What does Whole Organisation Approach to eCPD look like?

Last week I was involved with the LSIS eCPD programme event in Birmingham, and one of the activities was asking the delegates about Whole Organisation Approaches, and what would it look like if they were successful in creating a whole organisation approach to eCPD.

We put the answers on post-it notes and then stuck them onto a flipchart, a photo of which I have uploaded to Flickr, and then used the ‘notes’ feature within Flickr to label the notes. (You will need to click on the image to see this effect).

As much as anything I want to show here how I have made use of simple technologies to create a learning object. I have used post-it notes, pens and a flipchart (which won’t scare any anti-technology teachers) – I have then photographed the output using a basic compact camera (again a anti-technology teacher could get a learner to do this if necessary), and finally I have uploaded it to Flickr and added the notes – which is quite easy and free to do.

The output can then embedded into a blog (like here) or a VLE area, it can start a discussion, be used for reflection etc.

More training on plagiarism deterrence

Tomorrow I am off to Gloucestershire College to run training for them on plagiarism deterrence, one of my ‘pet’ topics. We will be using the excellent TurnItIn software which can be integrated into Moodle to create a very powerful tool, that doesn’t only check the submitted work for matches to the Internet, but also matches to other work submitted to other UK based institutions.

And as well as this, it has a very sophisticated online marking system, which reduces the need to download students work, then mark it, then re-upload it, which when you have lots of assignment to deal with, becomes a chore in itself.

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High School to allow mobile phones

Last week I was in Sheffield running a training session on ‘m-learning – it doesn’t have to be expensive to be good’ a session in which I look at the cheaper end of m-learning and in particular what we can do with equipment the learning may be owning and carrying – mainly the mobile phone.  Most of the audience were FE based, but there were 2 from schools in Sheffield, who were serioulsy thinking about changing their stance on mobile phones (and lifting the ban), and they were very open about the ideas that I was presenting, and realised that the benefits outweighed the problems.

I finished the training afternoon with a session on ‘m-learning – the great accessibility enabler’ looking at how mobile learning is in the main great for people with accessibility needs, and how if we look at the issues sensibly we can make a huge difference to many of our learners.

So it pleases me that today an article appears in the Telegraph about a High School in Sheffield allowing mobile phones I wonder how many others will follow and how long it will take for this to be the norm not the exception.

Mobile phone on laptop

Mobile phone on laptop

Sending online learners chocolate muffins


Chocolate Muffin

Originally uploaded by vivido

I am currently working on the eCPD programme and am supporting/facilitating 11 people around the country through predominantly distance support means (phone, email, Skype, Discussion forum etc)

Using an idea borrowed from Lilian Soon of xlearn is when someone has completed a task is to send them a chocolate muffin or similar as a reward – now because these things don’t post very well, we have to do this virtually – e.g. send them a picture of a muffin. This is very easy to do nowadays, you could go and buy a really nice muffin, photograph it and then eat it, or (if like me) you treat your body like a temple (yeah right!) then there are thousands of images on Flickr (like the one that I have used here).

When using Flickr, I always do an advanced search and select to only choose ones that are released under ‘creative commons’ – this means that I can use the images within copyright law. I can then send the image to a blog (e.g. here) – and then by going into the edit mode within my blog, I can find and copy the html code that Flickr has put there and then paste this into something like a discussion thread with a VLE.

Although this may seem a lot of effort for some people, when you are supporting people (staff or learners) via online techniques, these little techniques can make a huge difference and overcome the isolating nature that you often find in this area of work.

Oh how I do miss teaching!

I miss teaching, in fact I miss it a lot.

Now this may seem odd to some people that have taught and then moved on, but I genuinely love teaching and learning, and the last few weeks I have spent a few days in different colleges in different projects, and just seeing the still new intake of students hanging around in the corridors reminds me of how much I enjoyed this area of work, and I do wish if circumstances were different that I could still do a bit of teaching, but alas it isn’t financially worth while (it would mess up my tax no end)

A few weeks ago I met a fellow ex-teacher, now consultant, and she told me that no amount of money would ever get her back in the classroom, which I thought was sad, and I hope that I never get to that stage, as if I do, I don’t think I could be effective doing what I do, which is trying to inspire and excite those that still are directly involved.