Monday, 10 September 2018

Learning Technology: A Handbook for FE Teachers and Assessors

📖 The book

When I started my career in learning technology, I had little understanding of how digital technology could be used in education.  Throughout my professional development and being proactive in my field, I understood a lot more about Information Learning Technology (ILT).  However, it wasn't made as easy as it could possibly be.  This may be the case for some people, hence writing this accessible book to help and guide them.  I would have appreciated a book like this when I first started my learning technology role.  It's in this spirit why I wanted to write a book like this.  Read more about the rationale behind my book's creation.

I'll take a moment to say I am really proud of this book.  Not only because of getting it out there, but coming from my educational background.  I saw a gap in the market for this kind of book - one that has not been published in this style before.  I enjoy making sense of complex learning situations and theories and being able to simplify them, not only for me but for others.  This is very much present in my book, it’s just as useful to me than it is to its readers – good for reminding me on stuff!  I believe what I have done is a extremely useful and valuable resource.  I'd like to think of this publication as a continuing body of work and I will hopefully have the opportunity expand and build on this edition as new knowledge and practices are experienced and learned.  As well as the continuing evolution of digital practices.

Many learning technology books are 'theory heavy' and are aimed at confident ILT users and the digitally capable.  Some people may not be where they are.  The publication is accessibly and practically what ILT and eLearning is and how to make the most of them in FE teaching practices.  Those who are looking for innovative ideas or about the next big game-changing digital technology this will not be for you - there are many other books available for this.  This accessible book is ideal for those starting out using and have some awareness of ILT, and are exploring further potential of what and how digital technologies can enhance their role and their learners learning.  You may even be undertaking an Education and Training programme and you need further guidance in the application of ILT.  Whilst the text is aimed at FE, all of it can be related to HE, it's all useful for building foundations for effective use of digital technology with any learners.

The book represents me as a pragmatic person - getting straight to the point in practical guidance.  It is a product and celebration of what I have experienced, learned and practised since starting my career journey in learning technology.  I share with you the main things that I feel are required to make the use of ILT successful and help you to learn more ways to be creative with it.  My book proudly sits alongside and complements many other learning technology and teaching books.  I hope your enjoy this book as much as I did putting it together.

💬 Feedback/feedforward

I'm curious to see who's hands my book ends up in, so if you get a copy, do share a picture using the hashtag #LTbookFE on Twitter and include my handle @_Daniel_Scott.  You can also contact me through LinkedIn or with my email address in the book.  If you like what you read and would like to use, collaborate and/or develop my expertise, or have any requests for further publications in relation to the content of this book, please contact me.

I hope the text helps and inspires in some sort of way.  If it did I'd like to hear more about how it has so.  If you have a copy of the book, please do provide a few comments on Amazon or the publisher's main web page or anywhere else you got it from.  This will help others to see how useful it has been to them.

If there are any topics you would like to see covered in possible future editions, please contact me with the details above or enclosed in the book.  Likewise, if you have or know of any resources or publications that may be useful to include, let me know.

Here's what some readers had to say about my book:

🤝 Come together

You may want to share and connect with others using the hashtag #LTbookFE on social media.  So create a wider community and get involved in sharing what you are discovering, learning and practising with ILT!  Use the book as a starting point of what you are already doing and wanting to explore further.  We can all help each other through the process.

🎥 Book launch

📖 Get a copy

You can also get a copy from:

*If you want to order in bulk there are discounts available - please contact me or Critical Publishing Ltd.*

💬 In the media

Friday, 3 August 2018

Why openness is good

Because I am an open person I have transferred this into the digital realm via this blog.  I've been openly expressing myself by writing on this blog for 5 years (this month) where I share both personal and professional snippets of my life.  I decided to create this blog to share my growth and development as a person and professionalism.  I could have written this in a private journal, but I believe that it is important for others to see the development of others (peer review), so that others in the wider world can gain ideas as a form of feedback to develop themselves or even to stimulate thought processes.  My blog is largely for personal expression so I can look back on my journey.  Moreover, I do share openly because I believe in helping and inspiring others through my own learning.  It's in my strap line "Beware of my openness!".  This used to be followed by another line saying "I dare to share and be me."  But I removed it to focus on my openness and being me is a result of that.  This blog is basically a digital summary of me.  It's all about my learning, challenges I have experienced and ideas I have developed.  It's even a 'curriculum of me'.  In this blog post I will share some of the positive things it has brought me as a result of being open.

Applying for jobs and attending interviews

I talked a little bit about this in the blog post 'An employability check ☑'.  The main thing I would say is, if you want make your work open, reflect on it regularly.  Not just about what was good and what could be improved, but why it is interesting, what you learned throughout it and what it leads onto next.  This leaves it open to return back to in future blog posts which show a coherent developmental and progressive journey of your work, confidence and performance.  The outputs then demonstrate your digital identity as someone reputable, reliable and authentic in their professional field.  You can then share this with employers or employers can find this work and bring it up in interviews for further questioning etc.

Peer and self support

With family and friends, I find that I sometimes send links to my personal posts on my blog.  For example, when me and friends talk about similar issues we have experienced in our personal lives or careers,  I obviously captured these feelings at some point in the form of a blog post.  So I go over it briefly face-to-face but then I send a the link to the blog post that details it more clearly so they can get a better perspective.

