Making a choice

July 28, 2010

Today I am in London for a Becta TEN event at the Apple offices. As you might guess the event has a real Apple focus and will be looking at iLife, podcasting, the iPhone and the iPad.

Anyone who knows me will know that I do use a fair bit of Apple stuff. This doesn’t mean I am an Apple fanboy

Yes you are!

It just means that I use a wide range of stuff…

But if you have the choice you would rather use Apple gear than anything else!

On my desk in my office at work I do have a 27″ iMac, however alongside I also have a standard college build Windows PC. For a lot of administration I use the Windows PC, for any web or creative work I use the Mac.

At home I use Parallels to allow me to use Windows 7 and Windows XP simultaneously with OSX.

So what about phones?

Well yes my phone of choice is the iPhone 4 even with the antenna issues. Thats not say I don’t think highly of my other phone, a Google Nexus One.

Music players, yes it’s an iPod, but I do quite like the idea of the Zune however that’s not available in the UK.

I am not fanatical about Apple gear, it just works for me. Other people who have bought Apple stuff after seeing and listening to me have also been quite happy. I am though aware of some people who have bought Apple stuff and then got rid of it very quickly.

I know it appears to be a lot more expensive than stuff from other manufacturers however in every day life do we always buy the cheapest stuff?

At the end of the day technology should be and is a very personal thing. The same applies not just to me, but also to our learners. Learners will want to use their personal devices for learning, they will have different devices, different operating systems, different devices for different things.

There will be some learners who won’t have devices or choose not to use their devices; ink these circumstances institutions probably provide a standard device or PC. That does imply that all learners are standard.

They’re not!

At this point we do need to consider the service provided by IT departments when it comes to standard equipment. Standardisation ensures that it is much easier to support, repair and maintain equipment.

So a multiple range of devices means unacceptable support costs.

However there are many numbers between one and many!

In my Library at Gloucestershire College we give learners a real choice when it comes to computing. They can choose from:

Their own devices, we are putting in lots of power points and we already provide a student wireless network.

Micro Laptops, these are the EeePC running Linux

Standard Windows XP Desktop on a 17″ monitor

20″ iMacs, which can either run OS X or Windows.

Not a huge variety of choice, but certainly much better than no choice. Its also not extraordinarily difficult to provide effective support either.

Giving learners choices about their learning is important if we are to to get the best out of them and ensure they succeed.

Location:London,United Kingdom

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Mobile Boot Camp Reflection

July 7, 2010

On Tuesday we ran a Mobile Learning Boot Camp as part of our Open Day for the Technology Exemplar Network. Combining our skills and experience in mobile learning, we as part of our commitment to sharing through our TEN, running an informal boot camp was our way of doing this.

The plan for the day was quite simple, a semi-formal introduction, a short one hour session on possibilities, whilst the rest of the day was about letting delegates getting on sharing, networking and importantly building mobile learning content and activities.

I covered a fair few technologies and ideas during the event and feedback from delegates was very positive.

We looked at the PSP with GO!Cam camera, Sanyo MP4 video camera, Kodak Zi8 video/still camera, iPod, iPad, iPhone, Audioboo, Posterous, iPadio, iTunes, iMovie, Garageband, Turbo.264HD, Screenr, podcasting, Edirol R-09HR and many other bits and pieces.

I think though if I was going to run it again, I would ask people to show and share at the end of the event.


Mobile Learning Boot Camp

June 29, 2010

Gloucestershire College Open Day Tuesday 6th July 2010

Mobile Learning Boot Camp

With the wealth of learning technologies mobile technologies and web 2.0 tools and services available to Further Education, this open day, will provide an opportunity to see how Gloucestershire College are using learning technologies to enhance and enrich learning.

The open day will also give you an opportunity to plan, develop and build learning resources for mobile learning in Further Education. This is a change to the original advertised programme.

Gloucestershire College is running the open day as part of the Becta Technology Exemplar Network (TEN),

This event is free to all FE Colleges and learning providers in the learning and skills sector; you do not need to be part of the TEN to visit.

We are running the Open Day on Tuesday 6th July at our Gloucester Campus. The day will focus on the creation of mobile learning resources and how they can be used to enhance teaching and learning. The day will also give you an opportunity to tour the college to see how we use ILT and how we have embedded learning technologies across the curriculum.

