September 05, 2006

Placeholder


The Sponge Bob Event Horizon

I have defined a new threshold term which can be recongnised as the point where you think inserting a picture of Sponge Bob Square Pants into your (serious) Powerpoint presentation is not only a good thing but when you can make a good case for doing so.

When you recognise a SBSPE, you should stop designing your Powerpoint presentation, probably lay down somewhere quiet and probably seek ‘professional advice’.


Placeholder


August 31, 2006

Rhubarb. Rhubarb.

A great site for all things Rhubarb is:

http://www.rhubarbinfo.com

From Rhubarb diseases to paper.

Don’t ask…....


The 40% Man

During September I will be wprking for 40% of the time with the Faculty e-Learning Advisers in elab. I have hit a slight snag in that they would, understandably prefer that I am based at elab for two days each week.

My problem is that I cannot really function properly without the assistive technology that I have on my desktop. I did start developing a kit of portable gadgets last year in the form of a speech enabled PDA, digital recorder etc but have not really gotten to grips with these yet to the extent that they are really useful and still have a few gaps in my toolbox which I cannot justify Warwick filling when I am on such short term contracts.

Getting kitted out and developing the expertise with mobile assistive technology is now even higher on my agenda for next year… if I still have a job.

One of the things the elab people want me to help on is a Perception training workshop. This will make an interesting case study of teaching development, I think, that I can report here a suggested in the previous blog.


August 30, 2006

Walking the Walk

I was thinking about what motivates good teaching which I take to be reflective and self critical teaching.

This is particularly difficult in a Research Led university where the system itself is working against us. Even when people get through the PCAPP programme and come pit motivated rather than just complying, they then hit all the usual barriers.

When I were a lad….. we attended a school high on a piece of desolate moorland. You either froze to death on the football field – more likely if nobody ever pased you the ball…. or went cross country running. Particularly iseful if you had a mate who lived nearby where you could stop for a cuppa before returning with faked stitches a few hours later. This was how it was when the sports teacher just pushed us out the door and went back to his newspaper.

Later we had a new sports teacher…. This one went running with us… or rather some way ahead of us. The point was though that he walked the walk (or ran the run). Some went back to the freezing footbal pitch as now the easier option but some of us stuck it out and came to quite enjoy the runs.

What can I learn from this I asked myself.

Well I need to walk the walk. I need to share my own teachin, show that I do reflect and show that I am self crtical.

I don't do a lot of teaching just now but when I do I swaer with little pinky raised to the sky that I will put it all in my blog.

If I am still here after September…

I am working on a JISC funded project that looks at the use of pedagogocal planning tools. We plan to run some workshops after September and I will put our thinking here. We are starting from a standing start here at Warwick although our partner institution at Southampton has run such workshops already.

The project focuses on two online tools specifically designed for this purpose but I am already thinking that we should look at other tools from Mindmaps to Word.

I want the session to be a cehicle for thinking about pedagogical design rather than jst a training session on using the tools. More to come.


Walking the Walk

I was thinking about what motivates good teaching which I take to be reflective and self critical teaching.

This is particularly difficult in a Research Led university where the system itself is working against us. Even when people get through the PCAPP programme and come pit motivated rather than just complying, they then hit all the usual barriers.

When I were a lad….. we attended a school high on a piece of desolate moorland. You either froze to death on the football field – more likely if nobody ever pased you the ball…. or went cross country running. Particularly iseful if you had a mate who lived nearby where you could stop for a cuppa before returning with faked stitches a few hours later. This was how it was when the sports teacher just pushed us out the door and went back to his newspaper.

Later we had a new sports teacher…. This one went running with us… or rather some way ahead of us. The point was though that he walked the walk (or ran the run). Some went back to the freezing footbal pitch as now the easier option but some of us stuck it out and came to quite enjoy the runs.

What can I learn from this I asked myself.

Well I need to walk the walk. I need to share my own teachin, show that I do reflect and show that I am self crtical.

I don't do a lot of teaching just now but when I do I swaer with little pinky raised to the sky that I will put it all in my blog.

If I am still here after September…

I am working on a JISC funded project that looks at the use of pedagogocal planning tools. We plan to run some workshops after September and I will put our thinking here. We are starting from a standing start here at Warwick although our partner institution at Southampton has run such workshops already.

The project focuses on two online tools specifically designed for this purpose but I am already thinking that we should look at other tools from Mindmaps to Word.

I want the session to be a cehicle for thinking about pedagogical design rather than jst a training session on using the tools. More to come.


