Colin Simpson’s ed-tech picks

This week’s must reads and watches in education technology

Facilitating online breakout groups from Dave Cormier

Good breakout group activities online are far less common that we might hope. Often students find themselves sitting quietly in a small Zoom room, unsure what to do, until one brave soul hazards a guess and starts the conversation. This seven minute YouTube video from the Office of Open Learning at the University of Windsor (Canada) offers some valuable ideas to ensure that the time spent in these sessions is productive and that help teachers track activity across all rooms at once. It is demonstrated in Blackboard Collaborate but the principles are universal.

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The Australian Ed Tech directory from EduGrowth

This site provides links to more than a hundred Australian businesses working in education technology and adjacent spaces. It appears to be focused more on the business and investment side of things as there is an option to filter by sector and export market but not by the kinds of tools or services they provide. All the same, it is an interesting way to get an overview of how the market perceives the needs and priorities of the education sector.

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Forget lone lecturers – pandemic shows teaching must be a team sport from Times Higher Education

Neil Mosley succinctly outlines the complexities of modern tertiary teaching practice, with “the new normal”, ever increasing accountability requirements, and a constantly evolving technology landscape making it hard for time-poor educators to keep up. Institutions have skilled and experienced teaching and learning support teams ready to assist, yet many lecturers still choose to go it alone. Mosley explores why this might be and shares some new ways to resolve this. The article offers an informed, practical counter to some of the sadly ignorant takes on these support systems and professionals that we still see in the discourse far too often.

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Manifesto for teaching online webinar today from CRADLE

CRADLE at Deakin is one of the foremost research centres in Australia in the digital learning space, and the University of Edinburgh is also a heavy hitter. This webinar today brings them together, with Professor Sian Bayne discussing Edinburgh’s updated Manifesto for teaching online, which advocates for “strongly research-based, critical and creative practice” in modern teaching.

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Tortured phrases in published research from @big science energy on TikTok

Plagiarism is as much a known problem in research as it is in learning and teaching, but the use of AI as a writing tool to bypass “traditional” similarity matching systems is starting to result in some bizarrely humorous language in published papers. This quick TikTok video discusses a recent research paper about this phenomenon, which sees established terms like Artificial Intelligence morphing into “counterfeit consciousness” instead.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner