Where will June go?

Laptop, garden and pond - early Sunday morning

Laptop, garden and pond - early Sunday morning

Sunday: I’m writing this in the garden, under the shade of our willow, listening to the calming sound of our (newly installed- last week) cascade of water. And it’s only 10.00am. Brilliant. Why can’t all work (half work, half play today) be like this? Because I’ve decided to learn how to properly use the Mac Book Pro before it becomes my main machine, I’m using the Vista jobbie today. Which was confusing to start with because the touch pad (like all touch pads before it and for the entirety of my laptop experience) needs to be ‘double-tapped’ to replicate the left-mouse-click. Because the Mac Book Pro has a sweet ‘click‘ feature, where the entire touch pad becomes a left-click, I’d forgotten to double-click and was (doh) confused when the pad wouldn’t depress (double doh!).  However, there are many ‘Apple’ idiosyncrasies I need to master too. Like – why is there no delete button (the forward-delete I mean, not the back-delete – which exists)? Only last Friday did I find the shortcut (Fn+backspace) to delete to the right one character at a time. Hey ho.

Another noticable feature of the Vista laptop today is just how tenuous its connection is to the WiFi. V. Slow, whereas the Mac ‘just does it’.

Tomorrow sees the beginning of a very hectic period for me. It starts tomorrow with a fairly long Skype meeting about material development and hopefully future work, then there’s the RSC Yorkshire and Humberside summer conferecne on Tuesday – where I’m helping Lilian to ‘man’ the ‘interactive corner’ (or something like that). We’re both working together then on the Wednesday (if that’s ever confirmed) and on Thursday I’m working at Ashton 6th Form College. Friday is a ‘phew, where did the week go?’ day. Next Sunday I begin my week-long European venture with Khawar Iqbal. That week fills me with some trepidation because I’ve never delivered to non-native English speakers before. Much of my delivery is based on anecdotal humour (along with sound common sense and good training techniques) and it’s a worry that I can’t easily fall back on that skill (?) But Khawar assures me that I will be fine. Watch this space.

The rest of the month would need me to look at my diary but I know that I am going to be at the RSC Northwest conferecne in Southport and at the RSC Southwest conference in Weston-Super-Mare, where I am working with Weston’s Super-James Clay!

Yesterday was a fabulous day too. Because the weather forcast had been so good we decided to invite the family round for a BBQ. Ben couldn’t make it because he was going to a stag party in Manchester but my mum and dad, Emma, Charlies and the girls and a couple of friends came along. We had a brilliant time.

Amy and Charlotte with their babies

Amy and Charlotte with their babies

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Theories of learning, need and motivation

Maslows hierarchy of needs

Maslows hierarchy of needs

I’m currently working on the development of a week-long course to be delivered in June, to about 16 European ‘partner’ delegates. The course will take place in Leeds (so not far for me to go then!) and investigate theories that underpin adult learning. It will also  introduce participants to the potential of Web 2.0 for enhancing the learning process.

I thought I’d make a few notes here; not just for my benefit – but for the benefit of anyone who’s interested (after all my notes need not be secret).

Much of what I will personally deliver is scattered around my various laptops and memory media, but what I’m noting here is what my co-presetner will lead on. I’m making sure that all my revision notes are in one place!

I’m not working alone, it’s not my project, but I’ve been asked along to help – partly for my T & L knowledge but mainly for my ‘e’ knowledge.

Day 2 is an interesting day with lots of input and activities around various theoretical approaches to adult learning:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs (above) is just one. We will also be investigating:

The idea will be to introduce the theories and to set active-learning tasks for the participants to develop a deeper understanding of  how the various theories interlock.

For example ARCS v Gagne

Attention Matches Gagne’s 1) Gain attention

Relevance Could match 2) Inform learners of objectives + 3) Stimulate recall of prior learning and 4) Present the content – all of which could be designed to ensure relevance.

Confidence Could come from 5) the provision of “learning guidance”, 6) the actual performance of practice which enhances the ‘encoding and verification of learning. 7) Feedback – if given positively also helps confidence

Satisfaction Might be gained from the satisfactory 8) assessment of performance. 9) Retrieval and generalisation of the new skill can then be applied to a new situation.

Anyway – must get on …

MoLeNET Weekend

 I’ve just returned from two days in Stoke on Trent, where I was in the company of some of my favourite people.

Yesterday was a day for MoLeNET project managers to discuss their projects and to network. Lilian and I spent most of the day compiling a bid for the ‘team award’ at ALT-C 2009. We felt that the MoLeNET Mentors had done enough over the last two years to be recognised for the way that they have been instrumental in helping to bring about a systemic change of attitude towards mobile learning across the F.E. sector. We’d set up an Etherpad the previous day and asked other mentors to add their thoughts to the award bid and we therefore spent the entire day fine tuning our bid. Sadly, we missed recording some of the best evidence we could have had when Steve Nichols of the LSC stood up (impromptu) and told the audience that the “LSC like MoLeNET” and that “it was the best mobile learning programme nationally and internationally”.