Framing understanding and practices

I blog frequently on work projects and general thinking to help me understand what I am doing, why I am doing it and what are benefits from it and who gains from it and so on.  This is a learning technology that helps me immensely to record my thoughts and feelings that are required to make greater sense of a situation, literally to support my slow learning ways.  It's good to record and reflect anything you learn as it will become useful later at some point.  Like some of my blog posts provided me with a foundation when writing my Learning Technology book (#LTbookFE).  I can easily recall things to remind me of what I did at work.  Like things for my appraisal and my feelings of what and how I did it etc.  All of this ties in with 'personability' which is introduced in my book.  Personability is about soft-skills like imagination and adaptability, for example.  These are not taught but are usually developed by taking part in activities and interactions with others.  You could argue and say personability is just about being open to yourself, others and willing to learn from both.  Which we should all strive to do in general.

Help others to understand you

As it can be quite hard to articulate yourself in the work environment, reflecting openly helps others to see how I am learning and what challenges I am against.  Obviously it has to be written positively and not damning of individuals and the organisation.  But from my experience, colleagues have found it useful in understanding me better.  One colleague said the following which sums it all up and totally supports my ethos of doing a blog.  It really does encapsulate the tangible output of being open...  The blog post they are referring to is this one.

"I wanted to drop you a line as I’ve just read your latest blog post on the mountains you’ve been climbing.

I’m glad I am able to “stalk” you online 
😉.  Because you are able to write so openly I am able to read what you have to say and gain a much better understanding of how things are for you.  We’d never achieve the same endpoint just from talking in the office.  I firmly believe this can only help strengthen our working relationship that I already think is good and enjoy.

As you’ve noted you’ve already achieved a lot at a time of great change for you in your work and personal life.

I think you’ve been a great addition to the team.  I like working with you and learning new things from and with you.

I look forward to watching you continue to grow." 30 March 2018

I guess doing it this way through a blog helps me to think things through and gather my thoughts etc.  Yes they're right about not achieving same endpoint in the office, it's sometimes tricky to articulate yourself in a work environment.  But I'll continue to be open as much as I can!

Express to understand yourself

You may be thinking, well just be yourself, yes which I am and hopefully people will see that.  However, I still have difficulty articulating myself face-to-face sometimes, so having the time to think and prepare what I am saying and doing really helps me a lot.  This digital technology medium doesn't create a reflector, it just amplifies and solidifies me as a person and my thoughts for public/private viewing.

You can't always tell who specifically checks out your blog, but sometimes you may pick up snippets in face-to-face conversations.  Some passing comments may be made about the content or even repeating some lines that have been mentioned.  All of which may be referenced directly or indirectly.  You just don't know who's looking, so always make sure its honest, positive and ultimately you.  Write to express, not to impress - be true to yourself as you may not always be able to convey that person you have 'created'.

You may not want to share every professional, personal and emotional aspect of your life and on such a public accessible medium like this, but I would encourage you to express more openly as I do.  It could be on something smaller like Twitter or designing your own memes and gifs.  Whatever sparks your creative side, go with it and express yourself openly.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Slow learner?

This blog post arrives after much insecurity about how I generally learn and respond to learning.  As much as this may be a surprise (or not), I feel this is true of me.  I'm sure the people that I socialise and work with and even lived with will have most likely experienced this!  I'm a living paradigm.  As Gary once said I'm both stupid and intelligent. ðŸ˜²  But how can that be?  And can it happen?  Perhaps it all draws back to some of my earlier experiences.  Maybe I shouldn't analyse myself in this way but we are all different, you don't get the same person twice.  Not even twins have the same spirit and personality.  I don't think there's no perfect human being.  If you do happen to know a perfect person, what criteria, lenses or circumstances are you judging them on?  I realise I somewhat dim in nature at times, but that is just my character - I wouldn't be any fun otherwise!  I feel a lot of this is due to my brain thinking way ahead than my body can react.  My body then tries to catch up with my brain's decisions, leaving my body tripping up over itself?!  However, I do appear to be in my own little world at times.

Being a 'slow learner' doesn't mean I am less productive or incompetent, as I feel I am fast at being productive than understanding.  I might be 'slow' in some ways, however I'm a proactive doer.  I'm pragmatic, that's what I have always been about, it just comes natural.  If I have something to do or needs doing, I get on with it and get it done - I see things through.  I don't do half jobs - I'm very meticulous!  It may take me a few times to go around things until I fully understand something.  However, in my opinion a slow learner is just as powerful as a fast learner.  Slow learners take more time to understand detail, environments and situations whilst fast learners may jump in without fully understanding all angles.  They are of which both pros and cons to these, as with everything.  It's down to where these abilities are used and for the right purpose.  Just like applying for a job really.  The employer will review your application or CV and assess the suitability of your knowledge, skills and experience against the the job role specification.

In saying all of this though, I am quick to react to feedback and I'm very diligent in the process of responding to it.  I find that I am quick at learning when I know what I want to learn.  Like I am quick to learn and adapt when it's more career/professional related stuff.  Perhaps I feel I have more control over it?  It must be, because I wouldn't be successful otherwise.  Plus, I lived in and managed my first house on my own for 6 years!  I think emotional intelligence speaks volumes here, I do feel and sense more than in linear logical ways.  This is why recognising our own learning patterns is important as it helps us to determine the best ways we can understand and carry out things to the best of our abilities, and what we are comfortable in doing.  I think a lot of it comes down to active listening and communication and how we interpret this, which is probably the use of language and what we are used to?  Or is it purely just down to priorities and personal agendas of what we want to hear and do and discounting everything else?  I guess that's another discussion in itself!

My conclusion on this small incoherent rambling - work with and build on your strengths.  Just because you aren't particularly good at one thing doesn't mean your not got at anything else or even at all.  When watching Game of Thrones, I was hung up on this quote (not the scene for obvious reasons) which pretty much sums up how I am.

"I'm a slow learner, it's true.  But I learn." - Sansa Stark, Game of Thrones.

And that there, says it all, "I learn". 👍
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CC-BY Daniel Scott. Unless otherwise stated this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.