By David Wells, editor at Surviving the OU

Plenty of reflection and review as David hits entry 9

Hello everybody! If you’ve missed any of the previous posts then find them here: Entry 1, Entry 2Entry 3Entry 4, Entry 5Entry 6Entry 7 and Entry 8.

Week 16: Reviewing Area of Interest

Activity 1 was a multiple choice quiz. We had done a quiz on a previous week and it went pretty smoothly and this was the case again here. The first 10 questions were testers from the previous block’s activities and then the final five or so “questions” were feedback on what we have enjoyed, disliked and feel could be improved upon. Activity 2 continued along this theme, asking what we would ask students to write about if we had hypothetically been given the chance to set TMA02. As most of us are learning practitioners, this was a useful exercise.

Activity 3 revisited the question of Defining Learning again and we had to look back on our definitions of learning as set out earlier in the course. How had they changed, given what we’ve been working on in the weeks since we first wrote down? My answer has certainly changed dramatically, as had other members of our forum group. Activity 4 revisited blogging, which seems to be an ongoing topic within this course so I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on it for the EMA. For activity 5 we had to list some blogs that engaged us and explain why.

Activity 6 revisited online search techniques and Activity 7 focused on distance learning and OER (Online Educational Resources). A good, solid week to re-focus the mind and look over what’s been important so far and picking up on running themes.

Week 17: Perceptions of New Technologies in Education

This week continued along the theme of reflection and added in some discussion and debate. Firstly we were asked to revisit the Michael Wesch video ‘A Vision of Students Today’ and make notes on perceived student life and the challenges they/we face. In case you missed the video, catch it below.

As a sub section to Activity 1 we were required to read a controversial article by David Noble on ‘Digital Diploma Mills’ which was described in some quarters as “a wake-up call to millions of teachers, students, and parents about the battle over an underpublicized but big assault on quality education.” A very interesting piece. Activity 2 was a second paper, on students’ frustrations around web-based learning. We often assume that everything digital and technological is positive but this week offers an alternative viewpoint, slightly taboo and contrary to popular consensus.

Activity 3 was an opportunity to think about some of the issues raised so far in the Block and have a mini-debate in our forum.

[we] now want you to apply what you have read in the two articles to your experiences and understanding of the changes that have occurred with the introduction of networked and digital technologies in education and training.

Activity 4 was about drawing the threads together from previous weeks and looking again at the digital divide in access and education. Closing out the week officially was Activity 5 and a piece in The Guardian by John Naughton discussing a book by Andrew Keen, arguing that rather than opening up opportunities to people, the internet has actually exacerbated inequalities. It’s a short but interesting piece that divides opinions (there are some scathing comments in reviews on the book, around the web) but it is here if you wish to take a look. The sixth activity -a review by Tara Brabazon on Clay Shirky’s book Here comes everybody- was optional. 

Coming up over the next few weeks we will be looking at Social networking tools and Mobile learning before hitting TMA03 which is an ungraded but compulsory outline for the EMA. We’ll be back in two weeks’ time for Entry #10 so stay in touch.

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