mobile apps. Acquisition of information is a key component of learning. Educators should be taking advantage of all the digital tools available to facilitate acquisition in the most engaging and efficient way.
(Course reference: Blended Learning Essentials Embedding Practice, 1.4)
The video showed an aromatherapy class where students were shown how to use an app which allowed them to learn about the components of different ingredients and how to mix essential oils suitable for clients.
The app allows the students to select different oils and displays a pie chart showing its composition in terms of effects such as stimulation, relaxation, balance etc.
The pie charts all use the same colour coding for the effects and is a good visual tool for seeing which effects are present and in what proportions.
The app allows the students to select oils to mix (they can select the quantity of each oil selected) and generates a pie chart showing the effect of the mixture.
The app’s use of interactivity, rich media, and dynamic display makes it an effective learning tool:
- Colour and size are used to show information about effect and proportion – this visualisation of data engages important parts of the brain to enhance learning.
- Students can be active in their learning – they can choose which oils to look at and mix.
- Students can work together – they can talk about what they see and benefit from each other’s insights.
- The ability to see a visual representation of their chosen mixture means they can experiment with different combinations and get immediate data on what their choices do.
- They can save a particular mixture which means they can refer to it in future and also it is available for assessment.
A static textbook even with colour pie charts for each oil and some sample pie charts for some mixtures would be much more cumbersome to use for reference, and they would need to record their choices manually. They would presumably have to do fairly time-consuming calculations to work out the pie chart for their mixtures.
It was not clear from the video whether students could record the reasons for their choices and information about the qualities of the actual mixture they went on to create. And whether the saved document had room for teacher feedback to be added directly.
The issue of individual assessment for work done as a group was also not touched on.
It strikes me that while we are expecting to produce evidence of how technology may be enhancing learning, the bigger issue is where is the scientific evidence for the validity of aromatherapy.
This is one of the resources shared by Belinda Caulfield on the BLE course section dealing with flipped learning. See https://www.knewton.com/infographics/flipped-classroom/
See also http://flippedlearning.org/cms/lib07/va01923112/centricity/domain/46/flip_handout_fnl_web.pdf (with good infographic features!)
I find it an excellent resource for getting an overview of key aspects of flipped learning. The presentation method speeds up the learning and makes the content more memorable thanks to visual cues like colour, shape and size and the use of people as actors in a narrative with the concept emerging from practice and the impact on learning measured and evaluated.
Created by Knewton