Teaching in a Digital Age by A.W. (Tony) Bates

I strongly recommend this open textbook «Teaching in a Digital Age – Guidelines for designing teaching and learning for a digital age» written by Tony Bates and shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. The book is available for downloading in PDF

Source: http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Source: http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

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Don’t forget the e of ePortfolios

For some years now, the Colegio Apóstol Santiago of Vigo (Spain) has had a Mahara ePortfolio available to students and teachers of the secondary school. Our Mahara is linked to Moodle for single sign-on. I started to use Mahara to introduce my students (and myself) to the concept of ePortfolios. The goal was to create an ePortfolio for science to present at the end of the course. I already had an idea about what I wanted and expected from my students. But the first problem I had to face was not a pedagogical but an ICT issue. I soon realized that I had to teach my students to use Mahara. Although the usability of Mahara is getting better with each new release we must admit that it’s still difficult for those who want to log into their account and start creating a simple text page from scratch. If you also ask for some graphical evidences of learning such as pictures, charts or diagrams you’ll soon realize that implementing a digital portfolio with young students is not as easy as it looks.

As an STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teacher, I don’t have much time that I can allocate to help my students to get the most out of Mahara. Fortunately I feel confident in using and teaching about ICT so all my grade 9 students receive a couple of training sessions in using Mahara. Learning to create a page, filling in a title, description, tags, set up the content and share with others is easy. Also adding text or videos from YouTube is easy, but some problems arise when they have to work with pictures.

Digital natives (Prensky, 2001) take pictures and move them through social networks everyday but they’re not so good when they have to edit or embed them into a webpage. They think that all can be accomplished with a “copy and paste” or a “drag and drop”. Most of them don’t care about the size and resolution of their own pictures. Pictures are a key element in digital portfolios. Beyond the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”, they actually are the easiest way nowadays of digitizing evidence. With a cheap cell phone that has a camera everyone can take digital evidence of learning or achievements. But sometimes the evidence is just a small spot within the picture and not the whole picture. So learning how to crop an image, add an arrow, or insert extra text to remark some detail are useful skills to start using ePortfolios.

See below some examples of different evidences submitted for a scientific report and notice how some students remark important details (evidences 2, 3 and 4) but others don’t (evidence 1).

Evidence 1: Raw evidence of a Virtual Lab Experiment

Evidence 1: Raw evidence of a Virtual Lab Experiment

Evidence2: Cropped picture remarked to show the different color of the cola sample number 9

Evidence 2: Cropped picture remarked to show the different color of the cola sample number 9

Evidence 3: Edited picture where the student called the attention to pH value of the cola sample number 8

Evidence 3: Edited picture where the student called the attention to pH value of the cola sample number 8

Evidence 4: A before-after digital evidence where a student had to merge two pictures

Evidence 4: A before-after digital evidence where a student had to merge two pictures

Don’t assume that all your students already have these skills because they’re digital natives. That’s why I titled this article as don’t forget the e of ePortfolios. Educational technologies such as ePortfolios have at least two dimensions: pedagogical and technological (ICT). Sometimes educational technologist evangelists or software vendors tend to present new tools with a single focus on pedagogical issues underestimating the risks or issues of the technological side. Underestimating the challenges of that digital side can ruin a successful adoption.

Some people insist on that ePortfolios are not suitable for primary and secondary students but that’s not true. There are tons of successful experiences in schools. Give it a try to adopt ePortfolios in your subjects. No matter if your goal is to assess students or just using them as a learning activity. But foremost, be aware of the “e” dimension of this tool at the same time.

This post was published in the Mahara Newsletter July 2015 (Vol. 5 / Issue 2)

Scientix Workshop: How to embed remote and virtual labs from Go-Lab

On Saturday, 30th of May I conducted a Scientix workshop in Santiago of Compostela. That day the Centro Autonómico de Formación e Innovación (CAFI) organised a one-day event for teachers to share good practices in teaching STEM. The program of the day was available here (PDF).

My Scientix workshop was one of the six simultaneous workshops ran just after lunch in the afternoon session. Despite of competing with other interesting topics in different rooms the Scientix workshop caught the attention of  21 attendants (One over the number of seats and computers available).  The expectation to learn about the integration of remote and virtual labs attracted chemistry,  physics, maths and ICT teachers.

