Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Meeting with course team

This is one of the tasks in my e-Learning action plan: Yesterday I met L, J and S who are in the process of finalising an Operating Department Practice course (pre-registration) for launch Sept 11 and are keen to adopt the e-Portfolio.  I demonstrated the process and product of creating and developing e-Portfolios using my own experience as a participant on the t-eL course using tools such as PowerPoint, Google Sites including Google Apps, Wikis, Blogs and discussed the pros and cons of using an institution independent but guided by the tutors, student centred development portfolios which are embedded in the course and therefore assessed. We also looked at accessibility, security and confidentiality issues and agreed that for the needs identified, Google Sites - free from adverts has the essential elements: repository, reflection area, communication through the comments box, sharing by invitation.

In summary, L and team are going ahead with introducing e-Portfolios in the course and we have agreed to identify key teaching staff who will receive some training on the concept of e-Portfolios and their creation using Google Sites. This could be another example to be added to our paper to be presented at QEC in June 2011.
One of the points raised was linked to plagiarism and netiquette: I think these articles could help us find out how to deal with them.

Friday, 25 March 2011

My reflection process

This week we are looking at the process of reflection: models help us to take a staged approach to reflection and having used Kolb's ELC for some time, I am ready for some change. Gibbs model was presented to us and I felt it represented my thought process. So this presentation shows how I have applied it. Feel free to share your thoughts with me.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Tweets in my garden

I just couldn't resist it - the garden was beckoning me, inviting me to come and play with the grass that needed mowing, the pond that needed refilling, the clematis that needed tidying up. The sun was bright and warm! Shall I go out or shall I stay in????

I couldn't resist the temptation!

Now at the end of the day of getting the garden ready for spring, despite the aching back and stiff muscles I feel much younger and rejuvinated. It seems a day out in the garden has given me back all the mental energy I have used up since I started Reflect and Connect 2011. I know I have some assignments to finish but I have no regrets about leaving them undone on a day like this and hear the authentic tweets of live sparrows, wagtails, robins in the apple tree. In fact, I feel research shows that tending the garden, exercises the brain, giving us more energy and a zest for life.

I am now prepared for Session 4 on Monday but tomorrow (Sunday) rain is on the way so I can enjoy the garden from the conservatory while I sit and do my assignments!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Mind Mapping Tools

Today I looked at the blog which is called 30+ Mind Mapping Tools. I need to select one tool so I can complete my assignment 2a which requires me to create a mind map that draws on the work I have completed for this topic and shows how, why and with whom I will use Web 2.0 tools.

I selected Wise Mapping and only because they are both free and completely web-based so I can use them from any computer with a browser. WiseMapping also allows for numerous distinctions between topics. on the other hand, is a flash based brainstorming tool that I  can share with others and also embed in to my site. Neither requires any downloads which I try to avoid in any case!

Mind mapping is something I don't do much of as I am used the linear outline format but this task will force me to use a diagram to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around Web 2.0.
I'll come back here to write my reflections

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

My Social Bookmarks

I have tried a few social book marks: I started with Google Note which I liked because
  1. I already have a google account already
  2. It is easy to label them  (tags in delicious)
  3. the bookmarks can be grouped into a folder, e.g. Elecronic portfolios
  4. My google note bookmark link which I have shared with Junita but it is public
  5. Google Note can still be used by people like me who created an account 3 years before Google decide to stop it.

    I have also tried delicious but never seemed to enjoy using it just because it asks for a Yahoo ID and I never use it. I created a Yahoo account just to enable me to experience delicious and find out what was so delicious about delicious!

    Then I discovered Google Bookmarks which allows delicious bookmarks to be imported. So I have imported all my delicious bookmarks to Google Bookmarks. Still trying to work out how I can import Google note bookmarks!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sharing good practice

I have been using PbWorks with my students as an environment to develop their academic writing skills through dialogue in face to face seminars and online Comments which in itself is evidence of students' progress.

The main barrier is that not all students participate in the online sessions as wikis are not commonly used in other modules or by any other tutor in the nursing Faculty and therefore the tasks I set on the wiki are seen as "another new thing to learn" but not useful!

I feel there are lots of benefits in using wikis for developing writing skills collaboratively with online feedback from the tutor which is visible online to everyone on the course despite the time I invest in keeping track of all the changes and contributions.

Teachers today

wish I could change the world! I used the video as a checklist to evaluate whether I am one of the Teachers of Today.

I have the autonomy within my field to change my way of working but with limited opportunities to share with colleagues at work who have limited resources (time!) I feel I am paddling my own canoe and not getting anywhere.

I am finding new approaches to work more efficiently and effectively in a rapidly changing world instilling curiosity, exciting learners but very little in the way of extending the possibilities of solving learners' learning problems.

Change is something that most people fear as it might take them out of their comfort zone. Lead change by example, take one step at a time which I am doing now - I am at my third step of extending the use of e-portfolios in the institution.

My learning goal

By participating in Reflect and Connect, I hope to discover, explore, learn to effectively use Web 2.0 to enhance learning and teaching. I am especially interested to learn how Facebook and Twitter can contribute to this as they seem to be the domain mainly used by the net generation. I don't even own an iphone or an ipad yet! The Elluminate session on Monday 7 March helped me refocus my goal. The chat lines helped me think again. The support in the learning goals forum contributed to that a lot. Having referred to the Blogging guide, I feel I need to be more disciplined until it becomes second nature for me to blog my thoughts and share them with a CoP in my case the PDP/CPD/e-portfolio community

Ultimately, my learning goal is to become an e-Portfolio consultant/advisor at Bucks New University where I work as a Senior Lecturer in Academic Skills Development. The Elluminate session on Monday (7 March)together with the learning goals forum contributions and suggestions from the moderators and colleagues certainly helped me refocus my learning goal
It is important for me because it will give me the opportunity to share my invaluable learning and experiences from this course with colleagues as well as management and through them students. I believe that keeping records of learning and achievements albeit informally requires self-discipline and therefore am looking for scaffolded support for critical reflection from this course to complement my curiosity and enthusiasm.

I am sure active participation in the forums (fora?), Elluminate sessions together with some reading will help me develop my e-Portfolio on Mahara which should not be just a digital collection of artefacts but evidence of learning through reflection, self-awareness, discussion and extending my social network. My experiences on this course will be helpful when I train the group of staff who have volunteered to participate in my own e-Portfolio project using Google Sites. Since these participants are themselves tutors teaching/leading/managing modules and courses, I hope that through the snowball effect, the experience will be further extended to their students and teams.

The most important part of this learning process is my determination to achieve the goal despite the time deficiency, too many responsibilities needing first priority, support from moderators, colleagues (including my work colleagues, senior management, my dissertation supervisors.

I hope to be able to showcase my Mahara-based e-portfolio at the end of the course having developed a disciplined-approach to reflection (i.e. keep a blog religiously!). Mid-term (2 - 5 years) I should be running my e-Portfolio training company!

I am positive that the course team including my fellow course participants will accept my warm welcome to travel with me on this learning journey making it fun and enjoyable.