I had hoped that once the first pilot run of our ELFADA project finished I would actually have time to draw breath. However this was not to be and I have been struggling (unsuccessfully) to catch up with all the work things that had been totally neglected during the pilot. The consequence of this is that I am three webinars behind on these posts and two posts behnd on the project blog. So this is a portmanteau post about three webinars – two Serendipities and a Fine Focus!
Serendipity 26/27 April – Pinterest
This was one of those sessions (recording here) where we chose a topic that none of us knew much about! This is always fun when it happens because we just go exploring and discuss any ideas we already have about the topic. We had one participant who was just starting to use Pinterest and she shared one of her boards for us to look at – this was incredibly helpful for me in “getting my head around” what Pinterest is about! I find that there are so many nuances of “social sharing” across sites that it is really difficult for me personally to understand them. There seems to be a bewildering and ever increasing number of such sites – Pinterest being one of the more recent and also one that seems to be “taking off” at the moment.
I find sessions like this to be immensly useful. This is true whether or not we have someone who is very knowledgable on the topic. These give me a taste of a new app that might be useful and insights into how others may use it or do already use it. From this I am able to decide whether to explore further or just remain aware of in case of future need.
Fine Focus 3/4 May – Java IDE an “app” to build “apps”
This was a fun (recorded) session. It was a bit “techie” in the computer sense rather than directly in the “edu” sense, although Java permeates almost all of our “edu” online tools whether we are aware of it or not.
This session arose out of a previous Fine Focus session “Desert Island Apps” in which we shared the one “app we could not live without. Phil Hart (@philhart) being a “techie” cheated a little and chose Java on the basis that he could then write anything else that he wanted. Some participants were interested in finding out more so this session was mooted.
Phil shared a little Java “toy” using App Share to let others play with it on his desktop.
Phil talked about the wide use of Java for all sorts of user interactions (including BlackboardCollaborate). Phil explained that Java is a programming language and talked about languages in general and the fact that all programming really comes down to numbers! He also talked briefly about when things go wrong.
The session finished with a variety of questions and a digression into animated gifs.
Serendipity 10/11 May – thoughts on digital literacy
This session became a very informal chat (recorded as usual) between a small group – the topic started as digital literacy but as is often the case with a small number of participants we roamed far and wide among related topics.
Some of the discussion was around one of the eternal issues – that of getting other educators to consider using technology. Where we felt that one of the barriers is the digital literacy of the teacher. Others include lack of true committment by senior management. We also touched on the need for (funded, ringfenced) time to be available for the tech innovators to champion use of technology and provide professional development for collegues as well as leading by example in their own professional practice.
I always enjoy re-visiting topics because a different mix of people, new research and/or new technologies always provide a different perspective on topics we have discussed before.
These sessions were all fun to be part of! I don’t really like having to combine overviews as I never really feel that I do any of the included sessions justice. However sometimes the pressures of work become overwhelming and I just don’t get to the overviews. Hopefully in five weeks from now the pressure will reduce a little as the second pilot of the project will be over and the final report complete.
Our Next Session
Our next Webinar is an Edublogs “Fine Focus” session. Join us on Thursday April 19th at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning April 20th in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room. his insinuations