Wednesday, April 27, 2005

UWS Child Studies - Thinking About Network Learning

I'm just throwing up some links for a presentation/discussion with UWS Early Childhood Studies people. We're going to be exploring the idea of online journals, ePortfolios, process diaries, and personal websites (otherwise known as weblogs) and its appropriateness in the courses offered in Early Childhood Studies at UWS.
A lot of this presentation will rely on a discussion with the staff who attend, as I have no idea what knowledge of ICTs they have, or what directions they have already headed in in their efforts to develop an eLearning presence for their courses.

I guess a good place to start discussion on weblogs might be with this short video promo on weblogging in a school in the USA

Hopefully this video will stimulate interest in weblogging, and motivate people to learn more about their uses, pros and cons.

This little article "Electronic Portfolios and Dimensions of Learning" By Frederick Conway captures quite a few things about weblogging using terminology such as 'portfolios' that most educators should be familiar with regardless of their ICT capabilities.

So anyway, here's a few links to universities and the like that are starting to offer weblogs to their staff and students:

University of South Florida
University of Warwick
University of Calgary

And here is an article referencing a weblog that publishes research on neurological aspects of learning that outlines how weblogs are good for your health!

So, there is heaps and heaps of stuff out there on the use of weblogs in education. But the best way to learn more about it is to try it out! By far the easiest way to try out blogging is to start with Blogger. Blogger is the easiest and arguably the best free web based webloging service available at the moment. As you might have noticed, this weblog is a blogger site.

Once you are up and running with blogging, it might be worth now learning about RSS (Rich Site Summary). RSS is an automatically generated summary of the contents of your weblog. Where it is useful is in tracking and keeping up to date with more than one weblog - say, all your students. To use RSS you need a reader, and I recommend the Bloglines. Here is my bloglines reader account where you can see where I get all my info from.

So you might have started thinking about the huge potential this technology might have on teaching and learning.

Next, I'd like to introduce the Creative Commons. CC is a way in which people who like to share can do so legally and securely. Licensing content with a CC license is probably the best way to enable the sharability and reusability of learning resources. Imagine when all educational organisations and content producers start participating in the Creative Commons. Watch this movies

And if you are skeptical of a world where sharing is common and productive, then you need to look at the WikiPedia - a free and collaborative online encyclopedia (arguably the best encyclopedia there is!). The Internet Archive - an amazing contribution to the bank of human knowledge and culture. And the newly formed Our Media - a place where those who share can easily and freely store and share their content.

So, I only had 30 minutes in the end to prepare this presentation. I hope to get a chance to juice it up some more, but if I don't then I suggest you spend some time looking through my bloglines account, and my weblinks, there is tones of information there on a daily basis. And yes, I read it all everyday (almost) access to all this information has really improved my work... Really.

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Jo said...

Hi Lee

I was fortunate to hear your presentation on Friday and discussed briefly my involvement with blended/ online learning with Child Studies learners in a TAFE Institute. (hence me posting on your blog and thanks to you I now have a blog of my own)

One of the Child Studies sections has had approximately 4 years in developing skills in facilitation, facilitating a selection of modules with a diverse learner base and are now modifying/ devloping courses for delivery.

There is lots of information to share about this teaching strategy so let me know if any of the teaching staff are interested in our journey.


Leigh Blackall said...

Great! You have your own blog. Pretty soon you will be well networked with many other blogs. Use Bloglines to track the many blogs you will need to follow.
I hope to be in touch with you soon to share info between our schools on ICTs in Early Childhood Studies.

Jo said...

Hi Lee

Last night I attended a Child Studies Graduation night SWSI and did a presentation on Bloggs, Wiki, MP3s and learning. I was able to draw upon our e learning experiences and talk about future directions. This came from your inspiration and the Friday Learnscope get together.

Interesting that many of the graduates came to talk to me about Bloggs after the presentation and we found that they are in fact now studying at UWS Child Studies, and had been a part of your presentation.

I thought it interesting at another level that teachers at the UWS might not be aware that some of their students have had experience with elearning.

On another level this maybe useful for you to discuss the TAFE NSW LMS from a student prospective. I have noticed your positings on the issue.

What a small world technoglogy has made.


Leigh Blackall said...

Thanks Jo,
I will pass this on. Good on ya, spreading the word. Keep me posted, better still, keep your blog posted!