Nogbad’s Education

July 4, 2008

Social networking video

Filed under: OU, Social Networking — Tags: — nogbad @ 12:28

This is developed from the presentation below. I’ve converted it to a video for use at a conference that I can’t attend – why should they escape just because I can’t be there?! 🙂


June 19, 2008

SociaLearn conference

Filed under: OU, Social Networking, Socialearn, Teaching and learning — nogbad @ 22:31

Back from the SociaLearn conference at Horwood House, Bucks. I’ve mentioned the conference in an earlier post but in case you missed it the public-facing blurb is available on the SociaLearn site and that also gives an overview of the project. Jo has also covered the initial premise on her blog posting (which has just popped up while I was writing this)

The whole event was fascinating and an opportunity to share space with some really imaginative, smart, intelligent, bright, awesomely clever and switched-on people. Jo mentioned the backchannel and I think that’s also the main thing which struck me.

We’d been invited to take laptops and PDAs and there is a (closed) Ning community for catching and discussing ideas. Some of us were also using Twitter and Purk to bash around and develop thoughts – a commentary on the event which was building and scaffolding understanding about how we might do things and where we might take them. And all those thoughts were captured for later analysis and development or restructuring and reassessment – and, to me, that’s part of what using web technologies to support learning should be about. Attending a presentation where I can quickly run a search on an author the presenter has mentioned, bookmark a couple of papers and, perhaps, speed-read a blog piece which outlines their work is my idea of how things should work. Seeing responses to a presentation as it’s happening, watching the shape of people’s ideas while they are sparking off each other, being an active participant rather than a passive observer – that’s all very powerful stuff and even if we can’t make every learning experience like that then we can certainly replicate parts of it by finding ways of introducing learners to these communities of practice.

That’s how I see SociaLearn “adding value”, it’s an opportunity to plug into these roving groups of people with common interests. It breaks away from the formality of tutor group-based conferences and allows students to find groups with which they feel comfortable. Maybe these groups are moving at a different pace or in a slightly different direction but groups can form, work together for a short period and then break up as a different subject group is coalescing. Web 2.0 SNS tools allow for these loose, informal, groupings and learning doesn’t occur in lumps of a given size (see Weller slide 10) and students are rarely working at the same pace and the current OU practice supports the 80% in the middle of the train but the 10% sprinting ahead and the 10% struggling along at the back tend to be alone. If we have a series of groups and students are shown how to move between groups or to straddle a few groups they can find what they need when they need it – peer-supported student-centered learning perhaps?

I need to spend more time structuring these ideas but I also have to write a profile for the PET web site, iron some shirts and clear out the fridge tonight so I’m going to post and revisit another day.

June 16, 2008

Who decides?

Filed under: Social Networking, Socialearn — nogbad @ 9:28
Laura Dewis has blogged about “Allmyfaves” which seems to be an aggregator for web sites it describes as “the creme de la creme”. Not only is it an interesting (and not particularly new) new idea but does it raise some questions about who mediates the web. As the whole thing is already bigger than anyone can embrace we need to rely on signposts so who should we allow to guide us? How can we tell who is credible? Why should we trust this site or Google or Yahoo? No sign here of who the “favies” are, the people who determine the ranking, so do they work for one of the big organizations or are they the same as you and I? Is this another SNS or are we being “sold to”?

June 7, 2008

Reflections on the day

Filed under: LCC, OU, Social Networking, Teaching and learning — Tags: — nogbad @ 19:35
This is an abridged and extended version of a post on my other blog. I’m slightly changing it here as I think it also applies to the reason I keep this blog.

Today I was talking about “Social Networking” and I took some photos and uploaded them while we were at the venue to show the immediacy available in the digital age. The format of the conference was great and we had some quality keynote speakers.
First up was Seb Schmoller from ALT. He brought an XO laptop and that was the first time I’d physically held one so that was useful and his presentation set the scene for what we were doing – eLearning technologies in the wild and also in the OU.The poster sessions were hard work – the attendees were split into 11 groups, one per workshop, and moved round the posters while the workshop facilitators explained what the workshop was about. So we stood by the poster and burbled on to 11 different groups.

Then, after lunch and chance to catch up with friends, Denise Kirkpatrick – PVC Learning and Teaching at the OU gave a presentation about the OU’s VLE and eLearning projects (including SociaLearn).

Then the workshops. I did my stuff and then we looked at some social networking sites and we looked at how we might use some of these tools in learning and teaching. I prepared a Seesmic video before I left for the conference and I’ve just done another to “top and tail” the day. All the photos are now on Flickr.

Looking at what I took from my workshop I think the main messages are that there is a real hunger to understand these technologies and no real way for most people to know how to engage with them. While I’ve been writing this I’ve been and signed up for Tumblr to see what it might offer – how might a colleague get from reading Wikipedia to, perhaps, editing it to messing about with Firefox extensions to see whether hyperwords is a useful Firefox extension?
I think we need to find ways of making sure that we don’t leave people behind or, worse, alienate them by talking technobabble without offering a series of easy routes to access the tools. I think we’re already past the tipping point and another digital divide is opening between educators using these technologies and those becoming increasingly fearful of the technical changes which everyone else seems able to handle but them.

June 6, 2008

Slideshow for AL Conference

Filed under: Slideshow, Social Networking, Socialearn, Teaching and learning — Tags: — nogbad @ 7:59

NB Some slides difficult to understand because of the loss of animations. I’ll edit and re upload when time allows

June 3, 2008


Filed under: Social Networking — Tags: — nogbad @ 23:25

I joined Seesmic, the video micro-blogging service just to see how it worked. Tonight, following Kate’s comment that everyone (on Seesmic) is looking down at a camera I posted about that. Within minutes there were responses! If that link works you should see the Seesmic page with the whole thread – as in most conventions start at the bottom and work up.

Look at how quickly a simple message was generating replies – far quicker than a posting on some lonely part of the blogosphere. And look at where and who they came from.

(How) Social networks work

Filed under: LCC, Social Networking, Socialearn, Teaching and learning — Tags: — nogbad @ 19:59

Following on from my socialearn post I mailed Stavros about his installation piece and he replied, after reading that post, and pointing me towards Patrick Keiller and the movement of psychogeographers.

As an aide memoir I bunged that on Twitter which automatically updates my Facebook status.

I then got a message from Rob Spence, dare I say a friend though we’ve yet to meet, who had seen my FaceBook status and sent me a link to a book (on Amazon) which is a psychographic view of London.

Okay so it’s not a cure for the common cold but a small group of people (who have never met) exchanged information across the web. Someone else was able to help me “construct knowledge” by offering a contribution to a social commons. Regardless of the use of 21st C applications it harks back to the ethos of cooperation on which the Internet was founded and which Rheingold characterised as the glue which helped build The WELL and still puts at the heart of Smart Mobs.

Presentation for ELT2 at Brighton, 03/06/08

Filed under: Teaching and learning — Tags: — nogbad @ 0:39

May 24, 2008


Filed under: LCC, Teaching and learning — Tags: , , , — nogbad @ 15:20
LCC Logo
On the SociaLearn blog Martin has kicked off a meme about scenarios using web 2.0 technologies for teaching and learning. I’m currently playing with ideas about a module to introduce year one Media and Communications undergraduates to the web and how they might us it – this is for the London College of Communications, part of The University for the Arts, London. Previously I’ve done something with third year students where they’ve kept blogs as learning journals and created a wiki-based group project. Within this structure each group researched around the topics of online community and/or online identity and, working within the technical constraints of PBWiki, have produced some wonderful work. The way we’ve worked is that we have a main wiki which grows each week as we have a face to face session. From there each group member has a wiki page and from there they link to their own blog and also to their group work. The group wiki from earlier this year is available at and autumn’s group is at plan now is to move from year three to year one and to assume (even) less technical competence, these guys are media students rather than technology students so they use Facebook and MySpace and MSN and Google Mail but without engaging with what makes it all hang together. Thus the objectives include exploring the web and what it can offer, developing reflection and group working and critically assessing a range of online technologies and how they might be used.

In one of those coincidences which suggest synchronicity I’ve just seen an art MA piece in the centre of Maidstone. Stavros Gangos is an MA student at UCCA Maidstone and his work is on display in an empty shop in the Fremlins Walk shopping centre. It’s a moving piece based on his discovery of the South Shields mining area where his grandfather lived and worked – it includes three films showing scenes of the area and two sound clips; one of his grandfather being interviewed about mining during the second World War and another of coal sliding down a chute (this brief, non-arts based description really doesn’t do it justice).

The idea I’ve been playing with for the first year group is also based on “place”. It first came from where there are photos around Northbrook College in Worthing. It shows a disparate collection of images linked only by that physical location – my favourite is the monochrome portrait of someone’s grandfather which sits next to an image of abstract art created at the college. I’m thinking of setting a task where small groups of students, three or four in each group, create a wiki about a place in London while keeping individual blogs for reflection on the process. I’m not thinking about any of the big places in London, not the cliches, unless the work can offer a different perspective. I expect the output to be a piece of work which combines sound, video and text collected in situ and found on the web. It might compare historical images with the present day, it might discuss changes in the use of buildings and the demographic nature of the area, it might find interesting sights or buildings which are otherwise lost in the welter of traffic in town – somewhere like Shepherd’s Market for instance, or Hoxton or around Elephant and Castle (that’s where the college is based).

I want it, the project to add something new about a specific place, to create images and video and to perhaps use YouTube and Flickr to store resources brought into the wiki and also to reuse existing resources in a sensible way. This is to demonstrate the way the web works culturally and will (hopefully) move these students from being passive consumers to contributors.

This is still in the planning stage and is very much “work in progress” so if anyone has any ideas to add please do so. I’ve done a Seesmic thing (is it a tweet?) to go with this

May 1, 2008

Try again

Filed under: Uncategorized — nogbad @ 8:37

I’ve had this blog for a while (years not days) but didn’t do anything with it. I’d intended it for less personal, more work related posts but simply forgot about it. I think this is a good time to try to put some stuff together.

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