Abstract for my conference session

Three Steps to a  Collaborative Learning Environment: a module for teachers and trainers in the post-16 sector

This conference session will be of interest to anyone engaged in the teaching and learning process. It is designed for trainee teachers in the Further Education sector and in the post-16 sector in general but it looks at issues of pedagogy which go to the heart of teaching at any level.

Effective collaboration through openness

We will consider the impact of some aspects of openness on teaching and learning. I shall argue that implementing Weller’s “open state of mind” is perhaps the most relevant aspect of openness in the context of teaching in the post-16 sector. It is implicit that students and teachers will need to deliberately implement an approach where they are happy to be open about their methods, where they encourage their students to feed back to them about the learning process and where there is an understanding that the teacher is also a learner.

Have you considered the implications of an environment which encourages sharing of comments on each other’s ideas and work? Would such an approach be universally popular and effective? What are the pitfalls of expecting students to collaborate and be open with each other in this way? What has been your experience of sharing drafts on H818? Feel free to exploit the backchannels! Contact me on Twitter @JohnBaglow or in OpenStudio or on johnbaglow.wordpress.com so that your views can be incorporated in the conference.

Effective collaboration using technology

The Initial Teacher Education (ITE) module will look at how a range of technologies can play a part in the implementation  of a collaborative learning environment in the classroom and online. For example, students can collaborate using discussion forums, video conferencing, wikis, online bulletin boards and a host of other platforms. Peer feedback can use the same vehicles and can be almost instantaneous if necessary. There is great scope for achieving a sophisticated and nuanced feedback approach which makes use of screencasts, podcasts, online written feedback and online tutorials. There is the additional benefit that trainee teachers become familiar with these new technologies whether or not they adopt them.

Tailoring your approach to your students’ needs

it is fair to say that the student body which my trainees will be teaching is much less homogeneous than that at a university. For example, a colleague reports that written feedback, whether electronic or not, is invariably perceived as rather intimidating by his BTEC students. They much prefer oral feedback, whether face-to-face or in a video clip.

So whether you are a practising teacher who is keen to increase student engagement in the learning process or are just interested in finding out more about how technology has increased the options for introducing an open outlook in education, this presentation is for you.

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Accessibility Issues

I am in the process of completing the ‘poster’ we are producing for our OU course but I seem to be spending a lot of time making the 2 minute powerpoint accessible:

  • despite my best efforts I have failed to add any Alt text to the images
  • I can’t remember what is considered best practice as regards fonts for accessibility
  • I have added a transcript of my narration simply by using a text box at the bottom of each slide. Is there a better way of doing this?
  • I have used Arial Unicode as my font as I remember reading once that it is best for students with dyslexia

I think I need to do this more often to learn the ropes. At present it is disproportionately time-consuming.