About Judy O'Connell

Educator, learner, blogger, librarian, technology girl, author and consultant. Transforming education and libraries. Innovation for life.

Melting ice and faster internet

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No question, we are getting more and more reliant on good quality internet access and online connectivity.  I remember a time when I would be able to go off to vacuum the house while I waited for a program to download from the mac bulletin board. What a slow but exhilarating time that was!

But today, we want speed – real speed.

So the reading about the possible advantages created by melting Arctic Ice for faster internet brought a wry smile to my face.

The internet might seem like an ethereal, invisible network that connects every laptop and smartphone on the planet, but in reality it is propped up by a very real, very large network of cables crisscrossing the ocean floor. For years, communications networks have relied on tens of thousands of fiber optic cables to establish connections between countries, with the shortest and most direct connections providing the fastest links to the internet. As the internet grew, so did this undersea network. But while crossing the Arctic Circle is the most direct path to lay cables to connect European and Asian networks, until recently Arctic ice has prevented installation.

As these new pathways are opening up in the Arctic, communications companies are jumping on the chance to lay new cables.
People in remote Alaskan communities will not only have access to services like online classes and medical data, but will be able to do things that most people take for granted, like streaming movies and television shows through services like Netflix.

via Melting Arctic Ice Might Mean Faster Internet for Some | Smart News | Smithsonian

Internet Of Things

IOT Large

Industry leaders have been looking toward and anticipating the Internet of Things for quite some time. EDUCAUSE Review asked five experts in the field to share their insights on lessons learned, on current problems solved and created, and on the possible future impact of the IoT.

Predictions for the growth of the IoT vary considerably: some experts forecast that about 20 billion devices will be connected by 2020; others put the number closer to 40 or 50 billion. What does all this mean for colleges and universities? Considering the key role being played by vendors in this market, we decided to ask some industry leaders in higher education a few questions.

How we can truly unpack the value of the IoT?

The contributors were all asked the following five questions:

  • The Internet of Things has evolved over many decades as wearables, RFID, BYOD, wireless devices, and more have increased in both number and usage. How do you define the IoT today?
  • What game-changing IoT devices and uses do you expect we’ll be seeing on campuses within the next one to three years?
  • What are the most exciting academic and administrative benefits enabled by the IoT for higher education?
  • How will the demands of a more connected student and a more connected campus influence—positively and/or negatively—the systems, processes, and infrastructure of the current higher education landscape?
  • Will issues of privacy and data ownership stand in the way of a fully realized IoT? What other barriers or challenges will need to be addressed?

Great set of questions that lend themselves to a good discussion with your student cohort, as well as with industry experts! What does the average lecturer and/or student think or even understand about the IoT impact or potential?

To be honest, I haven’t seen very little impact yet in my day-to-day work on campus for administration or connection with students. I wouldn’t mind a few connected objects – would you?

 

Sharing Their Voices with the World: Helping our ESOL Students Self-Publish with Smashwords — The Unquiet Librarian

The Hooch Learning Studio, in conjunction with Ms. Balogh’s ESOL students, is delighted to announce the publication of Twelve Worlds, One Book. This book is an anthology of student writing created by Ms. Balogh’s students crafted as part of the work they crafted in Ms. Balogh’s writer’s workshop approach to composition instruction. The book contains […]

A brilliant piece of student online globally shared work! As always, Buffy Hamilton rocks!  Sharing Their Voices with the World: Helping our ESOL Students Self-Publish with Smashwords — The Unquiet Librarian

Information literacy refresher

In my previous post, I outlined the crisis of credibility that has beset scholarly information. In this post I present the first in a series of posts explaining the GeSTE windows model for the critical evaluation of information (Lupton 2008, Lupton & Bruce 2010). The GeSTE windows is a way of seeing information literacy as Generic, […]

I recommend reading the full post from Mandy Lupton at  Critical evaluation of information – Generic Window — inquiry learning & information literacy

More online content! Amazon busts in..



Here we go again – another ‘company’ moving into the education arena to provide access to ‘content’ and/or house shared resources. This time it’s Amazon.

Amazon has unveiled it’s shiny new offering – an online education service for teachers called Amazon Inspire .

By introducing its new education site, Amazon joins other tech industry giants in an enormous push to expand the use of technology in public schools. It’s all about the market territory really, under the guise of support.  Aggregated repositories have been around for ‘like forever’ in the digital realm, and have come in many guises. But the biggest always have dollars attached to them for the providing company – creating brand allegiance. Or am I being too cynical?  Who knows.

In the school market, however, Amazon is competing not just with rival tech companies but also with established digital education companies and ed tech start-ups. A number of popular platforms already offer instructional materials for teachers. Among them are tes.com, a site based in London with more than eight million users worldwide, and teacherspayteachers.com, a site based in Manhattan that more than two million teachers use regularly.

The New York Times clearly explains:

Called Amazon Inspire, the education site has features that may seem familiar to frequent Amazon shoppers. Search bar at the top of the page? Check. User reviews? Check. Star ratings for each product? Check.

By starting out with a free resources service for teachers, Amazon is establishing a foothold that could expand into a one-stop shopping marketplace — not just for paid learning materials, but for schools’ wider academic and institutional software needs, said Tory Patterson, co-founder of Owl Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in ed tech start-ups. Amazon is joining other tech industry giants in a push to expand the use of technology in the public schools.

