Colin Simpson’s ed tech reads of the week

Vignette – Blogs for cogs from Lexi Keeton.

While there is a lot of discussion about replicating face to face learning in the on-line environment, this misses the point that there are rich opportunities in this space to rethink education entirely. The Internet is a space where, for good or bad, everyone has a voice. Student work no longer needs to be read by a teacher and nobody else, it can be part of a bigger conversation – “learning into a megaphone” as Deakin Education student Lexi Keeton puts it in this insightful reflection on using blogs as part of her assessment.

***

What does ‘academic freedom’ mean in practice? Why the Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy employment case matters from The Conversation

If you’ve been fortunate enough to miss it, on-line discourse around the pandemic in the last two years has been an utter cesspit. As with other areas of science, academics offering public commentary about COVID19 have found themselves abused and threatened. This article from Jack Heinemann discusses employers’ responsibilities and academic freedom through the lens of a recent employment case brought by two academics at the University of Auckland about whether their institution has failed in its duty of care to them.

***

Does digital education research have an integrity problem? from Neil Mosley

Research surrounding education in higher education sometimes occupies a strange liminal space. While it should ideally be objectively evidence based and geared towards ever better learning and teaching practice, it is often diminished by educators who perhaps don’t like what it has to say about their existing practice. This is doubly so when it comes to on-line and technology enhanced learning and teaching. As with most things though, it’s much more nuanced than this and Neil Mosley, a UK based digital learning designer, steps through some of the complicating factors in this thoughtful piece.

***

Time to reboot and start the new semester from The Educationalist.

Yes, it is still January and there are weeks to go until “normal” semester one starts for many educators, but this list of bite-sized actions that you can fit around research and other responsibilities right now will serve you and your students well. Alexandra Mihai offers tangible steps to reflect and renew your upcoming course in this brief post, as well as links to many other valuable resources.

***

Discord Educational Toolkit from CUNY

On-line communication between educators and students most commonly occurs via email, Zoom/Teams meetings and discussion forums in the LMS. For the most part, these are perfectly acceptable and get the job done. In the world outside the institution, you may find that your students connecting with their sub-communities in platforms like Discord, which was initial built for on-line gamers. Discord can seem daunting at first, throwing around terms like “set up a server” but it has come into its own as feature rich space for group communications. This in-depth resource from CUNY steps you through setting it up and using it effectively in teaching. Just be mindful that you probably won’t be able to get help from your institutional IT team if you have technical problems and you should probably also be mindful of institutional privacy and security policies.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. He is also one of the leaders of the TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner