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Tag: Twitter

POT Cert Week 22: POT Cert, PELeCON and Personal Learning Networks #potcert #pelc13

It’s neat that the title of this week’s POTCert class is Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), seeing as I’m off to PELeCON this week and looking forward to meeting up with people that I consider to be a significant part of my PLN. 🙂

pelecon 4

I’ve mentioned before on this blog how it was a combination of Steve Wheeler’s, or rather @timbickteeth‘s “trivial and terrific tweets” that alerted me to the potential of Twitter, but I’ve not mentioned before that I was “Jenny-No-Mates”, the only student on an on-campus taught masters course about technology who desperately needed some classmates to learn with. And that’s what a PLN gives you, class mates to learn with!!

Connecting with people online has enabled me to go on and build a really useful PLN. How otherwise would I have learnt of Lisa Lane’s open online course, Pedagogy First?

Coming back to which, one of the readings for this week’s class is an article by Gardner Campbell (2009), entitled A Personal Cyberstructure, where he calls for students to be instructed and supported in developing the infrastructure of the Web to develop a personal learning environment of their own. This resonated with me completely; in fact, I was thinking of calling this post something like “this be the verse”, that is, until I realised that I could get what I think is commonly referred to as a “twofer”, and use it as a precursory blog to PELeCON. Anyway, here’s what Gardner Campbell says,

in building that personal cyberstructure, students would not only acquire crucial technical skills for their digital lives but also would engage in work that provides richly teachable moments ranging from multimodal writing to information science, knowledge management, bibliographic instruction and social networking. Fascinating and important innovations would emerge as students are able to shape their own cognition, learning, expression and reflection in a digital age, in a digital medium. Students would frame, curate, share and direct their own “engagement streams” throughout the learning environment.

It sounds like a pretty awesome digital learnscape to me, and which just so happens to be the strap-line for this year’s conference as well. What’s more though, Gardner Campbell goes on to say that educators should lead by example, “students must be effective architects, narrators, curators, and inhabitants of their own digital lives”. Here. Here. That’s why, in the last year, I’ve heeded the advice of Martin Weller regarding “The Virtues of Blogging as a Scholarly Activity” and I’m trying to go some way towards Alec Couros‘ vision of “Teaching and Learning in a Networked World”, both of which form part of this week’s reading as well. Incidentally, Alec Couros spoke at last year’s conference. At the time though, I didn’t really understand his message. I just recall that he was passionate about taking photos of his everyday life and sharing them online. I get it now, it’s about promoting openness and taking charge of your own digital identity… and, I’d also like to think, your own destiny as well.

Entitled, “Taking Advantage of New Opportunities”, the final chapter of the POT Cert course textbook, which is also signposted reading this week, starts

Because online education is a relatively new enterprise, you have an opportunity to make a positive contribution to this growing field. To take full advantage of this new opportunity, you would do well to keep yourself informed of the latest trends and issues and to continually improve your skills and knowledge.

Well, that’s what I’m endeavouring to do. You see, I live in a beautiful, yet ultimately peripheral location in rural Ireland, but I’d like to think that I could expand my horizons and take my passion and insight for digital literacies and social learning online, so if I may, I’d like to share a few slides with you (1 min), introducing myself and where I live. Originally, I intended to put this together as my digital introduction for #etmooc, but I never got round to finishing it on time, so hopefully it will serve nicely as my networking introduction to what looks like is going to be a great conference.

As always, I’ll keep you posted #pelc13 #POTCert


Campbell, Gardner (2009) A Personal Cyberstructure. Available at:

Weller, M. (2010) The Virtues of Blogging as a Scholarly Activity. Available at:

Ko, S. & Rossen, S, (2010) Teaching Online: A Practical Guide, Third Edition. Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.

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Tweeting and blogging for students: puts spotlight on design principles and pedagogical patterns #oldsmooc

This week OLDSMOOC takes a look at the “teacher as designer” and looks at the teaching pattern (or pedagogical pattern, or learning pattern, or lesson plan, or teaching plan – take your pick!) as the object of reusable design knowledge. A primary aim being to create a “pedagogical pattern” that builds on the work of others; in this way you might reach a better design than if you’d started from scratch yourself. We were also tasked with “pair tutoring on a design principle”.

With regards to tutoring on a design principle, my design partner, Jane Challinor, and I decided to look at “encouraging reflection” and posit this in relation to the use of student blogs.

The principle of encouraging reflection states that “when learners reflect they make their thinking visible to themselves, monitor their progress, and reach new insights. The pattern of conducting an exploration and then reflecting improves inquiry projects”. However, the principle only states that reflection “makes their thinking visible to themselves” yet typically a blog is published on the open web, which not only makes learning visible to the individual but to the wider world as well. Furthermore, it also invites comments from that wider readership as well. Consequently, we asked:

“What are the dangers, or pitfalls, of asking students to post their learning reflections to a blog?”

The context implicated here is an undergraduate Research and Professional Skills module, with the key principle being reflection – namely, is reflection altered when encouraged on the open web and, if so, how is it altered?

Blogging for Reflective Learning

The activity generated good discussion (see here), which Jane summarized as follows:

There doesn’t seem to be any argument with the principle of making thinking visible, only with the use of blogs. Some pitfalls to design for:

  •     accessing, editing and publishing a blog on line
  •     our digital identity and professional practice
  •     privacy settings and online safety
  •     netiquette
  •     giving and receiving feedback
  •     writing for an audience

Now, returning to the idea of “pedagogical patterns” and building on the work of others, we were introduced to a tool called the Pedagogical Pattern Collector [PPC].  Currently a research prototype, the tool has been devised to collect examples of pedagogical designs and make them available for adaptation by others and across disciplines.

I actually wanted to create a pedagogical pattern of my own based on the learning outcomes identified for our project in last week’s activity. That is to say “demonstrate the ability to use a variety of online contacts and social networks to find out information”, and I wanted to use Twitter as a case in point.  However, I couldn’t find any relevant buttons on the design screen once I’d pasted in my learning outcome, so I was forced to adapt a design within the PPC.

This is the link to my Pedagogical Pattern. You will then have to navigate to the “Browser” > “User Generated Content” > “Demonstrate the ability to use a variety of online contacts and social networks to find out information [Digital Literacy Level 2: Understand and Engage in Digital]”. I now realise that the title is too long/explicit to be useful within the PPC User Generated window because all you can see is “demonstrate the ability”.

However, I’m reasonably happy with the design pattern, for a first attempt, although the time allocated for the activity, 1440 minutes, reflects that the activity is to be conducted over one or two semesters. I don’t think that this aspect is obvious in the PPC.

The PPC is definitely a handy tool, but it’s still too clunky. There’s no simple back button and I just couldn’t find any way to develop a pattern from a learning outcome of my own. It’s early days, I guess, but I wonder how many teachers see it as being useful to them in their work. If anyone wants to investigate the Pedagogical Pattern Collector for themselves, here is the link to a PPC demonstration webinar that Diana Laurillard of the London Knowledge Lab gave at the start of the week and a link to a short guide.

It would be interesting to see how others get on and to see what more people think 🙂

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