Ping!

Well its bright an early (07:00am) on a Wednesday morning. I always try to get in early as I usually head off home around mid day on Fridays to Aberystwyth where the wife and kids dwell. Whatever cowboy outfit is running the line this year usually does their best to make the journey entertaining in that you never really know when, by which means or if you are going to get there. Not too bad in the Summer as I can just chill and listen to a book or two but the Winter time can be grim.

I also usually dodge the worst of the traffic when I come in early which helps a lot when you are using The Whitw Stick.

Oh well probably will not have to suffer it much longer as my contract ends at the end of September. Beyond that things are more than a little uncertain. More time with the family would be nice but we may be spending it foraging for food at the back of the local Chinese takeaway (Dafydd The Wok).

I will be working 40% with elab in September which will be interesting. Not that we have not worked together before but this time (well for 8 days or thereabouts) it's offiicial. If I somehow manage to get to stay after Sptember, this will form a nice prelude to the Pathfinder project.


August 25, 2006

Good news about Dumbo, bad news about Pluto

End the week when we lost an entire planet…. To be honest I never really took that one seriously anyway – I always knew it was a spoof to have a planet with the name of a Disney character.

This YouTube video was brought to my attention by Steve Carpenter of elab who is also to do some work on the Comp Sci and Maths Wiki project. Clearly Wikipedia has shown itself to be more robust that this suggests (Many Eyeballs) but it is good news about the elephants.

link

When I read a book or listen to a talk, it sort of sits on the surface of my brain for a while and does tend to skew my thinking until it eventually settles into place among all the other rubbish. de Bono speaks of this in terms of rain falling on a plain already rutted by pprevious rainfall and most the new rain falling into the old channels. I guess that is true…

In this context I was rethinking the Cathederal and the Bazaar article I mentioned on an earlier blog. A problem we have with academics developing new teaching methods is that, in a small way, they ise the Cathederal approach in that they do not involve students or anybody else in the developmet at an early enough stage. If you can read beyond the context of this article it has a lot to say about any development in an internet enabled world.

Since I posted my last entry, Mark Childs, who I mentioned wrt presentations and presence, rand me up and suggested that we should look a bot more formally at the parallels between presenting via video and presenting with a dosability and whether he two might inform each other – a classic case of turning a problem into a… well a more positive thing anyway.

Now that the coffee has kicked in I had better do a bit of work.


August 24, 2006

Hello? Anybody There?

One thing that I struggle with in working with a viusal impairment is giving presentations. There are a number of problem areas, but one is in engaging with the audience. I do see a little but not nearly enough to see peoples faces or their body lannguage. In fact, under some circumstances everybody could quietly leave the room adnd I would be no wiser.

If I know I will not get information from looking in the direction of the audience then I tend not to. To do so would be mere pretence for me and when I do stare out st the crowd, it is contriced. I am pretty sure this gives the impression that I am detached from the audience, unaware or rather unconcerned of their reactions i.e that I am simply preaching.

After a recent job interview that icluded a 20 mon presentation, this came home to me again. Actually I thought the presentation went fairly well as such but the questions afterwards were so disconnected from what I had been saying that I wondered f people had been listening or just waiting for me to finish talking.

I know that when I listen to a speaker who fails to engage me – make me feel as if my opinions matter – seems awrae that I am there – my attention wanders.

I think this is what has happened to me as my eyesight has degraded I no longer give the impression that I care.

Others van react to the audience overall reaction but if they all slump forwards or start bleeding from the earsI just carry on in my merry little way.

Yes there are things that I can do like asking questions, getting interaction going. I could not have done that at the interview presentation which was tightly structured but in most teaching situations where I set the structure I could do more. Often when I do try this switching from presentation to question, I find people reluctannt to engage. Something about the timing here – let them settle too far into passive mode and it is difficult to switch them back into interactive mode?

Again this brings me back to the parallels between disabilities and e–Learning. Acheiving this sense that you are aware of your audience is an issue in video conferencing or at any time when teaching is didatic. No dofferent from sitting at the back of a large undergraduate lecture theatre of course but good lecturers can still give the impression that they are aware of each individual. How do you do that with a video lecture when this cannot be the case? This iduea of 'presence' is an area of study that my colleague Mark Childs is using as the basis of a PhD by the way.

Meanwhile if you find yourself in a room where I am presentingm snoring loudly will actually help.


News



Latest short term contract means I will now be at Warwick until Feb 2008

ePortfolio

Search this blog

Tags

Galleries

Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder
© MMXIV