Blended Assessments of Learning #Blendkit2014 MOOC

I am running a bit late this time, but here is my week 3 post to highlight some of the content in the blendkit MOOC.  This week’s topic is Blended Assessments of Learning.  At the beginning of this week’s reading we were asked to ponder the question:

“How will you implement formal and informal assessments of learning into your blended learning course? Will these all take place face-to-face, online, or in a combination?”

That’s a great question and in this post I would like to share a strategy I use in the blended classroom to manage the collection of evidence for formal and informal assessment.  Let me start by setting the scene.  Most of you probably have a smart phone…. or even a tablet.  How snap happy are you?  Do you like using the built in video features?  Where do you upload your favoured digital assets to share with others?  In your mind you might be saying things like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or some other online platform.

In the blended learning classroom we can tap into the same types of platforms to make them available for others to see but in the context of assessment this may not be as appropriate.

To overcome this hurdle I use a free online e-portfolio system with my learners.  Have you tried

It has some very impressive features.  For example you can upload or embed your photos and videos.  Your learners can write reflective blogs and you, as the teacher can provide feedback and reflective comments.  Students can decide who they share their work with and they can even create an online work plan or resume to show how and when the work was carried out and what their experience is.

Some newly added features such as apps and themes can make their portfolio more attractive and functional.  I love it, but of course it does not some planning to make it a success in your classroom.

I suggest you have a play with it first so you have a good idea how it works and to help you on your way check out the tutorials created by others on YouTube.


But first…. let me take a selfie

Okay, have I got your attention now?

If you are a regular visitor to this blog you are probably wondering what on earth does this have to do with e-learning? Good question but before I answer I wanted to share with you some interesting statistics.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) at the end of June 2013 there were 12,358,000 internet subscribers in Australia, representing an annual growth of 3%. At the same time the ABS reported that there were 6.2 million mobile broadband connections in Australia.  The ABS also said that wireless broadband is the most prevalent internet technology in Australia. It accounts for half of all connections. Of these 6.2 million connections people are connecting via dongles, tablets, DSL, satellite and dial-up.

That is amazing don’t you think!

The next thing I found of interest was the number of users by age group (yes nearly there …. but first, let me take a selfie LOL).

The ABS found in 2012-2013 that the largest group of internet users were in the 15-17 years age group. Ninety seven percent of people in this age bracket were internet users. Close behind them were the ages 18-24 and 25-34, this continued to drop down (surprisingly not by much though until we get to age 55-64 where approximately 78% were internet users. In the 65 and over age bracket this figure dropped down to approximately 42%.

[if I could I would have that annoying record scratching noise here to get your attention, I would]

Hang on a second what did you say? ….. check out those age groups!…. Now who do you think would take the most selfies?

Now that you are thinking along those lines, let me get back to e-learning (or what I commonly refer to as the use of technology in education).  People love to use their smart phones and tablets and of course we know they have camera and video capability.  They also have the capability to record interviews, comments etc.

So how can you make your training more appealing to younger audiences…. but first, let me take a selfie

A strategy that has worked for me in the past  is to encourage learners to take photos and videos that can easily be added to an e-portfolio of evidence, report or presentation.  This can form part of their assessment evidence for a formal or informal training program.  Collecting evidence is especially appealing to young audiences… and increasingly some of us oldies too! It puts some fun back into learning and if combined with social media can provide quite a rich learning experience.

There are numerous apps on devices to capture these images and if you need to pretty them up too (just remember what it is the learner is there to learn, engagement is one thing but over emphasis on technology is another).

So why am I inspired to write this post.  Well I came across this catchy song and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. Some of you will automatically know the song I mean and well others may not so here’s your chance to hear it.

I will leave you with these words….. but first, let me take a selfie

I also found this cool blog post about the history of the selfie craze by @archivesmous. Hope you enjoy it!

#EDCMOOC The first YouTube – Bendito Machine III

Our first film to watch is Bendito Machine III. Now those of you who know me will know that this type of animation doesn’t really appeal to me. So I am now feeling just a little out of my comfort zone. Anyway enough about me.

The animation is said to be about technological development through the eyes of ritual and worship. I guess this is quite funny and many out there will love it.

While I watched I could see the relevance of technological worship and addiction. To relate it to today, you only have to look at Apple products how they are marketed and sought after to see cult following and then if you consider social media… well you can clearly see addiction in some of us. At times the scary thing is that title could easily fit me. I love all things e-learning, especially social media.

Another interesting thing about this animation is how quickly they replaced their idol… not that much different to us today. We are asked to consider the question “Do the film’s characters have any choice in relation to their technologies?”. My simple answer is ‘No’. Someone in a position of influence guided the choice and chose when the idol was popular and when it was not and what would be the replacement.

As I continued to watch the film my thoughts turned to the influence technology has on educating and informing the masses. TV advertising today is a great example of how we use technology to influence potential buyers. The message is often if you buy this or wear this or consume this you will be … beautiful, youthful, popular, accepted etc and of course we fall for it. To me the animation was an example of social learning (if you are not sure go back and watch the part where they were watching tv and were now sitting on chairs with empty bottles at their feet). This was different to their previous behaviour of worship and adoration.

Social learning can loosely be defined as a learning opportunity where the learner observes the behaviours and attitudes of others and modifies their own behaviour based on the consequences observed.

Just in case you are not familiar, social learning is a theory often associated with Albert Bandura. Other notable theorists include Vgotsky, Lave and Wenger.

