The DiAL-e framework has already proven to be a flexible set of designs which can be used in a range of different contexts and one of these is the EduTubePlus European project which I am currently working on. Along with my colleague, Theo Kuechel, we are demonstrating how the DiAL-e framework can be used to engage students at the forthcoming media and learning conference in Brussels. Watch this space for an update on the outcomes of this presentation next week!
Kevin Burden and I met today in Leicester to review our progress on the DiAL-e Framework project. The project, funded by JISC in 2007-08 has generated significant interest, two book chapters, an article in review, several project reports, a JISC hosted website, over 120 workshop participants and more besides. We decided today to revitalise this work and move our online presence from an existing Wiki to WordPress to better share this ongoing work and make it sustainable. Over the coming days and weeks this site will grow, and we hope it will be of genuine use to those looking to make better use of digital artefacts from our amazingly rich public collections in their teaching.
Back in 2007, Kevin Burden at the University of Hull and I (then at Hull) were writing a chapter for a book by the late John O’Donoghue called ‘Technology-Supported Environments for Personalized Learning: Methods and Case Studies’ (2010).
The chapter was based on earlier work, mostly by Kevin and Theo Kuechel, with the (then) QIA and a variety of colleges in Further Education. The project explored the synergies between the DiAL-e Framework and the GloMaker. We haven’t followed that work up but the GloMaker tool caught my attention again with conversations at the 2010 European LAMS and Learning Design Conference in Oxford last month and I’ve been exploring it. I have created a new DiAL-e ‘pattern’ file for GloMaker2, editing the XML template to provide a DiAL-e ‘process flow’ to GloMaker. I’m impressed by the ease of use of the tool now, but less so by the two existing default patterns. Will be interesting in the coming weeks to see if DiAL-e patterns make sense to others.
Two conference in June/July in the UK 2009
It’s been five weeks since I got back to New Zealand from a brief conference visit to the UK. Amazing how time flies. I’ve been reviewing my participation at LAMS 2009 in Oxford with the DiAL-e.
I had some fantastic conversations around attendance at both the JISC Digitisation Conference (Gloucester) http://www.jisc.ac.uk/jdcc09 & European LAMS Learning Design Conference (Milton Keynes)- http://lams2009.lamsfoundation.org/
The UK education sector has invested very heavily in recent years in the digitisation of museum, libraries and University collections for tertiary teaching and research purposes. Following completion of Phase 2 of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) Digital Content Conference 2009 discussed what was working with respect to the sustained integration of digitised content. Primarily focussed on UK universities, although other tertiary providers were represented, I would guess some 200 people attended over the two-day event. The thematic strands revolved around: Managing Content; Content Development Strategies; Content In Education; User Engagement; Looking Into The Future. Kevin Burden, a colleague from the University of Hull, and I had been invited to present the results of our Phase I assisted take-up project developing a framework of engagement activities (www.DiAL-e.net). Our 90-minute ‘workshop’, was concerned with a mechanism for getting take-up of these rich digitised resources. It’s clear that there is still a huge range of practical and logistical issues facing the broad spectrum of users. It’s hard in fact to address an audience when some are still unsure ‘why’ you would use a digital resource and others are concerned with new rich blends of multi-media in immersive environments. A real challenge. But we got some great feedback and there [was] a good write-up of the session on the JISC digitisation blog. [JISC severs connections regularly it seems]
The following week I attended the one-day 2009 European LAMS Learning Design Conference at the Open University. As a former employee, it was great to see familiar faces in the audience and to be able to identify people by name during Q&A. The conference, attended by less than 100, was a rather specialist affair. My rearranged presentation followed is a series with some really interesting perspectives including one from Diana Laurillard on a large project run by the IoE in London on online learning design tools. My personal highlight was a stimulating insight into the OU’s OpenLearn initiative (what people access and why) from Patrick McAndrew. This gave me a good deal of food for thought. I again presented the DiAL-e framework and current work to make learning designs more accessible to practitioners. The two events demonstrated a strong philosophical move towards freely available open digital content (OER – Open Educational Resources), but a clear recognition that content needed to be interpreted, evaluated and reused effectively if the challenges of the massification of higher education were to be met with quality learning experiences.
Now I just need to work out how to get traction on the academic professional development side of the equation.
How is VoiceThread changing our ideas about communication?
Kevin Burden and I gave a short paper at ASCILITE in Melbourne Dec08 called “Evaluating Pedagogical ‘Affordances’ of Media Sharing Web 2.0 Technologies: a case study”. In the paper, we looked particularly at how the DiAL-e Framework might be used to explore the opportunities of a particular tool, in this case, Voicethread. Off the back of that, we began to get rather interested in how the various Web 2.0 technologies are actually changing the way people think about communication. We’re writing that up now and part of the process is to use the tool to talk about the tool! So Kevin has created a VoiceThread called “How is VoiceThread changing our ideas about communication? “
A VoiceThread is an online media album that allows a group of people to make comments on images, videos, and documents, really simply. You can participate 5 different ways – using your voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, an audio file, or video (with a webcam). It’s easy to control who can access and comment on a VoiceThread, which makes it a secure place to talk about almost anything: business and academic presentations, travelogues, family history, art critiques, language study, tutorials, book clubs and digital storytelling. A VoiceThread allows an entire group conversation to be collected from anywhere in the world and then shared in one simple place.
