It’s amazing the difference a bank holiday or some time off ill can make. Or a request to write a short article about what you are doing when actually you realise that some of the great ideas you had six months ago are still ideas. All of these factors have converged for me this week and resulted in some developments.
Rather than be too hard on myself I should note that the Smart Learning book I have been editing has been published since I last posted. Available free from the MELSIG site or at a price from Amazon (well, MELSIG needs to generate some money), Smart Learning – teaching and learning with smartphones and tablets in post compulsory education contains 29 peer reviewed chapters about how smart devices and social media are being used in post compulsory education.
A new book, this time a monograph to be published by a well known educational publisher (more details a little further down the line) is underway for which I am currently collating a series of case studies.
Books aside, I have moved on two ideas that have been around for a while now.
I have put out a call for papers for MELSIG’s new open journal, the Journal of Media Enhanced Learning (JMEL). The call is for a first Special Focus issue. At the moment I plan that all issues will have a special focus, but I am putting together an editorial group who may have different ideas. The first special focus is on the use of images to enhance learning in post compulsory education – A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words. It addresses an area which is surely the low hanging fruit of media enhanced learning given the long-standing ubiquity of digital cameras, but an area that in MELSIG we have not yet given special attention. It is time to compare notes and to discover possibly the obvious: that academics and students in higher education are using their personal devices to take photographs that enrich their practice and coursework. I know, for example, a student-run project about learning spaces that is using photo elicitation as a research method. I observe that text-heavy presentations are beginning to be replaced by photo-rich presentations, with academics and students making good use of Creative Commons licences. I see people snapping up key slides in conference presentations from their phones and tablets – despite the concurrent good emerging practice of sharing presentations using Slideshare.net and Google Slides. So, what is happening and how is the greater use of user-generated images enhancing learning?
I am looking for peer reviewers and editorial members for JMEL. Please do DM me @andrewmid if you are interested.
I am trying to ensure that the long-talked-about MELSIG webinar series begins to happen. I have already mentioned the idea to a small number of MELSIG friends and one or two ideas are now emerging.
I am keen that MELSIG demonstrates good practice in its use of webinars and to me this means designing webinars so that they are interactive: the idea of a ‘double header’ webinar, for example, in which two colleagues present and then compare innovative practice or webinars where the ‘back channel’ is brought to the front more.
The back channel is interesting. It must be at least ten years since I engaged in EDUCAUSE online conferences and delighted at not only being able to attend these US events online, but in being able to engage in them. In the meantime Twitter has appeared and some good interactive practice, especially in the form of TweetChats, has emerged. But by and large the use of webinar technology technology has been under-whelming. OK, it seems I’ve set myself a challenge then (and your ideas to help me out of this self-created dilemna would be appreciated!).
Finally, we have some more MELSIG events in the pipeline. The next one is on the 11th June at the University of Chester – billed as a ‘Meeting of the Clans’ with ELESIG and ALT you can register on this Eventbrite site page where you will find further joining instructions. The next planned MELSIG f2f event isn’t until the New Year when we have three in the pipeline (unless you tell me differently!).