Etherpad is a real revelation. We’ve used it before but this two days has seen us use it for a number of discussions whilst others were talking. The main one we shared amongst each other to make note about each of the speakers (especially today) and another was used to expand an idea I’d had in response to something someone else had said. It’s real benefit is that it is a wiki that behaves like you’d think a wiki should. Up to eight people can contribute simultaneously – rather than one after the other or following a refresh (F5). Let me know if you want to try it and I’ll invite you to my own and show/tell you how to set one up!

Davids TechDis badge

David's TechDis badge

Earlier in the week, I’d travelled to Gateshead College where I met some of my Cohort 2 PDAs. On Tuesday I went to Birkenhead and delivered a number of workshops about the free stuff available on Web 2.0. At this event, we experimented with QIK (see:http://qik.com/video/1702430). When I got home I found my official welcome as Accredited TechDis Trainer. This filled me with joy and I immediately added the fact that I was now officially an Accredited TechDis Trainer to my web site. See http://www.village-e-learning.co.uk and http://www.village-e-learning.co.uk/access.htm

Tuesday evening also so the arrival of my new computer. I’ve been having lots of trouble with my two (XP and Vista) laptops, so I’ve taken the plunge and bought an Apple MacBook Pro. It’s beautiful. It’s even beautifully packed. See video @http://qik.com/video/1703984 (I can figure out how to embed it yet)

Personal Projectors

3M_MPro-3It’s been a strange week. I’ve had lots of time at home to do lots of preparation for upcoming and existing work. But I’ve really found it hard to motivate myself. Time slips by so quickly and I find myself lurching from one cup of tea (or coffee) to another with short bursts of activity, which are themselves interspersed with visits to Twitter, Jaiku or now; FriendFeed.  My work list has included geeing up PDAs (they have to submit draft Action Plans by today); preparing for my week’s work co-delivering an ILT course to European delegates; preparing for one-off gigs at Birkenhead 6th form college and Ashton Under Lyme 6th form college and finishing some work for NGFL Cymru.

Yesterday was an enjoyable interlude. I delivered and e-Guides plus event in Leeds. My co-trainer (although I suppose officially he wouldn’t be called that) was Kevin Campbell-Wright from the JISC RSC. Although the day itself doesn’t involve much input, we still have to try and keep participants on track and motivated. It seemed to work.

During my mobile learning input (really, the only input I did yesterday) I showed them my 3M MPro 110 Pocket Projector. I’d prepared by putting the projector in one waistcoat pocket and my phone in the other. Despite the lightness of the room we were in, most of those present were impressed with the display. It’s convenience for some (one guy was from the WEA) was seen as impressive.

There are two (basically two) types of Pocket Projector available – mine (see picture) which operates from battery or mains and will show off images from portable devices AND (here’s the main difference) from laptops. The other works from battery (re-chargeable but can’t be used when plugged in) BUT can work on its own without any other device – taking the presentation (whatever it is) from a memory card. This type does not have the capability of projecting from a laptop.  See the comparison page at http://www.personalprojector.co.uk/ (tell them I sent you and they may give you a small discount).

And today has been like the early part of the week. Lots of phoning around this morning, some European work this afternoon and now – the bath! 🙂

e-Guides Plus

I’m working today in Leeds, facilitating an e-Guides Plus event. I am accompanied by Kevin Campbell-Wright (@kevupnorth) from the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Support Centre (RSC).

Kev has introduced me to his web pages devoted to Twitter – http://www.campbellwright.co.uk/tweetyours/ which is worth a look.

This morning, the participants are pretty much self directed, looking at Learning Platforms and e-Portfolios but this afternoon we are going to shake up the proceedings with a look at Mobile and Web 2.0 learning.

DAvid

Tags and Tagging

I’ve just finished talking to Kevin Hickey [http://newlearning.wordpress.com/] and James Clay [http://elearningstuff.wordpress.com/] on Skype – as part of what should become ‘elearning stuff #23’. Part of the discussion made me think of something – which I will relate here:

Tags – how important are they?

My Flickr site (see alongside) contains many of the photos I wish to share with others, whether the reason is for fun (e.g. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3180/3032786376_610d4beb38.jpg?v=0) or because I think the image might be useful to someone (most of them).

The image shown here was taken by me at the National Science Learning Centre (NSLC) last year and I posted it because it might be useful to some. It must be useful to many because it is the second most visited image on my site. I tried to think why this image is so popular and can only come up with the idea that it is the tags I used (quite unthinkingly).

Human

Body

Parts

NSLC

Internal

Organs

I suspect therefore that there are many people out there searching for Human, Body, Parts. Weirdo’s!

The first in the list of most popular images on my site by the way is: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1384/1463841108_1c8609d7dc.jpg?v=0 has been on Flickr much longer and is part of a specialist ‘Flickr Group’ – which attracts wider interest.

Just a quickie

Just a quickie to celebrate my having found out how to add a RSS feed to the blog. Whahayyy!

Now to see if they work ….

Comments?

🙂