Archive for December, 2010

2011 Year of Edupunk

December 21, 2010 3 comments

As education budget cuts bite hard and resources become ever scarcer, educators will increasingly adopt a DIY approach to ensure that quality learning continues. Educators that don’t embrace the change will see their courses ever harder to deliver, leading to decay and eventual cutbacks.

Courtesy of bionic teaching, Creative Commons License

Edupunks have been making, sharing and collaborating already, and their practices will have to become mainstream for quality further & higher education to continue as before. Cuts will lead to less investment in ICT, staff and support, and educators will embrace the cloud, moving their course content into the open network and enabling greater sharing between institutions and across boundaries that were previously seen as no-go areas. Closed Virtual Learning Environments will be replaced by open networks of collaboration. Course materials will be shared under Creative Commons licensing. Increasingly, open source and free software will become the norm rather than the exception. Teams of educators, adopting an open-source philosophy, will collaborate worldwide to maintain or replace systems that once were run by commercial concerns and left to wither and die (Delicious?). Students will adapt to using their own equipment, phones, cameras, netbooks which will no longer be supplied by their institution. Paperless working will have finally arrived. Learning from your own home (and teaching from home) will negate the need for costly buildings and transportation. Student socialising will happen in the virtual world, but become increasingly sophisticated with the addition of video conferencing and collaborative tools. Students will have greater choice as real online learning becomes possible and location becomes less important.
This is the future of education. This is 2011. Adapt or die.

Categories: teaching

What I Did In My Winter Holidays

December 6, 2010 2 comments

I wonder what everyone has been doing during this unexpected winter holiday that we’ve been having in most of the UK this past week?

Have my students been playing XBOX all week, or will they show some drive, determination and motivation and continue with their college work?

My colleagues at Carnegie College have certainly been doing their bit to keep the wheels of education turning, and Facebook, which is often viewed very dimly in education, has turned out to be our saviour.

Over recent weeks we’ve set up Facebook groups for most of our classes and have been using them to share information, post reminders of assessment dates and to encourage students to evaluate each others work. The majority of the students have been participating enthusiastically and since the snow came the groups have become our principal means of communication.

Interestingly I doubt that the college VLE would have been so successful. Although usage statistics show that the VLE has had a significant number of visitors over the past week, it lacks the kind of social tools that Facebook has and also suffers from being a closed community that only college staff and students can access.  On the other hand Facebook  is open to anyone and allows communication and sharing with almost invisible boundaries between people’s private and public networks.

There are certainly differences between a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and a social network like Facebook, however there is also a lot of commonality. One thing that VLE’s have failed to understand and embrace  is the Social Constructivist theory of education, which claims that learning best takes place in collaborative social groups. Although some VLEs do offer collaborative tools such as wikis and blogs, they fail to provide access to a wider community because of their closed nature. Learning occurs in many places, not just in the classroom and not just inside the VLE, so perhaps the next stage in the development of educational technology will see much more openness and sharing rather than segmentation and selfishness. We learn almost everything from other people, so why must we confine learning to inside a classroom or a locked down network?

This will no doubt form part of my discussion during my presentation at the forthcoming JISC Winter Fayre (assuming I can get there physically if not virtually).

Addendum (5 hours after original post)

I wonder if, during this snowbreak, anyone will be more industrious at home than they would be at college? Watch this video and think about it.

Snowing on me




Here’s a list of things I’ve done today whilst working at home

  1. marked 6 long student essays (probably 7 or 8 by end of day)
  2. communicated one-to-one and one-to-many with several students via Adobe Connect.
  3. communicated one-to-many with groups of students via Facebook.
  4. communicated with several friends and colleagues via different methods.
  5. amended assessments to take into account the weather conditions and delays.
  6. read and replied to e-mails.
  7. blogged.
  8. planned my JISC Winter Fayre presentation.
  9. thought about my Adobe/BETT presentation.
  10. thought about next semester’s subjects, resources and materials.
  11. thought about my forthcoming Staff Development Career Review.
  12. learned a lot about procrastination and creativity from reading blogs and tweets and watching videos.
  13. read up on several of next semester’s subjects on the SQA site.
  14. learned about recent events at SQA.
  15. made a short animation of falling snow.
  16. forgotten stuff that should be in this list.

That seems like quite a productive day, and as I type it’s only half past three in the afternoon!

Categories: Social Media, teaching

The Afterword – Teachmeet UK Snow

December 2, 2010 1 comment

Thanks to everyone who participated in Teachmeet UK Snow #tmuksnow, an online Teachmeet especially for snowbound educators in the UK (but attended by at least one person from the US).

Thanks especially to the presenters who offered to present at less than 24 hours notice. Tom Barrett @tombarret, Nick Hood @cullaloe, John Johnston @johnjohnston, Jim Sweetman, David Noble @parslad and Ian Usher @iusher for his technical expertise.

Watch a recording of the event.

Read  some press coverage from the Dundee Courier – it’s nice to see some positive press coverage of an education story for a change!

Listen to @JohnJohnston’s Audioboo about the event and review of Adobe Connect.

There’s also Nick Hood’s blogpost about Teachmeet UK Snow and Nick’s ‘Review of the Week’ Audioboo that also gives us a mention.

Thanks again everyone, and hope to see you all same time next year?

Categories: teaching

Teachmeet for snowbound educators #tmuksnow

December 1, 2010 3 comments

Teachmeet UK Snow logo

An impromptu online Teachmeet on Thursday 2nd December betweem 2pm and 4pm.

Twitter hashtag #tmuksnow

Follow this link and choose Enter As Guest:

Usual format – send me a Powerpoint or presentation URL in advance. You’ll have 7 mins (or 2 mins for a micro presentation). Participants may also turn up on the day and provide an off-the-cuff presentation, or lead a discussion.

Send presentations to colin.maximized (at) (Powerpoint,  FLV Video or URLs). Contact me about other formats.

Presenters are asked to attend around 1.30pm for a quick introduction to using Adobe Acrobat Connect.

Presenters will need a microphone/headset so that we can hear you. Webcams are useful, but not a requirement.


  1. Introductions and informal chat.
  2. 8 to 10 Presentations (chosen at random).
  3. Discussion / Questions.
  4. Feedback and poll.

Contact me at @camaxwell or post a comment on this blog.

Categories: teaching