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Nexus 7: Cómo solucionar la lentitud al instalar Lollipop

Nexus 7 (2012)Con la última actualización de Android (Lollipop) para mi tableta Nexus 7 (2012) comencé a notar una lentitud exagerada y que el navegador Chrome comenzaba a cerrarse inesperadamente. Probé todas las recomendaciones encontradas en los foros para resolver el problema pero ninguna de ellas supuso una mejora significativa.

  • Comencé limpiando la cache: Recovery > “erase or wipe the cache partition”.
  • Ejecuté un ‘Reset Factory’ reinstalando desde cero e instalando casi una a una las Apps tratando de detectar si alguna de ellas era la que ocasionaba la pérdida de rendimiento.
  • Instalé Firefox como navegador para substituir a Chrome por si está era la causa del problema. En realidad esta opción mejoró el rendimiento y por eso todavía continúo usando Firefox como navegador en mi Nexus 7.

Nada de eso funcionó más allá de una ligera mejora casi inapreciable. La desesperación era mayúscula hasta el punto de plantearme un downgrade a versiones más antiguas para recuperar la funcionalidad perdida.

Pero, la búsqueda en los foros me llevó a probar una solución que funcionó (.. y sigue funcionando): Esta consiste en desactivar la ‘escritura gestual’. Los pasos son:

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El efecto de la práctica en el aprendizaje

Los foros de Moodle Community son una mina no sólo de información y conocimiento sobre Tecnología Educativa sino también de inspiración y reflexion sobre el mundo de la educación. Hoy llegué a través de un tweet a un foro de Moodle donde se abría un Post of the day  con esta pregunta: What does this say about learning?

El autor Derek Chirnside añadía a continuación los siguientes vídeos y nos invitaba a verlos y reflexionar sobre su relación con el aprendizaje.

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Post en el blog de Scientix FECYT



El lunes, 9 de Febrero publiqué mi primer post en el blog de Scientix en la FECYT (Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología). La FECYT es el Punto de Contacto Nacional de Scientix en España. Los embajadores españoles de Scientix colaboramos con la FECYT en la divulgación del conocimiento relacionado con el área STEM y en particular de aquellas iniciativas sostenidas con fondos europeos.

Mi primer post fue para presentar la XVI Edición del programa Ciencia en Acción a cuya presentación oficial asistí el pasado 4 de febrero en la Domus de A Coruña.

Scientix Winter Workshop in La Valleta (Malta) 2015

The second Winter Workshop of Scientix cycle 2 was held in Malta from Friday 30 of January to Sunday, 1st of February. 51 participants, most of them Scientix Ambassadors, attended to this event. The venue was located at the National Curriculum Center of Malta.

I arrived to the Network dinner late (about 21 h) because I had to take two flights from Porto (Portugal) to arrive to Malta. First I flew to Zurich (Switzerland) and then I took another flight to La Valleta after spending 2 hours and a half at Zurich international airport.

On Saturday we started at 9:00 after a half hour for registration. Along the morning and after the official welcome to participants we had three keynotes from Maltese educational researchers. Ms Miriam Muscat spoke about «the value of out of class activities». Mr Mario Muscat gave us some ideas about «STEM popularisation – dissemination of good practice». Ms Melanie Casha spoke about «Malta’s first TIMSS results comparing local and global discourses on TIMSS’ effect on Policy and Reform».

From 13:30 to 17:30h all Ambassadors had to present about how we did to disseminate Scientix and share what we learnt doing so. Ambassador presentations were divided in two rooms for presentations on Saturday afternoon and On Sunday morning. They gave us 10 minutes to present and 5 minutes for questions and answers with attendants.

I was the first presenter on Sunday morning sessions. I couldn’t talk about all I wanted because we started a bit late and I had to finish soon to not steal time from others. Some ambassadors asked me to share my presentation so I’m embedding it below.

More information about the conference is available on twitter hashtag: #Scientix

At 13:00h a group of ambassadors said goodbye to our colleagues (some of them had already left earlier) and took a taxi to the airport to start our trips back home. My route consisted on flying first from Malta to Frankfurt (Germany) and then to Porto again. I have a one hour delay in Frankfurt due to the snow so I landed at Porto one hour later than it was expected. Last leg was coming to Vigo by car. It was 03:00h when I finally got home exhausted after flying a distance of 4,329 km in less than 60 hours.

Aprendizaje en Movimiento / Learning on the Move

Presentation made and shared by from Cristobal Cobo Romaní about m-Learning