Enhancing Learning – RSC Eastern eFair

July 5, 2010

My keynote presentation from last week’s RSC eFair.

The world is changing.

Technologies are changing.

Learning is changing.

Our learners are changing. How they learn, where they learn and with whom they learn, all are changing.

Web 2.0 technologies allow learners to remove the social, geographical and physical barriers to communicate and learn with others.

Mobile technologies allow learners to be more mobile and be able to access learning and learning communities in ways which have never been possible before.

Both allow for an enhanced and enriched learning experience.

James Clay has extensive experience of mobile learning and has a vision that goes beyond mobile technologies and focuses on the mobility of the learner, blurring the demarcation between formal and informal learning. His current vision for education encompasses the use of Web 2.0 technologies embedded into an institutional VLE which can be accessed through mobile technologies. Allowing learners a focal point for their studying, whilst allowing the depth and breadth of Web 2.0 to bring a personalised learning experience to students at a time and space to suit them.

For the future, James hopes that institutions and others will allow for a flexible, personalised, accessible learning experience for all.

View the section of Martin Bean’s ALT-C 2009 keynote that deals with resistance to innovation.

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e-Learning Stuff Podcast #053: Last week or so…

July 4, 2010

James talks about last week and stuff he saw, wrote about and found…

This is the fifty third e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Last week or so…

Download the podcast in mp3 format: Last week or so…

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

Shownotes


Sometimes it does go wrong…

July 1, 2010

Today I delivered the keynote at the JISC RSC Eastern eFair at Hertford Regional College.

Though the presentation went down well, lots of positive feedback I did have a few technical hitches. Now I made the most of them and used it as an opportunity to talk about the issues of practitioners lacking confidence in the technology and not wanting to use it in case it went wrong. The point I made was that tradition, technologies sometimes fail us, but as professionals we compensate and change what we were going to do. For example if your marker pen runs out of ink on a traditional whiteboard, doesn’t usually stop someone from ever using one again. Likewise if someone has used a permanent marker on the whiteboard, does this stop you ever using one, because the one day you come across a whiteboard where this has happened will ruin your lesson. Practitioners sometimes decide they won’t use the VLE as sometimes it doesn’t work! Would they say the same about a physical learning environment ie a classroom? Sometimes they don’t work, like when it snows for example. So yes sometimes it does go wrong and as a professional you need to either fix it, or get someone else to fix it, or change quickly what you were going to do.

So what went wrong?

Firstly, though I was assured that once I had logged into the wireless network that it wouldn’t time out. It did. Took a minute or so before I could start.

The other issues was about two thirds of the way through the presentation Keynote on my Mac froze! I couldn’t move to the next slide. Without checking fully I think what happened was one of two things. Either the script auto-posting to Twitter was not working properly. Or Powerpoint which was also running on my Mac decided to “hog” all the resources and stop Keynote from working properly. Whatever it was it did mean that I couldn’t move my slide forward for a few minutes.

In the end the pause worked fine as we could discuss technical problems and also showed that tech problems happen to all of us.


Resistance to innovation

June 30, 2010

There has always been resistance innovation and I suspect it will continue…

Martin Bean last year gave an excellent keynote at ALT-C 2009 and in the first few minutes (from 3m 50s) described some historical views on innovation.

View the section of the keynote that deals with resistance to innovation from here.


Do you like books or do you like reading?

June 9, 2010

I recently gave a keynote at the CoFHE Circle Mid West event.

Do you like books or do you like reading?

eBooks and eBook Readers bring new challenges and new opportunities for learning technologists. Sony has the eReader, Amazon the Kindle and now Apple has the iPad. Publishers are now offering more titles as eBooks. There is a huge growth and interest in this new medium.

Some learners prefer physical books and the feel of paper, but do eBooks have the potential to offer more to the reader? Are eBooks a new way for learners to access information and learning? Are they just a digital version of print, ignoring the affordances of new technologies?

How can we use eBooks and eBook Readers? How do we promote their use with learners?


WWDC 2010 Keynote

June 7, 2010

Today is Steve Jobs’ Keynote at WWDC. It will be on around 6pm here in the UK. There is no live feed and I expect to follow the key announcements via Twitter or Engadget.

Traditionally we get to hear about new products and new software.

As might be expected the web is rife with rumours about what we will hear about. I’ll let you Google them to find what they are.

I am expecting to see a new iPhone, and though I am pleased with my iPhone 3GS will be thinking about upgrading to the new one if it does more than the 3GS does. Key new features for me are not so much the multi-tasking that we will see in iPhone OS 4.0 as that will work on the 3GS, but new hardware features. I would like to see a new camera with a better lense. The 3G camera is rubbish compared to the 3GS, but many other phones have much better cameras and I do use the camera on my iPhone a lot. Prior to retirement I used the camera on the Nokia N95 a lot too.

I doubt we will see the portable wifi hotspot that Android 2.2 brought to the Nexus One which is a pity as that is such a useful feature of that phone. Now using it more than ever.

Will be interested to see if there are any details on a new version of OS X and what that will bring to my Mac.

Not long now…


96 slides in 12 minutes – Presentation Styles

April 14, 2010

At a Becta LSIS Learning Innovation, Embracing Technology Conference at the NEC last year I had a twelve minute slot for a presentation on how the future of learning is mobile.

I did use slides.

Now the accepted model for powerpoint presentations is 2-5 minutes per slide, so if I was presenting according to the accepted model I would have had no more than six slides.

So how many slides did you have?

I used ninety six slides.

Did you really?

Yes I did.

I remember been asked to send a copy of my presentation to the organisers, which I had to do via a version uploaded to the web as it was too big for e-mail. I then got a “worried” e-mail reminding me that I only had twelve minutes and that I might have too many slides. I did in fact cut a few slides, I think initially it was over a hundred… so cutting to ninety six was quite tough!

Even at the event, I was taken to one side and reminded how important it was to stick to the timeslot I had been given.

Then it was time….

I use to have quite light slides when I started doing conference presentations, but was noted by someone else that my slides a few years ago were getting more text heavy… and it was true! I had more and more text on my slides.

So I decided to stop how I wrote my presentation slides and think again about how and what I present.

Most times text is on slides as a crutch to the presenter who may not know their stuff, or certainly doesn’t have the confidence to present without the security blanket of lots of text.

I decided that if I was using words I would use phrases or key words. Where possible I would use images.

So where do you get the images?

Most times they are images I have taken myself or had taken for me. But for a lot of images I use creative commons licensed images from Flickr. There is a wealth of images available on Flickr and they can be used to convey lots of different things. If I can’t find the image I want, I have been known to get the camera and go and take the image. I also upload my images to Flickr, not just so others can use them, but if I am out and about and I want to use one of my images I needn’t worry about having it on my computer as it may be on my Flickr account.

Images are very powerful and can convey and support what I am saying

But what about the text?

Presentations are not about text they are about presentations.

Word documents are about text, so write a Word document or a blog post.

I try to use a small number of words and where possible avoid bullet points.

I have seen too many presentations that consist of bullet points with lots of explanatory text, often too small to read!

But when I post my presentation online…

Come on, really who is the presentation for, the audience in the conference room or the online audience.

Remember that the core audience for a presentation is the live audience in the conference room. It is not the remote audience who will only read your presentation and won’t get the full benefit of your actual talk and any questions afterwards.

If it is necessary to offer a more detailed presentation online. then video or film the presentation. Or how about creating one text heavy presentation for the online audience who won’t hear you and one for the live audience who will.

Anyone who puts loads of text onto a slide so that it makes sense to someone who reads it online (notice the use of the word reads) then they might as well not present their work and just print it out and let us read it.

Presentations that are watched are different to documents that are read.

Use the right tool for the right audience and the right location.

I can’t take all the credit for how I create my slides for my presentations, one of the articles I read gave me a real insight into making a good looking presentation. The article talks about the different presentation styles of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and reading it, it makes a lot of sense to me.

So what of the rules about 2-5 minutes per slide?

If you know the rules, you can break the rules.

So how did I do?

Yup, I delivered all ninety six slides in twelve minutes. Got lots of positive feedback as well. The feedback was on the content of the  presentation and what I said, and not on the presentation slides themselves.

Job done!