So here’s our invitation to a dialogue ! How is VoiceThread changing our ideas about communication?
My own writing has been the focus the last couple of days. I’ve been struggling with a personal tendency towards the theoretical and philosophical ramblings of a prematurely ageing ‘whatever I am’ and the need to develop something more substantial. I have memories of my primary school teachers telling my parents “Simon would do well if he could just focus”, so here I am still very unfocussed and just too damn interested in everything! In recent days I’ve been codifying the DiAL-e learning designs in PowerPoint with a view to sharing them through Slideshare and through the DiAL-e Wiki.
It’s an interesting process trying to establish how much guidance and support each individual teacher is likely to need. Can we assume that they can deconstruct a learning object for themselves or should we give it them in a form which essentially lists the manifest like a contents page. I’m thinking about how this relates to the professional development (PD) programmes I need to run here at Massey to support the uptake of the institutional Moodle implementation. How does one walk that fine line between patronising the insightful and leading the blind? I’m still inclined to give individuals a toolkit, some kind of ‘take-away’, but one still has to make sure ‘they get it’. My concern today is ‘how do I get staff to think about using Adobe Presenter effectively when I’m not sure their PowerPoint is up to the task’.
Interesting meeting with the CompendiumLD team at the Open University
Had a long day 7 April getting across country from Wantage to Milton Keynes. A worthwhile trip though none the less. Met with Simon Cross, Paul Clark and Andrew Brasher from IET at the OU in the old Jenny Lee Library now all revamped and unrecognizable.
Nice to be back, wish I had had time to pop round and say hello to a few people. Grainne Conole popped in briefly.
I shared with them the development process that Kevin Burden and I had gone through to produce the DiAL-e Framework (www.dial-e.net) and some of the very recent attempts to make these designs real, reusable and malleable to front line academics. I’m really quite optimistic that the use of PowerPoint and other slideware, MovieMaker or other AV editing software and tools such as the eXe XHTML editor will make designs very accessible. What is less clear to me is how this will work with ‘learning design’ tools like LAMS and Compendium LD. LAMS creates these runtime learning engagements, and element of which might consist of a DiAL-e design but they are different.
Compendium LD to me looks like a fantastic tool for mapping curricula and looking at issues of assessment stress, workload management and the relationships between learning outcomes. One can see how a project tool like this, emerging from an institutional way of working at the OU has an application. It will be interesting to see how that translates into other institutional contexts.
I think there will be time to make all these DiAL-e designs available in a range of desktop deployment tools by the time of the European LD and LAMS conference in July and the decision now is whether to participate in the design bash.
The Estonian e-Universities Conference Tartu 2-3 April was attended by around 200 people over the two days. A big picture look at the challenges faced by Schools through to Tertiary and lifelong learning providers.
Attended the Estonian e-Universities Conference at the University of Life Sciences in Tartu 2-3 April. Attended by around 200 people over the two days, the plenary sessions took a big picture look at the challenges faced by Schools through to Tertiary and lifelong learning providers. The tone was realistic and largely positive. There was much chatter about the challenging economic context in which the University sector now finds itself and the opportunities for exchange and development.
I presented twice, once as part of a session on learning repositories, in which I outlined some of the recent work in using the DiAL-e framework to codify learning designs in ways which we hope will make archives and repositories more accessible. We had an overview of European projects and Martin Sillaots some insight into two recent repositories making heavy use of tag-clouds and commenting to add some semblance of peer review to repository artifacts.
My other input was the final session on the Friday late afternoon, following Nancy White (who Skyped in and was her usual enthusiastic self at 4am) and a motivational trainer from Estonia on the power of positive thinking ! Quite a double act to follow. As a closing keynote I intended to be positive and upbeat and attempted to highlight four themes emerging from the conference (role of technology, learning objects, learning designs and school space/place design issues). I took a ‘futurist’ or foresight model and invited participants to visualize a future based around the life of a young Estonian girl starting school aged 5 this September who would be 72 in 2077. It was fin to prepare and hit the note with some whilst obviously losing a few. So a measured success from my perspective. I came away feeling I had been perhaps a little too ambitious.
I engaged the audience by asking them to do a paper exercise in which they answered a question on the top quarter of a sheet of A4, then folded it over and passed the paper on. Then a second question later on and folded again. The intention being that by the end one has four comments or responses on a piece of paper none of which one wrote oneself. And the take-away is then an amalgamation of your ideas and four other peoples.
Sue Greener from Brighton Business School gave a really energetic presentation that highlighted the role of students as peer learners and leaders, Lisa Petrides talked about the way in which OER is becoming more transparent, more accessible and more sensitive to local contexts. David Vincent from the OU gave an interesting global perspective and highlighted the different ways in which institutions are responding to challenges – he seemed optimistic that the current economic situation would spur on the innovators. Teemu Leinonen gave a really thought provoking overview of the wiki-ethos, an illustration of how the co-authoring process is realizing results.
Great couple of days. Lots and lots of interesting things to follow up. And finally time to set myself up in some ‘Web 2.0’ spaces which has been pretty entertaining