Tumbleweed

Is it just me, or are people not writing or blogging as much as they used to?

I usually find things to read from either my Twitter or LinkedIn contacts, but there’s less being published. Shared, yes, but not necessarily written? I have a Feed.ly account where I sometimes go for inspiration and to read things on or about education but lately, there has been so little listed it’s quite a stark contrast to even this time last year.

Ironically, I’m publishing much less of the EdTech things I used to, perhaps representing my changing circumstances and the differences in the work I do – I’m not hands-on with LT, LD, or ID work but I am involved in so much more (management, process, resourcing, etc).

Come on the, let’s make a concerted effort to write more, read more, interact and engage more, and get ‘our’ blogging mojo back?

Photo by Luismi Sánchez on Unsplash

Sorry

“I’m sorry.”

I hear it a lot from my kids. I never hear it in the news or from people who truly have something to apologise for.

But what are they saying sorry for? Is it that they are really apologetic for getting something wrong, for upsetting someone, for doing the wrong thing, or for not doing the right thing. Or are they apologetic for being caught? Are they sorry for not being able to get away with ‘it’ or are they sorry you caught them?

When does an apology actually mean what it should? Are you/they asking for forgiveness or just acknowledging they did wrong (but are not actually sorry for it)? How are you supposed to know the difference? By apologising, does the apology mean they are taking responsibility for the wrong (and any subsequent action or injury), or just taking responsibility for the need to say something?

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

If this, then what?

What if you can’t think as far as a solution – ‘if this, then that’ (IFTTT) – and can only get as far as ‘if this, then what?’

The IFTTT approach is to link a process to create a chain, a conditional statement between possibly two separate systems or processes to enable a reduced or more efficient workflow. Examples include a home automation system that will turn on a light when it detects motion in a dark room.

That’s great, but what if you don’t know the action you want to occur? What if you want to start the conversation and understanding, and you want others to have their input in the ‘that’ statement and define the whole process … for me, the ‘if this, then what?’ is far more powerful as a tool.

Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

January. Or is it February?

January always feels like a long month. Like most universities, we closed before Christmas (early, thanks to extra leave provided last year) and didn’t return until January 6th.

Due to the way Christmas falls and the bank holoidays, we also got paid early.

What this means in real terms is that January felt like it started the moment we stopped work before Christmas, on the 18th … 13 days before December 31st. And then we had the usual 31 days on top of that. So, January was actually 44 days long. Jeez! No wonder we all feel so tired and fed up!

The next thing that we hear is that upbeat voice in the office call-out ‘ahh, but February is shorter so it makes up. for it!’. Nope. In no way does February being 3 days shorter make up for the perceived extra days of January. It may be February 11th today, but it feels like it’s either January 55th or something stupid like February -2nd. As though somehow February hasn’t started yet?

Lockdown and the pressures of not being able to go anywhere (family, friends, work, shopping, travel, etc) is making each and every day so much longer. I don’t know about you but I can only think in terms of days at the moment, the concept of a month is lost. One day at a time. It works. Kinda.

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Students of tomorrow, from yesterday

As part of the efforts to link and connect people virutall during these lockdown and home-working times, I’ve been inolved in a new initiative to link parents together. The idea is for an informal ‘group’ to chat and share tips with each other onhow we’re coping and supporting our children with home schooling.

The first discussion took quite a sharp right turn when some of us started to lament the way our kids have been shown and taught long division. The standard “that’s not how I was taught” and “can anyone explain why long-division doesn’t work anymore?” came up, which made me think of one of my old posts … from 2013 no less!

Thinking Creatively was about a piece I’d read from Anthony Chivetta, written in 2008. You’d think we would have learned and moved on from this by now, wouldn’t you? I shared this section of his post with the group:

“The need to know the capital of Florida died when my phone learned the answer. Rather, the students of tomorrow need to be able to think creatively: they will need to learn on their own, adapt to new challenges and innovate on-the-fly. As the realm of intellectual accessibility expands at amazing rates (due to greater global collaboration and access to information), students of tomorrow will need to be their own guides as they explore the body of information that is at their fingertips. My generation will be required to learn information quickly, use that information to solve new and novel problems, and then present those solutions in creative and effective ways. The effective students of tomorrow’s world will be independent learners, strong problem solvers and effective designers.”

Anthony Chivetta. 2008

We’ve had enough time now to think and reflect on our teaching. Technology has continued to advance and the workd in which our school leavers are entering has changed too. Access to a reliable internet connection is still not a global feature, but it’s getting better. For many the number of internet enabled devices they have access to or own has increased (phones, tablets, games consoles, TVs, etc) but we’re not really doing much in school to maximise their use in the learning.

Or are we? I’m happy to be shown examples where students, of any age, are being encouraged to use the device and the ‘always-on connectivity’ to better and further the learning experience.

Photo by Jesse Martini on Unsplash

Patience (07) / #100DaysToOffload

Following on from my last post about the (increased) noise on social media, there’s also an increase in the number of people who have forgotten what it means to be patient.

From the frustration of a queue to enter the supermarket (that didn’t use to have a queue, before social distancing), a longer-than-normal wait at the doctors or on a call centre support call, and to the speed at which a tweet or status update is taken out of context and escalated to a previously unknown level of anger or resentment or trolling.

In stressful times we need to make the (increased) effort to be calm and understanding of others, and that we need to give others the space to do the same. Lockdown and the impact of the Covid pandemic aren’t going to go away anytime soon, unfortunately, and the stresses and pressures we’re feeling are likely to increase. Therefore we must adjust our expectations of what we would normally expect from others to allow them, and us, to adjust too. Just because we’ve been doing this for the last 5 months doesn’t mean we’re any good at it yet.

