Tuesday, 21 May 2019

A quartette of PebblePad conceptual developments

I've known PebblePad since I started my learning technology career back in February 2010.  This is my first role where I have been able to learn and use PebblePad.  When I started my role at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), PebblePad was the first big project I was involved in.  I assisted in the implementation and lead on staff pedagogical support of PebblePad.  I deliver the following general and bespoke workshops to staff (the library provides support to students) at the university as well as conducting consultations with groups and schools.  This used to be shared with another colleague but due to team changes they now focus on another area.  I introduced and developed a new workshop ‘Designing Workbooks’ that focuses on and underpinned by learning design.

  • Introduction to PebblePad
  • Assessment with PebblePad using ATLAS
  • Designing workbooks in PebblePad for Learning, Teaching and Assessment
  • Recording and reflecting on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) with PebblePad

Following a well-received ad hoc presentation at the recent PebblePad Super User Academy, Sarah Chesney and other attendees encouraged me to share the following conceptual developments - which I have not blogged about yet.  Below is an overview of these with a short description of how they came about.

Scaffolding the use of PebblePad with the 5 Stage Model

This was my first conceptual PebblePad piece which I did within the first month of starting my new role.  I'm a big fan of Gilly's work as I find the language accessible and easy to understand, so do others when I show them her models.  I adapted Salmon's 5 Stage model as a way of academics introducing PebblePad to their students as well as using it to scaffold their own understanding and experience of using it.  As I have now been using PebblePad for quite some time, it is in need of updating.  However, when I finished this I had plans to develop this further at some point to include Salmon's Etivities work - I'll be revisiting this in due course.

Introducing two main approaches to PebblePad

I create this short basic animation in 2018 to help staff understand two main approaches when experiencing PebblePad.  This animation is used in all of our face-to-face workshops to illustrate how staff and students will most likely approach PebblePad.  There is more to the process and most may miss out other areas, but as an introductory visual explanation, it has been working to get the message across.

Workbook design workshop

Further from the mention at the beginning, in Summer 2018 I developed this new workshop as Workbooks were fast becoming the most popular feature by academics.  This aim of this workshop was to to help people make informed designs and decisions about their Workbooks - making purposeful and effective Workbooks that achieve their pedagogical aims.  Elements of this was showcased in mine and a colleague's duo chat style webinar 'PebblePad - pedagogy, positives and pitfalls: A DIY approach to creating Workbooks' for the ALT Online Winter Conference on 12 December 2018.

Pedagogical guidance

I think many think that the developing guidance part of a learning technology role is somewhat an unnecessary task 'it's just a doc that has hours thrown at it'.  But let's take that away - what would happen then?  No pedagogical guidance or purpose, little intention, inadequate or misuse of learning technology.  I created this document on the pure intention to help mainly academics make informed decisions if they needed to use PebblePad or not and to what effect.

This is still in development, I.e. it isn't completed but enough to show the approach I am taking with it.  Last month, this changed direction following a focus group I held about it.  The general outcome - academics appreciated the 'guide' but they preferred to have this re-presented as an interactive exemplar with case studies that is actually in PebblePad itself, basically modelling it.  The unfinished table form wasn't a wasted effort, it was a result of my earlier thinking and built on Sheffield Hallam University's 'Changing the Learning Landscape'.  As with most things, you have to go through the hard complex thinking to get to the simplistic stuff.  It's all incremental/iterative developments and I am excited to see how they both evolve in the future through the various conversations I plan to have.  Plus, I plan to consider the following as well as some further critique from my team colleagues:

  • Reflection in the cycle is a point of action.  However, it is an ongoing process not just at the beginning as reflection is typically realised after an experience
  • Reference to further learning aims and solutions on how PebblePad supports these
  • Underpin with further actions of the teacher role to help scaffold the process, for both themselves and students
  • Include FAQs self help for troubleshooting

PebblePad staff development strategy

I'm currently working on a PebblePad staff development strategy that articulates our offer and ways that it is supported.


You might find my blog post 'PebblePad Review' a useful read.