Even so, ed tech industry analysts said the growing market for digital educational materials, which Amazon is entering, is likely to prove much more valuable over time than the school computer market.

Already, nursery through high schools in the United States spend more than $8.3 billion annually on educational software and digital content, according to estimates from the Software and Information Industry Association, a trade group. That spending could grow significantly as school districts that now buy physical textbooks, assessment tests, professional development resources for teachers and administrative materials shift to digital systems.

Don’t worry  –  not on offer for Australia as yet, so no hard hitting decisions to be made (chortle).

They’re calling out to teachers and institutions to request early access.  But is there any content there already that Amazon has invested time/money – or is it just going to be a swap shop?

Forget it.  There are better places on offer!Explore

I’m quite sure that time, thought and quality people are needed. That’s why our own home-grown ABC Splash splash-logoprovides such a fabulous resource, with great stuff for teachers, as well as great resources and games for students.  Visit ABC SPLASH – don’t miss out on the gorgeous site managed by my inspiring colleague @AnnabelAstbury.

 

Image: flickr photo shared by mikekatzif under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

1,000+ Learning & Performance Tools

top100-1Looking for some new ideas for tools to support your work? Here are the links to the pages in Jane Hart’s Directory of Learning & Performance Tools, which lists over 1,000 tools  in 4 main categories as shown below.

Want to add or amend a tool’s details? You can do so here.

What are your favourite tools for learning? Voting is now open in this year’s Top Tools for Learning survey. Please share your own.

Amazingly, 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Top 100 Tools for Learning list compiled by Jane Hart from the votes of learning professionals around the world – from both education and workplace training. This year there will be a few changes:

Due to the fact that the same tools have dominated the list in recent years, for 2016 the list will be extended to contain 200 tools so that more tools can be mentioned to create the Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016

Additionally, in order to understand how these tools are being used in different contexts, three sub-lists will also be generated:

  1. Top 100 Tools for Education (K-12 to Adult Ed) 2016
  2. Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning (Training, Performance Support & Social Collaboration) 2016
  3. Top 100 Tools for Personal Learning & Productivity 2016

The results will be released on Monday 3 October 2016.

Thinking is awesome – eportfolios



Current online information environments and associated transactions are considered an important ‘information ecosystem’  (Haythornthwaite & Andrews, 2011, p in ch 8) influencing and shaping professional engagement and digital scholarship in communities of learning in the higher education sector (Lee, McLoughlin & Chan, 2008).   This kind of  information ecosystem is also considered to be social in practice and making use of use of participatory technologies and online social networks to share, reflect, critique, improve, and validate academic engagement and scholarship (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p.768).

Thanks to advances in technology, the  powerful tools at our disposal to help students understand and learn in unique ways are enabling new ways of producing, searching and sharing information and knowledge (Conole, 2013). By leveraging technology, we have the opportunity to  open new doors to scholarly inquiry for ourselves and our students. While practical recommendations for a wide variety of ways of working with current online technologies is easily marketed and readily adopted, there is insufficient connection to digital scholarship in the creation of meaning and knowledge as an action of digital scholarship. It is perhaps simplistic to migrate a pre-digital taxonomy to a digital environment and to ignore the function of and relationship to digital scholarship for the educator or higher education academic.

Portfolios are a well-researched and proven pedagogical approach to support reflective thinking as well as providing the opportunity for students to demonstrate functioning knowledge in the context of intended learning outcomes within a subject or through a course.

A portfolio provides reflective knowledge construction, self-directed learning, and facilitates habits of lifelong learning within the profession.

Considering the potential of e-portfolios means that we can also meet the challenges of learning within enhanced subject experiences which we have detailed through the CSU Online Learning and Teaching Model.

CSU Thinkspace is an online blogging and web platform that allows for varied and flexible use of the tool during a course, creating a range of subject experiences that can build into an extensive digital portfolio of learning achievements. header2-295kwr0

Back in 2013, as part of my work as Courses Director, we established Thinkspace which is a branded version hosted by CampusPress from Edublogs.  Awesome.  Working with my favourite consultant Jo Kay, the design and support structures were set up.  We were ready for the integration of reflective blogging and an integrated approach to an e-portfolio!

We have been using Thinkspace for :

  • reflective blogging
  • website creation
  • digital assessments of various kinds
  • digital artifacts
  • open education resources
  • course and subject specific learning experiences
  • peer-to-peer engagement
  • developing digital literacies for working and learning online
  • providing graduates with evidence of their personal and professional capabilities in their chosen discipline field.

I was recently asked to create a video that explains what Thinkspace is, and the pedagogical rationale of using Thinkspace in subjects with a particular emphasis on the use of Thinkspace as an e-portfolio within a course (degree program) Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship). We also adopted the same approach in the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation).

Here is a video that tells the story. You may often see blog posts shared on Twitter as part of the participatory learning experiences!

 References:

Conole, G. (2013). Designing for learning in an open world. New York, Springer.

Haythornthwaite, C., & Andrews, R. (2011). E-learning theory and practice. California, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Lee, M. J., McLoughlin, C., & Chan, A. (2008). Talk the talk: Learner‐generated podcasts as catalysts for knowledge creation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(3), 501-521.

Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked participatory scholarship: Emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks. Computers & Education, 58(2), 766–774. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.001

Image: flickr photo shared by BookMama under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license