Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Etivities for blended, flip or distance learning

This post on Etivities comes hand in hand with a learning technology course I have previously delivered and managed between April 2013 to August 2014, I created a range of Etivities (online learning activities) to engage and support learners learning.  However, you can use these in many other ways for learning, teaching and assessment tasks.  It's a creative method to integrate a range of digital technologies into one activity.  Below illustrates what I created when merging Gilly Salmon's 'Etivities' with Ross Morrison McGill's '5 Minute Lesson Plan'.


You can make these more appealing on the eye with the use of other software and graphic design and imagery.  However, with the time and resources I had I made quick and simple ones using Microsoft Word.  I downloaded related images and used shapes and colouring in the style of the 5 Minute Lesson Plan.  I saved them as PDFs so that they can be more accessible across a range of operating systems.  I placed these on the College's Virtual Learning Environment which was Moodle and named them in line with project tasks.  One of the main benefits in this format is that it holds all public links in one place rather than learners typing in one site to the next and logging into them.


I issued the Etivities out through the online social network Yammer before every workshop that link to the PDF on Moodle.  Learners were expected to participate in them beforehand, then we had a discussion about their experience and results to build and develop their understanding. The remainder of the workshops was to focus on practical skills development in using technology to raise confidence and skills in using it with their own learners.  So the majority of knowledge was delivered outside the classroom and putting it into practice was applied inside the classroom.

Learners are expected to read the invitation at the top to gain a sense of purpose of what the Etivity is about and what is in it for them.  Learners are expected to work their way through all steps and contribute where required.  Each step has an instruction that links to either a resource or an activity via a public link.  Step 2 is a short animated video called 'Teaching and Technology Change' that our department created that illustrates these changes over centuries (but this could be YouTube videos which I used in later Etivities).  Step 3 asks learners to make contributions from their own experiences and practices on a Padlet wall.  Step 4 is a short video I recorded called 'eLearning Today' that I recorded via the recording system Planet eStream we have in College.  Step 5 linked to a Moodle quiz so that I could check learning had taken place.  Step 6 linked to an evaluation form to capture their feedback of the resource and experience to inform future ones.  After this learners had a choice whether to be stretched and challenged to make a word cloud or end the activity.  In later Etivities I used articles, Yammer notes, eLearning packages, wikis, QR codes and Google Docs.