Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Festival of thinking

Today I went to the Jisc Digital Festival 2014 in Birmingham.  I intended to have a super collaborative day!  And I did just that.

I met up with faces I have not seen for a while and having a little catch up.  Plus, being stopped to be recorded for an interview on my plans for the day and some other questions.  But, it was the usual Jisc event as such, but it had a festival theme to it.  Lots of stalls and festival like things happening.  I got a few things to think about from the sessions I went to. But I didn't come across anything new, but the thinking.  Which is just as important.

In summary:

  • In the morning I was dipping in and out of sessions trying to get the most from everything.  Some of which I have heard before, so I decided to move on and peek into other sessions to make the best use of my time.  These sessions were understanding students' expectations and experiences, ePortfolios into the mainstream and social media best practice.
  • Late morning I attended a session on video conferencing by on enabling learning opportunities and learner progression through video conferencing.  This is where my next initiative has been given another boost of enthusiasm.  A really good session this was!
  • In the afternoon, I attended the session on the changing face of assessment and feedback: how technology can make a difference.  I got a lot from this too, which made me say to the group; we encourage learning to be social. But why not assessment and feedback? We do in our personal lives and in the workplace.  I want to explore this a bit more and see what I come up with.  I do want to encourage and experiment more with peer practice myself.
  • Then I watched the live stream of Sugata Mitra's inspirational talk.  This was very interesting to listen to.  Some nice educational stories backed with some video examples.

Also, at the festival, they had this dream wall where I was asked to contribute a statement and for people to paint it on the wall in a nice art form.  There was so many things I could ask to be drawn on it.  But I decided to settle with a statement I made yesterday; it's time I voiced this. My approach to education is linking learning to a spiritual self; projecting positive proactive #LifelongLearning.

But, it did not make the dream wall.  Maybe a bit too deep for the wall!

A good day.  But like most events I go to, I ask myself what have I got from today?  Was it worth it?  What impact did it have on me and for my organisation?  But, as in most events I attend, I feel I have heard it before.  But then I asked myself, well if I have heard it before, why am I or the organisation not doing this or done it?  I think. :-)

Carpe Diem

This week I started Gilly Salmon's Carpe Diem MOOC.  It's a 6 week distance and online learning course, about how to design for active and interactive learning with technology.

When I first heard about this, I knew I had to do it!  I'm a big fan of Gilly's e-tivities, e-moderating and the 5 Stage Model.  I just click instantly with her work.  As I said; I have just started @gillysalmon's #CDMOOC. Excited right now! Potentially the best and most meaningful. Been anticipating it for a while.

I briefly participated in the Learning Design for a 21st Century Curriculum MOOC in January 2013 by the Open University.  But I didn't fully participate in it due to time.  But who does fully participate in MOOCs?!  But I did get a little bit from this for what I did.  I'll not go fully into MOOCs here, but simply I do like the idea of MOOCs and what you can do with them.  But there is still a lot of work to be done with them!

I do feel very committed and excited to do this MOOC as I am actively teaching now and I know I can make good progress and development with it and apply my learning instantly.  I'm determined to give the work and participating a really good go.  I feel I have to too as I am a real fan of Gilly's work.  So I need to dive straight into it and get involved and work, work, work at it!  I am actually really buzzing about it.  Have I become an education geek of some sort?!  If there's such a thing.  But who cares, I LOVE this stuff!

Also, I've even been assigned to the Dolphin group. How apt is that for me as I am a cetacean and ocean lover!

I will update on my progress throughout the duration of the course!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Demonstrating employability

Thought I'd give an up date on my progress on delivering employability from my post, Exploring and learning employability.  I've come to start demonstrating and finishing off my evidence for DTLLS on the Delivering Employability Skills unit.  I didn't quite get creative with this unit as I mentioned I would.  I think time got the better of me on this.  But, creativity is best done with the teaching of it!

Just after Christmas I arranged to sit in some employability lessons with the Skills for Jobs department, who deliver programmes for the unemployed.  They have been very interesting from the people who are enrolled to the programmes to the content that is being delivered.  It's widened my understanding of the need for employability skills for adults as well as young adults.  I've had to refresh my knowledge on employability skills.  Topics I am invovled in are CV building, interview techniques, responsible work practice and recognising and respecting diversity in the workplace.

For this unit, I just need to capture evidence of me demonstrating this subject, meaning teaching it.  So I have been building myself up by shadowing other teachers if you like, then I will do my effort with it.  I still love this subject as employability is and encapsulates education.  I hope to do more on this in the future!

To Masters degree or not to Masters degree. Masters degree!

Well, I have decided to do a Masters degree!

I started looking and exploring at some Masters in Summer 2013.  But the time didn't seem right, until now.  There are lots of educational and learning technology Masters out there, so it was hard to decide which one was best for me.  I've decided to do the Technology Enhanced Learning MSc with the University of Huddersfield.  This one sits well with me as it's project based and the content is what I am looking for.  I've officially registered for the course after being accepted to do it.  I've been feeling nervously happy!  I want to start it in September 2014.  I want to try and complete it in 2 years part-time and hopefully successfully achieve it on the year I turn 30.  So 2016 could be a massive year for me!

I won't stop doing any qualifications after this, but this would be like the icing on the cake for me, of my educational journey.  This will be my biggest educational challenge yet.  I believe in myself that I can do it.  It will be a lot of hard work and determination, which I have always had.  That's why I am here now.  I just need to go a lot deeper this time around.  Which I cannot wait for!  This is what I feel I need right now.  To be educationally challenged even further to understand and learn new skills at this level.

I am happy not to do a Masters, but as always I push myself further.  I'm not doing it to gain a new job.  But doing it personally for myself to know that I can study at this level and know that I have educated myself independently, as I have throughout my entire life.  Doing this Masters is what I stand for.  Education.  And better still, in a subject that I work in and know a lot about and that can push the boundaries of education and develop it further.  It will help me discover the truth about learning technologies!  Something I have wanted to find out for a very long time!

I just need to find a grant/funding for it now.  So I need to get cracking with that now.
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