Questing … in- or non- formal learning about ICT? October 2, 2011Posted by ianinsheffield in CPD, Inspiration, Musings, Teaching Idea, Tools.
Tags: badges, dml competition, elearning, learning, Moodle
Things have moved on somewhat since my previous post. Whilst working on a structure which might deliver some of the elements described in that post, I became aware of the Digital Media and Learning “Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition.” This competition:
is designed to encourage individuals and organizations to create digital tools that support, identify, recognize, measure, and account for new skills, competencies, knowledge, and achievements for 21st century learners wherever and whenever learning takes place.
The first two stages involve people/organisations working in separate strands, one the ‘Content and Programs’ focused largely on the pedagogical aspects and the second ‘Design and Tech’ addressing the technical elements of delivering a badge-based credit and achievement system. In the third stage, entrants from the first two strands will be ‘married’ based on their submissions and will then work together towards a final deliverable project proposal.
Assembling an entry for the Stage 1 strand simply meant arranging my planning for our self-study ICT extension activities into a format suitable as a submission.
Some of my hopes are:
- That some of our students will learn a little more about how ICT can help them in their learning through school and later in life.
- That students begin to take more responsibility for choosing learning paths.
- That we are able to develop a system which celebrates their achievements by revealing it to a wider audience.
- That our system can be further developed by partners with greater experience and skill in the technical aspects of badge creation, management and awarding.
- That what we produce might be of interest to other organisations, educational or not, who might benefit from those resources.
- That our library of Quests swells because other individuals/organisations contribute their ideas and inspiration.
- That some of the Quest participants feel sufficiently enriched to become contributors to the ongoing project.
You can find my submission in the DML Competition or here:
The deadline isn’t until 14th October, so if you have any comments or suggestions, I’d be delighted to hear.
9 out of 10 cats . . . October 28, 2009Posted by ianinsheffield in TELIC, Tools.
Tags: elearning, many eyes, research, virtual, visualisation, wordle
1 comment so far
As I mentioned in earlier post, we’re starting our second year of TELIC with an examination of learning spaces and what that means for the learner. By way of introduction we’re analysing a paper – ‘Rethinking the Virtual’ by Nicholas C. Burbules, following an introduction from @GuyMerchant. People approach this type of exercise in different ways, but we wondered whether some of the visualisation tools might offer a different perspective. Each of the following accepts free text, then performs some black magic in which some element of visual importance is generated as a result of the frequency of occurrence of a word or phrase.
The popularity of Wordle continues to grow, so that seemed like a reasonable place to start
No surprises, given the title of the paper, that ‘virtual’ features prominently, but we can also see other patterns beginning to emerge. ‘Space’ is clearly of major significance here, with ‘experience(s),’ ‘sense,’ ‘people,’ ‘time’ and ‘learning’ all clearly important too. Given that we’re studying learning spaces, this paper clearly has something to offer then and perhaps the other terms imply that the human dimension cannot be ignored.
Many Eyes is an online tool which enables visualisation of both numerical and textual data. In addition to Wordle, Many Eyes provides three additional visualisation techniques:
The Tag Cloud is similar to Wordle in that frequent words from the text feature more prominently in the cloud. So the words mentioned above are the same ones which stand out again, however because the words are arranged in alphabetical order, plurals for example (experience/experiences) are more readily seen. So the word ‘experience,’ occurring more frequently through its plural may now be considered more significant. Additional features that this visualisation offers are through its interactivity – hovering over a word produces a pop-up which provides some examples of phrases within which that word can be found i.e. some measure of context.
We can also dig down for more detail by making use of the Search facility – from an examination of the main cloud, we can see more words starting with ‘i’ than might usually be anticipated, so we can focus on that area for further analysis.
We can then go one step further and make use of the ‘2 word’ function which produces a cloud based on occurrences of pairs of words:
And at once see the emerging significance of ‘interest, involvement and imagination’
The Phrase Net produces visualisations based on words linked by a conjunction; some presets are offered, but there is also the facility to provide your own custom phrase.
Having a space as the conjunction between two words produces quite a rich net which shows the words with which ‘virtual’ is closely linked – space(s), environment(s) and learning and how they in turn are linked with other words. Interesting that the significant words (the ‘i’s) which emerged from the Tag cloud don’t carry the same weight here.
The Word Tree allows us to explore the beyond simple word and phrases, whilst still drawing significance from frequent words.
Clicking on branches within the tree narrows down the focus and allows to analyse the context within which important phrases can be found. From the main tree, ‘virtual space and time’ clearly plays an important role, so we can investigate why this might be by exploring the sentences which both commence with and terminate in that phrase.
So what has all this told me about ‘Rethinking the Virtual?’ Well it’s provided some targets I’d want to explore further: the relativistic link with space-time sounds intriguing and the ‘i’ words are clearly important. The question is though, have I got more from this than simply reading the paper? Well no, certainly not, but this is a 9000+ word paper which takes some reading. What these tools might be able to do then is to allow significant aspects to emerge more quickly. A more experienced user would doubtless be able to pull greater detail and richer information than from my tentative exploration. But textual analysis in this way is, for me an infant discipline. As such I guess it’s no worse than the often rudimentary way numerical data is presented – 9 out of 10 cats . . . !