The concept of social learning is probably not that new to you. As a teacher you know that learners learn from their classmates all the time. Social learning can happen in face to face environments as well as digital environments. The animation was still locked into a traditional face to face environment but what happens if we consider this type of learning in the digital space?

When we consider the e-learning environment e-learning designers and facilitators incorporate social learning activities into their programs using a range of tools but in particular those offered by social media. In this post I will stick to education rather than the use of social media to influence the masses.

Social media allows educators to plan opportunities for feedback from both teachers and other learners in the learning environment; it encourages collaboration and group work; and if planned appropriately can facilitate relationships where learners have access to content experts, mentors and coaches. Many of these activities occur in virtual environments such as online discussion forums and virtual meeting rooms.

As the theme of this week’s content is Utopias and Dystopias I think the animation is an example of dystopia – the negative behaviours of those who worship technology. What do you think? Even if you are not part of the EDCMOOC I invite you to watch the animation and post your thoughts on the ritualistic nature of the animation and its purpose.

My blog through the eyes of Wordle

Here’s a snapshot of some key words used in my blog to date according to Wordle

Wordle: My Digital footprint

It is interesting that the word LEARNING is prominent as is MOOC, WORK, THINK, MIGHT….ever wondered what’s in a word? 

Wordle describes itself as a toy for generating word clouds. Word clouds can create visual interest to your learning resources and they can also be used in challenges for learners such as finding words in a Wordle relating to a topic or even your own Wordle with lists of words relating to a topic.  How do you use Wordle with learners?  If you’ve stopped by why not share your experiences with others.

Just found this great infographic on connected learning


This graphic comes from the Connected Learning Website

I think the connected learning model sets the scene very nicely for 2013 as it proposes a new model for learning as well as emphasing the power and creativity of the technologies available and the users who use them.

The challenge in 2013 continues for some educators to be their ability to embrace the use of technologies in education as well as acquiring the skills to use them. Technology and the Internet offers new ways of learning that can enhance a learning program if they are used in the right way. You only need to explore social learning and mobile learning opportunities to realise that the way we source information (including news, entertainment and how we keep up to date with our friends) has changed.

A simple example of how we might acquire learning outside of a traditional class environment is the way we use and interact with social media sites. Have you heard of the term social TV viewers? Social TV viewers use social media to talk about what they are watching on TV. As a teaching tool this offers some interesting possibilities. Recent media studies suggest that interacting on a second screen makes users more engaged with the program they are watching (visit and read the article by AdAge media news, it is a very interesting read). If you haven’t participated in this type of activity, watch QandA on ABC and during the show tweet about what you are watching using the hash tag #qanda…. in fact if you search on this tag you will find a multitude of posts.

Do you currently participate in online discussions using LinkedIn or similar platforms? If so, think about what you have learnt just by lurking or participating in these conversation? Personally I have learnt a lot about the use of e-learning in educational settings just by drawing on the comments and expertise of other practitioners who are very happy to share their knowledge and expertise. So the challenge here is how do we build these learning opportunities into our training programs? Should we recognise this learning in our training programs? If so how and how much? I would love to have this conversation with you, so please if you have stopped by, take a moment to post and let’s get this conversation going?

Take care and have a wonderful 2013.

Just took a personal DNA test online

Well the end of the year quickly crept up on me and it is now the end of the holiday period for me. Hopefully I can pick up my blogging again in 2013 and make it count.

I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I start to think and plan and yes dare I say it …. plan that new year resolution. Things have changed so much in 2012 and I feel I have changed a bit too, so I decided to start with an online personality test to see how much I have changed.

Surprisingly…. I am still the same, fancy that. This is my online DNA…. quite cool really.

So why is it important to start the year with a renewed understanding of our individual personality? I think it helps because your personality type helps you identify your own behaviours and attitudes. Knowing this gives you the means to understand your actions and where necessary balance or avoid those actions. It can also help you to highlight your strengths and weaknesses and if we are going to make a new year’s resolution provide you with some areas that you might want to work on.

So in terms of a pesonal resolution I will work on how and what I commit to – this should be easy! Next I will let myself dream a little…. now that won’t be easy as you might think….. time wasting is not really in my DNA 🙂 but I will give it a try.

Understanding yourself, helps you to better understand others and their behaviours and actions. As an educator this is important. Understanding the personality of our learners and how they might respond to learning activities, group work, role plays etc is crucial to their learning success and your success as a teacher/ facilitator of learning…. so maybe I should work on this too. What will you work on in 2013?

MOOC – would you enrol?

Massive Open Online Course

Latey I have been asked lots of questions about using or participating in a MOOC.

When these discussions start it seems quite clear that there is confusion about what a MOOC actually is.  So to help clear up the confusion I have found a neat little youtube that in ony a few short minutes gets the message across.

Participation in a MOOC is free, normally there are no costs to do the course.  This raises some very good questions.  For example:

  • Once I finish my course will it be recognised by others?
  • What do I want to gain from participating in the MOOC?  If it is a qualification, then I might have to find a training provider and pay them to convert my training into a qualification. If it is just learning to increase knowledge and skills then enrolling in the MOOC seems like a good option.
  • How qualified are the facilitators of the MOOC?
  • Where can I locate a MOOC?

Like normal courses MOOCs usually have a start and finish time.

Check out the following sites to see if there is a MOOC for you: