Is learning changing (for all)? #CMC11 @fredgarnett @pgcap



Just to put things into context first: I haven’t really created any videos for teaching and learning before, despite the fact that I enjoy capturing some of our family moments using this medium and enjoy playing them back. My boys love this too and have started taking their own as well. I noticed, that these clips have the power to transfer me back in time and enable me to re-live that experience more vividly but also I notice change(s).

Recenly, I felt that it was about time to break through ready-made video resources I have used many times for teaching and learning. There are of course some excellent and very useful clips out there but I feel that it is now time to start making my or our own since I will be doing this with a colleague.

We recently bought two camcorders using a small amount of money we received from MELSIG for a media-rich learning project I was involved using Voicethread. We didn’t get the most expensive ones for two reasons: 1. we didn’t have more money 2. we are amateurs and needed something that is easy to use and would enable us to learn while filming without feeling frustrated with the technology. We have our camcorder and there is no excuse not to make our own little clips now. We are learning on the job and it is time consuming but fun too! I spend 2 days working on the very first clip. I need help and support and have therfore become a member of ViTAL and hope to connect with others who are using or would like to use video in education and learn new stuff. The SCORE Short Term Fellowship (next round now open! apply if you are interested!) also helped and probably made me think more about creating my own clips for teaching and learning. Now, I can and I want to. I have also found YouTube very useful to discover more about the camcorder I am using (the manual was very very poor). It is amazing how this sharing business can really work online. I shared a problem on YouTube using the comments box and received an answer to my question almost instantly. Real support in real-time. Wow!

tasty fingers

home-made breaksticks: no uniformity- all different but so so yummy!!!

But why make our own and not just use ready-made ones? Well, this is a question I asked myself before starting this. The main reason for me personally was when I came up with the idea for the “Food for thought” series (the title I gave to the video series) is probably the pleasure and the excitement I feel when I make things (see my previous posts linked to making things). Also, this is a great opportunity to learn a new skill but also engage deeper with hot issues linked to teaching and learning. Even putting the questions together, is challenging and needs preparation and there is a lot of research and learning involved. When I put a question together, I always ask myself: “What would I anwer?” but also, when deciding what to ask: “What would I like to find out?” So, we are not just creating a learning resource for others, yes the “Food for thought” series is an Open Educational Resource (OER) published and made available under Creative Commons, but we, the creators use this as an opportunity to learn during the process of creating the clip. The other advantage of course would be that we would be able to tailor the series to our needs and provide a focus that would make sense to us and be useful for a particular group of people. Of course it the clips won’t be perfect, because they are not put together by professionals. We don’t focus on the aesthetics (and there will be imperfections) but on the content and the opportunity to engage others through what seems a more passive and one-way medium. This is the challenge but also the beauty of it all. Will it work? We will find out. If this doesn’t make sense, think of ready-made meals and home cooked food! It might not look that perfect but it tastes just right.

Initially, I thought that this series would be useful for our Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) at the University of Salford and it will be. I have plans to use these clips on the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education module but also an open access module which is currently under development. We have already secured a series of experts (Dr. Keith Smyth, Dr. Panos Vlachopoulos, Prof. Chris Hockings, Dr. Nicola Whiton, Frances Bell and Clare Killen) who are willing to share their thoughts on hot issues linked to teaching and learning and feature in one of our “Food for thought” episodes (these are currently under development and we should have the next episodes soon). We are very grateful for their generosity.

We were very lucky and had the pleasure to record our first episode with Fred Garnett from the Knowledge Lab. This clip is included below. Fred created an online space which he baptised Learning with YouTube to enable us all to engage in a conversation and debate about themes presented in this particular clip but also others that will follow and I think this is a great idea and has the potential to transform video-watching, which can, or is, more passive engagement into something that enables active engagement through conversations and collaborations. This was the idea behind finishing each of our “Food for thought” clips with an open question addressing the viewers that had the power to trigger thinking, reflection and action for engagement.

I wanted to use this opportunity to briefly reflect on the important things Fred mentioned in this clip. And there are three reasons I feel I need to do this now:

1. I am participating in the CMC11 MOOC which starts tomorrow.

2. We are developing an open access module (Flexible, Distant and Online Learning) to be offered in January 2012.

3. Our next cohort starts the PGCAP programme this week.

Fred’s video clip has the title ‘Learning is changing’. We take it as a fact today that learning has changed and is constantly changing. I would like to stop for a few minutes and freeze time and am asking myself  and you “Is learning changing?” If somebody would ask you today, now, what would you say? Please add your comments to this post.

  • Yes, we live in the Digital Age.
  • Yes, we know how to use the technology.
  • Yes, we have the digital gadgets in our pockets.
  • Yes, content is everwhere and we can access it anytime, anywhere, anyhow.
  • Yes, what we know is increasingly less important than to know where to find things.
  • Yes, we are constantly engaged in learning.
  • Yes, we can connect with others on a massive scale and learn together, wherever we are, whatever we want to learn.

I think it would be useful to ask now: “Who is WE???”

– Is WE, all, everybody, every person on our blue planet?

– Are WE inclusive or exclusive, when we talk about WE?

223/365 - Driving

How can we make this happen for ALL???

Think about all the people who live today and haven’t experienced the Digital Age (yet)… for a variety of reasons.

I am wondering,  what each of us could do to influence change through disruptive innovation (maybe? and thinking outside-the-box?) in our microworlds that has the power to transform practice in the macroworld and put ALL learners in the driving seat… How can we all become free-range learners of the digital age???

I am  am asking my fellow MOOCers, colleagues and students on the PGCAP, but also the wider community.


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