The new face of online learning – Diving into MOOCs

I am beginning my studies towards a MOOC – a Massive Open Online Course*.  Actually, I’m starting at least two. I’m killing two birds with one stone here – experiencing new forms of online learning as a learner, and learning stuff.

The first is David Wiley’s Canvas course Introduction to Openness in Education, described as a ‘broad but shallow’ introduction to the field of open education. This course will involve me blogging, and perhaps posting videos or other media, as my response to each module. These posts will be tagged with  ioe13. Incidentally, David Wiley’s TEDx talk on why openness is fundamental to education is well worth a look. This course looks to be (as you would expect by the content) very focused on sharing and connecting.

The other is Havard’s CS50 on EdX, an introduction to computer science course that I’m taking to refresh my dormant programming skills and set me up for delving deeper into the skills needed to making my own learning tools. So far I am very impressed – good content, automatic checking of assignments, differentiated tasks. One especially neat feature is the ability to watch lectures at 0.75, 1, 1.5 or 2 times the normal speed, perfect for the attention-challenged and impatient like me. The content seems very well structured too, clear and step-by-step, but with plenty of options to challenge those with more experience.

*  If you haven’t come across MOOCs before, have a read of this for a decent overview. Or, you know, google it.

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Welcome to Edtech Explorer

'Welcome Mat' by alborzshawn on flickr

Hi there. Take a seat, make yourself at home.

Welcome to Edtech Explorer. This is my place to share, reflect and make connections in my journey into the world of educational technology. I will be writing about all aspects of using technology to re-imagine schooling and education.

I’m especially interested in how technology can help those who often get the worst deal from current educational structures, such as:
– Children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
– Learners who for whatever reason don’t have access to great teachers, and teachers who don’t have access to great teacher training.
– Learners with dyslexia, social difficulties or attention problems.
– And all the oddballs, visionaries, creatives, dropouts and obsessives who don’t tend to fit into prescribed boxes and timetables.

I know technology isn’t a magic bullet. It is important that we hold on to what we already do well, and bring in changes in a careful and evaluated well. But I think that education as an industry is (or at certainly should be) on the cusp of a hugely disruptive and exciting change that could make much better use of the internet’s potential to enable sharing knowledge, connecting people and adapting instruction to every learner. There are incredible innovations making waves already – the Kahn Academy, MOOCS, Quizlet, Manga High, Edmodo, to name just a few – but we are still just scratching the surface of what is possible.

So I hope you’ll join me on my adventure as I hack through the jungle of social networking, trek the vast plains of gamification, cross the treacherous river of standardised testing, and scale the snow-capped mountains of personalization before falling headlong into the bottomless canyon of over-stretched metaphors.

Photo by alborzshawn on flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

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