22. September 2014 · Comments Off on Bud Abbott and Lou Costello on teachable moments · Categories: My personal learning journey
This clip may be old but then again, so is the problem: some learners can and will take basic concepts and apply them incorrectly. As educators and communicators, we have to be able to recognise what’s happening and find multiple pathways in to knowledge. I watched this clip and then thought up ways afterwards that Abbott could have taught Costello where he was going wrong. 

A short, quick brain-dump post…

 Conditional activities in my LMS, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
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17. May 2014 · Comments Off on Mediating the power dynamics of online spaces · Categories: My personal learning journey, Social networking, Technologies
""As we mature in our use of social networking and online spaces – could it be that we’re losing touch with why we use them?

In his book “Disrupting Class”, Clayton Christensen says that disruptive innovation – such as social media tools – work best when the innovation is competing against non-consumption (that is, it’s better than nothing”.

Do your professional social networking spaces work as an innovation for group discussions that cannot occur face to face? If so, should not the same rules apply to these spaces as in face-to-face spaces?

When you set up an online space in the name of an organisation, consider the norms you’d establish if you were hosting people in a discussion area in your organisation. Hopefully these norms would include:
  • establishing behavioural expectations both formally and by your own actions
  • ensuring power dynamics are flattened
  • ensuring everyone understands the purpose of the space
  • recognising that different cultural, gender and age lenses will result in different responses and reactions
  • neutrally mediating disputes by taking them out of the shared space to be resolved privately
  • addressing issues of discomfort or disagreement appropriately and gracefully
However, in an online space where you are introducing the images, videos, articles and news items for discussion – the power dynamic defaults to one where the editor (you) is perceived as having the most power and, unless carefully moderated, the majority rules.

Because of the asynchronous nature of the text-based discussions that occur – there is a tendency to think of them as publishing spaces rather than a tool to facilitate online discussion.

Therefore, if one or a few people disagree with something you’ve published online, the majority can quickly over-ride those few with an avalanche of likes and dissenting comments – leading to a spiral of silence and feelings of isolation.

In a face-to-face setting, most experienced group facilitators would ensure that a lone dissenter felt supported and that their opinion was of value. If they picked up that the person was shy, the facilitator could take them aside during the break or after the session and draw out more about why that person was uncomfortable. In the main discussion, the facilitator would ensure that everyone accepted that all opinions expressed within group norms had equal value.

So, as we gain maturity in the use of online spaces and other technologies for discussion, let’s ensure we think about why we’re using these tools. We can extend our ability to reach out and help us to support and educate people in new ways – and use traditional group discussion facilitation to ensure that everyone feels they are a valued part of the community.
14. January 2014 · Comments Off on Adding closed captions to YouTube – an update · Categories: My personal learning journey
A while ago I wrote a blog post about adding closed captions to YouTube videos that proved quite popular.

The methodology of adding closed captions has changed, and with the urgency for some (particularly Australians) to ensure their resources are WCAG 2.o AA compatible, I felt it was time for an upgrade

Rather than write a very long, text post – I’ve created a SlideShare show.  I added notes for each slide to make the content, but they aren’t used in the text only version on Slide Share, which I find odd.

So, if you cannot view the notes and would like them, please send an email to kerryank@gmail.com and I’ll send you the notes!

19. December 2013 · Comments Off on Relevance, Accessibility and LLN · Categories: LLN, My personal learning journey
I spent a week creating two really lovely, pretty shiny learning objects that are irrelevant. Don’t let this happen to you!

Accessibility – ensuring content is Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust. Zooming in on the U part of that and considering the cross over of supporting learners to upskill Language Literacy and Numeracy skills has been a big part of my thinking and reading as of late.

It should be. There are some surprising statistics about Australia that shows about half of our working population needs some sort of help with LLN. It’s not that people cannot read or add up numbers – it’s that sometimes their work environments make demands that even the most educated can find challenging. Consider doctors who may not be native English speakers or a recently retrenched factory worker having to go back to school and learn how to learn again – or me, who is hopeless with the metric system when it comes to weights and measures!

To help crystallise my thinking and to address a stated need by my colleagues, I set out to research what online resources existed. I was looking for ones that would provide a level of interactivity, good, useful information and would meet standards of accessibility for people who are differently abled and across various devices. I didn’t find much quite frankly.  

Some colleagues asked me to create learning objects on formal and informal writing and writing complete sentences. I worked very hard on them and finally published them yesterday (YAY me!).  

But today, I find myself not as pleased with my efforts. 

The Queensland VET Development Centre’s Symposium report “What’s happening with language, literacy and numeracy in vocational education and training (VET)?” was a bit of a wake-up call.
Specifically this: 

‘Built in, not bolted on’

While learners with very low level skills can benefit from stand-alone delivery to prepare them for vocational learning, at most AQF levels, contextualisation in VET makes LLN skill development more meaningful and effective. As Skills Australia point out in their discussion paper on the future of VET:

Connecting LLN to a student’s core VET program enables the student to address their poor LLN skills in a meaningful and relevant context. 

Oh damn. What I should have done is explored what sort of writing these people are going to be doing in their work and drawn from that – report writing, emails, filling in forms – and created my learning objects based on THAT. What I’ve created isn’t bad, it is just unplugged, a thing apart.

In creating resources for students, I need to create resources that would go into their courses – not sit in the Help Centre on their own. I focused on the output, not the problem, and in doing so created two pretty,shiny things that will in all likelihood rust away unused and unloved.

So glad I learned it now before I churned out more pretty, shiny things that are completely irrelevant. Don’t let this happen to you!