The day will consist of a formal introduction followed by semi-structured unconference format in which delegates will be able to build and create resources that can be used on mobile devices such as the PSP, the iPhone and mobile phones.

Delegates will be expected to bring some content for repurposing or ideas for content.

The day starts at 10.00am and will finish at 4.00pm, lunch will be provided.

Travel

Gloucester is well served by rail networks from across the UK and the college is a 15 minute walk from the railway station.

Gloucester is on the M5 and can be accessed from Junction 12 from the South and 11 from the North. Please note that there is no parking available at the college, though pay car parks are close by.

Booking

Please book online by Friday 2nd July here.


Gloucestershire College TEN Open Day

March 24, 2010

It’s not every day that over fifty visitors from across the South West and beyond visit your college to not only see how as a college you are using learning technologies but also to discuss and share experience in using Web 2.0 tools and social networking sites.

Gloucestershire College is one of Becta’s Exemplary Providers in their Technology Exemplar Network (TEN). One of the things that Exemplary Providers do as part of their contribution to the TEN is to run two open days. Our first Open Day took place on the 10th March and was according to feedback from delegates a great success.

With the wealth of learning technologies and web 2.0 tools and services available to Further Education, the open day, was an opportunity to see how Gloucestershire College have been using learning technologies to enhance and enrich learning. The open day also gave delegates an opportunity to discuss and debate with others how Web 2.0 and social networking can be used in Further Education.

Unlike many other events, the day followed an unconference format, or barcamp structure. We had a formal introduction followed by semi-structured unconference sessions in which delegates were invited to discuss, show and tell, collaborate, share and learn. These covered issues such as Facebook, Web 2.0, student monitoring, mobile learning, MoLeNET

Delegates were also able to tour the campus, due to the size of the campus, tours were given a particular focus depending on what delegates wanted to see. Tours were given of the workshops, hair and beauty as well as general classrooms and the Library.

Feedback from delegates was very positive:

“Thanks for putting so much energy into the TEN Open Day today. It was a very inspiring and thought-provoking event and you must take most of the credit for that!”

“I thought the day was very worthwhile and I am sure everyone went away with lots of practical ideas and lots to think about.”

“Good day lots to think about. Going to talk staff inductions tomorrow. Thanks James et al”

“Excellent day at Gloucestershire College for #bectaten. Got lots of new things to implement. Thanks James & GC staff”

“Dual boot macs in LRC so students have a choice of OS at Gloucestershire College. I like that”

“The power of a decent lunch should never be underestimated and this was a good lunch!”

“Most enjoyable day at GC”

So did you miss it, not to worry we’re running another Open Day on the 6th July 2010.


Becta Technology Exemplar Network Mini-Network Event

March 3, 2010

Today is our Becta Technology Exemplar Network Mini-Network Event (that’s a bit of a mouthful).

So what does that mean in English?

Well…

Gloucestershire College is one of sixteen education and skills providers from across England to have been granted Technology Exemplar Network status

The Technology Exemplar Network is designed to help colleges and other learning providers use technology more effectively.

The Technology Exemplar Network was launched in 2008 with ten members and is jointly led by government technology agency Becta and the Learning and Skills Council. It works to share best practice for using technology between different learning providers across the country.

Gloucestershire College was chosen because of our work in mobile learning (the MoLeNET projects for example) and Stars and Stripes, a record system we use with our learners to improve retention and achievement.

There are nine other FE Colleges in our mini-network who are termed participating providers.

The concept of the network is to cascading that experience and expertise to their colleagues in the network.

During this event the Exemplar should ensure that mini-network members discuss their requirements for participation. This will enable the Exemplar to develop a suitable programme of network engagement activities going forwards.  These may include on-line collaboration opportunities, on-line conferences/events, provider site visits and further face to face meetings and events. This programme of activity will take place from January 2010 to July 2010.

I personally think it is a little more than just Gloucestershire College saying “this is how good we are and this is how it’s done”. For me the mini-network is an opportunity for FE providers to work together to share and collaborate to ensure that they use technology more effectively.

We will be using an unconference open format for the event, this is to maximise discussion and networking and minimise didactic transmission of information.

Should be interesting.

Twitter tag is #bectaten