Posts tagged edtech

Short generation gap before delivery media is dismissed

Looking Back, Looking Forwards. Fashion and Fads in #edtech #EDCMOOC

The film Bendito Machine III, that we watched last week on the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC, tells the story of technological development in terms of ritual and worship. The tribe treats each new technology with god-like reverence, and damns the preceding technology to the scrap heap.

This film could, I’m ashamed to admit it, have been written about me. I am crazy about technology and gadgets and, just like the tribe in the film, have an old gadgets graveyard. The difference is, mine is inside my house, because I periodically think to myself “it might be useful in the future.”

In Bendito the villagers worship whatever the latest technological idol is and throw away whichever model is already looking a little outdated immediately the new technology appears. In my work as an educational technologist, I have seen something similar many times with educational hardware. I was the E-learning Manager at a large language school, which had an incredible multimedia suite to aid independent study. The one drawback was that it was built in the 1970s. It either worked with LP records, or a reel to reel tapes. It was replaced by a listening centre, stuffed full of cassettes, which was replaced by a listening centre stuffed full of CDs, which was replaced by an multimedia centre stuffed full of computers, which was replaced by an LMS stuffed full of CD RoMs… you get the idea.

There are two things I think that are interesting to note about redundant educational technology:

Firstly, it’s not the technology that has just been superseded that is seen as junk. There’s actually a generation gap, or a “snobbery gap.” We tend to accept old technology, but completely dismiss the technology that came before it. Take a look at this graphic, where I try to illustrate the gap.

Short generation gap before delivery media is dismissed

Short generation gap before delivery media is dismissed.


Secondly, this same snobbery, seems to have a wider generational gap when referring to instructional environments. We still consider previous technologies as “valid” for a good while after “the next big thing” has arrived. For example, we still use blogs even though they’ve been around a good few years. If a course was run completely within Moodle (or any other VLE / LMS) I think most educational technologists would be a bit sniffy about its educational validity nowadays.

instructional Frameworks 2

Instructional environments have a more accomodating generation gap than physical media.


So, as we start week 2 of the MOOC, I wonder to myself, does the same apply to future educational technologies? It somehow seems to have a similar short generation gap. This time though, the gap is about what we believe will realistically happen. For example, wearable tech is here, we know that Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets are coming soon, but implanted microchips still seem to be way off as a learning technology.

Future Skepticism 2

Generation gap in reverse: the skepticism gap.


What do you think will be the next big revolutionary change in educational technology? Have your predictions been right in the past? I know I thought the iPad would never catch on. Now look, it’s almost out of date already!


iDidattica- iPads in Schools

Just before Easter 2013 I gave a talk at the Erickson “Scuola Nell’Era Digitale” conference in Trento, Italy. It was a huge pleasure, and I met some really fabulous teachers. They were a really dedicated bunch, working hard to improve the quality of education in Italy – often with the odds stacked against them.

I decided to forgo the usual conference “presentation-style” approach and do a more – hands-on workshop. It was ever-so-slightly chaotic in places, but we learnt a bunch, got through everything intact and had a load of fun. These are the slides I showed during my presentation. They’re in Italian – so I hope you get the gist of them!

Death By PowerPoint? No Thanks! – Digital Storytelling Using PowerPoint

PowerPoint has the ability to utterly, utterly destroy your soul with boredom – and yet it can totally engage your students’ attention and draw them into a digital story plot if used well. And how should you use it well? These slides will show you! 🙂

I have posted these before, but this is a slightly updated version that I made for the teachers and trainers at Bolzano Free University’s language department (a tri-lingual University in the north of Italy!)

I had wanted to upload this to VoiceThread so that you, my dear readers, could ask and answer questions and see how effective Voicethread is – unfortunately, Voicethread allows a maximum of 50 slides per presentation and … well… this has several more slides than this. Anyhow, the first slides are the digital story part. If you’d like to skip straight to the  PowerPoint hints and tips, go to slide number 48.

Hope this is helpful – if you have any questions, leave them in a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

The Amazing Main Hall of the Yeditepe University

10 Key Things I’ve Learned about IWBs – IATEFL Conference Istanbul.

The Amazing Main Hall of the Yeditepe UniversityI was delighted to be invited to speak at this year’s IATEFL LT & TD SIG conference in Istanbul, Turkey. I put in a proposal to discuss IWBs and the lessons I’d learnt from watching teachers get used to using them in my training sessions. When the confirmation came through in early May, I gave a whoop! I’d never been to Turkey before, but had heard loads of good reports from friends who said how friendly and welcoming people there tend to be.

What’s more, Burcu Akyol who is a conference organiser par-excellence, was co-ordinating the team which organised the whole weekend. Basically I need say little more than I can’t wait to go to Turkey or Istanbul again. I had such a great time, the conference attendees were wonderful people, the talks were really top quality and the on the last night, when I went out for dinner… the food… oh the food! It was fabulous!

Anyhow, let’s get to the point, during the talk I promised the teachers present, that I’d post up the IWB slides I used to support my talk. The slides contain useful hints and tips for teachers starting out with IWBs as well as a whole bunch of links to some really handy tools to make teachers lives easier when creating interactive activities.


Cigdem Karin

Take Your Phone Out Of Your Pocket (And Use It In Class) – Karin Tirasin and Cigdem Ugur

I saw a few great Talks at IATEFL Glasgow 2012, I met some great people including a few EFL Stars” like Scott Thornbury, however, no-one left a greater impression on me than Karin Tirasin and Çigdem Ugur who gave a talk at the LTSIG event. Inspired, enthusiastic and perhaps a tiny weeny bit overwhelmed by talking on an international stage, they and their ideas were, quite honestly, brilliant.

If it’s possible to summarise a 45 minute talk in a just a few words it’d have to be: “They used mobile phones.” Seeing as that doesn’t really tell you much, perhaps: “They used mobile phones, in class, in great fun, engaging activities, using multimedia, QR codes, digital literacies and.. and and… ..and the main thing to note is the activities were all very well thought out pedagogically and they used “all four” of the language learning skills; listening, speaking, reading, writing as well as grammar and dictionary skills.


What I thought was best of all from a memorable lesson point of view is that he students loved it (and if you don’t believe me, after the break, there’s a video from the students themselves with their own opinions on mobile phones:



Vicky Saumell – The Lesson Comes First, Technology is Just an Aid #IATEFL

I was lucky enough to see Vicky Saumell talk at IATEFL this year. I met her after her seminar to ask whether she would be prepared to do an interview and lo and behold it was another one of those wacky feelings you get at conferences nowadays: I realised I already “knew” Vicky, as we are connected via our PLN.

Vicky gave a brilliant talk about digital storytelling in the classroom, the slides for which you can see after the video interview. Her talk was given as part of IATEFL’s LTSIG group, or for those of us who can’t deal with all the acronyms: the Learning Technologies Special Interest Group of the International Association for Teaching English as a Foreign Language – phew! In a day or so I’ll be posting an interview with Graham Stanley too, who talks more about the LTSIG and some of their work, so if you’d like to know more about the group, keep an eye open for that interview.

Here are Vicky’s smart and well-reasoned comments:




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