We are all in this together, even if it is a socially-distanced together. We can and should model good behaviour, for no other reason than to show those with less experience or patience how to handle these difficult times.

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Searches, and a few surprises

When was the last time you looked through the stats of your blog? Can you look through the different terms or searches that are used to find your website.

Here are some of the more ‘expected’ search terms;

  • “cmalt membership”
  • “david hopkins edtech”
  • “learning technology”
  • “best edtech tools”
  • “roles of learning technologists”
  • “prezi for students for free”
  • “barcode reader”
  • “higher education technology trends 2020 uk”
  • “edtech conference” and “alt conference”
  • “ebook vs paper”
  • “the really useful edtech book”
  • “what is edtechrations”
  • “learning systems technologist role profile”
  • “10 types of plagiarism”
  • “heppell future of learning”

And then a few I was not expecting:

  • “how many times will your digital footprint be used against you” and “how can your digital footprint be used against you”
  • “universities face closure”
  • “how teachers are like gardeners”
  • “which platform is better for an author linkedin or twitter”
  • “look for interesting newspaper articles skimming or scanning”
  • “get past turnitin”

And, for good measure, searches that are still happening now for old, really old posts:

  • “fote12”
  • “eassess11 dundee”
  • “edupunks”

Photo by Ronan Furuta on Unsplash

The State of #EdTech, 2020

At the end of 2019, a call was put out by the folks over at EdTechDigest for comments and insight into what industry and education leaders thought the state of educational technology would be in 2020.

Featuring the ‘Top 100 Influencers in EdTech’, ’10 Companies to Watch’, and ‘Leading Voices of Edtech’ weighing in on the state of education, tech’s role, and what’s ahead—this is a must-read for anyone passionate about the future of learning

Well, the report was published earlier this week and yours truly was featured among the ‘leading voices’ section. Here’s my contribution:

“The state of education is depressingly bleak. So many engaged and passionate teachers (and students) are over-worked, over- observed, under-paid, under- supported, under-valued by the very establishment that should be there to support and encourage them. If it wasn’t for their passion and dedication, education (and our children’s future) would be in a far worse state than it is in!”

David Hopkins // Senior Learning Designer, Coventry University

  • Download the free copy here – EdTechDigest ‘State of EdTech 2020’. Don’t be put off by the ‘add to cart’ message, it is free and there is nothing to do other than provide your email address and name!

Focus

January has (finally) passed. It’s February. It feels like a new start, so here’s a question for for:

“What do you need today to help you focus on your task?”

As part of the thinking environments training, we often use questions like this at the start of team meetings to engage everyone in the room, to encourage everyone to speak out at the start, thus giving them a voice throughout the meeting and an opportunity to be heard. The question, like this one, should not be invasive or too personal (unless the responder wants to include a personal viewpoint) but can also be informative for those around the table.

So, what do ou need today to help you focus on your ‘task’? How would you answer this today?

Photo by Elena Taranenko on Unsplash

Expert opinion: Learning trends for 2020

You remember what I said in this post about not writing any posts about ‘education/learning trends in [insert year here]’? Yeah. About that. I wrote something for a post called “10 E-learning Trends that will Dominate in 2020

The article, from Anthea Papadopoulou, calls out “so many [eLearning] ‘so-called experts’ … promising you one-week success, and opportunities that fall from the sky.” The reality, as Anthea continues, is that “it requires a lot of hard work, study, experimentation, and persistence. You need to be continuously informed about the new trends in eLearning so that you can keep up with new students.” From this position, they reached out to ten different “eLearning experts” and asked us what we believe to be trends for 2020.

“Their answers reveal exciting new trends that will change the e-learning scene given that we will do a really hard work to provide amazing learning experiences and stand out in the e-learning field.”

I’m honoured to be listed among notable and respected colleagues such as Jeff Cobb, Christopher Pappas, Panos Siozos, Poppy Hill, Phil Mayor, Craig Weiss, Ryan Tracey, Bill Brandon and Barbara Anna Zielonka.

Here’s what I wrote (spelling and grammar mistakes corrected) under the heading “Emphasis on the Instructional Designer“:

“Technology comes and goes, as do many of the providers and platforms organisations and learning professionals learn to rely on (e.g. read Audrey Watters’ ‘The 100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles of the Decade‘ review).

What is constant, or rather what should be constant, through these changes is our attention to clarity and quality when producing the learning materials. From translating original content to the appropriate adoption and use of the technology to deliver the training. What is more important than everything in this process is the learning/ instructional/educational designer [insert your own job title here]. This individual is the unsung hero in many organisations – often the last link in the chain before the training is released, often the last one in the office, beavering away to complete the learning, often the only one who spots inconsistencies in materials and terminology. This individual, and the support and guidance they need, is going to be very important in learning and development for 2020 (and beyond) as organisations learn just what a wide variety of skill, creativity and capability is possible when their designers are properly supported.

In short, my ‘trend’ to look out for in 2020 is the person(al). Where the individual becomes the focus of the learning experience, not the technology delivering it. This includes the student too. Technology still has a part to play, but the focus is on how we support the creation of learning materials which use this technology.

Closing my contribution to the article, the people over on Learn Worlds included the following infographic (I’ve not posted one of those for over 5 years!!).

Source: So What Do You Really Mean By ‘Instructional Designer?<br />
https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-10-07-so-what-do-you-really-mean-by-instructional-designer
Source: So What Do You Really Mean By ‘Instructional Designer?
First seen on the EdSurge website, October 2015.

Photo by Deepain Jindal on Unsplash