So I arrived back at my home institution in early July, to the pleasant discovery that I’m featured in our faculty’s research showcase publication. Not that I’ve had much time for research since finishing sabbatical. As I’m coordinating a rather large foundational course this semester, my time has been spent organising the teaching for that. We have over 1100 students enrolled in the course (all of our first and second year early childhood, primary and secondary teaching students) and it is being delivered in a blend of face-to-face and online modes. Which means I’m coordinating a large teaching team to deliver tutorials (seminars to use the UK parlance) to 41 classes per week for the semester, organising the lectures and building the online content. And there’s been marking.
Being a blended course, I’m combining lectures; (yes, an old fashioned notion, I know, but it’s not without its defenders), with classroom discussions slated for the tutorials; and chunked resources that provide background information, and neat definitions, concept explainers, and contemporary perspectives (new stories, blog posts and the like) that link to the academic readings for the online components. This course is certainly stretching my teaching and admin skills and I’ve even starting using Adobe spark to make little videos (yep, even got my own youtube channel, something I never thought that I would have the guts to do) and memes for the LMS.
I’m finding Adobe spark great to use. After making videos and memes I tried out “Pages” and I love it. The pages embed beautifully in Blackboard (my institution’s LMS) and overcome, what I think is one of Blackboard’s biggest limitations – it is unattractive and clunky. Using Pages I’ve been able to put together resource packages that include videos, texts, links and images; supplementing the other materials that students are getting in lectures, readings and tutorials with contemporary sources all presented nicely. Here’s one I made for the week when topic was the impact of SES upon educational outcomes. (I promise Adobe aren’t paying me, I genuinely love using Spark when my internet connection is good).
All in all I’ve have my hands full and hadn’t had much time for blogging; however, I’ve been reading some good stuff. Twitter is my go to source for resources, blogs links and news stories and here’s some of what’s piqued my interest over the last month or so:
- From Professor Tristram Hooley: If you have no time for social media here’s how to build your online presence in (just) five minutes per day (@pigironjoe)
- However, if you don’t want an online presence at all IFLS offers a step-by-step guide to removing it
- An while we are on the topic of social media; from Dr Naomi Barnes: What does this “thing” we call Twitter do? (@DrNomyn)
- And Corinne Campbell’s Holding out for a Hattie (or is she?) (@corisel)
- And, finally, in the wake of the last month’s Pokemon Go madness, edugeek have written about Pokemon Go and the Gimmickification of Education (via @Oliviallic)