Learning Design Workshop, May 10th

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On May 10th, the Friday preceding the ICT in Education Conference, Gráinne Conole will present a workshop on Learning Design in LIT-Tippeary, Thurles campus.

Grainne has published and presented nearly 1000 conference proceedings, workshops and articles and keeps a blog www.e4innovation.com. She is author of a new Springer entitled: ‘Designing for learning in an open world’.

Attendees will engage with a range of learning design conceptual tools and a social networking site for sharing and discussing learning and teaching ideas. They will work in groups and will periodically share back their discussions with the rest of the participants. Artefacts produced will be captured and made available online.

All of the activities that comprise the Learning Design Workshop are underpinned by the 7Cs of learning design framework:

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  • Conceptualise – which initiates the design process and consists of imagine, design and prepare.
  • Capture – which covers the ways in which search engines, OER repositories and social bookmarking can be used to find and collate relevant resources and activities.
  • Create – which covers both the creation of content and activities.
  • Communicate – which covers how to moderate asynchronous and synchronous forums
  • Collaborate – which considers how tools like wikis, voicethread, pirate pad can be used to foster collaboration and how to work in virtual teams.
  • Consider – which covers the ways in which tools such as blogs, e-portfolios and Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) can be used to promote reflection and different forms of assessment.

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By the end of the event, attendees will be able to:

  • conceptualise the learning design process from different perspectives
  • apply a range of learning design resources, tools and methods to a learning intervention
  • critique a range of pedagogical approaches and the role played by different technologies in supporting these
  • review and debate the theoretical underpinnings of learning design
  • develop an innovative storyboard, learning activities and a structure for implementation.

The workshop begins at 10 AM and will run until 4:30 PM. Register to attend the Learning Design Workshop at www.lit.ie/ictedu.

Pupils Reveal Why Blogging Is Best

Our second guest post comes from the 6th class pupils in Ransboro NS in Sligo.  In Part 1 of this post their teacher Damien Quinn gave his thoughts on blogging.

“Without deviation from normality, progress would be impossible. In the classroom, this blog is nowhere near normal!

I think it is great for voices to be heard, as there is a full range of Twitter, RSS, and Facebook options. It is great for posting about your interests. Recently Luke did a Colours! 3D post, James did a post on his Eddie Stobart Collection and Síofra did a post on Google Docs.

You can do things on the blog that you never could in your copy, such as videos, pictures, links and comments. Some of the main things I like on the blog are the comments, the fact that both posts and comments have gone through a moderator (I’m not sure if you can do that on Blogger) so there is no mean comments or posts, (as I said before) you can put up videos, pictures links, etc, and you can personalize your blog. In a copy, you cannot go back and edit without making a complete mess of everything, you cannot re-arrange your work without starting again and after a while of writing, your wrist gets sore. However, on the blog, you can edit easily, re-arrange your work whenever you want, and your wrists don’t get sore as easily. You can’t rip pages, leave smudge marks and it is easy to spot and correct your mistakes on the blog. However, these are frequent occurances in the copy.

Overall I think the blog is infinitely better than writing in copies, and I’d say that there are others who feel the same way.”

By Kaitlin

“Sixth class in our school do work on the blog. I love working on the blog because we have learned so much from it.  You can do many things on the blog like art work, creating images, doing projects, news items and lots more.  Every day we are learning something new in the class.

I like doing my homework on the blog because you can look at it and see what mistakes you have made and correct them before you submit your homework. It is great for checking your spellings too. I am able to comment on my friends’ homework and they are able to comment on mine. We are able to read and see our classmates’ homework when teacher has published it. Everybody has different ideas on some of the homework submitted and when I read it I  learn lots more from it.”

By Alan

“I think that our blog is great to work on because it doesn’t feel like work! I always feel that whenever I go on the computer it is fun. So that way I associate our blog with having fun.

I like the way that everybody is so positive on our blog. We learned about making comments on a blog so that we don’t just write “Well done” and “Good Job” and “Cool!” Now we know the steps for making a comment and this has improved the blog immensely.  It has also improved the standard of the writing in the comments.

On our blog we don’t only do English. We do a wide range of subjects which makes it more enjoyable as you are not constantly doing the same thing. We do Irish, a daily maths puzzle, novel work, digital art, history, projects and sometimes we upload pictures of the art work we do at school. I think that this wide range of subjects makes the blog more interesting and much more enjoyable.

I like the way that the blog is always accessible. If we want to check up during the holidays we can. It is a good way to keep in touch with our class. Sometimes people put up pictures and write a little about their holiday.

I really enjoy our blog and how it has improved our standard of writing. Thank you Mr.Quinn for setting up this blog and making all of our work more enjoyable!!”

By Maedhbh

“I think blogging is a great way for people’s voices, let alone pupil’s voices, to be heard. If you look at the Internet today, the majority of popular/useful websites are WordPress. WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging tool (apart from Blogger), is a great way to (ahem) document your lives. It’s a great way to get your voice heard on the Internet, as there is a full range of Facebook, Twitter and RSS options.

Moving back to the school side of things, Kidblog is an amazing tool. You only have to look as far as our ‘Newest Posts’ to see the wide variety of posts. Síofra recently did a Google Docs post. I did a post on Colors! 3D. Lots of other people show what their interests are, like James with his Eddie Stobart Collection post, and Jamie with his X-Box post. There’s stuff you can put up on the Internet that you can’t in real life, such as videos, links, pictures and posts (as I’ve said before) on what your interests are.

They best thing about Kidblog, though, is the Parental/Teacher Controls. In WordPress, you can post anything you like, but spammers or trollers can fill up your comment section. Kidblog (being an adaptation of WP), has literally nothing WP doesn’t have, apart from the Parental/Teacher Controls. The Parent/Teacher Controls basically let you create select groups, or a ‘Class’, and moderate the content. While I think you can do this in WP Kidblog makes it infinitely more accessible.”

By Luke

“Today for our homework we had to write about why we like doing homework on the blog, instead of in the copy. The main reason I like the blog better, than an English copy is, that it doesn’t take as long and it doesn’t feel as hard.

On the blog it’s easier to notice one of your mistakes, especially because we have spell check, which I think helps us all. It is also easier to correct a mistake on the blog, all you have to do on the blog is delete the wrong word or letter, and replace it with the right one, but in the copy it isn’t as simple or neat when you have to correct a mistake or two.

I also think that work on the blog doesn’t feel like it’s as hard as work in the copy. Mostly because copies are associated with school, and the computer or laptop is (for teenagers) associated with our social lives. Then for that reason to us it’s easier than doing your work in a copy.

I personally really like blogging and I like receiving and giving comments which is another great thing about the blog. I think that the blog has improved a lot of our English work and I think that it is an extremely creative way of helping us get our homework done.”

By Clodagh

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Blogging Reveals Pupils’ Voices

Our very first guest post comes from Damien Quinn, 6th class teacher in Ransboro NS in Sligo and the man behind Seomraranga.ie, wnner of the Best Individul Blog in the 2012 Edublog Awards. This is the first in a two part guest post as Damien’s pupils will talk about blogging in part 2 of the post. 

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Over the past few years I had read articles on the internet about other educators using Kidblog(www.kidblog.org) to introduce their pupils to blogging by creating individual blogs for them. I didn’t delve into it too much as I had been teaching younger pupils for the past few years. However, when I moved back up to sixth class last September, I decided to investigate this blogging platform and to see how I could use it in the classroom. Having sought advice of other teachers using the platform, I decided to take the plunge and set up a class account in late September 2012.

The benefits of using Kidblog are:

  • It is used by educators around the world to enhance and compliment the curriculum
  • It is a safe and secure platform that is specifically geared towards schools
  • The teacher is able to control activity
  • It is a means to motivate pupils to learn, write, ask questions
  • It teaches pupils the rules of Digital Citizenship and how to behave responsibly in an online community

Pupils can publish posts and participate in academic discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. The teacher maintains complete control over student blogs and user accounts. The pupils’ blogs can be private and viewable only by classmates and the teacher or they can be public. Schools can connect with each other through Kidblog. Pupils can work on their blog at their own pace/level at home or at school. Pupils are able to comment on each other’s blogs but comments can be moderated and approved by the teacher before they appear. The teacher can also post a private comment to the pupil about a piece of work. Through using this safe and secure blogging platform pupils can:

  • create classroom discussions
  • learn digital citizenship
  • practice writing skills
  • create an e-portfolio
  • reflect on learning

Having taken the plunge and introduced my pupils to the whole concept of personal blogs I was totally unprepared for their reaction. Over the course of the first week, the pupils set out on a journey into the digital unknown with such enthusiasm and positivity. Although I have given lots of written assignments for homework to be done on the blog, there has been quite a lot of spontaneous written work appearing on pupils’ blogs. Pupils’ voices have been heard through their blog posts about their hobbies and interests, so I have been reading about horses, dogs, planes, football, birds, animals, hurling, trucks, dancing, online games. The list is endless. Kidblog seems to have given the pupils what the English curriculum intended – writing for a purpose with a real audience in mind.

However, two things have been really interesting for me: firstly, the way that the blog has gelled the class together – they are being hugely positive and supportive to each other and commenting on each other’s posts and asking each other questions; secondly the blog appears to be serving all ability levels within the class. Everybody is working at their own ability and the others are supportive of that in their positive comments and encouragement.

As a teacher, I’m also looking for the positive educational benefits of this way of working. I’m looking at how the pupils are developing their different genres of English writing. I’m admiring the way that they are encouraging each other with their positive comments on each other’s blog posts. I’m learning so much about the individual pupils and their hobbies and interests and it gives me a great way to start a conversation with them in class. In fact, the whole blog has turned out to be one long conversation with the pupils’ voices at its core.

From the evidence of activity on Kidblog, it has been hugely motivational. It seems that pupils are excitedly doing blog work at home and delighting in the comments they are receiving. I’m trying to comment on most of the posts and they seem to like that also. I’ve got very positive feedback from some parents who are amazed at the enthusiasm of the pupils for it. One parent remarked that she never before saw her child so eager to do homework!

Such is the pupils’ enthusiasm for the blog, I’ve even had to put a curfew on activity on it – 9pm is now cut-off point with the threat of losing their account if they are on it after that time. I can see that some pupils are on the blog even before they come to school. Some pupils have even been blogging on weekends, without prompting from the teacher. At this stage of the year we have published an amazing 2,000 posts and commented more than 7,000 times on the blog in a truly collaborative exercise.

The real test of a classroom innovation is the opinion of the pupils. After about a week into this blogging project, one of the pupils put up the following blog post spontaneously one night. I think it sums up the feeling of a lot of the pupils:

“We are now over a week on the blog. I think that everyone is enjoying themselves, especially me. I love it. It is really fun. I am learning so much about it and it is so fun reading everybody’s information. And sharing my information with them as well. It is great. Learning on the blog is totally different it is such an experience to me. Every day I go on the blog and see what I can read and learn. On the blog we do a maths puzzle every day. Some of them are easy but some our hard and I can’t understand them, but mostly every day I do them. We also do homework on the blog. It is soooooo cool.”

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Dream Keynote List

Back in September, after a conversation between Bernie Goldbach, John Heffernan and Pam O’Brien, the idea of a dream keynote list was born.  Since then almost forty names have been added and the list has had more than 1700 views.  Keynotes at this years CESI conference and our own ICT in Education conference are featured on the list.  Please continue to add to the list as we see it as an ongoing venture which will continue to provide ideas for conference organisers.  The list can be found here.

Twitter in Education

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Mark Glynn produced a Prezi with resources on Twitter in Education in conjunction with the ICT in Education conference.  The resources include

  • a video showing how educators across Ireland use Twitter
  • some thoughts on Twitter by Pam O’Brien
  • some tutorials on setting up a twitter account, hashtags and Twitter clients

You can find the Prezi here.

CESI Meet

The Thurles campus of LIT will host a CESI Meet on Friday 10th May from 7-9 pm.  For those of you who have never been to a CESI Meet, it’s an evening of chat, learning, sharing and fun all rolled into one.  Mags Amond will be the Bean an Ti for the night and will keep us all in line (kind of!!).  Have a look at this Animoto to get a flavour of what’s involved.
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CESI Meets are the Irish equivalent of Teach Meets.  They give people an opportunity to talk briefly about a piece of technology that they use.  Presentations can be either a 2 minute nano, a 5-7 minute mini or a 15 minute soapbox presentations.  I love hearing about the wide variety of technologies in use in classrooms across the country and further afield.   The fruit machine  that decides who’s up next to present is great fun – that is of course until Mags overrides it as we near the end!!  There’s often a Skype call to connect with educators in various parts of the world to share and to hear what works for them.

There’ll be a few surprises at this year’s CESI Meet so make sure to come along to kick off the  conference and to get the conversation going. Register to attend and/or to present at the CESI Meet on the conference website.

ICT in Education: Student Voices Conference – May 11th, 2013

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The 9th annual ICT in Education Conference will take place on Saturday, 11th May on the Thurles campus of Limerick Institute of Technology. This conference is an opportunity for educators to come together, learn about the application of technology in education and share experiences.

Keynote presentations will be delivered by Grainne Conole, the Professor of Learning Innovation at the University of Leicester, Catherine Cronin, lecturer in Information Technology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and Martha Rotter, co-founder and publisher of Idea Magazine.

STUDENT VOICES

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Student Voices’ and the conference will place the experiences of learners at the heart of the discourse on ICT in education. As part of this theme, pupils from first and second level have been invited to act as ‘roving reporters’ and will move about the conference using mobile technology to record impressions, videos and interviews with attendees which will be uploaded to social media sites like twitter, WordPress and facebook. This year’s conference will not only focus on the voices of students but will also feature active engagement with them!

You can register for the conference at www.lit.ie/ictedu

THE DAY BEFORE

On May 10th, the Friday preceding Saturday’s conference, keynote speaker Gráinne Conole will host one of her Learning Design Workshops from 10 AM – 4:30 PM. This workshop will centre on the 7 Cs of learning design and delivery (Conceptualise, Capture, Create, Communicate, Collaborate, Consider, Consolidate). Registration for this event is available here.

Later that day, the campus will host a CESI Meet which will involve around 2 hours of short presentations, starting at 7 PM, from educators who will share their experiences of integrating technology in their teaching. This event is an opportunity for educators from all levels to share ideas and explore new innovations and might include some unexpected surprises! As with the other events, registration for the CESI Meet is also at www.lit.ie/ictedu

We look forward to seeing you there!

You can join the conversation on ICT in education on facebook and on twitter.