Learning Analytics – bridging the interpretation gap

First up, I’d like to thank Simon Buckingham-Shum for his recent post on learning analytics. Rarely do I read a blog post which not only considers an ‘entry level’ question, but also then follows through multiple steps in the analysis of the topic in the way this post did. When I read the post I had the unnerving sense that the author had already thought through every question I might have considered, and answered it before I could pause to take a breath and even form the question properly in my head. I’ve been mulling the post over for the last week, and I decided that I really needed to put his post in context alongside some of my own thoughts (even if this is, in academic terms, like parking a Bugatti Veyron ‘in context alongside’ a Toyota Corolla, but never mind). Read more Learning Analytics – bridging the interpretation gap

Zen and the art of Learning Analytics

I was fortunate this week to travel to Dunedin on the South island of New Zealand to attend the ascilite 2014 conference, and one of the notable aspects of the program for me this year was the number of papers relating to learning/learner analytics in some shape or form. While there have been papers relating to this field dating back as far as the 1999 ascilite conference, this year for me was the year that analytics really emerged as one of the dominant topics of conversation. The most encouraging thing for me though was that the analytics conversations appeared to be shifting away from the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of analytics to the ‘why’, which is where the real interest in analytics (and most other things) really lies. Read more Zen and the art of Learning Analytics

Virtual first – redefining ‘normal’ in a blended team

cc licensed via Steve SnodgrassMuch has been said over the years about the rise of virtual teams, including the benefits and drawbacks of remote workers and those staunchly for and against it. Not nearly as much has been said (or that I’ve seen anyway) on the topic of blended teams, where some staff are located in the same physical place and others are located elsewhere and working virtually.

Read more Virtual first – redefining ‘normal’ in a blended team

Creating vision from culture

cc licensed via EladeManu: https://www.flickr.com/photos/24141546@N06/

As many of you know, I’ve been leading the NetSpot Consulting team (among others) for the last few years, of which the last two have seen a significant upheaval after our acquisition by Blackboard, which has seen a heap of structural, procedural and scope changes in how we operate. This week I sat down to look at performance planning for the team for the second half of 2014 and quickly realised that the amount of change has left us (me included) needing a hit of the reset button to refocus on what exactly it is we’re looking to achieve as what we now are – a regional team representing a range of learning technologies (both open source and proprietary) as part of a much larger organisation which is going through its own huge internal changes.

Yes, you guessed it, I ended up writing a vision statement.

Read more Creating vision from culture

The management compass

Its been a while since I blogged, which is predominantly due to two factors. One – its been a busy twelve months, and to be honest a fairly rocky one. Two – my focus has shifted from what I’ve traditionally blogged about as my role has shifted into heading up the Consulting team for NetSpot & Blackboard in Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Read more The management compass

eduMedia Watch – don’t believe the hype

Apologies for thieving this image from Delimiter without permission - I'll take it down if its a problem.
Jonathan Holmes not believing the hype

I have a confession to make. I used to be a Media Watch junkie. Back in the day of Jonathan Holmes, I’d subscribe to the Media Watch podcast and it would be my staple viewing on work flights, enjoying Holmes’ dry wit and the work of the Media Watch team as they critiqued some of the more questionable cases of media coverage in Australia. One of my particular favourites was when they would pick up on media airtime that had started with ‘a new report’ being released that had been used as a basis for many more follow up stories, but with one problem – the original ‘report’ was either unverified in terms of its independence, or it was just completely bunk.

This week, I’ve been playing eduMedia Watch.

Read more eduMedia Watch – don’t believe the hype

Edtech – look how far we’ve come…

cc licensed - thanks http://www.flickr.com/photos/oskay/9370932025/Nostalgia time.

Wind your mind back 21 years ago to 1992. The Cold War officially ended, Shane Warne took his first Test wicket, Miley Cyrus was born, and Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ knocked off Michael Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’ on top of the Billboard 200. Video discs were also gaining popularity, even though it would take another three years for an agreed standard to emerge.

Remember video discs? No – neither do I.That year I was an undergrad at Adelaide Uni, living in a share house and in my second year of a maths degree. Oh, and I had hair – sigh…

Allan Christie (my boss, founding father of NetSpot and former academic at UniSA) was however already forging ahead in 1992 into the brave new world of technology in education. He came across the document below discussing the new and exciting world of using video disc technology to support learning in the School of Nursing, and after a quick flick through I had to make a quick post to share it with the world.

Read more Edtech – look how far we’ve come…

Book review – Moodle Add-Ons

Moodle_AddOns_BookCoverYes, I know, its been a while. In my defence, life has been somewhat tumultuous in the past few months and blogging has been the furthest thing from my mind. Perhaps I’l get back into it again – I still have plenty of stuff rattling around in my head, but as I’ve gradually transitioned most of my ‘hands on’ Moodle work to the likes of Mark, Kim & Minh-Tam in the Consulting team at work, so has my focus shifted to a bunch of other challenges that most readers of this blog wouldn’t really care about reading. Makes me ask the question of whether I wrap this blog up and leave it accessible but not actively maintained and start a new one, or simply restructure it and start posting new stuff on only loosely related topics (think: open source product management, IT service management, team management, general observations on where I see the ed tech industry heading and all sorts of other wanky strategy stuff – oh, and learner/ing analytics, as dreadfully cliched as that would be). Ask me again later this year when the smoke has cleared…

Read more Book review – Moodle Add-Ons

Learning Repositories, Badges, Standards and Mahara

NZMootPostImageI’ve been lucky enough to get across to the NZ Moodlemoot this week and catch up with a bunch of clever people working with Moodle, as well as the odd Mahara guru (ping Kristina Hoeppner). The first post-keynote session I saw was about the Mozilla Openbadges integration with Moodle, quickly followed by a session on the Moodle Mahara integration. During both of these I was also ruminating on the Tin Can API.

This got some cogs turning for me in relation to how these things all relate to each other, given that they are all trying to achieve something similar – giving learners a place to store their achievements.

Read more Learning Repositories, Badges, Standards and Mahara

Linearity and learning

When I was a teenager, my stepdad taught me how to hit a golf ball. He was a humanities teacher for most of his career (and a bloody good one – speaking as one of his former students), and a single-figure handicap golfer (and still is). Being the impatient teen I was, I’d get frustrated with my perceived lack of progress as he taught me the techniques (physical and mental) that I needed to master if I wanted to get better. I’d feel like I was working as hard as I could, but that I wasn’t getting better. Then, every now and then, I’d ‘spike’, and my skill (or at least the measure of my skill, namely my scores around a course), would move to the ‘next level’ – dropping a few handicap strokes in a short time before plateauing again. Read more Linearity and learning