Mind42 – another online concept mapping tool

I have been experimenting with another online concept mapping tool. This one is called Mind42 and can be found at http://www.mind42.com I think this has a use and supercedes my recent postings to this blog where I have mentioned bubbl.us and Mind Meister, Bubbl looked OK but took a bit of getting used to, Mind Meister only allows you to create a few maps for free, then it requires a subscription.

Mind 42 has a few key features that I like.

It allows you to export to Word – which is very important educationally for students that are using to help plan assignments.

It is free and there doesn’t appear to be any restriction on the number of maps that can be produced.

In theory it contains embed code so that it can be inserted into a blog – which I have tried to do here via my Blog (powered by WordPress) and haven’t been able to, instead all I seem to be able to do is link to it..

Online concept mapping

I did manage to embed the map into a pbwiki quite easily, but it embed it in such a small window that it was hard to see, and there wasn’t a link that would then take you to the full map (which you would have to then add manually yourself). So this is something that they may need to work on.

All in all though I am quite impressed. I haven’t though been able to road test this with numbers of people, that will be the real test

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The use of M-learning in the delivery of ESOL

I have just presented at a conference organised by sector training on the use of m-learning in the delivery of ESOL. The session focussed on ways that students mobile phones can be used to support learning, as well as podcasting, voting pads and of course my favourite tool – the wireless mouse and keyboard. Session went very well, I was concerned that the wireless network at the venue was going to let me down, as it kept dropping the signal, but luckily held up during my bit. All in all was a very good session, lots of different techniques, lots of audience interaction, and lots of good feedback from people. It looks like there is lots of confusion over funding issues within ESOL, and this is causing concerns for the teaching staff who fear for their jobs. Being aware of this, I pitched my presentation very much at things that supporting the teachers, rather than ideologies that could be interpreted as being a threat to their jobs (e.g. replacing them).

Lunch was also rather good.

‘Safeguarding people’ training run by Barnardos

Yesterday I attended a training session at Loughborough College run by the charity Barnardos on safeguarding vulnerable young people and adults, and the training was actually quite good. In the past people that work primarily with children (e.g. schools and youth services) have been pretty hot on this, but FE and HE haven’t been as hot. With changes in the law and FE colleges now covering more of the 14-19 provision they have to catch up pretty fast. The thing that impressed me about Loughborough College is that they are making the training mandatory for all staff and are spending a lot of money to provide this training, to try and meet this aim.

For other people interested in this area, I well recommend the services of Barnardos for this purpose – they have quite a large and professional looking service on offer which can be found at http://www.barnardos.org.uk/tlc

Bloom’s Taxonomy

People working in the world of education, will probably have come across Bloom’s Taxonomy at some point in their past, and although (like any other educational model) it has some critics, who think that it over simplifies things, I think the fact that it is so simple makes it a useful tool, as it is easy for a tutor when designing learning to position things somewhere within the 6 levels.

Whilst researching for a training session that I ran yesterday on ‘Computer Aided Interactivity’ I came across this website

http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/bloomtax.htm

which shows the Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) variation of the original, and this variation, I think actually works better when evaluating computer aided interactivity than the original.

Changing the appearance of this Blog and RSS feeds

I have changed the appearance of this blog, as the previous default didn’t have an RSS link attached to it (which I thought was a bit odd, I had assumed that, RSS was a standard feature of a blog, so hadn’t noticed it that it wasn’t there).

The beauty of RSS is that rather than someone having to actively keep looking at this blog to see if I have posted anything, you look at the blog once, decide that it is worth following and then subscribe to it by clicking on the RSS link. This gives a web address (in this case https://davefoord.wordpress.com/feed/ ) – you then paste this into an RSS reader, of which there are many options, Firefox has one built in, Internet Explorer 7 , I believe has one built in, or you could use Jaiku, facebook or bloglines….. What happens then is the reader checks all the blogs and sites for you, and ‘aggregates’ any changes onto 1 easier to manage place – you then scroll down your list, if anything catches your eye, then click on the link and you get to see the full article.

Brilliant!

Periodic table of visualisation methods

I have spent most of today (and some of yesterday) planning a training session on ‘using computer aided interactivity’, and during this process I remembered a website that I had seen many months ago.

http://www.visual-literacy.org/periodic_table/periodic_table.html

It basically gives details of all sorts of different ways that visuals can be used to represent information and understanding, and this information is arranged into a grid that ‘looks like’ the periodic table from chemistry.

It really is quite good!

Learning Styles questionnaire

One of the best known Learning Styles questionnaires is the 40 questions devised by Honey and Mumford to determine if you are an activitst, pragmatist, reflector or theorist. A few years ago (whilst working at Loughborough College) I created an Excel sheet which used these questions and plotted the results onto a 4 pronged graph. At the time I didn’t realise that the questions were copyrighted, and published the resource to the FERL website, a few days later I realised and asked for the resource to be removed, unfortunately it wasn’t until a few months later by which time it had been downloaded by over 1000 people, and was in wide circulation.

If anyone following this blog ever sees one of these excel spreadsheets of these questions in circulation (which I think has my name at the bottom) could they please advise who ever is using it that they shouldn’t, ask them to destroy it, and point them to the official website which is http://www.peterhoney.com/

Some people think that I am too cautious when it comes to copyright issues, but I nearly got my fingers burnt here, so have learnt my lesson and am grateful to the Peter Honey organisation for their understanding in this issue